Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Island in a Sea of Fire"

This poem came from the February 7, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by kelkyag.  It was sponsored by Anthony Barrette.  I'm fascinated by ecological succession, in which nature can colonize a landscape sterilized by liquid rock.


Island in a Sea of Fire


The volcano erupts,
spewing molten stone
all over the island.

Steam boils up from the sea
and everything living
is cooked where it stands.

Time passes.
The lava cools
to smooth black rock.
The rock begins to crack.

Seeds blown by the wind
catch in the crevices
and sprout to release
beach grass and wildflowers.

Crabs crawl out of the breakers
to nibble at sea-wrack left on the beach.
Birds swoop down to peck at the crabs
and leave their droppings on the rocks.

A coconut washes ashore,
lands in a pocket of guano,
and develops into a slender palm.

Coral returns to the skirts of the island,
sheltering the beach from booming waves.
Colorful fish dart and play in the coral.

A forest grows.
Birds begin to settle.
Insects drift down from the sky.
The birds feast upon
fruit and fish,
seeds and insects.

Tiny lizards arrive on
flotsam washed down by floods,
small families of mice,
and once, a nest of snakes.

Far away,
humans discover technology.
Garbage begins to wash ashore
on the pristine beach.

A crab examines a soda bottle,
licks away the thin skin of sugar,
then begins to build a nest inside.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, environment, fishbowl, nature, poem, poetry, reading, science, wildlife, writing
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