Dark Depths

Filippo on the rear sledge could just make out Laurence walking alongside the front sledge seen dimly through the fog-like drift. He says it reminds him of a foggy day in London and pictures to himself great buildings just without the range of view.

Un soir de demi-brume à Londres
Un voyou qui ressemblait à
Mon amour …

One night of spindrift fog in London
a boyo who was the dead spit …

To die in the dark depths. I was playing with that thought, that strangely voluptuous thought, as we marched along. Anything – death, deeps, darkness – to get out of this wind. Sometimes I think I’ll walk with a stoop for the rest of my life, so accustomed have I become to that constant drag, that violence, like a body-buffet, every step of the way.

The dogs began to bark as they sensed a crevasse ahead. It was shortly after taking my noon sights, and I thought little of it, merely turning the runners sideways to present the longest transverse angle. I shouted back to Laurence to watch out, then headed on over the wind-impacted ice, that polished rink of randomness which has been collecting here since the age of the dinosaurs. Strange, really, to think that these ice-caves have been here, unchanged in all essentials, since before man walked upright on the surface of the earth. Unchanged, unseen – waiting. For what? We cannot but be the first to walk here.

Mon amour vint à mon rencontre
Et le regard qu’il me jeta
Me fit …

… of my lost leader Shackleton
came up and took a look at it

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