Master Mountain, Denali, Alaska

Master mountain sighs his enormity
weeps in small gullies at the weight he holds,
despairs of immensity, too big to hold himself
mountain shifts, avalanche of granite and schist
slate sliding down to a clear glacial stream.
Yet he holds his head high, shoulders snowbound,
chest draped in tundra splendour
felt-leaf willow, orange splattered with reds
autumn cranberries, creeping greys,
at your feet the yellow aspen quake
and Master Mountain shimmers in gold.
In Autumn your peaks tear up the clouds
they fall lace-like, listlessly down your chest
a shawl covering the season’s demise.
Basalt and granite faults, cracks in your sides
reveal the hidden life within
moulded in muteness
Master Mountain, locked in your hugeness
so long ago the deafening eruption
now silenced, you dream of your final explosion.

Savage River, Denali Park, Alaska


Scrabbling for the last of the blueberries
bearberries, crowberries, crab-apple –
anything left of the dying autumn
to stock up your more than mountainous frame
copper sheen in a slanting sun
soon ready to curl up in a
bomb of a ball in a den.
But the berries now shriveled slip through your claws
into the brown of your wintry fur
you comb your way in, thrust in your nose
it’s in there somewhere your berry
between hair and more hair in the crook of your arm.
How did it get there?
You slope off with a huff on the heels of your paws
hungry, hungry the king of the mountain
trumped by a berry.



Feature picture by Heather Cuthill on Flickr


Jaeger Bird, Barrow, Alaska

He flies in ribbons like my hair undone
loosely in this arctic breeze
like a kite in the wind his long tail trailing
above melting icefloe, along costal freeze
alert eye searching to feather his nest
he swoops down, snatches my hair
off in a rush with his prize secure
and I rejoice that he ever dared
for my locks will be part of a new birth
here by the Chukchi Sea.


On the icefloe in Barrow, Alaska, by the Chukchi Sea. Photo : UNICEF/Vlad Sokhin. Source:



Cranes, Cook Inlet, Alaska

Like a queen’s downy bed fluffed up for the loving
featherlace wings drifting aloft
they glide with the wind
two graceful lovers sweep over Cook Inlet
calling to the snowbound range.
It echoes back beckoning
they sway over scree
brittle legged, stagger on stone
fold their wings trusting

Loon (on Lake Denise, Soldotna, Alaska)

It’s the call over still water
echoing round the bay of my mind
some yearning, undefined

A loon owns this lake
at dusk and at dawn reminding us
of things unresolved.

We row out to find him
smooth grey feathers impervious to rain.
King of the underworld he dives

muted, elusive.
for how long will he haunt us
unseen, unexplained?

He resurfaces, the water rolls off him
like a world one forgets
but we cannot.

He swims head high
but what does he keep fettered
under those black and white prison-bar wings?