Iceland (Day 2)

It’s not the rock, not only the rock,

Not the mountains,

Not the water, the ice, the underlying fire,

Not even the sky,

But that here creation is destruction is happening

And on a human scale.


Under it all lies Loki, barely contained,

Under a volcano under an ice-cap

Under pressure

Between the continental plates

Which he pushes apart one slow centimetre a year,

Straining in his bonds.


The ground steams.

There are hot springs and warm springs

Sand so hot it can bake bread

And (like something Walter Jon Williams or Max Gladstone would come up with)

They are using the bound god to generate electricity.

Of course they are.


It looks so peaceful, knee deep in flowers

Sprinkled with ponies, dotted with sheep,

Not a majestic landscape, pastoral,

Lakes with islands, elf-mounds, waterfalls,

Gullies, crevasses, split rocks

Like dwarf doors, buttercups.


But every ten minutes a hot pool boils

Bubbles, swells, wells up like a great jellyfish,

And bursts out, gushing up, up, up

A great plume of water and steam

Better out than in,

Drenching the tourists.


And in a land that measures time

Between eruptions, everyone knows,

Any moment any mountain

Can suddenly do the same,

Cough up hot rock

To set in swirls like pancake batter.


Loki is restless down under this landscape,

Under crushing squeezing weight

Under compulsion, under force,

Under pressure, creation is destruction

Is happening: rock bursts, mountains burst,

Water, ice, fire, even the sky.


6th August 2018, Reykjavik