Created: 5th June, 2019

Snow Leopard




Alliteration Rhythm


Years 5 and 6

                   ...not white like the snow


more moon-panther or silvery cloud-cat

with her ripple-patterns melting as (oh,


but she's beautiful) you stare

while valley mist whirls up and blows


between the boulders, or the sun breaks through

and all the edges are a smattering of shadows,


a glint on wet rock. Now she's still,

crouched. Now...sprung. There she goes


ledge to ledge , bound by bound,

as stones go rattling to the scree below


and wild goats scatter. She has one

marked. That one. (Play the chase scene slow


as films do, as if this might be for ever,

these last moments the poor prey will know.)


But it’s off, the scraggy old big-bottomed

tahr — stumbling, you’d think, falling — no,


think again, as with rubbery fantastic

poise it leaps (there is a half mile drop below)


and catches itself, teeters like a tightrope

clown… leaps, snatching inch-wide footholds


with clattery hooves, down — leaving leopard

stranded, panting, stumped. Why are we so


in love with beauty, with its claws and teeth,

as though this is its story, not our own


and the goat’s — that plucky comedy

played out through centuries


between the sheer drop and the killing snow?



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