by Peter Dunne
The sheep keep their horns up here,
Unlikely cattle graze the crevices.
Every cloud is a mouth in the rock,
Ravening caverns crab across the face,
Searching out souls; swallowing a herd
Of black cattle, an acre of stone:
Finding no sustenance, disgorge them.
They reach for heaven, these heights; they speak of hell.
Fire licks at the gates, and they are wax,
Drip feeding the inferno's cold flame.
A stark ascetic place, a dark acidic place,
A bitter, barren place, yet men build fences here.
The ancients scratched the surface for tin,
Mad hermits glowered at valleys of sin,
And they built their fences. Heaven and hell
Played mischief in their hearts
While earth laughed at her captives.
Gabriel grumbles on ascent. Crossing the top of his
Great turtle back he drenches me with
Spluttering guffaws, throws me an incongruous
View. Out of dark lowering, eons of days and nights
Battle and dance on valley and sea. It sucks at my breath
And earth implodes in my breast.
Too much to know, to see, to bear.
I glide down to the valley, landing among
The stone walls and hedges of familiar fields
And my exhilaration is without bounds.