Why I Love Iceland? (A Poem) Skip to content

Why I Love Iceland? (A Poem)

In the Garden

Alþingi garden is empty

but for me;

the snapdragons starting to fade.

I think a bench is gone

where last year

when I wandered in

two drunks also came, and sat there

sharing the bottle in a paper bag

and chatting,

aware and oblivious

of the tourist.

There was room enough for all.

The Althingi garden in Reykjavík. Painting by Sigfús Halldórsson.

It would never happen in the States:

two drunks in the Rose Garden –

imagination fails

or rather

summons up scads

of serious men in dark suits

with guns and shouting

running them not merely off

but into custody

sound and fury and alarm…

When I tell the tale

people stare, and though they smile

there is just a tinge of contempt

for the little country

where drunks can wander in

to the gardens of seats of power.

But, I don’t know,

is that so much less,

any truly worse,

than our politicians

immune in their isolation of security

unaware of us they rule?

Would not politicians be better off

if now and then

they stood in the garden

and saw the drunks and recalled

it is not their garden

but ours?

Katharine Kroeber

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