Tom Crean – A Poem by Ronnie J. Smith.

Tom Crean.

by Ronnie J. Smith.

I recently wrote an article about Ronnie J. Smith’s success in having  Aeronautical Waypoints, in Antarctica, named after Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ponies, and Roald Amundsen’s sled dogs. It was during correspondence at this time that Ronnie shared with me, one of his many wonderful poems, written in honour of the Irish Giant – Tom Crean.

The poem is taken from one of his excellent poetry collections, which is entitled The Last White Ruby: The Vanishing Polar Circles, and among the many other poems are The Explorers, Shackleton, To The Sled Dog and Sonnet To The South Pole Ponies, to mention but a few.

“I often thought when working in the polar environment, how I wish others could see and experience what I was experiencing. This book of poems allows me to give a glimpse of that experience. I was, and still am, very grateful for being able to spend so much time within these arid, icy and pure spectacles of nature. It was easy to be inspired once the work of the day had passed. It is similar to the other poetry books I’ve written in that the underlying spirituality of the “place” is consumed by external forces acting upon it.  These constant dynamics make writing about it a challenge and a satisfying endeavor.” – Ronnie J. Smith.

“I confronted the many faces of the Arctic and Antarctic, spanning that diversity sometimes in a matter of minutes. I often felt thrust into breathtaking polar panorama. My experience has led me to its natural and sleeping beauty; and compelled me to write for and from this soul, still wild and fragile.” – Ronnie J. Smith.


Ronnie J. Smith was born of U.S. Air Force parents in Udine, Italy, and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended Loyola College (B.A.) and the University of Maryland. Ron entered the U.S. Air Force in 1983 to fly C-130 aircraft and has traveled the world as a professional aviator. After many years flying in the polar regions, he was selected to be the in-theater commander of Operation DEEP FREEZE, the DoD logistics support to the U.S. Antarctic Program from 2005-2008.


Tom Crean

by Ronnie J. Smith


The roiling sea to the frozen bight

The upright mast to the last did groan,

The silver throats of waves delight,


The sting and song—he thrilled with quite

A heart—and strong! The ice would own

The roiling sea to the frozen bight.


The volunteer to the unknown white

Domain, whose sun the wind had blown,

The silver throats of waves delight!


The march where madness stilled the light

Of a lifelong friend, he slogged alone

The roiling sea to the frozen bight.


The lifeboat that sailed an epic night

Of wrestling whales, of heaving stone,

The silver throats of waves delight!


And we, who fly those trails that kite

Across the wilds he had known,

The roiling sea to the frozen bight,

The silver throats of waves delight.

With thanks to Ronnie J. Smith.


Scott’s Ponies and Amundsen’s Dogs immortalised in the Southern Skies.

The names of the many great Antarctic explorers of the , are well known, widely documented and duly remembered. The feats of Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton, Worsley, Crean and Wild, to mention but a few, still evoke passion, admiration, pride and indeed much discussion and debate.

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