How to Pack for Iceland – a poem by Sara Letourneau

How to Pack for Iceland

Leave the umbrella at home.
The wind there has a will of its own,
and you might not want to tempt it.

Plan to dress in layers.
How else can one prepare
for the unpredictable?

Waterproof your body
in duck down and feathers
and a tortoise shell of nylon.

Your feet will want hearths as well,
so give them shoes to keep them warm and dry,
with cushioned midsoles for support.

Don’t forget the usual necessities:
your passport, your phone, a granola bar,
a change of clothes in your carry-on.

Most importantly,
make room for the things
you won’t expect to bring home:

fistfuls of fresh air, wild and pristine,
deep breaths of black sand and lava salt,
the music of geysers and vast countryside,

rhapsodic rivers and vacillating sky,
singing themselves into your belongings and
spreading like incense smoke once the suitcase is open.

Last but not least, take a selfie before departure
so you can compare it with the one you take
upon your return.


Sara Letourneau is a poet, freelance editor / writing coach, and columnist at the writing resource website DIY MFA. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in Muddy River Poetry Review, Canary, The Curry Arts Journal, Soul-Lit, Eunoia Review, Underground Voices, and elsewhere. She lives in Massachusetts.


  1. johntshea says:

    Good advice for any trip this time of the year! Particularly the granola bar. Iceland sounds primeval.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Poems by Richard Green says:

    Wonderful poem. You should always bring back more than you take. Empty your suitcase and fill it with air.

    Liked by 3 people

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