• Hello From Descent

    The publication date for issue 289 is the 10th of December, meaning subscribers should receive their copies during the week leading up to that date. It is also available from caving suppliers such as Inglesport and Starless River, or from our new website

    New Descent board here:

CHECC POETRY COMP 2022

This is the thread for submissions for the CHECC Poetry Comp 2022. Please post them below, INCLUDING your name and the student club that you represent. There are no rules apart from that the poem is caving related.
The winner will receive a bundle of Descent magazines AND their poem will be published in Descent. There might also be a Starless River voucher or a caving hut weekend in the bag too, once I've decided where all the prizes are going...
DEADLINE: NOVEMBER 24th (the night before CHECCmas, to quote the title of the poem last year).
 

El Stobbarto

New member
In light of the paucity of offerings, here is a meagre contribution from CUCC:

Ode to a Drunken Caver

Twas a new year’s morn, so bright and brisky
When I awoke, brain soaked in whisky
An error grave I had committed
And now a punishment befitted

To tumble through the earth’s deep reaches
And try not to shit in my breeches
From my tented lair I did emerge
And promptly threw up on the verge

In the kitchen, the sobered number
Did bash their pans to disturb slumber
They came cavorting up the stairs
What a bunch of twats

After food, kit to remember
Kroll, pantin, basic, descender
Outside the cave, companions well met
Oh bugger I forgot my helmet

And so the ropes we toss down pitches
“There’s no knot in this you daft bitches!”
Thrutching mournfully through the sloppy
Stomach groaning, plippy ploppy

"Why oh why do you go caving?
You must be mad, completely raving!"
Speak thus if someone asks you this:
“I said I’d go when I was pissed”

By Joel Stobbart (of course I read the instructions)
 

hartfield_estate

New member
Emma Caspers - entry for Cardiff Uni (CUCCC)

An Ode to Faff

Early in the morning I am ready for spelunking
When all of a sudden I hear some clunking
Disaster has struck-
Our lead is still fucked!
With a sigh I sit down
It's starting to sound
like it might be a while
before we get underground

Some hours later he has sobered up
He's sipping some coffee from a plastic cup
We're all in our kit but everyone's chatting
The faff on this trip is truly a mad thing

Finally we're walking- oh no! Forgot the key!
And the weather is starting to look grimy
We get to the cave with sopping wet socks
The hour is quarter past 4 on the clock

When we emerge the night has fallen
But the other group is still crawlin'
Their call out is 10 so we must wait
We hope and pray that they're not late

On the way back we make a maccies stop
Despite all the faff this trip was no flop
Finally home my spirits are high
After caving I feel like I could fly
But now I digress
Because finally I must confess
My real hobby is faff
It may sound quite naff
But no one faffs quite like a caver!!
 

Leoo

New member
Leo Bradley, entry for SUSS

The Rime of the Ancient Caverner

One Morning, while the night before,
Lay restless in my head,
There came a-ringing on my phone,
That filled my heart with dread.

I slowly clambered, bleary-eyed
From comfort of my cot,
As i’d agreed, with much regret,
To go down Rowter Pot.

My bag was choked with caving kit,
And one spare pair of drawers,
My stomach grumbled angrily,
Awaiting Pevrill Stores.

With Rob and Helen in the car,
We totalled solely three,
And set off westwards, caving-bound,
Towards the TSG.

Our mission was as such, you see,
To dye trace Rowter’s sump,
For this we wouldn’t be paid in coins,
But pints, afroth, from pump.

We feasted with much merriment,
On bacon, egg and bread,
Then off we drove, with bellies full,
Out town, past Winnat’s Head.

We paid the farm its rightful coin;
Its daily dose of dime,
Then struggled into oversuits,
All caked in mud and grime.

At last, we journeyed through the field,
T’was moist with morning dew,
With nought b’tween us save the dye,
A vibrant, greenish hue.

In no more than a quarter-hour,
Spent underneath the dale,
We stood in silence at the mouth,
Of Rowter’s Ice Cream Trail.

The squeezes, they came thick and fast,
With stone on chest and back,
And often was the bellow heard;
“F**K THIS TACKLESACK”

At last we broke, to much elate,
Into the cavern’s womb,
While Helen ventured forth to rig,
We bided in the gloom.

With much more than hour to kill
Before twas time to pour,
We hunted up an aven climb,
For passage to explore.

The stones were loose, the slopes were steep,
The footholds cracked and gave,
And rocks did fall into the dark,
Towards a silent grave.

And thusly we did reach the peaks,
Of flowstone, pure and white,
Formations which had seldom felt,
The touch of man-made light.

