Cold! Cold! Totally cold! Colder than Alaska or Siberia;
Colder than the North Pole; cold like a frozen soul
You are, oh age-old Antarctica.
Measureless and empty plains with silences as white and deep as death
Descended on me there, and frost besieged the air
From rocks of ice around Antarctica.
Dark and shapeless were the nights while somewhere deep in space, the Milky Way
Rose beaming like the dawn, but never would the sun,
And I withdrew behind Antarctica.
Warm…warm…lovely warm…warmer than the Congo, Spain or India…
Warmer than a bonfire has been my old desire
For always green, tropical Trinidad.
Riverbanks and stars arise, despite the walls of ice I once evoked
Around Antarctica as I am reaching for
My always green, tropical Trinidad.
Oh, there’s the warmth of old in newfound Trinidad.
Royal are the palm trees, timeless in the evening breeze
In always green, tropical Trinidad.
Long ago there was a time my heart was helpless in Antarctica
With blizzards all about, where life was but a shout
Across a desolate Antarctica.
Dim is the light on snowy nights when I remember old Antarctica.
The cold is in my past because I changed at last,
And so did you, oh old Antarctica.
Warm is the light on starry nights, shining over Trinidad.
The warmth within her lovely name has now become a joyful flame
Around my soul, my age-old Trinidad.
The poem “Antarctica” begins with an exploration of geographical extremes, from the ice and cold of Antarctica to the greenness and warmth of Trinidad. But as we move with the poet deeper into his poem, we notice that terrestrial geography becomes a metaphor for exploring his geography of the soul.
—James L. Shead, technical writer, retired, Certified Divine Mother Healer
View a video of an earlier version of this poem performed on stage with dancers, keyboard music and the author reciting his poem at this link.