One Autumn Evening in Bohinj

Like a salvo of predawn gunfire
‘snap, crackle, pop’ – that’s what I think, and
‘who could think of cereal at such a time?’
Then my mind flips frantically through files
grubbing to grasp an empirical explanation
for the snap, and the shot, and the rasp:
A guerrilla band going gung-ho into battle, firing into empty space?
No, can’t be…a fighter jet falling apart? Can’t be that either:
‘A-VA-LANCHE!’
Shouts my son, the echo of his cry in the rumble and roar
of the tumbledown earth, doesn’t carry
But I see it: not avalanche (there’s no snow)
but landslide; I imagine the whole mountainside
plummet and slip plumb into the lake
sending a tsunami soaring skywards, with us in its wake
I actually take
the time to ask
‘shall we head for higher ground?’
but by then the drama of sound and of earth and of element
is all but over
-realising we are safe
I pick up my camera
to record the contrail: puff of dust,
smoke-signalled on the mountainside;
exhalation of dragon-breath from the heart of the earth and then
silence.

Tonight, Peter is hosting at dVerse and, as he put it ‘tonight’s just right to write a poem with a focus on sounds.’ In my case, that couldn’t be more accurate: Mother Nature gave me all the sounds I needed to write the above poem. When out for an evening walk by the shores of beautiful Lake Bohinj, I witnessed a landslide with my family. Though it was (thankfully) only a minor one, the sound was immense: incredible. A reminder of the raw power of the earth, of the great forces around us over which we have no control.

The last few moments of the landslide. Featured image was taken just before.

Also linking up to Earthweal’s Open Link Weekend #42, as this poem is in line with Earthweal’s overarching theme: ‘Poetry of a changing Earth.’

32 thoughts on “One Autumn Evening in Bohinj

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  1. Amazing moment Ingrid and captured so well in this verse – lovely ‘s’ sounds ‘tsunami soaring skywards…’ Dragon breath too – I wonder how many years, centuries those rocks remained balanced as the tension built. And there you were with your camera to capture it!

    1. Thanks Peter – as usual with these things, the camera didn’t capture much – the roar of the rockfall was incredible at the start, but I was too taken aback to think about filming!

  2. I can really hear the avalanche through your words,.. the moments before you realize what it is is so well captured in this

    Then my mind flips frantically through files
    grubbing to grasp an empirical explanation
    for the snap, and the shot, and the rasp:

    the grubbing to grasp followed by the snap, shot and rasp… almost like a dialogue with the landslide.

  3. Thank you, Ingrid, for sharing your experience in poem and video clip! It’s something I’ve never seen or heard. I love the way you built it up, the touch of humour in the opening lines, the reactions, sounds, and the wonderful lines:
    ‘puff of dust,
    smoke-signalled on the mountainside;
    exhalation of dragon-breath from the heart of the earth and then
    silence.’

  4. We poets soar and excel in poetic recall of actual events and personal reflections. You certainly rocked the prompt, and the boat, and my mind.

  5. I like the immediacy of what transpires in your poem, Ingrid. What a magnificent view of the mountain and you got to see it “in action”. How many get to experience this up close and personal? Not many I’m thinking. Your child’s delightful comment makes the video clip all the better.

  6. The urgency, the taste of the entire experience is so powerfully portrayed here! Especially here; “Then my mind flips frantically through files grubbing to grasp an empirical explanation for the snap, and the shot, and the rasp.

  7. Oh my Ingrid what serindipity for your homework assignment. There are no accidents and your words in your poem certainly were dedicative of what it must have felt like! Well strung words as guteral an experience it must have been. I loved hearing your voice and your son’s. That picture is just stunning as well! There is a memory captured in your heart, on the page and in clicks!
    ❤️ Cindy

  8. The sounds and sensations the poem engenders is almost overpowering, terrifying in its suddenness, which I’m sure is what it felt like in the moment. Glad you were all safe!!

  9. I know that sense of speculation in an impending natural disaster … what can it be .. you describe it so graphically with all the senses alert! Love this 🙂

  10. Loved the sonorous engagement here (you responded well to Peter’s challenge) and the confusion of witness; only when its over do we somewhat understand. Maybe the magnitude is all that counts.

  11. A beautiful photo. It is always amazing to witness the power of nature, and how powerless we are in its extreme events. Wonderfully done.

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