Black Rock

Black Rock

In these last four years they have not changed

temporary lovers’ graffiti,

ragwort in a crack of soil

yet otherwise just the same

and on a timeless view.

But now the scramble up the lead-spoil moraine

is more calculated, breathless

to the heart-pounding rest on the lower rocks.

I try to find an easier gradient

on the sloping stones,

I wedge in crevasses, knees lock,

the ibex is gone.

At the top I drink in the view with rasping gulps,

rest longer,

contemplate each downward move.

I descend backwards those longer, deeper drops

between rocks,

hold to stone like life,

seek the aid of low, supple branches,

the reassurance of deeply rooted trees.

This climber aches differently.

Jeremy Duffield