He who learns must suffer, and, even in our sleep, pain that we cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God. - Aeschylus

Sunday, January 10, 2016


In honor of the winter chill, a poem from years ago when my heart was on fire.


I still remember the first time
I saw an iceberg.  I was sitting
In the front of a kayak full of furs,
Inuit hunters tilling the ice behind.
In the floe-covered water stood a wonder.
Ice, cold and clean, beautiful broken lines
In the still thin air that burned at my hide.
Inuit hunters felt the awe that pelted my mind,
Informed me that the true treasure lay in the deep.
In that moment the kayak overturned on a hidden floe,
Instantly throwing me into the waters that froze,
Interred me in what would become a grave so that cold
Inclinations might die with me as I beheld the depth and breadth
In my eyes.  Ice, cold and clean, slept beneath the surface, and
I knew that what lay underneath the still waters was more than
I could hold in my mind, knew that I would remain stilled by death.
I hoped for life, asked for still another opportunity to exist for a while
In the orbit of the cold and clean, beautiful broken lines that held my love.

Iceberg 10 2001 07 23.jpg
"Iceberg 10 2001 07 23" by Ansgar Walk - photo taken by Ansgar Walk. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

Note: Originally posted here in 2008, though it was written earlier.  This is a shape poem, intended to evoke the ragged edges of an iceberg as viewed in a profile shot, which contains multiple interlacing rhyme schemes in the various forms of beginning rhyme, internal rhyme, and end rhyme.  These rhyme schemes often also seem jagged and unstructured, an attempt to depict the shape of an iceberg with both shape and lyrical structure.

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