Everything went wintry. You skated out
hunched and tentative – your fading skill
recognising limits. Each scrape of fate
came smaller, and we watched you skirl
until you were out of reach of sight or ear,
free and final as a well-phrased thought.
I clutched at the verdict of your skates:
their scratches tiny as voles, and your figure
a silhouette almost lost to weight.
I feared the contents of those mountain-trees
before death shuffled behind me in the leaves.
Out of shadow now, the unearthly call:
a demon swooping in sheets of night-breeze,
bent on giving terror its absolute and all,
while I recalled the judgements you had wrought.
For a moment you were moon-held, toiling away
from red claws which aimed to claim your day –
into the un-life of mountain-shadow.
I heard nothing; saw no sign of you.
I could only hope that if you’d been skating here,
you must have found viable ice out there.
Christopher Jackson is a journalist and poet whose books include the poetry collection The Gallery, The Fragile Democracy, and the leading biography of Theresa May. He appears regularly on television and radio for Sky, Bloomberg, LBC, and on BBC Radio 4. As a journalist his work has appeared in The New Statesman, City AM, The Times, and Country Life.