fat puffed out protective body suits
                        dive and eat  dive and eat
                    into shrinking hole in sea ice shelf
                        frozen fresh water lake

                 trek trek waddle waddle body sled
                        flop onto belly
                        leathery feet
                        saving vital energy for
                        hundred mile migration
                        to ice ravine shelter

                 circular colony of tuxedoed torsos
                        eggs laid   held on feet
                               tucked under eiderdown belly flaps
                 group rotating
                        from sheltered inside
                        to windbreak outside
                 all penguins get a turn
                        protected  protector

                 eggs passed from partner to partner
                        gingerly  carefully
                 certain frozen death on icy ground
                        females trek miles to ice shelf edge
                 in leopard seal ocean  for food
                        then back  if lucky

                 hatched chicks become huge puffballs
                        shelter under flap
                        on parental feet
                               in circling flock
                 precarious chick exchange
                        on females return
                               raucous communication
                        regurgitation into gaping beaks

                 months pass  blizzards finally lift
                        orphaned chicks struggle 
                        battle elements  avian predators
                               for dubious survival

                 colony sets out
                 long waddle waddle   trek trek  body sled
                        to closer thawed sea ice shelf
                               to ocean playground

                         (C) Copyright Jud House 19/10/2006

                                   * * * * *



Ice vice grip crunching ship  “Boss?”
all off can’t stay  sled towards land
take boats  ice impassable  “Boss?”
camp on flow drift towards supply base
pass too far away  supplies gone
seal penguin stew soup all gone  “Boss?”

husky stew soup  farewell true friends  sickly sadness
flow splitting  “Boss?”
boats row against huge seas
to Elephant Island  stay here  “Boss?”
six struggle sixteen days to Georgia whaling station
wrong side  “Boss?”

climb mountains rope coil sled  down
fog fear  cuts bruises  fatigue hunger
“Know me?”  “Shackleton?” disbelief
collect men  three attempts  three months
“You, Boss?” still all there
safely home.

 (C)  Copyright Jud House  28/08/2006

* * * * *