Friday, January 11, 2008

Poetry Friday: Kilimanjaro

So far, whenever I've contributed to Poetry Friday, I've written an original poem. But, that's not going to work today, because today I want to write about something I haven't experienced. Today's post is dedicated to my big brother.

My brother is about to undertake a huge task: climbing up (and down) Mount Kilimanjaro. He loves physical challenges and has done some pretty incredible things, including: skydiving, running marathons and biking across Minnesota. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is his biggest (and farthest away) adventure. I want to wish him a safe journey and give him all the inspiration I can. I couldn't come up with the right words, so I'm turning to someone else who has been there.

The poems excerpted below are written by Susan R. Makin, who recently climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. She says it far better than I could.

Excerpt from Poem 2: Kilimanjaro, Day 4/1

Equal when challenged
Challenged when equal

The day is long
The body becomes strong

And so too the mind

For the complete poem, click here.

Excerpt from Poem 4:
Day 5
Step by step
Minute by minute
Ache by ache
We’re closer to our goal

For the complete poem, click here.

Excerpt from Poem 5: Kili Ascent: Success

Those who can
Those who can’t

Those who could
Those who would

Those who did.

For the complete poem, click here.

All poems excerpted above are copyright of Susan R. Makin, 2007, and posted here with her permission. The full poems, as well as her thoughts about her adventure are posted on DocSusan's Blog. Here are the links to all of her Kilimanjaro poems:

Kilimanjaro Poetry: Poem 1
Kilimanjaro Poetry: Poems 2 and 3
Kilimanjaro Poetry: Poems 4 and 5
Kilimanjaro Poetry: Poems 6 and 7
Kilimanjaro Poetry: Poems 8 and 9

She also has practical advice about climbing the mountain that she relates in this post: Climbing Kilimanjaro: Making it to the Top.

I hope these words of encouragement will help my brother keep going throughout the difficult climb. I have complete faith in him and I wish him the very best of luck. I can't wait to hear all about his experience when he gets back.

Today's Poetry Friday round-up is at The Book Mine Set.

Update: My brother successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro! See this post.


  1. What a wonderful experience. And how great that you can encourage him with poetry! Have you read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson? He's a climber too and then started building schools in rural Pakistan near the mountains he loved to climb.

  2. Thanks for sharing these. I love the excerpts you chose! I like short poems, and I think these excerpts are stronger than the complete poems (just my two cents).

    Good luck to your brother!

  3. I love the excerpt from poem 5. I'm sending good wishers our brother's way. I'm sure it will be an amazing experience.

  4. Challenged when equal. That's pretty deep.

    I agree - I like the mini-poems because they distill everything in the longer works. I hope your brother has a wonderful time!

  5. Wow! That was a wonderfully thoughtful posting. I obviously read all the poems and was very moved. I have completed at least 10 books on the topic and I believe I fully understand the difficulty of the undertaking. However, the poems put the struggle in terms so much more immediate than do any longer stories.

    I am very excited and nervous at the same time. My flight leaves in less than 72 hours and already it is becoming hard to focus on anything else.

    I have been training fanatically for about 5 months but the unknown is what lingers in the back of my mind and keeps be on egde.

    I promise to let the blog know how it goes when I return. I read this space everyday, though with my limited knowledge of the topics discussed I never make comments.

    BTW, I am about 2/3 through Three Cups of Tea.

  6. Wow. How cool.

    Of course, I'd suggest a bit of poetry from Toto: "Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti."

  7. These poems are wonderful. Wow. You must be so proud of your brother. Best of luck to him on his journey.

  8. Oh man, now I'm going to be singing "Africa" all day. My family does not thank you, Kelly:>)

  9. Wow! Good luck to your brother, Susan. That is amazing! I'll look forward to hearing about it.

  10. Russ,
    We have followed your adventures and cheered for you.. out here in the West. Now we will send our love and good wishes for a fabulous climb all the days, until you are home with your story.
    Joan and Walt

  11. Hi Russ,
    With the strength of your mind and will you can achieve all that you've set out before you. We wish you only the best. Thinking of you and awaiting to hear your journal of this monumental task.

    Eileen and Charlie

  12. Thanks you so much to everyone (including my brother!) who wrote a comment on this post. It was wonderful to hear from so many bloggers, family and friends. I know my brother truly appreciates all the inspiration and good wishes.

  13. And the "Africa" song by Toto is one of my top 5 favorite songs of all times. =)

  14. What a wonderful send-off! Best wishes are floating around your brother and waiting for him at the mountain because of you!

  15. Great way to honor your brother's journey. He is an inspiration to us all.