The rock is adamantine Grampian grey, curved and coloured
like animal hide. We’re fleas scaling the beast’s flank,
hauling our body-sacks of dead weight. Climbing, clinging,
clambering—eyes always on the vertical, stubbornly insisting
against the downward pull of death. For now the rock
tolerates, but just a twitch would fling us to the stony floor.
Lichens stain the rock in faded greens, pale pinks and blues—
a pastel patina. Tiny-filigreed petals unfurl into papery rosettes.
Like emerald mosses, tenacious in adversity, asking little.
Even in a hard place, fertility is various and kind.
The heavy, obdurate nature of stone is impossible to refute,
its finality of placement—here on the ground, hunkered
down for millennia. But movement is rumoured all around.
Clefts and pleats where rock was riven, then folded
concertina fashion. Cliffs plunge, rear. Sandstone boulders
scooped and scoured by winds, eons of weather.
Rockfaces are shirred, smocked by seamstress time.
Metamorphosis is the secret the rocks hold.
Once rock was fluid, pliable—perhaps there is hope for us all.