the Arctic Veterans Memorial

the ice-cold water fills my lungs
I gasped for air
and found

my family thought it was the safest place
our destination
miles of ice and an occasional bear
I stood on that war vessel and waved goodbye

at the end of our tour
I hadn't seen ice nor bear
all gone
a skirmish spiralled out of control

we had the honor the admiral said
to fight in the first battle for the thawed Arctic
on deck I was
the explosion and shock wave pushed me over

from beneath I see colors of fire
no time nor space
an excruciating pain takes over

my name is remembered
I open the memorial


In 2013, Smith and Stephenson published on the possibilities of new Trans-Arctic shipping routes due to retreating sea-ice under climate change. They found several new navigational routes, thereby showing that by mid-century there might be trans-Arctic shipping routes linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This would have a wide range of economic, strategic, and environmental implications. This has also initiated speculation on the militarization of the Arctic and whether a new Cold War is brewing (Shea, 2018). This poem takes the perspective of a soldier fighting in that first war for the thawed Arctic.