Nantucket Sleighride


Submitted by Shaun Clamp

We drove on a mountain road
My father’s eyes were set on the road
and in the mirror
the colour of cold water
He sang with the guitar
and guided the wheel
with the silvery sun in his watch.
He felt powerful
He didn’t always feel powerful,
but he felt it then as the guitar thrummed and thumped
and his eyes advanced the road, the turns, plunging on
through the cold mountain air in the white BMW.

He pulled to the side and we got out
He looked out at the mountains
the whole snow-capped range of them
and let out a cry of laughter
It broke from him
from his reddening face
from his water eyes
a sound I’d never heard him make
And I looked up at the mountains too,
their dark folds
the thick drifts of snow in the ravines
the moody clouds both heavy and glinting
moving fast in the mountain wind
the frozen light
the shivering succulents
the burning plumes of aloes,
their dark smoking
muffled in the falling air

We stood there
only a moment
It was too cold.

Photo Credit: Isaac Levitan – Range of Mountains, Mont Blanc

5 thoughts

  1. Great. I like his eyes “the colour of cold water”, strong image that sets the tone for the poem, with the cold mountains and then the contrast of his laugh. Had to think a long time about the title, but I think I got there finally.

    1. Thank you very much for the comments. The title is actually the name of one of my dad’s favourite songs from his youth. He has a 30 minute version of the song that’s full of guitar solos, and that’s what we were listening to as we drove. It’s by a band called ‘Mountain’ coincidently.

      1. One of my favorites too. ☺️ I didn’t think of the song specifically, more that somewhere down inside him he had this great whale swimming around, and it exploded to the surface at that moment, your father harpooned along for the ride. I guess kind of like Leslie West’s guitar solo blowing out in the middle of all that pretty song.

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