Explorers, Antarctica, 1901 – Pam Thompson

Explorers, Antarctica, 1901

The leader sits on the sledge.
He never does this.
It’s against the rules of the expedition
but now there are no rules.

Two huskies – the two
remaining huskies, they ate the rest –
sit either side like imperial lions.

The ship is stuck in frozen waves.
The crew are starving or dead
but this photo will be evidence
that they reached their destination.

The photographer in the black hood.
Stepping back. Pulling the cord. The flash.

Pam Thompson is a writer and lecturer based in Leicester. Her publications include The Japan Quiz ( Redbeck Press, 2009) and Show Date and Time (Smith | Doorstop, 2006) and Strange Fashion (Pindrop Press, 2017). She is a 2019 Hawthornden Fellow.

Sonnet for the Lost Girls from School – Pam Thompson

Sonnet for the Lost Girls from School

Awake, I think of Julia Pearce,
and her father – his bad moods, his prosthetic eye,

the way she made herself faint at break time, and worse,
how she hated me; the reasons why.

As the storm acts up, I put her in the maze at Wistow,
measuring corn with a retractable tape.

Near a space where seeds haven’t grown
I pull on her hood, switch on her torch and let her stoop

there, but not for long, in just this type of weather.
I see her smile that isn’t really a smile

as if she’s woken, or come round, to gather
thoughts of what? her car, parked nearby? I’ll watch for a mile

or so before she breaks down and I zoom out
of the rain, into sleep that’s disturbing and torchlit.


Pam Thompson is a poet and educator based in Leicester. Her publications include The Japan Quiz ( Redbeck Press, 2009) and Show Date and Time (Smith | Doorstop, 2006) and Strange Fashion (Pindrop Press, 2017). Pam is a 2019 Hawthornden Fellow.

 Web-site pamthompsonpoetry@wordpress.com