In my lens the lone street cants and drops
beyond perspective’s edge. In the distance a loaf of brown
straddles roofs against a cobalt sky, all there is to this town
of backpacks, yak butter and tourist shops.
Yet, take the colour away, the plastic hues
of mountain wind wear which white men bring, or even those
the locals flaunt brought from Lhasa, Shigatse or God knows
where: coral, jade and lapis lazuli blues –
and a mezzotint or woodcut stills this frame.
Through the viewfinder, and the sepia of two centuries
nothing seems changed in this anachronistic freeze:
the ancient thoroughfare slants just the same,
that distant hill not a curve out of true,
weather and years notwithstanding. The sun beats on slate
or stone, little more than caravan rests for the long wait
when passes froze and the winds blew.
But time dissolves in a dreamer’s sighs.
Through cars and army jeeps my driver threads his way
to where I am, lost in this windswept town of another day,
seeing it through mad Moorcroft’s eyes.