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Welcome to the Dark Sky Park Zone

Dark Sky Park
Amblyosyllis formosa from the National Museum of Wales
Tardigrade from Dark Sky Park, drawn by Jesse Hodgson
	 spoon worms  scale worms
which-end's-the-head-or-tail worms 
     shovelheads and paddles 
worms with fibre-optic frills 
     deep-sea-bed worms     
Rasta-headed dread-worms 
     sulphur salt and ice worms
who almost nothing kills...
	 kind worms, blind worms
whom no one has seen or could love
how do you work, so dark, so cold
        	a mile below 
as delicate as seamstress fingers, to unpick 
	the knots of bone?

... swaying like a pale bouquet of petals, 
	the worm-flowers grow.
Amphitritides gracilis from the National Museum of Wales


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Read or hear a sample

Click here to see questions people have asked Philip, and his answers

Ask Philip a question of your own

For teachers, suggest a visit with workshop to your group or school

Meet the illustrator — Jesse Hodgson... and look at her other work.

Go to the publisher — Otter-Barry Books

Go to the National Museum of Wales

Snow Leopard

              ... not white like the snow, 

more moon-panther or silvery cloud-cat 
with her ripple-patterns melting as (oh, 
Snow leopard, drawn by Jess Hodgson for Philip Gross
but she's beautiful) you stare 
while valley mist whirls up and blows

between the boulders, or the sun breaks through 
and all the edges are a smattering of shadows, 

a glint on wet rock. Now she's still, 
crouched. Now... sprung. There she goes 

ledge to ledge, bound by bound, 
as stones go rattling to the scree below 

and wild goats scatter. She has one 
marked. That one. (Play the chase scene slow 

as films do, as if this might be for ever,
these last moments the poor prey will know.)

But it's off, the scraggy old big-bottomed 
tahr — stumbling, you'd think, falling — no, 

think again, as with rubbery fantastic 
poise it leaps (there is a half mile drop below)

and catches itself, teeters like a tightrope
clown... leaps, snatching inch-wide footholds 

with clattery hooves, down — leaving leopard 
stranded, panting, stumped. Why are we so 

in love with beauty, with its claws and teeth,
as though this is its story, not our own 

and the goat's — that plucky comedy 
played out through centuries

between the sheer drop and the killing snow? 

From Dark Sky Park (Otter-Barry Books, 2018)