First Ice

Voyage to the great south

a thousand miles of turbulent sea,

Drake's Passage a roar of wind

below Cape Horn.


Looking out for the first ice

all day the waves get colder,

past the Convergence

seamen's showers now.


Icy flecks on a freezing sea

brash ice towards evening

ghost islands white

in the distant haze.


Berg cliffs huge and towering

taller than the ship

waves slap slap

below compacted snow.


A breath of the freezer

touches the heart,

no human world we're coming to -

ice rimmed planet now


Physics and chemistry all askew

everything new

boggling the imagination

as the approach to the Moon must do.


We're coming in

coming in -

Steady as she goes.