Snow Leopard
Guardian of the High Mountains

Artwork & Poetry Contest

POETRY FINALISTS

 Adult 18 & Over

Guardian of the Heights

by Kathi Lehman

Guardian of the heights!
I feel your eyes upon me
As I stray from habited elevation
(Struggling meekly with acclimation) –
Please grant to me the passage rites
That I may see you in your habitation!

Spirit that dwells on eminent peaks!
I confess an affable kinship
For I, too, flourish in solitude –
And when gladly away from the multitude –
I find a wisdom that only speaks
At just such grandiose altitude!

Creature of mythic beauty!
Of noble face and piercing eyes –
Could you be from ether wrought?
From Shangri-La, snared and caught, –
Magically bound to a mammal disguise,
And to our sphere unfairly brought?

Predator ghost of highland mists!
Sovereign of the empyreal hunt!
Waiting unseen ‘gainst craggy steep
In perfect stillness, – then the leap!,
Bearing down with lethal brunt,
Upon an unsuspecting sheep!

Gatekeeper of the nebular realm!
Where the air, though thin, is laden
With an eerie silence o’er ridge and gap –
A blanket as thick as the snow on the cap
‘Til the silence is broken by a call to a maiden
Awakening her from her languorous nap

O tale as old as the mountains!
Ancient, intrinsic design!
A plea for a lover, a yearning, an urge –
To break from seclusion and willfully converge
In answer to nature’s call divine! –
He watches the maiden shyly emerge

O to be born among the clouds!
To draw breath at the summit!
The threshold between land and sky –
To grow and learn and one day die
And leave the land, but rising from it,
Land and sky unify!

The Velvet Queen

by Emma Lee

He thought it was just a photo of a bird on an outcrop.
It was months before he noticed a grey patch, an error?
A smudge on the lens? It was the same color
as the perch, but different texture, fur rather than rock.
Rounded ears, rosette markings, steady eyes
that lacked fear, that knew him not to be a threat,
but worthy of study in case he disrupted the natural order.
He’d known she could be there: had seen footprints,
scat, a kill, set camera traps to catch a mountain ghost
who’d remained a spirit. Her wide pads silencing
her steps, her tail a balance, preventing a skitter of stones
which might have given her away. He suspected he
was watched, but never knew how close this guardian
had got until, months later, he studied a printout of a photo
and she was watching him looking but not seeing her.

Before the Snow Sleeps

by Sarah Mills

If we had eyes of glacial green
Would we see the shifts they’ve seen?
The avalanche of man’s caprice
That goes in search of fur and fleece?

Would we blend as well as they
With bold rosettes of black and grey?
Or would our pelage of smoke and tar
Be the colors that clash and jar?

Would we keep balance on the steep incline
Humbly guarding the realms divine?
Or would our tales not hold our weight
On the pyramids and walls so great?

Would our beauty be hard to ignore
Like the snow that has no roar?
Or would we gaze in river and sea
Until drought puts paid to vanity?
And all we have are mirrors of glass
Where our reflection cannot pass,
Where only the ghost will look back and say
“You did not choose to walk my way.”

Precious Guardians

by Sandra McEwen

Up high they live and sleep
but roam lower, padding silently,
wending their ways smoothly
through snowy, rocky crags.

Invisible snow leopards
creep ever closer through mists
as prey graze oblivious
to their hidden, deadly stealth.

They bring balance to all around them
as they live and breathe the mountains,
precious guardians
of their most majestic homes.

Revered by many and hunted by some
snow leopards’ presence now commands respect
from those who share the grand valleys too.

They evoke feelings of awe and mystery
such beauty, such strength,
and inspire hearts to protect them
as they too are protectors.

Chasing Forever

by Grisselle Chock

As the evening falls upon the cliffs,
the “ghost of the mountain” awakens.
Snowflakes glistening in the wind,
like their keen eyes, shine in amazement!

Slowly approaching, the chase begins…
Ready to leap, any moment!
Jumping and running with lightning speed,
trying to outsmart their opponent.

Crisscrossing the way with every step,
smartly mapping the mountain with hunger!
Learning the placement of every ledge,
jumping right, left, over and under.

They always roam above the clouds,
where not many humans would dare.
A lonely place where survival shrouds
a mad game of life or death.

Let’s give them room
to raise their young!
Let’s heal our home-planet together!
We can all learn to get along,
preserving Earth’s treasures… forever!

Editing the Poem

by Emma Lee

Snow conceals the landscape in a new page.
Antelope trot in a poetic line along a ridge.
As his breath-fog clears, a yak stands bullish as a period.
He snorts the air into shape, punctuates the ground.
A falcon, riding a thermal, provides an apostrophe.
Hares bounce into commas.
Before the sun bleaches the poem, an editor reads.
Snow-balancing pads fail to disturb the surface, but a red pen’s precision,
the flick of an erasing tail, make words flow into breathtaking formation.

Fierce Guardian

by Terry Pfister

Fierce guardian
panting under star-iced skies
paws padding along
the steep sharp shoulders of ancient rock,
Lord of this hostile kingdom
where prey is fleet and fearful,
Solitary hunter resting on secret ledges
under the stars
so vulnerable and so close to the heavens,
Dreaming as the soft velvet bullet that you are
shot hard and fast into the timeless river of blood and bone,
Sleeping, heart beating
to the whisper and wail of the mountain winds.

Snow Leopard Guardian

by Sierra Laney

Snow Leopard guarding
Looking down the mountainside
Watching over us.

Youth 12-17

Weave Your Dreams – Azure, the Snow Leopard

by Kuhu Kacher

Weave your dreams of
melodious tuning
Suddenly a strike of thunder
And everything vanishes

Though memories are preserved
In a vault of treasure

Still sunshine is so bright
Catching thy eye-sights
Azure the snow leopard
an abstract canvas

Thy love may disappear
The memories are still alive
Peeping as flash fiction
Reminiscing is the only option

That time is so lovely
It feels as eternity

All is nothing but imagination
Snow-flakes are dancing
on Azure in slow motion

Pairings – Adult 18 & Over

Poetry & Artwork

Melting Spirit

by Grisselle Chock

Poem with Ink and Watercolors

Journey of the Snow Leopard

by Kitty Harvill

Haiku with Watercolors

Pairing – Youth 12-17

Poetry & Artwork

Dawn in the Mountains

by Margarita Khrustaleva

Poem with Digital Artwork

Reproduction of art and literary works appearing on this website is permitted for educational purposes. Reproductions should be credited appropriately to the various authors and/or artists.

For reproduction of art and/or literary works appearing on this website for any other purpose than educational, please contact the Snow Leopard Conservancy at shavaun@snowleopardconservancy.org or info@snowleopardconservancy.org in order that we might obtain special permission from the individual authors and/or artists.

Artwork Finalists