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The Passage Between

by N. Scott Momaday


Because it’s there.
—G.H.L. Mallory

—a passage outside the range of imagination,
but within the range of experience.
—Isak Dinesen


The sheer face lay opposite,

Both over and under him.

His lungs burned in the ascent.

His eyes congealed in the cold,

And at last he could not see.

Or what he saw was nothing,

An ice that reflected death,

Present and invisible.

Below he had imagined

The summit within his reach;

He could not imagine now.

There was only the descent

Into mere experience

And the blind passage between.