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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Antarctic Poetry School

Historically, the absence
of even one writer

has been the least
of the Antarctic School’s worries.

Is its hallmark cool tone
sustainable in today’s climate?

I suspect not, though
the Old Antarctic

for ‘burning zeal’ is ‘thin ice,
beware’ and ‘splash, ha ha’.

Most traditional verse forms
are too complex to have been ever attempted.

Prizes are often awarded
but their recipients seldom informed.

Resentment of the more glamorous
South Georgia School runs high.

Poems break off daily and float
in the general direction of Chile.

Solitaries are demagogues
and demagogues solitaries.

Annual poetry sales, it must
be said, never dip, not a unit.

Penguins are rarely mentioned
for fear of obviousness

though the albatross, where encountered,
is a symbol for penguins,

and the elephant seal
a symbol for the albatross.

The local note
is especially prized

on condition
that nobody strike it.

Another glacier

goes off to the most
wonderful splash.

Do you have this typeface
in white, please?

There is, between all
local dialects,

one word for snow
and that word is ‘snow’.


sean lysaght said...

I remember seeing an advert for a Literary Bursary, funded by the British Antarctic Survey, to allow a writer to spend time at a research station - the South Pole? - and develop some work on the antarctic experience. Perhaps the result was silence, an emphatic refusal to distrub the pristine emptiness.

puthwuth said...

Not quite silence, I fear, as the fine young English poet Melanie Challenger has, I know, visited Antarctica, perhaps even courtesy of the bursary you mention.

Anonymous said...

Bill please!