“Blótsteinn” by George Moore

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Hólar in Hjaltadalur, Iceland

The cell phone fails and the air thins.
Messages from friends can wait.

The farm we found has become a fortress
with blood stone, where enemies’

backs were broken, the first rule
of the difference of men.

Europeans called them mud people,
bones the same as elsewhere

protruding from the bog. Carried out
of Ireland, and carried off by workers

doing renovations in ’55,
the stone perhaps mistaken for a table.

Now there’s a lovely hollow
where history has fallen in.

What’s to write when the head
is exposed without a helmet,

the heart bared without a breastplate,
and the back still straight as a knife edge?

There are substances that cannot mix
like blood and stone, like history and land,

and when the phone rings,
the faces ask about the weather.



George Moore's poetry has appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, Orion, North American Review, Colorado Review, Arc, Orbis, Stand, and Valparaiso. His collections include Children's Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry, 2015) and Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle Press, 2016). Nominated for six Pushcart Prizes and a finalist for The National Poetry Series, he presently lives with his wife, a Canadian poet, on the south shore of Nova Scotia.

Photo Credit: Staff