I pushed through the frozen grass
Of Mongolia's ancient steppe.
I'd had to leave my horse behind,
But couldn't pause in my trek.
The wall of wind pushed me back
For every step ahead.
I imagined it was guarding the land
From my foreign tread.
Darkness gathered like a warrior,
Threatening my intrusion.
"Excuse me," I said, and went ahead,
Despite my growing confusion.
The wind resisted and darkness grew,
I heard hooves and saw black eyes.
Before his arrow could find me, I cried
"I worship Eternal Blue Sky!"
His arrow lowered and his eyebrow raised,
And he gave me a yellow grin.
Yet once I blinked, he was gone,
Stars shining where he'd been.
I trudged forward once again,
And almost at once saw a light
Shining from a Mongol tent
In the black November night.
The family, though they knew me not,
Welcomed me inside,
Gave me food and a place by the fire.
No comfort was denied.
The hour grew late, and little ones dozed,
While the rest of us drank mare's milk.
And sweetly, one girl began to sing
In a voice dark and soft as silk.
Though I didn't know her native tongue,
I could hardly tell.
The strength of passion in her voice
Was one that I knew well.
Once her song was finished,
And trying not to weep,
I shared a poem, one of my favorites,
About woods dark and deep.
In this way we passed the night
With songs and spoken word.
We didn't share a language,
But nothing was unheard.