Items Carried Up Ben Nevis

by Helen Mort

Items Carried Up Ben Nevis

The piano, that was easiest, despite the keys

rattling like dice beneath the lid, so next

I strapped a toffee-coloured horse across my back,

ferried a coffin with the body still inside

pitching from left to right with every move.


I took a statue of Napoleon and set it

on the pony track – a kind of shrine –

and goaded later in the pub, I dragged

the whole place up with me, stopped

to pull a pint beneath the summit cairn.


By then, the town was a skeleton,

the mountain curtseying with weight,

which just left you: I draped your arms

around my neck. Light as you are,

I couldn’t take you with me. Not a step.