Nymphs on Ice

A poem in response to Rebecca Pappas’ “Plastic Flow” presented during week 2 of REDCAT’s New Original Works Festival on July 29, 2016

Photo by Steve Gunther @CalArts | Courtesy of Cal Arts REDCAT

Off into the arctic we go.

A glacier clings to the ceiling.

A dirty clump of snow cowers in the corner.

A ring of wrinkly ice glows — orb-like and luminous.

Bodies expand from the ice core:

Crack, crinkle, crash, flow.

Of what origin do these beings spring?

Dead bodies, frozen spirits, nymphs birthed from immortal loins

But cast into icy purgatory. Unwanted children?

Why do they move the way they do,

Crawling crab-like, flailing, dog-piling head on top of head?

Little grace, but much fumbling — why?

Yet a flash of genius emerges from the fray:

Waves and waves of arching icicles flying through the sky,

Up and down, up and down, rapturous curves fling.

Paper cracks against the rise and rush

Of falling bodies to the ground.

Yet a late arrival sings of Dido’s death:

“When I am laid in earth,

May my wrongs create no trouble in thy breast,

Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.”

What is it that we wish to eradicate?