Antarctica, 2018 (Photo by Juliet Gerrard, the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor)

The Friday Poem: Antarctica, by Bronte Heron

A new poem from Wellington poet Bronte Heron.


All I think about here is
colour, which must be proof that
things matter more when they are
scarce. We know ourselves by what
is not white: our bright orange
jackets, the green fuel bladders,
the blue tarps that cover the
machinery. The threat of
disappearance is constant
so the rule is to always
have a buddy. I stay close
to my mother while she works,
drilling deep into the ice,
white piled on top of itself.

We came as aliens to
unfold ourselves in this place,
foreign even to each other
under so many layers.
Keeping warm in this climate
is hard; we have to forget
our memories of comfort.
Cold is slow duty. We peel
ourselves off in doorways and
tend carefully to wet feet.
Evenings are spent planning
the events of tomorrow.

The ice drift creeps towards us
while we sleep in compact huts,
pushing us in increments
towards the frigid coastline.
By morning the flags that line
the camp are almost buried.
I watch them flutter from my
window like small, bright warnings.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again soon.

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