Death Grin

A poem I wrote whilst walking and researching the trail, Summer 2013. Photo by Þorstein Mársson


Death Grin

A sun shelled night save a few nesting terns

That bounce on sharp wings that clutch at the sky

Then fold their sharp wings and aim for my eye

I run to surrender, afraid I might die!

They re-group then remember their task to fly

I’m welcomed like this, Iceland’s summer has peaked

Razorbills, guillemots, puffins replete

An orca lies stranded, though grins in defeat

The sound of a plover whistling plaintive retreat

I too then remember my task in time

I’m here in the Westfjords, Iceland’s oldest rock

To create a new trail that will embody and top

Many wild fjords that then make the drop

To a crushing green ocean that provides for the flock

The trail’s whole distance, or so I am told

Will quadruple the distance of any trail of old

Though the routes to be walked are as ancient as gold

Old pathways of Vikings, their poets and hoards

Now, the path still carries a treasure of gold

Those ancient patterns that strengthen the soul

The black sand beaches on which grows söl

The four horned creatures with lint in their wool

Through time the rivers flow accustomed lines

You’ll find those lines inside your mind

When you visit here, Iceland’s oldest retreat

Hot springs, rainbows, the beat of our feet