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Two Hundred Miles: A Narrative Poem

Chris has written poetry for 28 years though he focuses on short fiction. But watch out for the occasional twisted nursery rhyme.

The Summit of Mount Washington

Mount Washington is the highest elevation in the northeastern U.S. at 6,288 feet.

Mount Washington is the highest elevation in the northeastern U.S. at 6,288 feet.

Author's Note

This is a poem/story about my son, Dan. I wrote about this same endeavor recently in essay form. I felt inclined to present it also as a poem. If you want a fuller context, you can read the essay, A Promise to Keep, either before or after you read the poem.

Two Hundred Miles

His name is Dan

My son, that is,

And he’s a man.

He’s proven this.

A promise he made

To his dear mother

He would not evade

Or listen to others

Who bade him think

Of moving on.

Forget that thing

You told your mom.

For seventeen weeks

He’s been on a mission

He’s been on his feet

To keep his commission

On the Appalachian Trail,

You’ve heard of that.

Georgia to Maine

As a matter of fact.


He began this quest

Ten years ago

The family did invest

Supporting from home.

Cancer had come,

That horrid beast,

To challenge Dan’s mom

To say the least.

Three months along

Dan caught a bus

Something was wrong

Get home, he must.

His mother lay

Upon her bed.

And to her son,

This is what she said.

Promise me, Dan

You’ll finish the trail

In this one plan

You cannot fail.

At 3 in the morn

She breathed her last

We began to mourn

The die was cast.


Ten years have passed

Yet Dan recalls

Those words, her last.

The Trail still calls.

From Michigan’s shore

Sailed his boat south

To the Gulf of Mexico

and a river’s mouth.

The boat he sold

On one fine day

And set his goal

Up Georgia way.

He stood at last

Upon the Trail

With memories past

He would not fail.

How does one hike

Two thousand miles?

Dan set his site

On his mother’s smile.

Until today,

The task not done

The end so near

Tempted to run

Two hundred miles more,

The hardest steps,

To a heart restored

And a promise kept.

Dan's Mother, Sandy

Taken in Newfoundland in the fall of 2007.

Taken in Newfoundland in the fall of 2007.

© 2018 Chris Mills

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