Mountain Verse

Jerry Bolick, local resident, visits the Mountain often - and often he's inspired by the Mountain — over time he has composed many poems he considers to be gifts from the Mountain:

"I write them, sure. But for me they are the Mountain's poems, gifts I receive when I'm attentive enough — inspiraton, solace, beauty, the opportunity to slow down and be with something more..."

A Brisbane resident, husband, father, grandfather, backpacker, hiker - Jerry is also a long-time San Bruno Mountain Watch supporter and volunteer. Visit Jerry's blog - Meditations from the Slow Lane - his personal writings from a life explored through Buddha Dharma and poetry. (The drawing, "Buckeye", is by David Schooley, Mountain Watch founder.)

Litany — a series of petitions or prayers,
recited and responded to
May 2016

This morning’s trailside litany
begins with a silver-breasted jay,
quiet California lilac, pearly everlasting
and farewell to spring; gold sticky-monkey, golden poppy,
browning grasses, checker bloom and
paint brush; hummingbird sage, wild rose
hidden in shade; buckeye blossoms,
hillside scrub, poison oak and soap plant.

From high on the ridge, sun over fog
over the valley to the east, a voice
overhead: a hawk, circles
and arches its wings,

Owl Canyon, San Bruno Mountain
August 2011

It’s a soft gateway, slow rising slopes to either side,
winter wet-lands, now an easy stretch of dulled thatch,
a cushioned bed for the softest surprise of beige-green
blends of grasses, topped specific
with rich chocolate nuggets.

An artist’s pallet, to be sure, well beyond the range of this tongue,
and I wish for my daughter-in-law’s presence,
her depth of color-sense, to hear her words
over this familiar meadow, making itself
made known anew.


Dropping into the gully where the big bay lives and the stream,
I disturb some crows at rest in the high branches, who without showing themselves,
start up scolding and complaining back and forth in the shadows.
Startled myself, I say I’m only passing through, that I come empty handed
and will leave the same. But it continues, they continue.

The webs that grabbed my face along the trail
suggest few visitors of late, even the winter rains have run their course,
the stream dry now, gone—I have intruded.

I speak again, to offer a song, a prayer, and sit on the limb of that oak
in the deserted camp of the hermits. I chant so they can hear,
melodic as possible, but the crows remain unconvinced.

It’s only when I add the wish of peace
for all things living that they calm, only when I’m done with that
that they quiet and take wing,

leaving me alone to care for the silence of this place.


Coming out of the summer hills, where color
traces among mixed grasses, flies on petals and wings,
I arrive at the edge of the industrial park,
face to face with the red, white and blue, fully blustered
in the wind, beautiful, in its way

under the sun—I nod, so as not to offend,
but pass quickly,
quietly keeping my distance.