“Why We Climb Mountains” by Marti Noel

Marti Noel


What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life.
—George Mallory

The ledge invites and frightens, loose gravel
scratching solid rock beneath your feet,
until the grating sound—the rasp and rattle—
is silenced as you step into complete
nothing, carabined between simple faith
and gravity. Will the tether hold?
There is a pull, a tension, in the fray
of scattered thoughts and fear of lost control
pressed against the weightlessness of free fall
on a stretch of braided rope. It takes skill,
and grit, to climb while clinging to sheer wall,
inching upward, pulled by strength and will;
but then, the descent offers you rebirth,
as you coil and push away from Earth.

from Rattle #55, Spring 2017
Tribute to Civil Servants


Marti Noel: “I am the property assessor in a small New England town. The work is challenging, where I encounter and work directly with a variety of property owners to address their concerns. The position provides insight into the political process of local regulation, but it can lack creative stimulation. I find that writing helps fill that gap.”

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