The Upper World

We took the bus to the snowy peak above the village.
Too early for tourists - we stood alone in the quiet mists
that opened and closed on the encircling alps.

The narrow road led us through Heidiís meadows,
melting rivulets chased our feet
and noisily poured down every mountain crack.

No sounds but water and bells
of handsome black and brown goats
who met us along their fences
and vied for our attention.

Under the eaves of a still-boarded-up chalet
we ate our bread and cheese and chocolate
sheltered from the occasional rain.

This world, untenanted for now
but tended endlessly and thoroughly
combines snow wildness
and the familiar domesticity of cows.

We walked for hours
through the enchanted landscape
emerging finally onto the village streets

to throngs of tourists,
snarls of traffic.

Lari Smith