Issue 94, Winter 1984
Within the body cells
each nucleus rotates widdershins
and mitochondria hustle round and round.
All things move, even the continents and Polaris,
those epitomes of stability.
Sun and gravity
push and pull.
Moisture seeps, and night-frost splits.
Glaciers rub a sandpaper of boulders
down U-shaped valleys,
and tectonic uplift
in slow motion shatters the friable shelves of shale.
Carbon dioxide is washed from the air
or the roots of plants:
pries loose the glittering grip of Hint upon flint.
rapidly from the skin of stone but lingers within,
transforming granite into clay,
the resultant carbonic acid
the shore;spalling loose thin flakes like bark from a rotting tree.
At the cliffs base builds a slope of scree.
the waves in a Shakespearean tumult pummel with pebbles
At the ocean’s edge
gripped in the fingers of their froth
their millennial frenzy carves
the dizzying gills
and the stacks of stratified sediment
one sees from the cliffs at Caithness.