Iceland

We’ve seen firsthand the many faces of Iceland. We’ve soaked in the Blue Lagoon and walked beside hot bubbling fumaroles in the Krysuvik geothermal field. We’ve hiked in her desolate volcanic terrain.

Wearing sturdy hiking boots, using walking sticks for leverage, we climbed to the top of Stora Eldborg, an extinct volcanic crater. At its peak, buffeted by winds, our travel van below was a mere dot. Craters in the distance looked like small molehills. On the descent, our sticks helped take the pressure off our knees.

An hour later, we donned hardhats with headlights; no sticks allowed. Our guide took us to explore a 2,000 year old lava tube. Once a conduit for flowing molten rock, the channel crusted over forming a tunnel which we gingerly entered. We inched over boulders, slid down slabs, and crawled our way through parts of this damp, dark hollowed out place. Our headlights revealed pockmarked, cracked, uneven walls and lavacicles that hung from the ceiling. We came upon misshapen lava pillars impeding forward progress, thus marking our turn-back point. By the time we clambered out of the tube, my body was chilled to the bone and I was exuberant to feel the sun.

earth weathers through all
summer’s torrid heat burns land
below ground, cold springs

Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Frank is our host and asks us to write about a hike, or somehow use the word hike in our post. Photos are from our 2017 visit to Iceland.
HAIBUN: 2 or 3 paragraphs of prose, must be true; followed by a haiku.

Icelandic Lava Tubes

Descending into Earth’s belly
we clamber over solidified lava,
misshapen slabs, coarse and sharp.
Crouch. Walk. Crawl in darkness.
Her innards surround us.

Two thousand years have passed
since she belched fire
spewed molten fury
hurled detritus,
encased this land.

Liquid anger flowed and ebbed
cracked in cooling drafts
left behind tunnel pathways,
cold witness to those fury days.

My mouth agape,
body chilled to the bone,
we move through this, her confession,
the scars of a temper once unleashed.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where Paul asks us to write a poem from our underground travels. Paul opens Tuesday Poetics at 3 PM Boston time.  Photos: from our recent excursion into the lava fields and extinct volcanoes outside Reykjavik, Iceland. We actually went underground and explored a 2,000 + year old lava tube. That’s me in the purple. Last photo is what the land above the tube looks like — that’s lichen growing on ancient lava fields. Very barren and harsh. Iceland is one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries. It has extensive volcanic and geothermal activity (see photos with my one sentence poem entitled Geyser. About 50% of Iceland is mountainous lava desert. Only 1% of their land is cultivated.

Geyser…

…belly full,
earth spews steam
in unseemly belch.


Photos from outside Reykjavik, Iceland. There are 300 volcanoes in Iceland. 50% of Iceland’s landmass is mountainous lava desert. The famous Blue Lagoon is in the midst of lava fields with waters heated by the natural geothermal heat “beneath the earth.”  These photos show the steam belching from the earth. In some places, large geysers shoot up. Iceland collects this geothermal energy and uses a system of pipes below streets in Reykjavik to keep streets from icing over and they also provide heat and electricity to homes in Iceland. Absolutely amazing to see.