I’m an arctic ghost, now figure,
now ground, a shiver
on the white horizon;
a fierce and cunning mother,
I bear bone-aching cold,
a tenth of my life each gestation;
teach my young by secret visits
to found their form snug as skin:
each tastes my elixir for five minutes
before I freeze again with the sun.
Yes, I am white as the foot of the Virgin,
eyes set on heaven,
my children, melancholy,
drink my songs in darkness.
But I have two faces, two dances to wrong-foot
the gods. I scurry, a shadow, carrying wild grasses
to those they would see die.
Published in: Forty Years of Pennine Poets: Mind and Body by K. E. Smith, (ed. Pauline Kirk) Fighting Cock Press, 2006; and Aesthetica: A Review of Contemporary Artists, March 2005.