Become what you are


This poem has never been my favorite, but I like the imagery: “the island Iceland in a blind fog”. It reminds me so much of driving in the north of Iceland with my friend A, returning from the Verslunarmannahelgi weekend in Akureyri, driving back to Reykjavik in the middle of the night, creeping along, blind, through the thickest fog I’ve ever experienced.

I especially love how the poem closes on a geyser, a word we have co-opted into and mispronounce in English. One of the few words we take from Icelandic but didn’t bother to take its original pronunciation.

After All
Anna Hajnal
After all, what have I become?
The island Iceland in a blind fog.
Gliding in the far north.
I swim in mushy ice-water.
An ice-barrier surrounds me,
to protect me?
protect from what?
What boils in me darkly,
bubbling, swirling upward,
melting my thick cover:
the firmament may blanche
while being sliced upward to its lap
by a foaming, vapor-tressed head
ragingly crying: the geyser.

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