The Book of the Mountain

He was going away.
He was wearing that shabby old coat,
The one I still like.
His face partly hidden by the up-turned collar.

I was writing him a quick note,
About passageways and turnings,
To help him on his way.
His bag was all packed.

But as he was leaving
He paused in his tracks.
“I promised you a book,
I have it for you here.”

Ah, yes, I remembered.
I thought he would forget.
The Story of the Mountain.
I expected a paperback.
I expected regrets.
I was surprised by the book.

A thick tome with worn edges
From centuries of turning.
Bound in strong leather,
Warm to the touch
With a coat of fine dust.

I turned back the cover.
Its pages were sunken
Into a box,
Their crenelated edges
Emboldened with gold.

“I don’t want it back” he said
No need, where I’m going,
It’s yours now to keep.
Take good care of it though.
It’s The Story of the Mountain.
It’s old and it’s deep.”

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