Posted in Antarctica

In Character

He was a serious man
but difficult to take seriously.
He was an intelligent man
who looked stupid.
He was diligent and shy
both were confounding – seemed wrong
as if he had appropriated another’s character.
His gait was rolling, almost clumsy
that fitted
it would have been
if he had been his look-alike – Fred Flintstone.

He was in charge for winter
200 people
living at the edge of the world
sustained by engineered umbilicals.
It could blow anywhere- any time
then 200 would have to take to the trenches
it weighed on him – What if?

Whenever he rang
and worry catalysed frequent phone calls
“yabba a dabba doo,” would ring out in the background
a chorus
the recipient communicating
in laughter suppressed gulps
y . . . esss sir. . . n. . . oo. . .I’ll g. . . .ett onnn t. . . oo . . . . it.

It was called CAP.
No one could remember the precise translation
the old timers said it was an acronym
that it stood for Command Advance Programme.
It was for exemplary actions – not uncommon in the military
instant promotion –“ just add water,” the old hands said.

Winter Over was a command
each command entitled to one CAP
no questions asked – Commanding Officer’s discretion
use or lose
the CO did – to promote himself.
Perhaps he really was Fred Flintstone.

For the back story click Backstage



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.

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