Reindeer Moss on Granite by Margaret Atwood
This is a tiny language,
smaller than Gallic;
when you have your boots on
you scarcely see it.
A dry scorched dialect
with many words for holding on,
and with grey branches
like an old tree’s, brittle and leafless.
In the rain they go leathery,
then sly, like rubber.
They send up their little mouths
on stems, red-lipped and round,
each one pronouncing the same syllable,
o, o, o, like the dumbfounded
eyes of minnows.
Thousands of spores, of rumours
infiltrating the fissures,
moving unnoticed into
the ponderous is of the boulder,
breaking down rock.