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Catullus 101

Multas per gentes et multa per aequora vectus

Carried through many nations and over many seas

advenio has miseras, frater, ad inferias,

I arrived, brother, for these wretched funeral rites

ut te postremo donarem munere mortis

So that I might present you with the last tribute of death

et mutam nequiquam alloquerer cinerem.

and speak in vain to silent ash,

Quandoquidem fortuna mihi tete abstulit ipsum.

Since fortune has carried away from me you in the flesh

Heu miser indigne frater adempte mihi,

Atlas, poor brother, unfairly taken away from me,

nunc tamen interea haec, prisco quae more parentum

now in the meantime, nevertheless, these things which in the ancient custom of ancestors

tradita sunt tristi munere ad inferias,

are handed over as a sad tribute to the rites

accipe fraterno multum manantia fletu,

receive, dripping much with brotherly weeping.

atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale.

And forever, brother, hail and farewell.

Adonais written by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Scott Base

Sea ice across the Lamarie Channel;
Coldest environ on south-polar land;
Osmosis reversed by working seabees;
Terra flow minus forty-five degrees;
Ten kilometers base camp from South Pole;

Bold Kiwis near Erebus roll out green plan
Across "White Continent" stuck on earth's tail;
Shackelton for Ross renewed energy;
Edmund Hillary liked the synergy.

© Paterika Hengreaves


This poem “Scott Base” was composed in Barbados on October 29, 2008 after taking a virtual trip to Antarctica. The virtual trip to Antarctic with a stop-over at Scott Base in its infancy motivated this Acrostic poem. The poem has pentameter verses with a rhyme scheme abccd abcc. The didactic thread in this Acrostic poem is about the early exploration of the South Pole from a bird’s eye view and in a nutshell.

New Zealand history asserts that under the overall command of the British explorer Dr Vivian Fuchs, Sir Edmund Hillary lead 18 members of a component of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, made up of five scientists from New Zealand in 1955-58. Sir Hillary on January 10, 1957 declared Scott Base open for scientific business. Sir Edmund Hillary who had come down from Mount Everest a little over three years was the first Kiwi to winter over at Scott Base, and the first Kiwi in the company of Derek Wright and Murray Ellis to reach Mount Erebus in Antarctica in a Ferguson tractor on January 20, 1958.

Scott Base is a research facility located in Antarctica and it is operated by New Zealand. It was named after Captain Robert Falcon Scott of the Royal Navy and leader of two British expeditions to the Ross Sea area of Antarctica. Located on Ross Island near Mount Erebus in New Zealand's Ross Dependency territorial claim, it was set up as support to field research and the centre for research into earth sciences, but now conducts research in many fields. It is made up of a collection of lime-green buildings which are linked by all-weather corridors. My research findings on Scott Base state that these buildings can accommodate eighty-five people during the Antarctic summer, and with a limited staff of between ten to fourteen people during the Antarctic winter.

Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton CVO, (Royal Victorian Order) OBE (Order of the British Empire) life on earth spanned 15 February 1874 to 5 January 1922. He was an Anglo-Irish explorer who was one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. His first experience of the Polar Regions was as a third officer on Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery Expedition, 1901-1904 from which he returned home early on health issues. So determined was he to erase this perceived personal failure, he returned to Antarctica in 1907 as head of the Nimrod Expedition. In January 1909 he and three companions made a southern march which established a record “Farthest South” (term used to denote the most southerly latitudes reached by explorers before the conquest of the South Pole in 1911). Shackleton was knighted by King Edward VII on his return home for his achievement.

The race to the South Pole ended in 1912 with Roald Amundsen's conquest, so Shackleton turned his attention to what he said was the one remaining great object of Antarctic journeying--the crossing of the continent from sea to sea, via the pole. This expedition of his became known as the “Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-17.” Disaster struck this expedition when its ship, Endurance was trapped in pack ice and slowly crushed, this followed with a sequence of exploits, and ultimate escape with no lives lost, this cemented the heroic status on Shackleton.

In 1921 Shackleton returned to the Antarctic with the “Shackleton-Rowett Expedition”, intending to carry out a program of scientific and survey activities. However, before Shackleton could begin this work he died of a heart attack while his ship named the "Quest", was moored in South Georgia. At the request of his wife, Shackleton was buried in South Georgia. Previously, South Georgia had been governed as part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies. Argentina claimed South Georgia in 1927. South Georgia is still being claimed by Argentina. They based such claim to South Georgia on the fact that Argentine forces contributed to the 1982 Falklands War.

The poem makes mention of Ross alluding to Sir James Clark Ross born in London on 15 April 1800 and died at the age of sixty-one. He was a British naval officer and explorer. He explored the Arctic but is known more for his expeditions in Antarctica. Between 1839 and 1843 Ross commanded an Antarctic expedition comprising the vessels HMS Erebus and HMS Terror and charted much of the coastline of the continent.

