Whatever Mountain [potm]

Artist
Shane Koyczan
Released
2017
Genre
Spoken Word
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Poem of the Month

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     “Each year it feels as if our challenges become greater… that they occur with a more alarming frequency. These days feel so urgent… like we are being called upon to shift gears and enact change that is overdue. We each face our own mountain to climb, and in our ascent we sometimes come upon obstacles in our path that we believe are insurmountable. Already, just a few short months into this new year, it feels as if we have come upon test after test. It scares me when I wonder how long our resilience can hold out. Today, for world poetry day, I wanted to offer a balm to perhaps soothe the ache in our endurance. This is for anyone standing at the base camp of their particular challenge. Your support is appreciated :)”

Whatever Mountain

If you think it will be easy
If you think the path
will be laid out before you
or that the trail
will have previously been blazed
all obstacles cleared
every footstep
already pioneered by those who have gone before you

if you think that every barricade
will have been dismantled
or that every wall
will have been removed

if you think pressing your hands
into the wet cement of a foundation
will have proved to the world
you have left your mark upon it

if you think the grit
under your fingernails is evidence
that you have done enough

or that your rough and callused hands
offer sufficient testimony
that you have earned rest

if you think the test
will be anything less
than an essay question
aimed at unearthing
the answer of how much
your heart can bear

you will be disappointed

it will require more than
that there will be no welcome mat
waiting to greet you at the foot of this mountain

no medal
to pin upon your chest
when this is done

you will have won nothing by crossing this finish line
It exists
only to task you with discovering
how much deeper
you can go

it will insist that you drill past
the “I don’t know”
that has stood stubbornly in your way
since the instant
you first wondered if you could

it will burden you with the charge
of bringing to the surface
an understanding
of the misunderstood

the excavation
of an answer to the question
what now?

how do you keep going
in a world where the hellos
are outweighed by the goodbyes?

how do you train yourself to know
that you have to battle through the fall
if you ever expect to rise

you have to accept the fact that
the size of the mountain in front of you
is secondary to the fact that there is a mountain in your way

you don’t need a finish line to remind you
that the way forward exists because of the work you put in
forging the path behind you

effort isn’t weighed on scales
there will be times when the last breath in your lungs
must volunteer to become the wind in your sails

because who else is going to do it?

forward

faster than full speed
toward the colossus of uncertainty
that’s been laying bricks in your throat
to make room for the quiet impostor
sent to replace your roar your

strength is not diminished
because others think your struggle is futile

every time you broke
you learned to reconcile the pieces
and build a better self
using what you could salvage from the ruins of your slaughter

your alma mater was a school of thought
where the lessons were taught in reverse
test first
instruction later
it was a classroom dedicated to the teaching of what can be learned
from your failure

the answers were never meant to be easy
you’ve always known it
you don’t borrow the conviction it takes
to make yourself practice the impossible
you own it

the heaviest thing you will ever have to lift
are our own spirits

they will at times
be weighted down with the terrible gravity that is doubt
they will at times refuse to man the lighthouse
meant to steer you clear from disaster

you will never master being whole
without first knowing
that some of the pieces we lose stay lost
and that sometimes the cost of moving forward
is having to leave behind that part of yourself
and learn to exist without it

to face down whatever mountain is in your way
but then do what you’re going to do about it.

Shane.L.Koyczan

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