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.