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.