poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

"In my imperfect recollection Herzog’s brilliant film, Antarctica is a still and silent world where scientists press their ears to the ice for music from the seals below. The loneliness of that image, like a memory of intimacy, chilled and muffled, was one I felt the need to shake."
—Kathy Fagan

Snow Globe

Kathy Fagan

after Encounters at the End of the World by Werner Herzog


With booms & chirrs seals
speak under the ice of an ocean
frozen over.
Stationary ocean. Electrified song.
Color: snow day with autumn
leaves inside it, 
glassene sheers of cantaloupe & kiwi on
lavender, gunmetal, jetwing—
				   When you rode the elephant through
the puncture, the first syllable of my name
parted the deep with your beautiful hand.
Sparrow shuddered in her dustbath, swath of pleasure
raked up
	    & out.
		    This is where I sat
in the avalanche.
	                 In winter,
where I was born,
you pulled a cord of silk in your beautiful hand.
I heard nothing
under the ice. Bye bye now, our people would say.
Bye bye later.
First, song,
	       a detonation—
then white everywhere.

Copyright © 2014 by Kathy Fagan. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on January 17, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2014 by Kathy Fagan. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on January 17, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Kathy Fagan