Thakgil: journey

The road
winding through
jagged lava
streams of shimmering silver
green peaks
bathed
in golden light.

The way
endless;
doubt quickens
over each bump
around every curve:
Is this
the way?

Then
a smiling face
painted
on a wooden sign
the word “Thakgil”
—confirmation—
(yes, this is
the way)

So onward

Arrival
when the desolate road
ends
in a valley
sprinkled with tents,
shelter for the few
who have also
braved the journey.

My welcome
a steaming mug of coffee
the thump of
the resident dog’s tail
peace that descends
with the sun
in grateful
homecoming.

Fjardarglujufur: revelation

A gash in the green earth
a gaping wound
towers of
harsh black rock
a rift
cleaving
the landscape of my soul.

In the canyon depths
water flows,
eddies and swirls
pools into pockets
of stillness,
smoothing rough edges
over time immeasurable.

The severed cliffs
will never merge
will never fuse their
two
broken
halves.

But
Beauty
is only present in
the fracture:
in
submitting
opening
inviting
movement
to the next beyond.

Plant growing through rock in Iceland - Poems by Alice Shi Kembel

Reynisfjara: resilience

Within a tiny crack
in the layers
of weeping black rock
She flowers
despite the elements.
Nourished by rain
and rare
glimpses of sun
and strengthened
by the wind
that has
not
broken her
She has found a place to
root down
to flourish
to reach towards the
grey sky.

Laufskalavaro: legacy

Cairns
dotting the land
stretching
across the black horizon

little altars everywhere

some bare:
testament to those
fresh in their anointing

some
blanketed by moss
paying homage
to a traveller of long ago.

You wished for
good fortune
on your journey across
this desert
but
what will you offer
what will you leave behind
as a blessing
for those who come
after you
to this barren
and beautiful place?

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images: Alice Shi Kembel