Midas Light on the High Tundra
Bidding to become the biggest, slowest hare on the ridge
I work my spine, coathanger curve, into glacial grit,
pestle convex butt into the mortar
of a leporine form in alpine dirt
until my sedimentary lower half is snug,
small-mercy grateful for such shallow, earthy dent.
From here I can inform my gaze at dusk,
scan ridge-lines, high domes,
and learn the wisdom of crazy,
sharpened tombstone nunataks,
angular, doughty dissenters, defiers
of the ice-sheets’ ground-down norms.
Even more than any frozen tonnage, the sky
itself is weighty with sliding-scale cobalt,
a gravity so specific that it defines
the horizon’s undulation and wave-trough.
I am alone, save for a royal visitor
as Midas Light’s touch gold-leafs
glacier and rock and crevasse
with a stealthy, wealthy moulding of foil.
The breast and torso of the land becomes a gilded cuirass
as each glistening ice-buttress limbs a live circuit,
a transparent current of shocking blue shadow.
I must be at the end of some unseen rainbow.
This is a bedside light by which
to read the depths of time,
de-code lines grooved in spotlit strata,
pages clawed open by the hard-nail toes
and fingers of frost-bound inching and footing,
first one million steps forward,
then one million steps back.
Grinding my blunt body further
into tonight’s dusty mattress-form,
my layer-muffled ears
tune in to cold cracking of countless crystals
in the suddenly sunless pale of lights-out night.
Darkening indigo compresses, huddles down
into the hydrogen and oxygen fibres of the glacier.
In its turn, ice squeezes and gropes into the earth.
Six feet beneath my contour-squirming flesh
I sense delicate tendrils of permafrost
tensing and shrinking from all that is bearing down.
With tender consideration, a ghost-white mountain hare
snowshoes glancingly across my boots.
It is a throbbing heart bound in sinew and tendon –
my own heart beats warmer for this touch
till some alchemy condenses 21-carat bullion
from hare-paw traces to cold horizon:
Midas Light has returned with the dawn.