Elephant Island, Antarctica

Shackleton’s men
twenty-two in number
left behind to wait . . .
in this ice-clad
god-forsaken
frozen hell.

Desperate human spirits
battled Nature’s fury,
trespassers
upon her frozen soul.

Weeks on end
they dared to hope,
‘midst wind-blasted anguish
fear, hunger,and numbing cold.

Eyes blurred
by snow-mass glare,
stared beyond roiling seas.
Barely saw the shape emerge.

Eyes opened wide and wider still
watched it grow.
Frozen limbs sluggishly awoke
began to stretch . . .

Arms began to stiffly wave . . .
reaching higher, then higher still.
Slowly first, then slowly faster . . .
quickened to a frantic pace.

Raspy voices strained with hope
hoarsely yelled . . .
then shouted to unforgiving peaks.
‘Tis the Captain, our compass true!

History writ that day
etched in frozen tears.
Defined by return to home
from frozen end of earth.

Photo from yesterday’s visit to Elephant Island with reference to Shackleton’s Antarctica Expedition on the aptly named ship, Endurance – one of the greatest tales of endurance and survival in history.