In the lee of a ridge line,

On the north side of a nameless rise,

The mound rose in gentle slope,

A steady ascent from valley to crest,

Which sparkled rivulets traversed

In their gracious descent

Through dense firs and pines.

Among its sister hills

She still stood in primeval beauty

Uncorrupted by commerce or agriculture.

The burgeoning vineyards of

Neighboring villages had not yet encroached

Her realm.

Burrowing creatures still made their homes

From etched out earth,

And great owls and majestic hawks

Patrolled its skies.

Lesser creatures also, of both flora and fauna,

Populated the hill.

Amid the beauty lay one hidden fault,

The rise lay on the north side that suffered the

Embitterment of winter’s cold much longer than the south.

Well into May the cold still penetrated the ground

The sun not could reach, so

The rivulets still surface frozen remained.

Over the crest the sun-baked south side

Burst into spring much sooner

And succumbed to winter’s chill much later.

There warmth beckoned early and from their hibernation

The animals emerged brighter, stayed longer

And multiplied faster.

But on the north side the frozen ice daggers

Sank their shafts unsheathed deeper into the soil,

Freezing, halting, slowing life.

I knew a home or two like this

That seemed to be built on the north side of life.

In those hearts dwelling there

The pains of sorrow and injustice

Had pierced more deeply,

Stifling the growth of its inhabitants

With unrelenting icy-ness of spirit.

The children emerged later into adulthood

And plunged their potential too quickly

Beneath the memory of joyless days.

Hope can come there too,

And this truth is too often forgotten.

If you are from the north side of earth’s homes

May the Sun rise upon you sooner than you expected,

And warm your soul and restore your hope.

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