Ballast

“…and to know that everything around and underneath had been
from prehistoric times as unaltered as…” —Thomas Hardy

Row of boulders at the glacier’s edge
‘Darwin turns his horse inland’
as I was counting the 580th step

Red, bare, too steep for snow
the presence of, say, a cataract notwithstanding

Boot-leather, lichen, elk scat
and ‘that most heart-exciting of earthly things’
a broken lace

Kataskapos: the looker down
‘Discovered a shattered vertebra
in a small piece of chalk’

Spirit gallops into miles of space
‘We hold the reins / at the river bank’

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