The Quality of Mercy


I trespassed against nature one Sierra autumn day. 

Heady with its beauty and young love, I waded in 

To tempt some melted snow’s compulsion to the sea. 


A momentary lapse, a barefoot slip on granite smoothed to glass, 

With one swift bounce upon a daypack, and a splash,

I joined the hurtling stream toward the Vernal Falls. 


Hydraulic forces hauled me, rolled me, roiled me, shook my sense,

‘til nature, bearing the insult but no grudge, forgave me the offense. 

A crevice in the granite snagged one toe, 

And spat me out above the falls below.

 © Philip Knight 2018