Iceland Great Depression Poetry

Thursday, October 30, 2008
I'm relaying you another dispatch from Iceland.

Earlier in the month, I criticized an Icelandic writer, one Jonas, for his gaseous optimism about Iceland's economy. Weeks later, his optimism is gone.

His latest column is a botanist's overview of the bits of bleak popular poetry sprouting up as the Depression comes down on Iceland. Jonas does mention that Icelanders are holding town hall meetings, lively ones where citizens are invited to speak. This is a wildly encouraging sign. Iceland, the world's oldest democracy, is going back to its roots (in the permafrost.) Good on 'em.

This is my favorite poem. It works as well in Iceland as anywhere.

The people of Iceland need never fear
The terrible hunger that threatens come near.
Our army of corporations, our righteous salvation,
Will make sure we get our daily bread ration.
Oh ho! Or so says the morning paper.

Anyway, the column is well worth a read.

Iceland Review - How to Shout in Icelandic