As the icy weather recedes from us here in the UK, and mass die-offs of sea-life wash up on beaches in Norfolk and Kent, and water companies struggle to reconnect people’s water supplies, I am reminded that ice is receding elsewhere too. With thanks to Helen Moore for permission to republish her work here.
Ice, an Elegy
The Ice Queen is leaving –
all around, her ancient kingdom
is cracking up – trickling, splitting,
as her vast, crystal sleigh
grinds on the fast-track to oblivion.
For millennia she held her huge mirror
steady to the Sun; now she’s losing her cool,
sheets shrinking, her albedo body
pocked with melting pools, moulins
milling in, chutes of water sailing her
the slipway of lost forever.
Yet each day her belly calves
desperate bergs of ice. Bereft, these tongues
curl and shrink as they sense their mother
spent – her skin once tinted blue,
now deathly pale.
Her courtiers and creatures
are disappearing too –
in despair they throw their arms into the air;
once yoked in lustrous bridal gowns,
one by one
to their knees,
faces crashing down
in mounds into the sea.
Even the glacial snow men,
who plucked boulders and carried
their erratic cargo across continents,
now stumble, retreat – valleys scoured
by their dark rheumatic wake.
Everywhere Foxes, Bears,
Wolverines and Leopards mourn their Queen –
prowling the rosaries of paternoster lakes,
they murmur eulogies and prayers.
And at last we hurry in
with tools, instruments and measuring rods
to probe, extend our senses –
to scientize this demise of ice.
From Hedge Fund, And Other Living Margins (Shearsman Books, 2012)
About Helen Moore
Helen Moore is an award-winning ecopoet and socially engaged artist based in NE Scotland. She has published two poetry collections, Hedge Fund, And Other Living Margins (Shearsman Books, 2012), described as being “in the great tradition of visionary politics in British poetry”, and ECOZOA (Permanent Publications, 2015), acclaimed by John Kinsella as “a milestone in the journey of ecopoetics”. A collaborative bilingual Italian-English work, INTATTO/INTACT, was published by La Vita Felice in 2017, and Helen has recently published a limited edition pamphlet, The Disinherited, marking 230 years since the British invasion of Australia in 1788. Her third collection, The Mother Country, is due out in early 2019. FFI: www.helenmoorepoet.com