It is here we kept the whales at bay,
Here we built a home not a hut,
Hung and painted and decorated it
With memory and a little hope.
Around it we dug a warren
Into the moving ice, a maze of
Practicalities to guard our spirits,
To appease the gods of lethargy.
We grew up with the cold in our
Icy cities, in the mountains, each
Year more winter than summer,
Lives lived with the seasons.
Here we were happy, mostly,
In our home from home, our
Norwegian haven, the scent of
Coffee and baking always in the air.
This was our light in the storms
Of darkness, a sanctuary never to
be invaded by melancholy or grief,
Somewhere to return to at the very end.
We left it twice; once to conquer, and
Then never to see it again. It is
In our nature to be practical and
Sentimental in the same breath.
The sea took it and we never grieved.
From K175 – Antarctic Fragments
Dead Men, my debut novel about Scott and Amundsen is published by Duckworth on 19th March 2012. I will be giving a lecture on the book at the Natural History Museum on 15th March 2012 at 14:30, followed by a book signing.
For more information, check out www.tettig.com