• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 04
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Studies on the Losses of Travellers

The forbidden mountains of far off lands
Attract their unfair share of explorers.
Leather and hobnailed hoofed feet
Signing their doesn't-matter-where signature
On tranquil paths trodden only before by goats.

Woman and man certainly weren't invited
So most mountains act carefully discourteously
An avalanche here, a sudden drop in temperature
Or a far too inviting ice bridge
That doesn't owe the world a thing
least of all it's patience.

But this subtle shaking of people from their shoulders
Carefully negotiating the etiquette of natural disasters
and not wanting to seem to formal
Is rarely enough to deter the hardiest of explorers

Those with oak aged skin
and lemon sharp wrinkles
Weathered eyes in storm sockets
Those who calluses have calluses
and whose callused calluses are working on calluses of their own

These explorers get everywhere.
Like an embarrassing infestation
The mountains don't like to talk about them.
And so they suffer in silence
and blush the sunset pink of the afternoon
as they are traversed

Peaks conquered without consent.


Studies on the Losses of Travellers

The Porcelain Mountains of Axbesh
are another matter entirely.

They don't have the cruel trident peaks of the Rockies
Or the glacial insouciance of slippery slopes
that the Himalayas fights off explorers with.
They don't even have the benefit of the
unwelcoming locals of the Lake Districts.

Instead they shrubbery themselves in flora
Cultivating green growth in crevices and crevasses
Dangle roots from buttresses
And dig seedlings deep into the scree

Over many years the strange glossy pathways
And ceramic boulders littering the slopes
have sung their chipped teacup song
and invited in the wildlife
That those other wilds forgot.

Every plant there is a wonder to the eye.
Spiked, slimed, sorted by shape and sharpness
Their implacable deadliness, outranked only by their strangeness
With see through leaves
and gelationous root systems
Thorns in pearlescent white
and oil spill stalks that quaver in the wind.


Studies on the Losses of Travellers

The Mountains of Axbesh pride themselves
on their horrendous, hideous garden.
But every greenhouse be it 10000 feet vertical
or at the bottom of a neighbour's yard
Must always have one prize plant
That stands head and shoulders about the rest

The Wandering Purple Mushroom of Goolur is just such a specimen
standing anywhere from five foot to right beside you when you hadn't been looking
The Wandering Purple Mushroom of Goolur is a dangerous
omnivorous, predatory and voracious, cannibalistic, animalistic, human eating, mystifying, quite outrageous, very hungry Fungus!

If you see it from afar
waving it's hand like hyphae
You'd be forgiven for a thinking
it's another lost and lonely traveller
Looking for the path

But if you cross it you can be sure
that the Porcelain mountains of Axbesh
and the people eating always wandering,
always hungering Purple Mushroom of Goolur
Are just eyeing you up for the next meal.