Murray Mann | How I Kept My Pace with the Mountains, an honourable mention in the Vallum 2023 Poetry Award

How I Kept My Pace with the Mountains

Snow high and brightly. Ditch-gravel & meltwater. The trickle.
In sky-blue sparkle-high June-mountain-whisper of sun. The quiet of the highway.
The sound of footsteps approaching from behind.
How, against this sky, our light we scattered bird-like & darkly.
I ran. I ran. I ran—and I will run again.

How I kept my pace with the mountains.
Atom-strung & strong again this circulation pumps me.
Glacial fed and folded, this oxygen we return to you.
Magnetosphere of longing, this belonging—how mineral.
I ran. We ran. All of us on the mountain.

Circle sad & sorry song this melt, our breath.
We cry. Snow high, we bring you, dearly and beloved.
Ice song, long-gone—this much we owe you.
The wind, up here. The wind. And the sun.
Run. Always run.


Murray Mann (he/him) grew up in the traditional territories of Nadleh Whut’en and now lives in Cowichan territory. He works at the Sobering Centre in Warmland house and co-parents four children. He’s published poetry in Event, Sweetwater, Worth More Standing and Island Writer.