Poems of the Week

Ballad of the Fruitcake

by Catherine Chandler

A 100-year-old fruitcake believed to be from the Scott expedition has been found in a nearly “edible” state in the Antarctic. — The Telegraph, August 2017

Captain Robert Falcon Scott,
in A.D. nineteen hundred ten,
sailed from Wales, so go the tales,
with sixty-four courageous men.

Among provisions on the ship
were petrol, ponies, dogs, and skis,
a frying pan for the pemmican,
and tonnes of relish, jams, and cheese.

Moreover, Mrs. Scott had packed
(lest Robert tire of penguin steaks,
biscuits and beans and canned sardines)
the Rodney Dangerfield of cakes.

But in his haste to reach the Pole,
(though Amundsen had beaten him to it)
Scott left the chunk inside his trunk
where none would ever find or chew it.

And there it languished till today
in a lonely hut on Cape Adare,
still wrapped up in its rusty tin,
moist and none the worse for wear.

Though Captain Robert Falcon Scott
did not return to the land of the living,
in snow and ice, full of dates and spice,
lies the gift that keeps on giving.