Kate Fox: "Kathleen Scott-Young's Sonnet to Mallory"




     “This is going to be more like war than mountaineering.

      I don't expect to come back.”

          —George Mallory to Geoffrey Keynes after his visit with Robert Falcon Scott’s widow in 1924.


This is how I would have sculpted you,

face down in a greathouse of granite, dimpled skin

bleached to Carrara white by spindrift scouring

the North Face, gloved fingers anchored in talus


that scatters like pine chips into the Rongbuk abyss,

stick-thin foot resting atop your skewed boot,

as if you believed you might survive, find purchase

in the frozen scree to reclaim your beloved Sandy


on the ledge above, and, then, in the embrace of a fine

Burberry weave, follow Odell’s disembodied voice

down the North Ridge to Camp VI, on to base camp,


family, commendation, and fame. Instead, the mountain

preserved you as no work of mine ever could, Everest

holding fast to its own, in loco, quem posuit.[1]

[1] “…in the place which he has set” from Psalm 84 of the Latin Vulgate Bible, quoted from at Mallory’s and Irvine’s Memorial.



Kate Fox's poems have appeared in New Virginia Review, West Branch, Windsor Review, and Green Mountains Review, among others. Her chapbook, The Lazarus Method, was published by Kent State University Press as part of the Wick Poetry Chapbook Series.