Melting

In August nineteen forty two,
amid alpine meadow scent
and below skies of glacier blue,
Francine and Marcelin,
set off on foot to feed their herd.
They never returned.

Decades of searching
melted to an end,
revealing backpacks,
stopped watch,
tin bowls, a glass bottle,
shoes still encased in ice,
bodies side by side.

As snow levels shift
and ice recedes,
a steady trickle of antiquities,
including a love letter,
slides down the mountain
and the valley’s drowning
in glacial history.

Kim M. Russell, 2017

Image result for Swiss couple in glacier

image found on nytimes.com

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics – The End, also linked to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Tuesday Platform

Paul is our host this week and he’s asking us to think about ‘THE END.’ To inspire us, he has shared a video of ‘The End’ by The Doors and a couple of examples of ‘The End’ poems by Mark Stand and Neil Ellman.

He asks what ‘The End’ means for us: The end of life as we know it? The end of the road? The end of a relationship? The end of a job? The end of the poem? The end of the beginning? The beginning of the end? The possibilities are END-less 😉

Which is why he has asked us to write a poem about THE END. Mine is based on a true story I read in an article recently.

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57 thoughts on “Melting

  1. I love how subtle you used the concept of death in this poem. Without outright stating it, and instead choosing to paint a picture of boots side by side and a stopped watch, you make the moment that much more poignant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apparently several hundred people are missing in the Alps.. This couple may have fallen down a crevasse, which is why they remained undiscovered until the glacier melted due to global warming,

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  2. This sort of story always intrigues me and I read the NY Times article as well. When the ice melts, I have a feeling all sorts of things will be found. The last stanza is excellent. the whole valley is drowning… You captured The End so well in this. their trip was the beginning of the end. The boots, the stopped watch…all so poignant and yet, macabre.

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  3. You succeeded in giving me a whole new perspective on global warming (there’s a Special tonight on CNN). They keep finding missing climbers all over tall mountain ranges & glaciers. I remember in the 50’s being surprised explorers were finding frozen mastodons, and carving off steaks.

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    1. There’s an amazing book by Siobhan O’Dowd called Bog Child. It’s about the troubles in Ireland but features the discovery of a ‘bog body’, a human cadaver that has been naturally mummified in a peat bog. Apparently, these bodies, sometimes known as bog people, are geographically widespread, as well as chronologically – between 8000 BCE and the Second World War.
      I wonder if this will happen with the glaciers:
      as they melt all kinds of things will be discovered.

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  4. This is a powerful way to go at the melting of glaciers — revealing a couple who got lost in ice decades ago and become a part of its drowning essence. I remember this story — the couple were married and had seven children when they vanished.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apparently they fell down a crevasse. If it was a long drop they may have been dead before they froze, but it’s supposition. The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about, it’s too gruesome.

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  5. I like your use of the ice shifting, freezing then melting to show how the end isn’t a line in the sand. It shifts and withdraws, not the same for everyone, never coming at all for some, and for these two, when was it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They disappeared in 1942 and were only recently discovered. I just hope it was quick – they apparently fell down a crevasse. I can’t bear to think of them surviving the fall and lying there together waiting for the end to come.

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