The mule train winds along the path
surefooted, agile, strong,
a caravan of laden beasts
climbing the stone cut stairs.
Headdress of Yak hair flies aloft
bells around necks swing in rhythm
while ribbons dance in burning colours
above the trampled snow.
Hoof follows hoof in endless line,
chime blends with ringing chime,
packs sway on rolling, burdened backs
in endless upward strides.
Thirty or more, a column of sound
driven by shouts and whip
If I don’t give way, my life might end
pushed over the yawning cliff,
my cry unheard, my death unnoticed.