Poem: Black Mountains

When you observe thunder or feel in your bones
the rumbling of terror and menace of stone,
try to think wisely; whatever you do
don’t look through the mist at what’s calling to you.

It echoes the silence and plays on your fear,
a figure, an absence, that stands and calls – here.
The dread that consumes you when you are alone;
black mountains where Terror has carved out his throne.

Under veil we are safe; fickle thoughts clot our head
but beyond, wasted cliffs weigh our hearts down instead.
Nameless unease manifests in the gloom
like a column of darkness in majesty’s tomb.

Obscurity heightens but cloaks terrors’ pall,
when weak try your best not to let this veil fall.
If foolishly given a foothold it would
try to fuel the immoral and hinder the good.


Author’s Notes

This week has been a pretty manic one, but I was glad to be able to get back to a bit of poetry for a bit. I was inspired by a photo that I took while on my sabbatical, as we visited Deception island aptly named as you THINK it’s just an island but is in fact the only active volcano in the world that you can sail into (I know, right?).

Here’s the full pic:

It was one of the quietest places I’ve ever been (a true absence of sound, stretching for miles), and had a unique look as the ‘mountains’ were blackened after its recent eruption in the 1960’s, burying everything including large whaling stations under thick black ash – but still snow-topped. The contradiction of these two colours made it feel more like an ink drawing than anything else.

If I hadn’t been there with a number of people, I think I would have been far more frightened, but even as it was, the landscape was barren and ominous and I started to think about its encroachment on the life that once existed there (though in actuality it is more like human intervention poaching the beautiful natural landscape). It felt wrong to be there – like it was a secret place. A cursed place, but still so beautiful that I couldn’t bear to sail away.

The poem was quick to write (simple rhyming couplets are quick to churn out) but it does all feel a little pretentious and child-like. Still, it was what I felt at the time, I like the imagery and no end of tweaking has been able to improve it, so I have flouted perfection and just put it out, as is.

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