Poem: Old 5.10s

Old 5.10

Old 5.10

To climb in my place was what he was after
And he climbs with graceful strenuous motion
Pink 5.10s steady, surging on as an ocean.
 
I sit back, sweating, and watch a grand master.
Later, he stops, sits, and falls with no grace
A gaping hole of terror swallows his face.
 
His skin, pale papyrus, kills all the laughter.
I remember first aid as he creaks and concaves –
“It’s not this” I think among the curious and dazed.
 
I sit back, in English my thoughts no reprieve,
And as his last ascent begins, I leave.

Submitted by Samuel Jones after witnessing a death at a climbing wall in Florence, March 2014.
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