Avalanche
© 2008 Mark Witters

Over three months in forced lock-step going up the Golden Stairs.
From Sheep Camp, it's four miles up, racing under glacier's glare.
Catch a rest at Stone House overlooking Dyea,
To the top, drop the days load, then slide down perilously.

One day a sickening rumble shook from up on high.
Terror sped down on Sheep Camp.
Avalanche!  Can't hide.

They were warned to no avail after losing weeks to heavy snow.
Overcome as they then scurried down toward Dyea far below.
Thirty feet of crushing snow buried seventy-five.
A thousand rushed to free them, but few came out alive.

At noon there came the thunder, just before the tide.
Tumbling faster toward Stone House...
Avalanche!  Can't hide.

Should have stayed on the Long Hill Trail that led  down from the Scales.
Single file, grasping rope, tilll the snow prevailed.
Most survived the intial shock and landed in a heap.
They reminisced of better times and slowly went to sleep.

A night so white and lovely-serenity belied.
Frozen words of those entombed,
"Avalanche!"  Can't hide.

 








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