The Ice Man

In fugutive silence
Under cover of darkness
in the witching hour
a flinty graffiti artist slopes along
Spiky cartoons, he draws, and leggy figures
The ice man

He scatters spicules of snow in geometric flecks
Catches time in mid tick like a stopwatch
Splinters the river into shattered fossils
ferns, feathers and fish bones
forms clocks of ice with crazy fissured angles
and cutting edge architecture –
a chaotic kitchen, gazing at the stars
open to the stars
complete with icicle cutlery,  he’s proud of his icicles

Magics up a looking glass world of ice and fire
castles and kaleidoscopes
immediate as an ice axe but old as Saturn
whose moon, Encephaladus, is rumoured
to harbour ice-covered oceans

We three follow soon after with the sun – in rarefied air
poking holes and slithering on the steps
crunch, click and snap
oh look – there’s a gap toothed kraken creeping up out of the pool under the bridge

If you taste it, it’s cold as electricity but rather gritty
Peter tests a frozen tarn and gets one wet foot
We sit on our raincoats in a friendly triangle
cooking up hot noodles and dividing an apple
Max’s tripod helps keep the billy warm

 

Words

They are hitchhikers and stowaways from our past
that happened to come along for the ride with us
Such treasure! Better than cathedrals
You can keep your Mona Lisa – words need no security system
Just keep using.

They are nuggets of humanness
So irrepressible – you try telling a word to shut up –
Each is the perfect crystallisation of an idea:

 ambivalence     tantamount      taonga
quizzical      dank

They form around the germ of a notion:

disconcerting     chirrup      warp
Antarctica      tundra     whiff

Or a feeling:

huddle     grit      umbrage      quail
ardent     tendentious     outrage    bruise

What a gift for us all:

kerfuffle     crumple    musafir   nostril    consummate    merry

Some get lost along the way –

Did you know that a ream used to mean the ripple made by the nose of a swimming otter?
That dimmity once meant twilight?
Or that a shippen was a shelter for cattle left open on one side?

Drop them one at a time into some pond into your mind
let them ripple out in welling concentricities
Where did they come from?
How did this
Come to express exactly that
So beautifully?