Poetry Sunday: Exit Glacier by Peggy Shumaker

Peggy Shumaker is a poet from Alaska. In her poem, "Exit Glacier," she describes the sound and the sight of a glacier breaking up, something that Alaskans might be familiar with, and something that is happening more often in our warming world. She tells us of:

"...history, the record
of breaking—

"prophecy, the warning
of what's yet to break..."

Exit Glacier

by Peggy Shumaker

When we got close enough
we could hear

rivers inside the ice
heaving splits

the groaning of a ledge
about to

calve. Strewn in the moraine
fresh moose sign—

tawny oblong pellets
breaking up

sharp black shale. In one breath
ice and air—

history, the record
of breaking—

prophecy, the warning
of what's yet to break

out from under
four stories

of bone-crushing turquoise


  1. Powerful image that last stanza! They are experiencing the global warming effects closer than most of us, I guess.

  2. I remember the sound of ice breakup on our local rivers where I live in upstate New York, but that hasn't happened for years (one side effect of global warming) It's an amazing thing to see the huge chunks of ice after, and how far they can be flung. So a glacier breakup must be spectacular - sad, but spectacular. I saw Alaskan glaciers in 1988 on a cruise and I so remember that beautiful turquoise color, too. Enjoyed this poem.

    1. I have never witnessed this but it must be an amazing and unforgettable thing to see.


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