Two Hundred Miles: A Narrative Poem

Updated on July 9, 2018
cam8510 profile image

Chris has been writing poetry for 28 years and though his focus is short fiction, he has had one piece published.

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. | Source

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. | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Chris Mills


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      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        6 months ago from Hartford, CT

        Shauna, Thank you for reading the story and poem. Dan has quite a story to tell.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        6 months ago from Hartford, CT

        Mark, I appreciate you visiting and leaving such a kind comment.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 months ago from Central Florida

        Beautiful poem, Chris. I read the full story and look forward to reading Dan's account when he finishes his trek.

      • Mark Tulin profile image

        Mark Tulin 

        6 months ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Nicely done on both counts--poetry and the promise.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        6 months ago from Hartford, CT

        Suhail, I appreciate the emotion you felt as you read. I believe Dan is now entering a stretch of the AT in Maine that will finally be relatively flat. He has come out of the White Mountains. Ahead, though, is Mount Katahdin and the brutal climb to the finish.

      • Suhail and my dog profile image

        Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

        6 months ago from Mississauga, ON

        I read this poem with tears brewing in my eyes. This was a masterpiece that pays a rich tribute to a son's commitment to his mom.

        Reportedly, the last 200 miles of the AT in Maine are the most crucial to traverse, because of the fickle weather, the difficult terrain, and the fatigue that sets in.

        I will read the essay shortly.



      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        6 months ago from Hartford, CT

        Rinita, Yes, Dan is a man of honor. You got that message loud and clear. Thank you for reading the poem and for your kind comments.

      • Senoritaa profile image

        Rinita Sen 

        6 months ago

        I feel two things right now, Chris. One - speechless about your son's honour of word to his mother, and two - happy about the effortless flow of verses with which you conveyed this commitment to the world. I will read the essay next to learn more about the trek details. Thank you for sharing.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        6 months ago from Hartford, CT

        Michael, I have family here on HP, and I have my biological family. The two meet right here with me. In that sense, you are part of the family. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        6 months ago from Hartford, CT

        Sean, writing that poem was a labor of love. I will send Dan the link so he can read it as well. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        6 months ago from Hartford, CT

        Eric, that bond is real. You, Dan, and I share that tie that binds.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        6 months ago from Hartford, CT

        Shyron, thank you for recognizing this as an issue of integrity for Dan. That is certainly how he sees it.

      • profile image

        Michael Milec 

        6 months ago

        Both, essay as well as a poem docked deeply in my mind.Thank you very much Chris for sharing a significant life story, sentiment close to the heart, making impression as if being a member of the family...

      • Sean Dragon profile image

        Ioannis Arvanitis 

        6 months ago from Greece, Almyros

        My friend, Chris, I send to you and your son my Love, my admiration and a small tribute: To Sandy and Dan

        A mother gives birth

        An adventure on Earth

        A mother is Love

        A white free dove

        When the dove is gone

        She lives in her son

        A boy who has lost

        Don't count any cost

        To the mountain's high

        To reach her in the sky

        A promise has kept

        A soul has wept

        Two spirits as one

        Sandy and Dan

        A new life has begun

        For the dove and her son


      • profile image


        6 months ago

        A subtle and powerful ode.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        6 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        I had read the essay before and it is one that sticks in our memory. So I dove right into the poem. Tears welled up. Men who hike the back trails share an unspoken bond and felt this in both you and him.

        The love is amazing.

      • Shyron E Shenko profile image

        Shyron E Shenko 

        6 months ago from Texas

        Wonderful tribute to your son's integrity Chris, I did enjoy your poem.

        Blessing my dear friend.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        6 months ago from Hartford, CT

        Thanks, John. The essay gives much more detail. I appreciate you taking time to read this poem.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        6 months ago from Queensland Australia

        This is a wonderful tribute to your son and his quest to finish the trail and satisfy his promise to his Mom. Thanks for sharing this touching poem Chris. I still have to read the essay, but I will.


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