A crystalline awakening on the plateau, the crisp air
as brittle as new celery snaps with expectancy. The
cold clings like a blanket mantled across the rigid
landscape, muting stark shapes in antiseptic folds
of thick white hoar frost, absorbing sound, encircling
sleep, cogent in the early, puny light.
Beds of icicles protrude from tussock bare patches,
needle pointed lances thrusting skyward as if some
new sprung lawn, awaiting the crushing blows of
booted feet, soon to wilt in the onslaught of day.
The moment is timeless,
the air still and taut – tensed,
awaiting the chorus of dawn.
Awake in a lunatic instant, senses startled, wary, poised
to flee, tendrils of sleep cold-douched from every wincing
body recess, cocoon of comforting warmth collapsing in
the biting rudeness of this unwelcome intrusion.
Nerveless rituals of rising guide disinclined limbs, refine
the pressure ridges of sleep-autographed skin, brace up
to the dawn sky and strain at the brisk air, yawning
copiously as if to say –
"I wasn't really asleep, my eyes were only resting".
echoing from the mountain shouts the dawn,
manacled to the bugle call
demanding the day begin.
© 1972, I.D. Carswell