Brinicle, from National Geographic’s Book of Nature Poetry

Book of Nature PoetryHappy Poetry Friday!

And happy Friday the 13th! No bad luck here today, unless you happen to be a starfish.

Last month, I shared my Sailing Stone poem from J. Patrick Lewis’ anthology with National Geographic, the Book of Nature Poetry — which just won a Eureka Silver Medal. Congratulations, Pat and National Geographic!

Now I’m sharing my other poem from this gorgeous anthology. This, like sailing stones, was another natural phenomenon I’d never heard of: brinicles. Do you know what a brinicle is? It happens when super-salted, super-chilled water forms a “stalactite” from the frozen surface of the ocean to the seafloor. Man, if you’ve never seen this “icy finger of death,” check out this video from Frozen Planet, featuring time-lapse video as a brinicle forms and freezes sea life below it. Amazing.

And here’s my poem:


Arctic Ocean,
dark, vast
water cave guarded by an
arc of sea ice above

Ceiling recedes,
feeds salt to the deep
Super-saltwater ribbon flows,
grows, and sinks

with a frigid core
wears a crystal
cloak of ice

Brinicle gushes,
rushing down to the
sea floor,
an icy finger of death


p style=“padding-left: 90px;”>© Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

Now, don’t miss Bridget’s Poetry Friday Roundup and fun fear poem at Wee Words for Wee Ones. Who knows what other cool things you might learn?

And if you’re a nonfiction fan, don’t miss my giveaway of a signed paperback copy of Heather Montgomery’s How Rude!, a fun and funny book about bugs.

24 Responses

  1. Wow, new to me, both amazing and frightening. Sad to see those starfish scuttling away. I know it was speeded up but I watched more than once to examine the movement. I love that you introduced this in the anthology, Laura. It’s wonderful how you explained in a poem how it happens.

    1. Thanks, Linda. Usually I try to not go TOO far in the “educational” direction, but the process of how these form was just so cool…

    1. Thanks, Linda. I’m honored to be in any work by Pat, and National Geographic–double woohoo!

    1. I think it is wonderful that you let your students try Laura’s 15 word they all did a wonderful you are a wonderful teacher they are blessed to have you

    2. I love that y’all work on wonders every week. The world would be a better place if we all worked on wonders (I love Georgia Heard’s book)! I’ll be over to see your post soon:>)

  2. Had no idea about brinicles. That short film was like watching something out of a Sci-Fi movie. Poor starfish…your poem really captures the moment!

    1. Yeah, it’s like watching the lion catch the zebra. I kinda have to look away at that moment.

    1. Thanks, Bridget–I love LEARNING about cool stuff and trying to capture it in words:>)

    1. Thanks you, Brenda:>) And it is a stunning collection. One of my desert island poetry books now.

        1. Me, too! This poem is for older kids…I sometimes kind of wish we could do separate Poetry Fridays–one for elementary school poems and one for teen/adult poems. But we have such a lovely community, it would be a shame to split it up. But I’d love to read more elementary poems:>)

  3. Laura this is so interesting and scary I have never hear of this ice your poems captures it beautifully I might try writing one now I have to go fined it in the book and reread it had you heard of this ice before doing your rescuers?

  4. this is so interesting and scary had you hear of this ice before doing your research

  5. Laura, the video and poem are a great combination to show informational text and poetry based on it. Wonderful! Your last image makes me wonder=> an icy finger of death.

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