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Tag Archives Iceland


Before the marsh on the coastal plain was drained –

to turn the dark, rich glacial soil

into the broad fields of market gardens,

selling fresh produce south to the port city

burgeoning daily from mouth to mouth –

the mere was vast, eight square miles and more.


Family groups wandered the margins –

to fish, collect eggs, snare birds. Settlements

became hamlets, became villages:

cutting the reeds for thatching, cutting the peat

for cooking fires from the ice age bogland.



Pink-footed geese are wintering on the marshes

west of here – flocks from Spitzbergen, Iceland,

Greenland. This late October morning

the garden is full of noises: the trimming

and shaping of hedges, bushes, trees,

the blowing and gathering of leaves –

and high cries as a skein flies eastwards

to feed on wheat stalks in the stubble fields.


The afternoon is disturbed by sirens –

not fire or police or ambulance.

There have been explosions somewhere north

we are informed –



After we have booked our whale watching trip,

we spend the afternoon at Yoko Ono’s

‘Imagine Peace’ in the Hafnarhús

gallery, where we put peace stickers

on maps of the world and our grand daughter

writes on her label to hang on the peace tree

‘I wish I could have lovelyness for ever

and ever and ever and ever’ – then she

and I play the war game chess. Later

we have fish and chips – battered in spelt

and oven roasted respectively –