Jane Routh

Five Poems

Franklin, cryogenically preserved



Wake up, Sir John, and shape yourself.
Wherever they buried you, hacking
the permafrost, break out: it’s soft now.
Your passage is dark and open water.
August is gone, we’re into September
– and still no sea ice has returned.
You can open your eyes – there’s no
dazzle, no bright-reflecting ice:
the landscape’s mud-coloured.

It didn’t take long, what we’ve done.
Look among moss at your feet
– you financed botanic gardens,
you can work out what it means
that young shoots are covered in blackfly.
They say someone heard a robin sing
in Nunavat. On Baffin Island
what they call that landscape now
is our-friend-behaving-strangely.
















In 2007an entirely ice-free passage opened for the first time from ocean to ocean.



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