Poem introduction

I had the good fortune to visit Antarctica some years ago, and I wrote one or two poems down there. I imagined, for example, a polar explorer dying of hypothermia, and then it occurred to me that 'hypothermia' sounded like the name of a Greek goddess, so I wrote this poem.

The Polar Explorer's Love Song

The goddess Hypothermia
came and held me tight
and as we kissed we drifted
in the pale, pure light.

Antarctica was in her heart
and ice lay on her breast;
she was the warmest lover
and the best.

She made the glaciers advance,
she made the ice shelf shine,
she made the skua bird take flight
above her love and mine.

from Collected Poems (Carcanet, 2001), © Bill Manhire 2001, used by permission of the author and Carcanet Press Ltd.

Sponsor this poem

Would you like to sponsor this poem? Find out how here.


Buy album £0.00

1Love Poem

2The Prayer


4An Originality

5A Song About the Moon


7Out West


9Jalopy: The End of Love



12My Sunshine

13The English Teacher

14The Polar Explorer's Love Song

15Visiting Mr Shackleton


17Erebus Voices

18The Writer


20Death of a Poet

21Hotel Emergencies


23Captain Scott


25The Victims of Lightning