Monday, March 27, 2006

The Iceberg

The iceberg is calved.
Like the rest of us, it doesn’t ask to be born.
It floats away, nine parts hidden.
Some say: the most important parts.

The iceberg doesn’t think about it.
The iceberg feels stable. That’s enough.
Like all the other icebergs it floats south.
It doesn’t know why.

South, where finally it will melt
somewhere short of the equator
adding its own fresh water to the endless salt water,
slowly, minutely, diluting it.

It does not detest the salt water
although the salt water, we know, eats into it,
gnawing away at the great white sides,
the bellying underneath.

Gone are the days when an iceberg could sink a ship.
Gone are the tragedies of icebergs.
Now, there’s something faintly comic about them.
Like fat children who can always be evaded.
Big, lumbering, purposeless things.

Still, there are always the oil rigs
that an iceberg might chance upon, be swept towards.
Tethered, there’s no escape for those.

Not that it wants to do damage of course.
Not that it wants to cause loss of life.

Even then, someone sees it’s coming,
drags a giant lasso around it.
See how they get some pootling tugboat
to drag the iceberg away, set it free
where it can’t do any more harm?

Not that it wanted to do harm.
Even three parts hidden.
Not that it wouldn’t suddenly roll over
if you happened to climb on board.
It doesn’t even consider such stuff.
It didn’t ask to be born.

© Jonathan Wonham


Ivy said...

I really enjoyed reading this poem, Jonathan, its conversational yet slightly mournful tone. Thanks for sharing it.

Andrea said...

i am having problems reading this properally. all i see is ice and I AM SOOO COLD RIGHT NOW!!!!
Ill come back when I am warm and try it again.

Jonathan Wonham said...

Ivy - thank you.

Andrea - I never imagined it would affect anyone like this...