February 24, 2020

High Altitude

posted on: Thursday January 30, 2020

by Jay Willett ’20

There are two ways to look down.
With pride, pitifully watching the climb, stumble, and slip.
Cackling, pouring champagne at the top, enjoying the summit’s immersion.
The greatest who’s ever lived. The king high on his throne.
The invisible swords that dangle above his crown jingle but do so silently.
An ignorant king is a powerful one-granted the ease of mind, the assurance that his throne is
made of obsidian and not glass.

A king sitting on his throne sipping champagne looking down a cliff

Graphic design by Connor Zimmerman ’20

Then there is the other way.
Liability, panic, fear: these fill the space underneath the crown.
The spikes that lie in the abyss don’t look soft, the memory of their
pierce stains the joy that exists among the clouds. Ruins it rather,
with its breathtaking view. Such a nervous king rules indiscriminately.
He’ll call on subjects, on jesters and squires, maybe even on sorcery,
for that same bliss the ignorant king enjoys.

To rule with confidence is to rule void of internal truth.
To rule with doubt is to rule with foolish endurance.
Either is fine.
A castle built on overcast could fall with any rainy day.
But that’s fine too.
Fall or climb, but to expect either is the only real crime.

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Poetry