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Poems inspired by Glacial Movements and the Ghaib


Poems inspired by Glacial Movements and the Ghaib

from Wise Words for the Earth



The North Sea in Margate  

Flows in and out of focus, 

A composite of time and tide. 

Not images of glaciers crisp and cold 

And high and wide, 

Stories these ancient glaciers told, 

But a less- cold Sea from her window 

She sought to show in pixels picturing 

Swelling, sifting, shifting 

Spring tides and Neaps, 

Sweeps of waves, both shallow and deep 

With seaweed used as silver gelatine 

No toxic chemicals, poisoning. 

But, here in this swirl of water 

As in the glaciers of old, 

With their erratic mica gold, 

Hails this self – same water, 

Washing through her blood. 

 Fragile eco-systems fail and erode, 

As Man, made from water, strode 

Through both the warm and cold, 

From warming glacial Pole to sun-soaked Pole, 

Now with its swirling waters, covering the whole. 

Wendy Blanchet

The Ghaib

               I thought -the name of a tribe-

                      Who remain unseen

                        Into the silence  

                           – the icy silence –

                     I hear a glacier crack. 

Julie Frith

Drowning in dialect.

                       Ungive iset penitent,

                 rone and aquabob  ungive.

            ickle, shockle, shuckle glocken, 

            tankle, windle, snipe unheeve…

                        bleb, bleb, bleb.

Julie Frith


Walking, on talking mountain, is never easy.

That’s the truth.

You want a cosmic egg, to hatch, and tell you lies?

And what, my darling child, would that achieve?

For those who run, run, run, away, must have troubles.

No guarantee of safe passage, long life, eternal bliss.

Havens are temporal things, in the end.

In the end, perhaps, there is no safe haven.

From this:

Speech so long denied.

And will you lie now, and say you are sorry, that you ran?

For you ran to make a track, that speaks of this:


Elen Jones


in response to Rebecca Huxley’s photograph

Like an osprey in flight,

the Himalayan Passu glacier

soars silently on the tips of the dark umber mountains.

The osprey surveys the reddish-brown ‘Fairy Meadows’,

and the treacherous, burnt umber, silken slopes

leading to the broken, zigzag frazil-stream.

In the valley of Ghulkin,

busy curlews and red-billed choughs

catch the osprey out of the corner of their eyes

and see their own reflections.

(Frazil means loose, needle-like ice crystals that form into churning slush in turbulent, super-cooled water.)

Elizabeth Mortimer


after Saba Khan’s Paintings

glacier, icy databank

guardian of cryptic truth

read by geiger counter

electron microscope

gas chromatograph

or errant geologist

imprint of hominis sapientis folly

cryogenic marker

of those who act amiss

Helen Nattrass





Helen Nattrass

Spirit of Sidney Nolan?

fast visceral reaction in paint

limited palette – fauve-ish

record of ancient and modern

muscovite of metamorphosis

creation of the mountains themselves

gamma rays, cosmic radiation

fallout of earth’s birth

yet damning marker of Nagasaki

Helen Nattrass

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Comment on “Poems inspired by Glacial Movements and the Ghaib

  1. The afternoon spent at this exhibition was both instructive and inspirational. After pondering the science, language and artworks shown, the resultant poems about glaciers in their various forms were truly impressive in their individuality, yet communicating the same themes of humanity’s involvement in the geographical world. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience with knowledge imparted from well-informed tutors with reliable scientific and literary sources.

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