Thanks to Crow at Words and Feathers (click link to join in!) for hosting this terrific platform for sharing our creativity. Here is my contribution. It is rather bleak, but when I look out at the miserable day outside here, it seems very appropriate. The quality is down to my HP laptop and Windows 10. I apologize for this.
A soul-compass, something inside—
(sane, or insane?)
drove them down
to the bottom of the world.
They would glide in their hard-hulled boats—Astrolabe,
until the ice locked them in.
Damned, on guano-beaches;
the sun (that infernal sun!) bleached their skin—
their lashes. The ashes of dead fires
told sad tales of meagre feasts.
Black and white sea-beasts broke the ice,
eager for their next meal.
Was it all real?
They waited: sheltered,
from the blowing wind,
under the belly of a life-boat—
surrounded by bloated seals, blood and after-birth,
Only the ghosts can tell us why they had to go;
how that drag, on the compass-needle could draw
them south to their destinies
I wonder, do modern ice men
hear their voices in the gloom,
when they lie down