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