Poem introduction

My first Himalayan expedition, precipitated by Mal Duff not grasping the metaphorical nature of poetry, and thinking I actually could climb, was to the Mustagh Tower. Like war, or shooting a film, a lot of Himalayan climbing involves sitting around waiting. I loved those days when the weather was too bad higher in the mountain to climb that day.

Interlude on Mustagh Tower

Interlude on Mustagh Tower

In these high places we are melting out
of all that made us rigid; our ice-screws
hang loose on the fixed ropes to the Col.
Monday in the Himalaya, the clouds are down,
our objective is somewhere, but obscured -
let it soar without us for a day!
We lounge in thermals on the glacier,
brewing and 'shooting the breeze', that improbable
project of conversation among the living.
Laughter rings across the ice. Why not?
None of us will die today - that's immortality
you can draw on in a cigarette,
harsh and sweet, the way we like it.
Steam rises from the billy, Sandy pours.
It is true high, worked for, that we pass
hand to hand between us with our brews.
Men on ice, going nowhere and laughing
at everything we cannot see but know
is there - among the cloud, on the Col,
a hand of some sort is tightening our screws.


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Recordings

Andrew Greig

Andrew Greig Downloads

2In the Tool Shed

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8Interlude on Mustagh Tower

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15Norman's Goodnight

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16Orkney/This Life

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1A Man is Driving

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3The Maid and I from "A Flame in Your Heart

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4Shaken Awake

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5Visiting Tim

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6Say It Straight

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7Back Again

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9Entering Askole

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10Shetland

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11Still "from "Western Swing"

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12Prologue

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13An Intermission

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14Sister/Into the Drylands

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17Edinburgh Encounter

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18Married Love

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19A Long Shot

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20Stronsay

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21The Natural Order

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22This Pilgrimage

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23The Tidal Pools of Fife

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24The Loch of the Green Corrie

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25Tom Ban Mhor

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26A Signing Off

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