Sunday Poem

Shostakovich – 8th String Quartet, 1st movement

Slabs of grey rock    sliding to black
ledges and holds     ice       watch that
a wrong move     sometimes just by luck
and stupid confidence        on up the cleft
and swing over onto        brush the snow out
the way        beside your face snow crystals studding
the ice glazed rock          hardly noticeable
the dull glimmer of it
The air        a diffuse grey glow           below
a lace of snow fidgeting on the small frozen lake
down there      through this glittering space
a strange stillness            a pause in the search
through a maze     choices upwards       a slanting crack
a vertical line          move one after the other
up blocks of rock       off         how      the hand grips
and the shoulders heave          a castle of sorts
a prize of sorts
On my knees now       staring in disbelief
a snow flurry over a horizon of black spikes
an empty untouched snow-field ahead      steeply slanting
pitched off into air

by Lee Harwood
from Poetry Wales Vol 29 No 1 (March 1993)

On the 8th String Quartet