Poem that won’t sit down for me.

I’ve spent months editing and re-editing this but it won’t behave, so I’ve decided to expose  it to the world and see how it likes it. Maybe someone can help.

By way of a preface: during WW2, a Nazi fighter jet crashed on Briksdalsbreen, a glacier in southern Norway. It was never found, so it is presumed to have been swallowed up in the ice, and, with the glacier’s movement, it’s expected to emerge once more sometime in the future.


When it came down to us amongst the slumping conifers,
More than snow was displaced, more than branches knocked:
We each felt it burrowing, a bacterium flanked with Balkenkreuz.
Nobody died; it wasn’t born of rancour or ill-meaning,
But still, it bent things a touch – still it ghostwrites
Itself onto us, insinutates small kinks into our dialect;
It darkens our honey; it turns our rain a hair westward.

Some swear to have witnessed its descent. For the sake
Of folklore, they say it excreted a caravan of smoke-eggs, or
That it shook its flames like water from a bear’s coat.
The sound was a thousand reams of paper ripping
Or the terse, nocturnal releases of a snoring incontinent.
It exploded, it didn’t explode. Tor-Erik Holger
Says he was close enough to tell the make.

The snow that night was unanimous and deleted it.
In the morning a high-pitched silence, as if a communion
Bell had been struck, and our fjord was an open-air cathedral.
It was in the glacier: stomached, worked in, and moving.
We kept as quiet as ice. Ice was our accessory, ice our vigil.
Without ice, our houses would perch like eagles by a canyon,
Bold and lonesome, with nothing to be stowed or secreted.

Some day, it will have to calve the aircraft, its pilot numb
And tumescent with rot. The scientists and historians
Will then invade our dear Briksdalsbreen; they’ll make us too regurgitate.
For now there is only this latent extent of black, sleeping,
Down there somewhere a slowness, a thing that waits.
They will ask us to explain, they’ll want to draw conclusions.
We will only tell them this: it is always after that the flood comes.

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