ICELAND PIECES

I

headlights on the return from Vik
snow settles in the fields
swirls like critters
skittering across the road
wind picks up a cloud
of snow windscreen whiteout
we hurtle into a void
we hope

II

climbing the python road
alternatively crunchy with ice
or slick with mud
past the scar where scree
from glacier melt
scoured the best farmland
up the incline of the volcano
not seen but sensed
before we retreat

III

driving past lava fields
nothing moves
rocks cleaved like skulls
from the sagas
Thingvellir replicated

IV

this mornings still warm toast
tossed to the honk and stink of ducks and geese
confined to that small corner
of Tjornin* heated ice free
our daughters delight
turned nocturnal as we await the light
midwinter morning

*The Pond ( in central Reykjavik )

LECH VARIATIONS

I

a carapace of ice welded to the rock
the perfect exoskeleton

a rock stranded in the snow driven alpine river
the point of constancy in this tumult

the ice turtle holds limpetlike
against the flow

until sun strike melts the ice
restoring stepping stones by which to cross

II

my daughter and I
stranded on the bank
of this snow driven river
waiting to cross

ice carapaces welded to the stones
make crossing impossible
challenging points of constancy
in this portentous flow

ice turtles hold limpetlike
interrupting the surface
as sunstrike melts the ice
restoring steps by which we cross

III

if you wait long enough
that ice turtle stranded on the stone
in the fast flowing alpine river
becomes a salmon urging upstream to spawn
when the sun hits

TAFFY AT KANGALOON

for Mimi

at 37 your Welsh pony was old when you got her
by size and temperament perfect for you at 8
more age than choice on her part

you find her down in the paddock before school
your day starts early with the chores
feeding the horses chaff and hay checking water and untangling stays

the vet attends explains she is not getting back up
I can give her something to ease her way
what we all may need one day
send your daughter to say goodbye
it’s important for her but which
his wisdom escaped me at the time

you approach that shadow in the mist
heat rises from her flanks streaked with red mud
her smell with you as you cradle her head in your arms

tears and the grunt of the backhoe
in the corner of the paddock she made her own
a mound in the mist slowly subsiding
you grow up quite a bit that day

MAGNOLIA FIGO

my plausible belief
your name derives from
the port wine stain
on your crystalline flowers

but when I see
the wine glass shape of your corolla
I doubt
perhaps the container not the contents

then after morning rain
downed your candied petals
and the sun finished its job
that smell of fermentation

intoxicates my senses
from bud to burst to bust
the mobius of faith and doubt
that makes you whole