Thinning ice

by Josiah Mortimer

It’s snowing in the Sahara.

I saw the pictures –
of white-capped dunes
beside camel and cactus,
the white on orange
of Martian blizzard

the extraordinary is becoming so familiar
as to stare unphased
at newspapers’ wry words
of white Christmasses in North Africa
and wet winters on English plains

And the cherry blossoms are out –
you tread on half-decaying offerings
unlikely gifts from misled trees,
out of sync with something.
They are ‘on the change’
Living in the wrong time

And in December, I see ladybirds
             dazed, or oblivious, I’m not sure
They are friends dropping in without warning
Pleasant. Unsettling.

And I read today
of bumper crops
for daffodil growers
who can’t believe their luck

While on the next page
the riverbanks breaking
is barely news – it’s every year now

And the park ponds are unfrozen –
It troubles me
to be amused
by ducks swimming freely

I see signs, hints everywhere
that God is spinning
us faster than before –
            the core at one speed
            the sky and seasons at another
And we are landing, dizzied

Or, these are His sympathy cards.
Prognostications of the coming fall
             snow in the Sahara,
             blossom and ladybirds,
             and a brighter light

For every January tulip
                  there is the flood
And for the autumn straggler –
               daisies taking their chances in the absence of frost
There is the hurricane, and the drought

We have been warned
             with winter hawthorn
             and suspicious harvests

of dark days ahead –
darker even
than December nights

where we stand upon
thinning ice