This is National Poetry Month, and as spring caresses the hills of northern California, one of the most magickal places in the San Francisco Bar Area, Mt. Tamalpais, is rising serenely above the hustle and bustle below, the good and the bad, the nasty and the generous, clothed in waving grasses and spring flowers and trees of infinite shape.  Mt. Tam is one of my most treasured places, one of the most ethereal places I know, and I’ll be there tomorrow.  

Here are two poems about that wonderful place, by J. L. Stanley and Kenneth Rexroth.

I walk by starlight
up the winding fire-trail
between sandstone and scrub oak,
up to the edge of a terrible cliff
and listen to the waves break
so far below.

The stars explode here
Away from the city glare,
They skitter and hiss
Making me gasp
As they fall from the sky.

I feel several thousand years
Younger, as I pause,
Closed in and breathless
On this moonless night wondering
When I had forgotten the sea
And the stars and roads that wind slowly.

And if I could believe
This road would lead
To other roads and on and on
It would be enough.

© J.L.Stanley

Mt. Tamalpais

The years have gone.  It is spring
Again. Mars and Saturn will
Soon come on, low in the West,
In the dusk.  Now the evening
Sunlight makes hazy girders
Over Steep Ravine above
The waterfalls.  The winter
Birds from Oregon, robins
And varied thrushes, feast on
Ripe toyon and madrone
Berries. The robins sing as
The dense light falls.
                            Your ashes
Were scattered in this place. Here
I wrote you a farewell poem,
And long ago another,
A poem of peace and love,
Of the lassitude of a long
Spring evening in youth. Now
It is almost ten years since
You came here to stay. Once more
The pussy willows that come
After the New Year in this
Outlandish land are blooming.
There are deer and racoon tracks
In the same places. A few 
New sand bars and cobble beds
Have been left where erosion
Has gnawed deep into the hills.
The sounds of life are narrow.
War and peace have past like ghosts.
The human race sinks towards
Oblivion. A bittern
Calls from the same rushes where
You heard one on our first year
In the West; and where I heard
One again in the year
Of your death.

– Kenneth Rexroth

More from Beliefnet and our partners