Had Charles Dickens got to Antarctica
he might have sound bitten the contradictions
as the best of places and
the worst places. It was.
Beautiful and ugly,
abstemious and concupiscent,
expansive and close minded,
but there was a moral code – of sorts
not entirely hard and fast, except for trips.
The South Pole, The Dry Valleys
the glacier field camps
all needed fuel and food
all accessible only by air
flights sometimes had space not bequeathed
room for one or two sightseers
a day out,
at the bottom of the world.
Rule number 1 – inviolable
all trips to be balloted
names + hat + chance – already have = the chosen one.
He said he knew that
but this was different
a personal invitation,
reward for helping him get things done
he was speaking as the welfare officer
when asked to go beyond, I had.
He repeats his offer
I repeat my conditional acceptance
tell him of our accord –
all for one, and one for all
he says that’s very commendable
“no, …… you’ll find out.”