A Giggle from the Basement

Poem by Regan Rosburg, June 2019





every world leader,

every CEO,

every drunk sorority girl,

every shopper who looks forward to Black Friday,

every person who has spent an entire day binge watching television,

every person who has lost hours in Instagram,

every person who takes their comfort for granted,

who has ordered a to-go coffee,

who has ever had a drink of clean water,

who has tossed anything into the trash …


every last one of us should have to kneel before these giants.


every shopping mall should to crumble to dust.

every football game,

every bar,

every restaurant,

every movie theater,

every amusement park,

every cruise ship,

every night club


all of them should disappear.

       should disintegrate.

                    should become something else.

                    should become a new kind of church.


a church of water.


a church where Time is the minister –

and the slow procession of heat

guides the giants down the valley isle.


a church where instead of bells

we would have to hear the light tinkling

of gas bubbles popping in the ice,

or the swirling mix of voices

from the Arctic Terns who arrive for the summer.

a church where rows

and rows

of pews

would stretch for miles,

all facing these incredible behemoths of time.


a church where we

homo sapiens

“wise ones”

would know our place.


a place that is small




and we

would sit quietly,




waiting for nothing.

wanting for nothing.


just watching the slow icy sermon before us

awareness that only comes

from the lack of wanting

and the gain

of truly seeing.






you must have a different kind of compass

because a different kind of navigation is needed.


it cannot be held in the hand, swiped left to right, locking onto some unseen satellite.


words will fail you.

descriptions of the beauty and vastness sound like bumbling nonsense

uttered by a child who has yet learned to speak.


scale is futile

because the magnificence of towering ice leviathans cannot be quantified.

the enormity of Their bodies somehow surpass the very land They slowly crush,

skidding to an unstoppable end in the sea.


direction cannot be found from humble human instruments,

and to attempt to navigate the Arctic in this way is






orientation, if it comes at all,

wells up suddenly from deep inside the caverns of your heart,  

trapped in bubbles of a breath you did not know you were holding,

tightly pressed into a history of which you did not know you were a part.



the history is


shining cerulean blue,

revealed slowly…

backlit from an ancient

and ever-present sun.


these churches of water are the steadied hands of God

gently rested on cold, dark soil;

with eyes closed and palms down,

They slowly feel the texture of the earth as They move past…


reading the collective story like braille…


urgently committing the story to memory


for once They reach the sea,

Their bodies give way –

and the memories

are forgotten.





I do not blame Them for wanting revenge.


out beyond the distance of this icy heaven

is a world that is winding to a feverous pitch.

the orgiastic, sultry writhing of humanity’s consumption

has left its



on everything it touches.


in slow rotation, bright lights are kept on as darkness falls.


colors bleed into one another, and because of one another.


our purpose is to forget,

to feel less than,

to desire more.


our unvocalized and agreed-upon pursuit

is to constantly empty ourselves,

and yet loathe the emptiness.


attention does not exist.


it is constantly severed into pieces

by alerts,


shiny bright packaging

and carefully worded promises.


if there is a slight pause

that could be pregnant with a noble purpose,

it is quickly aborted

and swept away

in a rogue wave of distraction.




if there is a memory of one’s ancestry

– the Earthian birthright that holds one’s place in a cacophony of evolved co-existence –

it is sutured shut


by the sticky paste of consumer culture.


do not allow the void to be there;

the next moment holds a solution,

wrapped in plastic for your protection.


borderless water hides the influence of madness that lurks in towering cities of mania.


the noise is deafening.

they are growls of hunger that cannot

– and will not –

be satiated.


as plastics drift to the basement of the coldest water world,

so too the Giants slide into the water beside them.


 and as They slowly sink,

Their collective bodies will rise,

drowning the world




yet unchosen



Hornsund . Svalbard, Norway. Arctic Circle Residency, 2019.

Hornsund. Svalbard, Norway. Arctic Circle Residency, 2019.