Spoons with sugar and dripping water, hillocks of snow
Traversed by hopeful young men with a moneyed glow
And sleds and perspiration, silver-blue clouds again
Chilling the horizon, a thousand miles to go.
Leave these ‘adventurers’, laughing in between
Signing media deals and muttering something obscene.
Schoolboys worship them, writing out a motto
In Latin, about suffering and stiff upper lips.
I, salmon sandwiches and hot chips.
O, the empty bottle is the colour of fear.
Push on. You’ll make it home, at dawn.
Who cares that you look a right prawn,
Sipping absinthe in the Pub with No Beer.
-- John Tranter
First published in the Times Literary Supplement, 2013