The mountain feels his aching spine
as pounding, hounding arctic howls
that wear away his proudly pines
disturb his crystal cowl.
And on his back, some parasite
sets pricks and pins in shoulder blade—
half-blinded by the icy bright,
makes weary jabs with spade.
At last, the mountain’s limbs convulse:
his veins bulge cordlike up through snow,
and seizing, shudders as a pulse
lets fall his polar cloak.
At first the wave of white, baptismal,
drowns the climbing speck atop
and flings it into depths abysmal—
but then it doesn’t stop.
The snow is now as holy fire,
swallowing the mountain’s back.
It digests every trench and spire,
a roiling cataract.
And now the naked mountain burns,
its forests bent with vicious pace;
the thing that cleared its spoiled stern
has wrecked its lovely face.