Galloping Glaciers

March 5, 2018

I warm my bones one at a time
by the river of ice.
I ask: “So, glaciers ‘gallop’?”


“Not many, but some.”
Frost curls my fingers in,
I press you for a reply.
“They don’t race

“I don’t know,” you say. “Don’t ask.”
I think I’d heard of rivers
and glaciers enough
to make me want more.


I’ve quickly learned that ice
has its own metronome,
a tempo floods


The icy rivers flex, beating,
dominate no mountains, no snow,
and so remain glacier free.


Filled with so much water,
a closed system invested in
glacial ice twenty millennia ago.


Today the bridge isn’t so much
a bridge as a causeway,
hundreds of miles wide.


“How do you cross a river
that you cannot stand on?”
The question is simple,
but I am not the one
to have voiced it.


“I don’t know,” I say. “How?”
The river heaves.
“You tell me.”


Sometimes the cold
makes it hard to speak.


I should say that
I have been pagan,
primitive yet not crude,
deeply content and
moved by you.


Always facing death,
always acutely alive,
making music and love
to stay warm.


“Do you remember the way back?”
“No,” I say.
The trails are frozen over.


How easily we regard
the rhythm of the wild
as brutal and backward.


For many, suffering
is simple, beautiful,
filled with flowers and birdsong,
clean water and air.

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© 2023 by MCLA Spires.