From "90 North"
By Randall Jarrell
At home, in my flannel gown, like a bear to its floe,
I clambered to bed; up the globe’s impossible sides
I sailed all night—till at last, with my black beard,
My furs and my dogs, I stood at the northern pole.
There in the childish night my companions lay frozen,
The stiff furs knocked at my starveling throat,
And I gave my great sigh; the flakes came huddling,
Were they really my end? In the darkness I turned to my rest.
—Here, the flag snaps in the glare and silence
Of the unbroken ice. I stand here,
The dogs bark, my beard is black, and I stare
At the North pole …
And now what? Why, go back.
Turn as I please, my step is to the south.
The world—my world spins on this final point
Of cold and wretchedness; all lines, all winds
End in this whirlpool I at last discover.