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Thursday, 10 November 2011


Tempus Fugit is my tribute to Lawrence Oates, Explorer, he died on 16th March 1912, his body lies lost on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica. 

Ice wing eagle.
Threadbare time. 
Seeking sifting sky.
Ancient observing eye. 

Titus Oates was known for the manner of his death, when he walked from a tent into a snow storm, with the immortal line " I am just going outside and may be some time".

Bruised feet. Clouded hope.
Doves ring change.
Loves lost. Perils path.
Flaming soaring Seraph. 

Within this poem, I used eagle symbology to convey spiritual significance, comfort and protection against the elements.  

Mantel clock. Frozen time.
Watchman, why ye sleep?
Hours collapse. Death behoves. 
Glacier cracks and moves. 

To communicate the lengthening of time, a frozen clock face contrasts with the surreal image of Dali's "Persistence of memory" melting pocket watch. John Charles Dollman's painting "A very Gallant Gentleman" perfectly encapsulates Oates self sacrifice, as he steps out of the tent into white oblivion.

Soaring o’er gardens fair.
Dew drops kiss honey suckle.
Queen bee hums. Summer glory.
Armour knights. Valour story.

In this verse, as succour to his physical and mental suffering, I allude to Rupert Brooke's (1887-1915) "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester", extract as follows:-  

Stands the Church clock at ten to three? 
And is there honey still for tea?

Ascent to mountain eyrie.
Soul doth seek right of way.
Blizzard clears. Celestial flight.
Guided t’wards Heaven’s shining light. 

The final verse achieves completion. The eagle is reunited with Oates and together they soar across  Antarctica's blank canvas, before their final ascent to a place of eternal peace. Light melts ice.



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