Look Out Below…


Strange to think a single rose-pink snowflake

floating from the frigid polar sky could have been

the start. Settling on the silent ice as softly as a sigh,

pressing on the white-capped scarp just hard

enough to send a tickle of a tremor

through its gateau-like layers of rock

it shocked the sleeping stones awake,

setting them shivering and quivering just enough

to shake loose a crust of ochre-dusted snow

and send it tumbling to the world below,

blossoming into powder puffs as it scuffed

each ledge and boulder on the way,

spraying veils of flour-fine ice into the

vacuum-thin air before crumping

into the polar plain and billowing away

from the high cliff’s crumbling base…


Imagine walking in the Great Wall shadow

of that scarp; delighting in the flint-sharp polar light,

rejoicing in the silence, relishing the peace

when suddenly the ground beneath your feet

begins to quake, and looking up

you see snow flaking off the cliff. Soon rocks and grit

a thousand shades of pink and red

are falling from the sky – a dry waterfall

of icing sugar frost and pollen-fine dust,

rushing through the air to strike the ground

without a sound in a martian mare’s tail cloud

of tan and titian fines that huffs and puffs

towards you, a slow-motion Barsoomian tsunami

as weak as the beating of a faerie’s wing…

Such sights our eyes will never see,

and I cannot help but envy those who, in the future, do.


© Stuart Atkinson 2008

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