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Monday, April 19, 2010

James Clarence Mangan, 'Iceland Moss-Tea'

(...) Where, from the mountain’s furnace-lair,
From thousand smoke-enveloped cones,
Colossal blocks of red-hot stones
Are night by night uphurled in air –

(Like blood-red Saga-birds of yore)
While o’er the immeasurable snows
A sea of burning resin flows
Bubbling like molten metal ore –

Where from the Jokuls to the strand
The dimmed eye turns from smoke and steam
Only to track some sulphur-stream
That seethes along the blasted land –

Where clouds lie black on cinder-piles,
And all night long the lone Seal moans,
As, one by one, the mighty stones
Fall echoing down on far-off isles –

Where, in a word, hills vomit flame,
And storms for ever lash the sea,
There sprang this bitter moss for me,
Thence this astringent potion came.

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