I stand on tortured twisted rocks
Two and a quarter miles above
The surface of the sea they were born in.
A cloud of ice crystals blasts my burning face.
I’m alone but for a happy flock of Alpine choughs;
Black as treacle, glossy as liquorice
They wheel and loop through the thin air,
Swirling round my head to make me dizzy,
Plunging from cliffs to make my heart skip.
But one of them stands with me
Yellow beak pointing defiantly into the Firn,
The wind that begs and bullies him to fly.
He fights the upward impulse stubbornly,
Perching on the edge of the world,
An arm’s length away from me,
He walks to stay still, always blown backwards
Until finally he relents, and releases himself;
Just by stretching out his wings
He’s pulled heavenwards instantly,
Riding every fluke, soaring in wildness,
Letting go, he embraces his thrilling element.