High on the pale white cliffs of Étretat
beyond the heavenly bridge
you walk the narrow paths, strung
like ropes from rock to rock:
you perch on the pinnacles, unaware 
of the emptiness beneath you,
reaching for the sky

I take pictures: secretly
I want to be out there, 
on the edge,
mystical, threadbare
in the game

but I cannot help looking down
and out: I see the abyss
I feel the urge to fly
like an angel

and my angelic ambition
prevents me reaching
the thin, high ground where you stand:
keeps me from touching God

You scramble across the gap:
a hawk hovers
pinned to sacred air
above the abyss
sun drifting along his easy wings

written 15 years ago after a visit to the magnificent cliffs of Étretat in France