|Iceberg off Snow Hill Island. Photo by Frank Krahmer/Corbis.|
I've been working on a collection of explorer poems for some time now. This week I re-read Elizabeth Bradfield's marvelous collection, Approaching Ice. It's a beautiful book about explorers throughout history who have ventured toward polar ice. Here are a few excerpts to whet your appetite for more.
from "Polar Explorer Ernest Shackleton (1922)"
We all have unexplained rhythms
and echoes inside the still-mysterious landscape
of our chests. The heart's slight variations of tick and tock.
That smooth ticking of reels, regular
and anticipated, unlike
the unrhythms slap of halyards or
of the snap of a hull's planks and ribs
within a clench of ice.
from "Why They Went"
Frost bitten. Snow blind. Hungry. Craving
fresh pie and hot toddies, a whole roasted
unflippered thing to carve. Craving a bed
that had, an hour before entering,
been warmed with a stone from the hearth.
from "Bowditch as First Discovery, First Exloration"
I turned always to the star charts:
White scatter on a dark blue circle.
Transparent sheets to story
the scatter with lines.