Rain in Iceland

Green icefalls melted by torrential rain
gave birth to swollen, glacial streams in flood
across the bare, mile-wide moraine
where we were stuck four days, unfed,
waiting for the storm to bate.

Our guide, phlegmatic, hunkered down
under a porous bivouac
until the Norns arrived or rescue came.
Under the drenching sky we had no choice
but follow suit and sit and wait.

On the fourth night drove up in splosh and muck
a hundred miles from Reykjavik
a huge St Christopher with winch and truck,
who strode into the flood, and brought
a lifeline to us through the spate.

We learned a lesson from that thrust
on purely literary grounds
into the innards of a land
of ice and cloud and emptiness
and sagas painful to relate.

– David Morphet 2005