What would you do if you have to spend more than a year in an isolated place? Overwinterers at SANAE and on Marion and Gough Island tried their hand at writing poems. On World Poetry day I had a look at the poems that were preserved on the digital archive of the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa and below I share a few excerpts with you, (click on the link to read the full poem).
“In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind. Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.”
YOU WILL SURVIVE - Thabelo You will survive In that freezing Island, far from us but very close to your loneliness. Just close your eyes & know that u need me to survive. In those chilly weathers during those usual snowy, rainy and in the middle of coldness day. When it is very windy, always remember, u need me TO SURVIVE! !...... BERGY BITS AND GROWLERS LA MONTENARA - CF Wagner Oor die wit vlak waar dit wyd is, Lê die berge breed en blink, Wyl hul in die aandson skitter En jou daarheen naderwink. Van waar Krylen soos 'n seekoei Tussen skeure opwaarts beur, Tot waar Y-berg hoog en puntig Hom aan tyd en mens nie steur. Troon die pieke van Snokallen En spierwit Snokjerringa Oor die uitgestrekte landskap Van ons skoon Antarktika. En hier duskant in die leegte, Pas by Dassiekop verby, Lyk die wereld soos 'n braakland lê krewasse ry op ry. Links om Leeuwkop loop die roete Stadig suidwaarts, stygend, steil, Oor die blou ys, ……..
In a subsequent humorous voyage report in the form of a long poem, second engineer
Philip Gillon wrote:
On the second day things took a turn for the worse, The port main engine fuel pipe decided to burst ... The waves were so high that they came down the funnel. Ran out the crank-case doors and into the shaft tunnel. Monday started off fine with only a black-out or two, And finding out that the best way to shower.....
MARION JULY 1966 - Jim Lilly On Marion one wet and stormy Sunday night, The wind was blowing with all its might. When for some reason James awoke, To find his room filled with smoke, Rushing out there met his gaze, The most fearful thing - the place ablaze. Without the time to don more attire, He ran along and shouted fire!!! This awoke Braam and his crew,.....
Images on ALSA Archive, copyright to Adriaan Dreyer, Henry Valentine, Julius Klette, Christiaan Brink, Will Jelbert