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The Summit of Choice, a Poem by Angela Costi

Updated: Feb 8, 2022

She is sitting on the edge of a mountain in the Annapurna,

her face, away from the camera,

her gaze focused on the Lamjung peak,

experiencing a moment of peace

like many before and many after,

the seconds could be hours could be days,

the weather could be challenging or kind,

she could be alone or surrounded by trekkers,

it has taken careful hoarding of time and money

to be sitting there framed by sky and snow

hardly a foot away from death,

thinking of nothing and everything,

feeling No God and All God,

standing up, leaping forward,

standing up, going back,

she is sitting on the edge of a mountain in the Annapurna,

she has crossed a rhododendron forest,

held tightly to the rails of a rickety bridge

overlooking the Marsyangdi River,

she has passed through mud floor, village huts,

compared her mountain boots to Sherpa’s sandals,

guilt and shame have sunk into her breast bone,

her body with its frozen toe, altitude migraine, whimpering stomach

has acclimatized to gratitude

for the nourishment of dal,

for the breath of pure air,

for the joy of one step after the other,

back home, she was told to strive for Everest,

the one with knife-like peaks, aligned with Western quest

to scale the top at the cost of health and ego,

she is sitting on the edge of a mountain in the Annapurna,

her cup of contentment continues to be filled and emptied

by her Nepalese mentor

who talks the view into experience of light and dark

of how the lower range brings the cradle of shade

to nurture you as “the child you must become.”


Angela Costi is an Australian-based poet and essayist of Cypriot-Greek heritage. She is the author of four poetry collections including "Honey and Salt" (Five Islands Press, 2007) and "Lost in Mid-Verse" (Owl Publishing, 2014). Recent funding from the City of Melbourne has enabled her to work on her current poetry manuscript titled: "An Embroidery of Old Maps and New," which is due for release next year. She manages 'Angela Costi Poetics' - a FaceBook page dedicated to reflecting on the poetry writing process and its intersections with contemporary issues, such as migration and social justice.


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