Craters of the Moon

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As we exclaim over a perfect breadcrust bomb

and walk past lava balloons and rock popcorn,

skirt cinder cones and blocks rafted

into place by boiling lava,

as we marvel at blue dragon lava

glinting in the autumn sun

and carefully pick our way

across thin-crusted shelly pahoehoe (1),

we wonder why God created a wasteland

where fire and brimstone belched from the earth,

where verdant landscapes became vast tracks

of ropy, twisted, brittle rock,

where people come to gawk but not to live,

where kipukas (2) bespeak God’s promise of

“beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning”(3).


  1. pahoehoe: smooth, ropy, or billowy lava
  2. kipuka: islands of vegetation
  3. Isaiah 61:3
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About Judy Grigg Hansen
I write poetry and nonfiction, and I am passionate about the people, places, and wildflowers of Idaho and the Northwest.

4 Responses to Craters of the Moon

  1. Dad says:

    Great but sounds like Shoshone or Hawaii language

  2. Thank you, Ann. It was a great day wandering around Craters with friends.

  3. Ann Babbel says:

    Beautiful and thoughtful. I am thankful for your gift and for you!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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