“Now there is nothing in this world I abominate worse, than to be interrupted in a story…”
― The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
This has been a crazy year for me. From self-publishing my memoir to travel – which was good – and health issues – which fortunately were more annoying than horrific – I got off the track of blogging and posting. Not good for book sales.
So now I’m back. Inspired by Iceland, I wrote a poem. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever attempted this, so keep this in mind as you’re reading it.
Can you guess – or do you know – what the image is?
Land of Fire and Ice
Vast expanses of wilderness.
People cling tenaciously to the coastlines.
No one dares live in the interior.
Unending lava fields.
Softened by lichens and moss, they have a solid underpinning,
except for treacherous holes that trap the unwary.
This is not our home world.
Lava formations, grotesque in their beauty.
Fields of freshly-cut hay, wrapped in colors of green,
pink, and white,
ready to be stored for winter.
Horses, dairy cows, chickens, and sheep.
Sheep everywhere. More sheep than people.
All are allowed to roam free.
Until fall, when they must come home.
For slaughter or simply to be sheltered from the elements.
Beyond the lava fields and the farms, vast expanses of
with geysirs, mud pots, and boiling cauldrons in the earth
waiting to cook the unwary.
Smelly and dangerous, but ever so useful.
For heating homes and producing electricity. Clean and economical. Power for all.
Hydrothermal lón (lagoons), like the famous Blue
filled with minerals, provide respite from life’s aches and pains.
Volcanoes erupt on a regular basis, sometimesdisrupting air traffic,
making life difficult for anyone in their paths.
Those affected escape for a while, go back,
remove six feet of ash, and return to their lives.
Hecla is the next likely to blow, spewing ash and
creating new lava fields
which will cool and await the arrival of lichens and moss to soften their jagged outlines.
Snjór (snow) fields and jöklar (glaciers) dominate all year on the mountains.
They produce spectacular fosses (waterfalls) that take your breath away.
The water in these too is harnessed for power. Clean power captured from nature.
People who live here are descended from Vikings.
Tough, resilient, ready to take on any challenge.
Environmentally-conscious, they care deeply for their land.
Beliefs are designed to keep their children from wandering off and keep them safe.
There are tales of huldufólk (fairies), who live in
Highways are still rerouted to avoid disturbing them.
If they are bothered, bad things happen.
Trolls come out only at night. If they stay out in the
sunrise, they turn to stone.
It’s easy to spot those who were foolish enough to do that.
Stories are told of people who drown their children in
to spare them hardships they can’t endure.
These are turned into lullabies.
Food is simple but delicious. Fiskur (fish) like
Arctic Char is a mainstay.
What can’t be eaten immediately is dried – Hardfiskur, tough fish jerky.
Lamb is sublime. Mild-flavored, tender, juicy. Cooked in every way imaginable.
There are the “tourist foods” like puffin, minke
whale, horsemeat, and fermented shark.
They must be tried. Minke whale is the best.
But engenders guilt over eating a cousin.
Dairy products abound. Skyre, a cheese that’s like Greek yogurt, delicious ice cream.
Baked goods are amazing. Donuts the size of a man’s hand, rye bread bursting with grains, cinnamon rolls that likely add pounds.
A sound rudely interrupts my reverie.
A lawn mower.
I want to go back.