This is a tent.
This is another tent, next to the first tent.
This is a bag full of urine.
This is the vast inconceivable.
This is a rock.
This is another rock.
These are the deposits of a long-vanished glacier.
The frigid wind, whistling over the frigid ice, passing over long
generations of mummified seals making their stealthy way from the sea,
has formed these rocks into the unearthly shapes we call “ventifacts”,
photographs of which form the bulk of my presentation today.
This is me.
This is Guido.
This is Guido, Nails and Barry.
Guido, Nails and Barry
are men with whom I will always share a special
This is Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
He wrote his famous poem “Ulysses” while visiting Antarctica
on the first “Artists in Antarctica” programme
with Bill Manhire, Chris Orsman and Nigel Brown.
(This is Bill Manhire, Chris Orsman and Nigel Brown.)
Alfred, Lord Tennyson inscribed his famous poem “Ulysses” on a cross
placed on Observation Hill by the survivors of Scott’s Polar Expedition of 1910-1912.
To read it, you need a magnifying glass
and an iron constitution.
This is the Polar Party.
These are the Polar Party’s drinks and nibbles.
The Polar Party went on till 5 a.m.,
then made camp. Scott opened his diary,
wishing, not for the first time,
that he had brought a pen.
Credit note: “Return to Nussbaum Riegel” was first published in Issue 14 of Interlitq, A New Zealand Literary Showcase. This issue has stories and poems by a wide range of New Zealand writers – it is well worth checking out.
“Return to Nussbaum Riegel” will also appear in my forthcoming poetry collection Men Briefly Explained.
Tim says: Nussbaum Riegel is a rocky transverse ridge in the centre of the Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. The Dry Valleys have been among the main subjects of the New Zealand Antarctic research programme.
You can read all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog – the featured poem is on the centre of the page, and the week’s other poems are linked from the right-hand column.