Today marks 20 years since my uncle, Jeff Lakes, died of exhaustion on K2.
Here is a poem to commemorate two decades of his absence:
The seventh man is an avalanche in his tent,
a faint karmic tick (dots)
what is left of him goes quietly; jumpy monotony,
pieces of tape stuck over his eyes in place of sunglasses
his friends sleep at his side,
a nomad flux, amok
buried by sinewed ice
but he has one chasm, one
eerie gully left abandoned;
he can’t find his fidgeting soul
or harness aortic comfort
his teeth ache, wilt
atop the tarry blackened mountain,
the only sight a matted hawk below
then, the drawl of a limp wing
damp with throaty stillness
he bundles his broken-down body
cradled into a diamond nook;
The above poem is an anagram poem.
An anagram is a rearranging of words. The number of each letter in the source text is EXACTLY the same as the number of each letter in the poem; no letters were removed, none were added. They were simply rearranged.
The source text is as follows, from The Son Also Rises by John Elder:
“The seventh man, Canadian Jeff Lakes, turns back too late and is buried by an avalanche in his tent. He digs himself out, but can’t find his ice axes, crampons, harness or anything to eat. He makes it down to Camp Two hand over hand, with little pieces of tape stuck over his eyes in place of sunglasses, urged on by walkie-talkie by his companions below.
But he is doomed anyway; what is left of him goes quietly as his friends sleep at his side. One of the men who talked him down and cuddled him for comfort is Lake’s climbing partner – Peter Hillary, the eighth man, the only one to make it down and out and home.”