Monday, 17 June 2019

The Never Ending Night

Today we had a record 11 people at Writing Group, if it get's any bigger we'll need an extension! The theme today is Antarctica and the concept of a never ending night. In winter it gets dark earlier everywhere, but in Antarctica it is dark all the time. Our first challenge was to respond to the idea of 'The Never Ending Night' with a poem. Next we assumed the role of an explorer or worker based in Antarctica and wrote a fictional letter home.


Black canvas
Dark night
Swirling aurora
Clouds obscure
Perpetually temporary

- Pauline


Darkness, sun hiding, people using artificial light,
indoors, outdoors, penguins for company.
A few people manning the station.
Antarctica in winter,
temperatures well below zero,
all day, all night.

Lose your bearings, day or night,
it doesn't matter, check the 24 hour clock.
Working outside by moonlight,
by starlight, doing your chores.

Inside the station you still sleep,
eat, play games, do activities.
Contact outside by satellite,
can't get through in blizzards.

A handful of crew for company,
hope that you all get on, tough if you don't,
you are all together for the winter months,
Vitamin D, fruit, veges are necessary for your health.

Artificial light is not the same as sunlight.
Snow mobiles, skiing, no more huskies at base, all electric.
No pets, no supermarkets, no children,
not much left, just survival.

- Gail


No light
No signs of life.

I am alive
(I think)
Or am I?

I must be alive
I feel pain
Physical pain from the cold
Emotional pain from the nothingness.

Is this some sort of purgatory?
That gap between death and whatever happens next
If indeed there is a next.

- Christine


Hunkered down, shoulder by shoulder
Beaks low, eyes closed
The wind howls by as we stand en masse
and the darkness grows

Like one giant creature we flow together, Rotate
away the coldest point,  Stand in the lee
of our tight-feathered community
And about us only darkness

About, the gale whines and roars
Above, the blackest clouds
Around, the dark intense

And cold, and ice, and chill

- Kate Jenkins


I was created in the darkness when there was no form,
The deep made me in the night,
When it comes to beginnings, I was first
I was a continent, a land mass, 17,000 years in the making, so I’m told
The structuring of my financial infrastructure, is my DNA
I was formed in the secret parts of the universe
Today I am still here
My name is unchanged
I am a famous landmark

- Haki Davis 


I felt the ice
Fall off the end of the world
And the dark without light

I saw the empty trail
Forests longed for
Up over the hill and down
to fetch the pail from the windowsill

Here such descriptions fail
The morphing of the unfamiliar land
And the absence of life seems to derail my mind
The curves support an empty nihilism
And ice
frosts over the water to stop people setting sail

This emptiness, this cold, seems a collision of ideals
Emotions in my mind
I feel the ice
It is not nice
There is no trace of mind there
And I think it’s only fair
To leave myself to space and fear
As a decision to confine myself
That I am here to remind myself
That ice and only ice
Is not existence but
a dissonance
Is felt
A sense of human fleeting from the South

Ice and only ice is there

- Dylan Anderson


Dear ____

The sun has set for the last time. I will not see it again for another six months.
This feels very strange and I am afraid. Will I go mad? So much darkness surely can`t be good for one?! Six days seems like an eternity. An eternity of darkness.

On further reflection, there is still much to explore in the dark. It will be an inward time of eating, sleeping, staying still, writing. Finding the limits and the freedoms within and hoping not to go mad in the process.

love from ____

- Pauline


Hi Dan

One month gone and ok so far.  There’s only 8 of us here this season, and Scott Base is locked down. 

Bernhardt is a bit of a nutter, keeps everyone else wound up.  He has a permit for taking atmospheric measurements and insists on going outside to take his own instead of using the digital data – on low-med wind days at least.  He barely makes it back in the doors sometimes.  One of these days he’s going to collapse completely; we’re all hoping he doesn’t do it outside.  He’s from CantyU, one of the geophys lab lads; from Austria originally.

Dom, Mike and Barry pretty much keep to themselves.  They run the particulates lab and have been getting exciting results.  Their exterior sampler has stood up to the wind gusts so far.  They should all last the distance.  Working with Prof Thomas from Geology.

Cam seems to read the old newspapers all the time.  He’s some sort of psychologist, here to study us rather than the penguins.  “Professional Isolates” is what we are apparently.  Can’t help it that Antarctica is days from everywhere.  He’s ok to chat with though; a cricket geek, knocked up his first 100 in Feb.

Benji and Marko do ice studies.  Race outside when the weather is ok, grab a bit then off into the freezer room to look down their microscopes.  Warmer in there than outside.

I’m off to check over the radios.  All working ok so far but some of the batteries need replaced, the cold can kill them bloody quickly.

Cheers, Steve

- Kate Jenkins

To whom it may concern

I feel as you yourself may, an absence.  Something that was there or perhaps wasn’t.  It might have been, had I stayed, something cold, something obliterated.  Something.  Your love.  Yes, that’s right, I do believe I was searching for your love.  Yes, your love would suffice.  But had I found it, a cruel fate I might have suffered.  A sting in the thumb, paralyzing, so when you lay there tonight, as you do, cling to your pillow, feel something real.  Exploration hidden only reveals that not hidden.  So feel driven to love, to lust, accordingly and morally as yourself.  And feel obliged to do what you do.  I know now, that miles away, my spawn cries.  And wails through that lovely nighttime estate but be not ashamed for everything in your life has weight, to reach out.  So reach out as a lover, feel something, but make it loud, and feel.  Feel the wind and take the clouds, for ice right now is only there, for me.  And accountable is only darkness, so why not feel and be ecstatic.  To whomever it may concern, feel pain.  To whom it may concern, be the woman I knew, that lived and loved.
To whom it may concern,

- Dylan Anderson

To my loving wife,
This is my last diary entry
There is not enough food
And sombre is the mood.
If we are to survive
my dear wife,
it will be
without me.
My next step may help my crew
We are so cold we're turning blue.
These are my last words,
said with a forced smile.
"I'm going outside,
I may be a while."

- Phillip Porteous

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