A PHP Error was encountered

Severity: Notice - Message: Undefined index: HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE - Filename: config/config.php - Line Number: 585

THE INSTRUCTION OF CAPTAIN SCOTT (poem) - Sarah Howe - United Kingdom/China - Poetry International
 
Poetry International Web
en/nl
dutch news
previous | next
 
 
 

The instruction of Captain Scott
See now
            is the plateholder
quite snug? The light
            is not our only
challenge. Take off
            a glove then brush
your naked hand
            too near the lens
and instantly a scrim
            of frost descends
no mere rubbing can
            remove. Recall
a brass knob will burn
            unwary fingertips
like red-hot iron. Still
            cold is quickly
mastered; light less so. First
            insert the amber
filter: take the groove-
             etched rim, like this.
For unless viewed through
            a honey jar’s warm
this ice strafed moon-
            scape will tend
inexorably to blue. Only
            now draw out
the slide. Texture, man!
            D’you see it? That
play of bright white
            ridge, its shadowed
underside too coy
            almost to catch. Don’t
release the shutter –
            yet. Today the snow
seems practically
            transparent, no?
Patience, Captain.
            The true photographer
will in his very dreams
            calculate exposures.
One perfect morning I
            waited two whole hours
for a trio of cavorting
            penguins to exactly
echo the mountainside
            behind. Have you
checked the lens cap?
            Nothing is forgotten?
The men were donning
            their skins with a yawn
when at last I flung off
             my ice-fringed cloth
that long-hunched gloom
            like Jonah
spat out, a prophet, to the light. 

Editor's Note: Written as part of PN Review's Scott Polar Project: http://www.pnreview.co.uk/cgi-bin/scribe?item_id=9244