National Poetry Day Message poem by Nicola Jackson
Keep the high combes fluted with flaked grey rock,
the empty places where the Steinadler soars,
where shattered scree chutes tumble into darkness
and turquoise glacier pools feed the torrents’ roar.
As ice rivers shrink, as veined and layered ice recedes
and moraine-lines peter into slurry on the valley floor,
they lock their doors to human visitation,
protect their isolation, their mythic silence, even more.
The hanging paths are ever higher; where once they led to glacier ice
the slabs withdraw their open walkways, ladders reaching
into empty space. Now the alpine choughs come wheeling,
spatter warm rocks with blue-black wings, then whirl away
to fill the voids with buoyant acrobatic flight.
They take their glorious adaptations with them: faithful pairings
to each cliff-face crevice, stick-lined nests cragged in the hungry air,
thriving white-blotched eggs they guard each night.
So the high bluffs are ever further from us humans,
the steeps are marmot-shrieked while soft winds sing;
stitched with ice-age flowers and sparkling mica.
Earth, take heart from all this new world brings.
© Nicola Jackson