Three bodies were discovered, frozen in their tent, by a rescue party in November 1912.
A makeshift cross was put in place, the tent was collapsed over its occupants and a cairn erected.
This poem was delivered at November’s Open Mic event which took place at La Villette Hotel in St Martin and was inspired by a conversation with fellow-poet, Gordon, during the interval at a previous Open Mic event.
MEN IN ICE
Three figures, shrouded by a broken tent,
lie, curled like question marks, in icy death.
A group of living men
with breaths, collectively, like exhaled ghosts,
pronounce for them a brief but solemn prayer
and execute one last salute,
then leave departing footprints in fresh snow.
A century of change occurs.
Two great wars come.
Prayers seem a waste of effort.
Man strives for planets not for poles.
Sons become fathers, grandfathers, then dust.
Scott, Bowers, Wilson, shrouded still,
lie frozen in Antarctica,
as far from home as any man can be.
Entombed in ice, preserved
unchanged, they seem to sleep.
Amidst the floating bergs
a massive silence rings.