Icelandic Natural Disasters


The disasters of Iceland are different.
When steam vents beneath a glacier
   the ice melts until the inner lagoons
   shatter the edge and flood the highway, eat
bridges.

There are fissure eruptions, where lava
   spews from giant cracks. Add water,
   rain and you have another disaster,
   ash fall as far as Sweden.
Regular volcanoes too.

The plague of drifting sea ice, jamming harbors,
   blocking boats and raising the surrounding temperature
   so grass dies, then sheep,
cattle die, then people die.

Destruction by glacial rush, lava, sea ice and busy teeth
   of sheep ringing the birch trees, eating the little birch
   loosening the trees’ hold on earth, ruining
the green land .

There was shipbuilding, need for warmth that led to more trees gone,
   deforestation deaths. Frost plays tricks on pasture, forces
   grassy bumps and hillocks to tangle up your step and that
of kine.

The Norse arrived in Iceland when no one lived there. They knew
   cattle, sheep, brought cattle, sheep. And someone unleashed
   a flood of bird egg devouring mink which bred like
plagues of fire.

Susan H. Maurer