INTER NIVES ANTARCTICAS ON AVON

There is sympathetic magic between
Robert Falcon Scott and his statue by the Avon –
frozen stiff and rimed white, absurd as
a waddling tuxedo, a Shetland pony at the pole,
or Bertie Wooster with subzero glacial aunts
on a Boys’ Own adventure that ended badly
when the tea  finally froze solid inter nives Antarcticas.
We all freeze sometimes, sooner or later,
and at the end – a metaphor for unrequited love
for a continent rather than the women
who fell so easily for his shtick and heart-shaped
pendants of polished, black polar rock. His wife
the sculptress, turned a blind eye, erected a titan.
Scott looks disappointed that he has only made it as far
as the corner of Worcester and Oxford Streets
in dowdy, dowager Christchurch, New Zealand,
still some way short of the moral Antarctic Circle,
but forever England,

sort of.

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