Iowa Writes

Daydreaming in Geology 103

Meeting an unclearly defined requirement
Marked by expectation and excitement,
You arrived at the Henson Science Building.
From a sheltered spot, you've gingerly seen
Unfamiliar geologic projections, filled with
Academic songs sung in a foreign accent.
Dazzling diamonds displayed on the screen
Come from the volcán's infernal sanctum.
Thousand feet rock beds thrust and fold
Into vagary valleys and majestic mountains.
Rivers take the least resistant path 'n' flow
Through rugged terrains and velvet plains.
There perched your infinite imagination
At the crooked pine on the Rocky Mountain.
Staring down the chasm of the Grand Canyon,
Looking up to the icy gleam of a cirrus ribbon,
You wondered how water, ice, rock, and wind
Tangle and mingle in nature's rhythm.
Vast 4.6 billion years passed before human.
Yet, human time ticked loudly in your brain.
Geologic ride is coming to an expected end.
The exotic songs no longer sound foreign.
On your next hike across streams 'n' mountains,
Your way of thinking will never be the same.

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting


Xingzhi Chen earned her PhD in geology from the University of Iowa. Currently, she is a professor at Salisbury University in Maryland.  She considers Iowa City her hometown in the U.S.

This page was first displayed
on March 31, 2010

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