from Wise Words for the Earth
VIEW FROM HER WINDOW
AFTER LOUISE BEER’S RESPONSE TO GLACIERS AND WATER:
The North Sea in Margate
Flows in and out of focus,
A composite of time and tide.
Not images of glaciers crisp and cold
And high and wide,
Stories these ancient glaciers told,
But a less- cold Sea from her window
She sought to show in pixels picturing
Swelling, sifting, shifting
Spring tides and Neaps,
Sweeps of waves, both shallow and deep
With seaweed used as silver gelatine
No toxic chemicals, poisoning.
But, here in this swirl of water
As in the glaciers of old,
With their erratic mica gold,
Hails this self – same water,
Washing through her blood.
Fragile eco-systems fail and erode,
As Man, made from water, strode
Through both the warm and cold,
From warming glacial Pole to sun-soaked Pole,
Now with its swirling waters, covering the whole.
I thought -the name of a tribe-
Who remain unseen
Into the silence
– the icy silence –
I hear a glacier crack.
Drowning in dialect.
Ungive iset penitent,
rone and aquabob ungive.
ickle, shockle, shuckle glocken,
tankle, windle, snipe unheeve…
bleb, bleb, bleb.
Walking, on talking mountain, is never easy.
That’s the truth.
You want a cosmic egg, to hatch, and tell you lies?
And what, my darling child, would that achieve?
For those who run, run, run, away, must have troubles.
No guarantee of safe passage, long life, eternal bliss.
Havens are temporal things, in the end.
In the end, perhaps, there is no safe haven.
Speech so long denied.
And will you lie now, and say you are sorry, that you ran?
For you ran to make a track, that speaks of this:
in response to Rebecca Huxley’s photograph
Like an osprey in flight,
the Himalayan Passu glacier
soars silently on the tips of the dark umber mountains.
The osprey surveys the reddish-brown ‘Fairy Meadows’,
and the treacherous, burnt umber, silken slopes
leading to the broken, zigzag frazil-stream.
In the valley of Ghulkin,
busy curlews and red-billed choughs
catch the osprey out of the corner of their eyes
and see their own reflections.
(Frazil means loose, needle-like ice crystals that form into churning slush in turbulent, super-cooled water.)
after Saba Khan’s Paintings
glacier, icy databank
guardian of cryptic truth
read by geiger counter
or errant geologist
imprint of hominis sapientis folly
of those who act amiss
GUARDIAN OF CRYPTIC MARKERS
Spirit of Sidney Nolan?
fast visceral reaction in paint
limited palette – fauve-ish
record of ancient and modern
muscovite of metamorphosis
creation of the mountains themselves
gamma rays, cosmic radiation
fallout of earth’s birth
yet damning marker of Nagasaki