The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

The Death Zone

Craggy mountain edges fracture the moon's face,
But still it casts a blue wash over the ridge,
Bleeding into rock and snow and ice.
Ledges are full of shadows, heavy with mystery.
A wolf cry of wind slips between walls of a slim pass.

Tomorrow, they will reach the summit,
Despite the looseness of scree hidden by snow,
And the avalanche of altitude nausea.
They will photograph their peak of success,
Ignore the scarcity of oxygen for one more second.

But now they will simply watch the wind circle
Around the camp, spinning snow dust,
Coating canvas with mountain breath.
Stars speckle night's ocean, as dreamers dream
In tents pitched just below their ambition.

Note: The area between Camp 4 and the last climb up Mt Everest, is called the 'Death Zone', because many people have died because they couldn't breathe properly.

About the Writer

Coral Rumble

Coral won the Caterpillar Poetry Prize in 2018 and has worked as a poet and performer for many years. She has featured on CBeebies and her work is included in 'Favourite Poets' (Hodder). She has four poetry collections published and has also contributed to more than 160 anthologies for children.