Mike Gower



 Our ancestors swung down from trees;

youth swings up cliffs of buildings.

Below, we sit, stand, shuffle,

surrender to grave gravity, gawp upwards.

They limb-lift, leap-lithe (walls their Jacob’s Ladder) -

they pull down space.

Their climbers’ clobber? Ropes, pitons, boots, helmets?

Tracksuit trousers, T-shirt, trainers!

Life distilled to the vertical-now,

a sprinter’s dash, daring, graceful,

death a finger-grab-inch away.


Age says, “Unnecessary risk.”

Plod come the boots of bureaucrats,

police, told-you-sos, their uniform grey wisdom.

“Stop!” says their raised flat hand.

“Up!” says youth’s middle finger,

and up they’ll go. My fearful and thrilled heart

leaps with them.