Tuesday, March 8, 2016

an iceberg breaks before us!

Tasman Glacier

the Tasman glacier snakes down the valley 

Mt. Tasman

for tens of kilometers,
hundreds of meters tall,
though, like an iceberg,
most of it is below what we can see,
it’s a great frozen river of ice,
black on top from all the rocks it carries,
blue inside from the purity of the compacted ice,

as we motor to it in our tour boat,
we pause amidst large chunks of glacier
broken off by summer heat, icebergs,

suddenly, a crashing sound startles us,
and a great chunk of one ‘berg breaks off a 100 yards away,

pieces bobbing quickly, the mother ice slowly undulating,
our boat bobs up and down in the swells,
we pick up a small chunk of ice:
hard, heavy, and beautiful,
so cold it hurts the hands,

sadly, climate change rushes at the glacier,
and it is retreating quickly,
losing 150 meters this year along,

the snow that compacted into this ice
fell over 300 years ago,
about the time my ancestors first came to North America,
my genes and those ice crystals
share a past and an enchanted moment now.

by Henry H. Walker
March 3, ’16

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