Skydancing

by Lindsay Fursland

The sun forecasting across eastern regions
is on to the female marsh harrier
casting her with bronze so
it is almost forgotten that she died
before returning to its reed beds
with their fresh calligraphy from Chinese water deer.
Her mate, much lighter,
climbs and climbs to reach himself as a dot,
then bulleting his wings
and with each feather working
for the mechanics of love,
he streamlines to a state of grace,
double figuring Gs,
blacks out gold
to race the same sun that touches her.
She ignores him so that he can repeat
his devotions and know just how far he has come.
 
In the old Tibetan quarter
a man would climb a pole
that curved with a sense of perspective
to a platform the size of a small yak milk tea table,
there he would dance in a famously clear sky,
making himself at home,
sometimes using his arms to take the working weight from
           his feet,
putting his best one forward off the roof of the world,
body frothing and damp as the inside of a cloud
here as rare, as real as blue sheep.
He could see how small things really were
from this wafer of atmosphere,
so that all things needed to be praised,
the mountains and each person airing amber and turquoise
that had come to watch in their livery
the various moves he made towards a God.
He knows such practises are dangerous to discuss now.
There is more chance of dying from an open mouth
than falling from an opening in the sky.