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Posing for the camera’s long exposure,

his right foot firmly on the sledge, in bone

numbing, heart contracting temperatures,

was perhaps what brought that look into Scott’s eyes.

And the eyes always have it: his say,

I do not want to be here. Maybe that’s

twenty-twenty hindsight since we know

how it ends, with all the heroes dead.


Once this seemed to me a simple tale

of jingoism, derring do, class and

sacrifice, a prequel to The Somme.

Now, it’s all about him. That look speaks

of the loneliness of leadership,

the courage of enduring duty.

He was the last to die; his log’s last entry,

‘For God’s sake look after our people!’;

the last he saw of the world the tent’s

beating canvas lashed by the howling wind.




Note: The poem was first published in A JAR OF STICKLEBACKS –


© Copyright David Selzer

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