ONLY EVEREST KNOWS / Poem by Satis Shroff

Poem by Satis Shroff



The Sherpa trudges in the snow
Wheezes and struggles
And paves the way
With fix-ropes, ladders
Crampons, hooks and spikes
And says:”Follow me, Sir”.
Last season it was a Tiroler, a Tokyoter
And a gentleman from Vienna.
This time it’s a sahib from Bolognia.
Insured for heath and life
Armed with credits cards and pride
Storming the Himalayan summits
With the help of the Nepalis.

Hillary took Tenzing’s photo
Alas the times have changed.
For the sahib it’s pure vanity
For the sherpa it’s sheer existence.

By stormy weather and the trusty sherpa’s
Competence and toil the previous day,
The sahib takes a stealthy whiff of oxygen.
And thinks:
“After all, the Sherpa cannot communicate
He’s illiterate to the outside world”.
And so the sahib feigns sickness and descends
Only to make a solo ascent the next day,
Stoned with amphetamine.

And so the legend grows
Of the sahib on the summit
A photo goes around the world.
Sans Sherpa,
Sans Sauerstoff.

Was it by fair means?
Only Sagarmatha knows
Only Sagarmatha knows.

Sauerstoff: German word for oxygen
Sagarmatha: Nepalese word for Mt.Everest, Chomolungma (Tib.)
sahib: European, Herrnmensch
Sherpa: a high-altitude porter and also a tribe-name

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