…and the Ice Melts



If you look with the mind of mother earth, in this place called Alaska, you become the earth.

Great calving sheets of ice seen from the haven of a cruise ship. We roar in excitement as you roar in pain. Losing part of yourself to the sea.

My boots trek through forest, stumble on tree roots, your uprooted veins. In the midst of rocky debris, at the toe of Laughton Glacier, a new sound. The relentless trickle of water into a glacial stream. Tears unabated, you weep cold rivulets, slowly, through hundreds of generations.

And I see. And I hear. Like a jagged shard of ice thrust through my heart. I understand this insidious thing we blithely call global warming. And I am chilled to the bone.


A prose poem, in the style of Joy Harjo. 

Photos:  Top:  great slabs of ice shed from Mendenhall Glacier. Above left: standing on the “toe” of Laughton Glacier, after hiking 6.5 miles through Tsongas Forest and climbing through rocks on her debris field. This picture shows a gap — the “black cave” created by the ice melting…continuously dripping. The “rock” above the cave is the ice itself, narrowed from melting. It will eventually collapse into itself.  All that you see above the “cave” is ice with debris its carried in its forward path.  Right: the “ice field” our ship had to go through to get to Hubbard Glacier….which can be seen in the distance. Result of glacier calving.

See views of the glaciers themselves with my poem, In the Midst of Glaciers.

A different take on the Daily Post Photo Challenge: from every angle.

9 thoughts on “…and the Ice Melts

  1. BarbaraK aka fiddlbarb September 2, 2015 / 8:21 pm

    So beautifully poetic. As though there as I read. Wonderful photos too. It’s truly shocking how the glaciers are melting. Thanks so much for the up-close-and-personal view.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 3, 2015 / 12:11 pm

      Thank you for the kind words. Yes — we now literally cringe when we hear the words global warming. It is so evident in Alaska.

      While we were there (a week ago), many of the tour guides and natives talked about Denali, the mountain….and how only the state of Ohio kept them from giving Mt. McKinley back its native name. Their legislature had tried over and over and Ohio kept blocking it. So wonderful to arrive home and two days later see that President Obama was restoring its native name! 🙂 Now — if we can only do something to protect the glaciers….the earth. You are so right here….shocking indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. mincs1 September 3, 2015 / 3:42 am

    I love the way you wrote this, Lillian. It is poetic, beautiful and chilling all at once. I have not been on your site for a while and I am glad that I stopped by today to see this post. I plan to research Joy Harjo as I have been inspired by your writing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 3, 2015 / 12:19 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind kind words.

      Joy Harjo is the poet I’ve chosen to following in my September Challenge with Holly Wren Spaulding, teacher and mentor. It’s an online course — probably the 4th I’ve taken with her and she has really introduced me to poetry.

      Joy Harjo is a member of the Creek Nation, is the author of She Had Some Horses and other books of poems. This is from Secrets from the Center of the World, a volume in Sun Tracks, an American Indian literary series sponsored by the American Indian Studies Program and the Department of English, University of Arizona. It’s from The University of Arizona Press….and this is just a very very small paperback book with incredible prose poems by her, illustrated by photography from astronomer Stephen Strom who began to photograph Navajo country while teaching at Navajo Community College in Tsaile. The copyright of this small volume is 1989. All of her poetry in this volume is prose poetry and truly exquisite. You will enjoy and be inspired! 🙂 The prose poems have no titles.

      Thanks for stopping by! Hope to chat with you again, over another cup of morning coffee!


      • mincs1 September 4, 2015 / 2:11 pm

        Thank-you so much. I am excited to read Joy’s writing!

        Liked by 1 person

    • lillian September 3, 2015 / 5:33 pm

      Truly appreciate your oh so kind words today. Thankful I am. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kendra.Marya October 2, 2015 / 8:11 pm

    Terrifying reality, faced empirically, as science commends. Everyone should know the reality of what is happening in Alaska. Thank you for articulating the feeling so well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 3, 2015 / 12:16 pm

      Many thanks for your kind words, Kendra. Just getting back to my site today….after a few days “unplugged” with grandkids. So nice to see your comment this morning over my first cup of coffee! Yes — seeing is believing and our recent two-week trip in Alaska was quite amazing. The land is so vast and the beauty unparallelled. If you’re interested, there are a few others on my site about that trip: Ursa is one that comes to mind. I think just looking under the travel muse perhaps? Or look in the list of recent poems and you’ll recognize the titles. The sites were an amazing muse to writing. Hope you’ll stop by again!

      Liked by 1 person

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