The burn ran blacker for the snow
And ice-floe on ice-floe
Jangled in heavy lurches
Beneath the claret-coloured birches.
Dark grouse rose becking from the ground,
And deer turned sharp heads round,
The antlers on their brows
Like stunted trees with withered boughs.
I climbed to where the mountain sloped
And long wan bubbles groped
Under the ice’s cover,
A bridge that groaned as I crossed over.
I reached the mist, brighter than day,
That showed a specious way
By narrowing crumbling shelves,
Where rocks grew larger than themselves.
But when I saw the mountain’s spire
Looming through that damp fire,
I left it still unwon
And climbed down to the setting sun.