I was recently back home and going through some boxes I had stored away. I found this poem I had written back when I was working in McMurdo Station, Antarctica. For me it was a dream job. To this day, I would return in a minute if conditions were right. I spent 8 years working with some of the best people I have ever known. I am fortunate to still maintain relationships with some of my friends from that time. Antarctica is not for everyone but for those who have been there and know what I mean, it has a special grasp on you. It touches you in a way not many things can. It will stay with you and haunt you for the rest of your life.
Many of the photographs I shot while there were with film and slides and in the future I will scan them in and post some here. For the time being, this poem will have to do. I wrote it in the Antarctic winter of 1999. Antarctica is known for it’s storms. This poem is about the power and vastness of Antarctica. Hope you like it.
No earth, no sky–
Bathed in a snowy shroud,
Just the orchestra
of the wind and snow
playing to the tempest of the ice.
She crashes down upon you
with the force of a thousand explosions.
The bone jarring cold seizes your breath,
you know not where you are going,
nor where you have been.
Surrounded by darkness
engulfed by wind
she plays her symphony like a million times before.
To her heart’s content she howls and screams,
driving the cold deeper in you, penetrating like a knife.
Relentless enough to carve stone into sand
cold enough to freeze air, sea and land
Raging into nothingness
at last, all becomes quiet.
Richard Owens Jr.