Mount Erebus and Mount Terror were named after the vessels HMS Erebus and HMS Terror under the command of Sir James Clark Ross used in the 1838 and 1843 Antarctic expedition that mapped much of the coastline of Antarctica. Mount Erebus is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, which includes over 160 active volcanoes. Ross Island (Antarctic Peninsula) is named after James Clark Ross; so too is the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf of Antarctica. Most of Ross Ice Shelf is located within the Ross Dependency claimed by New Zealand; it was set up as support to field research and the centre for research into earth sciences, but now conducts research in many fields.

Without a doubt, the world has come to embrace and to respect the pioneers of Antarctica. Transport on the continent of Antarctica has transformed from explorers crossing the isolated remote area of the South Pole on foot to a more open area due to human technologies enabling more convenient and faster transport by land and predominantly by air and water. The use of huskies to pull researchers and sledges has been banned on objections that huskies are an alien species to Antarctica and menace to wildlife as super-predators.


Bob McKerrow said...

An enjoyable read Paterika. Antarctica needs more poetry.

Warm wishes.


Ruahines said...

Kia ora Paterika,
Very lovely, New Zealand does have a rich connection to the history of this place. I am currently reading the book Scott and Amundsen so this is a very timely poem for me to read! Have an awesome day.

Bob McKerrow said...

Dear Paterika

I came back again to look at this posting as Antarctica is near and dear to me. This is an excellent posting. I posted an article on my blog last night about the four NZers who died in the line of duty in Antarctica. Warm regards, Bob

PATERIKA HENGREAVES, Poet Laureate said...

Hi Bob

Thank you for your comment on this post and for alerting me about your post on Scott Base, Antarctica and which I have read. Your back-page reporting is front-page news for me and so very informative. You have placed a human face on Antarctica. I'm sad at reading about those kiwis who died from accidents on Ross Island while they were carrying out both important preparatory and complementary work to further the goals of NZARP. They deserve more than a footnote. In my book they rank among the heroes of Antarctica.


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In plenty and in time of need
When this fair land was young
Our brave forefathers sowed the seed
From which our pride was sprung
A pride that makes no wanton boast
Of what it has withstood
That binds our hearts from coast to coast
The pride of nationhood


We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great
Strict guardians of our heritage
Firm craftsmen of our fate

The Lord has been the people's guide
For past three hundred years.
With Him still on the people's side
We have no doubts or fears.
Upward and onward we shall go,
Inspired, exulting, free,
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity.


We loyal sons and daughters all
Do hereby make it known
These fields and hills beyond recall
Are now our very own
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great
Strict guardians of our heritage
Firm craftsmen of our fate

The tree that gave Barbados its name

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Sample Didactic Poems

Didactic Poetry is intended to convey instruction and
information as well as pleasurable reading. It can assume
the mode and features of imaginative works by infusing knowledge in a variety of forms such as dramatic poetry, satire, parody, among others. There is the popular view that allegory, aphorisms, apologues, fables, gnomes and proverbs are specific types of Didactic Poetry because of their close affinity.

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National Anthems of New Zealand

Anthem 1

Māori Version

E Ihowā Atua,
O ngā iwi mātou rā
Āta whakarangona;
Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau tō atawhai;
Manaakitia mai

Ōna mano tāngata
Kiri whero, kiri mā,
Iwi Māori, Pākehā,
Rūpeke katoa,
Nei ka tono ko ngā hē
Māu e whakaahu kē,
Kia ora mārire

Tōna mana kia tū!
Tōna kaha kia ū;
Tōna rongo hei pakū
Ki te ao katoa
Aua rawa ngā whawhai
Ngā tutū e tata mai;
Kia tupu nui ai

Waiho tona takiwā
Ko te ao mārama;
Kia whiti tōna rā
Taiāwhio noa.
Ko te hae me te ngangau
Meinga kia kore kau;
Waiho i te rongo mau

Tōna pai me toitū
Tika rawa, pono pū;
Tōna noho, tāna tū;
Iwi nō Ihowā.
Kaua mōna whakamā;
Kia hau te ingoa;
Kia tū hei tauira;

English Version

God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific's triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.

Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our free land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And corruption guard our state,
Make our country good and great,
God defend New Zealand.

Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
But, should foes assail our coast,
Make us then a mighty host,
God defend our free land.
Lord of battles in Thy might,
Put our enemies to flight,
Let our cause be just and right,
God defend New Zealand.

Let our love for Thee increase,
May Thy blessings never cease,
Give us plenty, give us peace,
God defend our free land.
From dishonour and from shame,
Guard our country's spotless name,
Crown her with immortal fame,
God defend New Zealand.

May our mountains ever be
Freedom's ramparts on the sea,
Make us faithful unto Thee,
God defend our free land.
Guide her in the nations' van,
Preaching love and truth to man,
Working out Thy glorious plan,
God defend New Zealand.

Anthem 2

God Save the Queen

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save The Queen.
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save The Queen.

O Lord our God, arise,
Scatter our enemies,
And make them fall;
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks;
On thee our hopes we fix:
God save us all.

Thy choicest gifts in store
On her be pleased to pour,
Long may she reign.
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice,
God save The Queen.

Note: The second verse of 'God Save The Queen' is commonly omitted.

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