A few years ago, I read in a book whose title I no longer recall the rather startling fact that not very long ago in historical terms, mountains were viewed as ugly. The idea stayed in my mind for years, waiting for a poem to be in.
I’ve been in three triad relationships — two with two men and one with a man and another woman. One of them wasn’t a good idea, but the other two were happy, even in the face of a lot of looks from people that were equal parts confused and disapproving. Things are better in a lot of ways now, but all you still really have to do to call down the wrath of the world’s self-appointed sex auditors is hold hands with both your partners at once. That too, though, will change, when people stop thinking love is dangerous.
We once considered mountains ugly — as a culture, I mean —
Thought them keloid eyesores on the landscape, places where
Demons and desperate highwaymen lurked in perilous crags
And drops to despoil us all and lead us to ruin and perdition.
All because they’re blasphemously bigger than the rolling hills
That have never been so slurred and vilified. There’s just
Too much of them to be seemly, and God don’t like ugly.
We walk together after dinner — the three of us, I mean —
And gather the sidelong glances of the bemused and appalled
As we sit at the outdoor cafe in the windblown mist, hands
Cupped around our coffees, then raised to warm one another’s
Various cheeks or to share broken-off bites of Abernethy biscuit.
In a hundred years, it will take huddles of six to harvest stares.