Alas, the time did tick away,
And once more we went down,
Towards the cavern's final sump,
In which the dye would drown.

Adam Walmsley volunteered
To wreck his Oversuit,
By squeezing through a muddy choke,
To find the water’s route.

He found a pool within the rift
In which to pour the dye,
"For sure!" We thought, "Must be the spot!"
Though no flow could we spy.

The dye was poured, the job was done,
And with it came slight hope,
Despite the task that still remained;
Derigging all the rope.

It took some pain and much lament,
But yet we did arrive,
Upon the surface, safe and sound,
At near 2:45.

We met with those from t’other side,
And tears were in their eyes,
As they had seen not one small drop
Of our most potent dye.

The truth is out, laid clean and bare,
But this is what I gleam;
That we’d spent nearly half a day
Turning a puddle green.
 

Sully Ap Najeeb

New member
Entry for Aberystwyth University Caving Club (AUCC)

The Elder Darkness
Ahlan al-Ahya'i!
Salvete, Oscuria,
Prima et Ultima.
Salvete, aeternus as-Sima!

So long is the night,
Which no sun shall shine upon.
So deep is the darkness,
Which with no torch is wholly gone.
So far down is the cavern,
Which the minds of men
Were not made to see.
So sheer are the walls,
Carved by rivers, fast and free.
Beneath the brooks and waterfalls,
So old is the restless serene.

Much is heard which goes unseen.

So harsh is the silence,
That mortal sound
Is swiftly drowned,
There, in its gentle violence.

So much lives and does not dwell.
So much seethes in the under-dell.
What I see and what I saw,
Upon the breach and on the tore,
Where all my thoughts did come to null,
Was the Elder Darkness,
So empty and so full.


By Sully Ap Najeeb

Authorial Notes: The first paragraph is in mixed arabic and latin and it reads "Greetings to the Darkness! Greetings to be to you, the Darkness, the First and the Last. Greetings be to you, the endless Chasm!"
I've also included an attached online recording of myself reading the poem, cos I feel the spoken form is often better than the written one for poetry.

 
Leo Bradley, entry for SUSS

The Rime of the Ancient Caverner

One Morning, while the night before,
Lay restless in my head,
There came a-ringing on my phone,
That filled my heart with dread.

I slowly clambered, bleary-eyed
From comfort of my cot,
As i’d agreed, with much regret,
To go down Rowter Pot.

My bag was choked with caving kit,
And one spare pair of drawers,
My stomach grumbled angrily,
Awaiting Pevrill Stores.

With Rob and Helen in the car,
We totalled solely three,
And set off westwards, caving-bound,
Towards the TSG.

Our mission was as such, you see,
To dye trace Rowter’s sump,
For this we wouldn’t be paid in coins,
But pints, afroth, from pump.

We feasted with much merriment,
On bacon, egg and bread,
Then off we drove, with bellies full,
Out town, past Winnat’s Head.

We paid the farm its rightful coin;
Its daily dose of dime,
Then struggled into oversuits,
All caked in mud and grime.

At last, we journeyed through the field,
T’was moist with morning dew,
With nought b’tween us save the dye,
A vibrant, greenish hue.

In no more than a quarter-hour,
Spent underneath the dale,
We stood in silence at the mouth,
Of Rowter’s Ice Cream Trail.

The squeezes, they came thick and fast,
With stone on chest and back,
And often was the bellow heard;
“F**K THIS TACKLESACK”

At last we broke, to much elate,
Into the cavern’s womb,
While Helen ventured forth to rig,
We bided in the gloom.

With much more than hour to kill
Before twas time to pour,
We hunted up an aven climb,
For passage to explore.

The stones were loose, the slopes were steep,
The footholds cracked and gave,
And rocks did fall into the dark,
Towards a silent grave.

And thusly we did reach the peaks,
Of flowstone, pure and white,
Formations which had seldom felt,
The touch of man-made light.

Alas, the time did tick away,
And once more we went down,
Towards the cavern's final sump,
In which the dye would drown.

Adam Walmsley volunteered
To wreck his Oversuit,
By squeezing through a muddy choke,
To find the water’s route.

He found a pool within the rift
In which to pour the dye,
"For sure!" We thought, "Must be the spot!"
Though no flow could we spy.

The dye was poured, the job was done,
And with it came slight hope,
Despite the task that still remained;
Derigging all the rope.

It took some pain and much lament,
But yet we did arrive,
Upon the surface, safe and sound,
At near 2:45.

We met with those from t’other side,
And tears were in their eyes,
As they had seen not one small drop
Of our most potent dye.

The truth is out, laid clean and bare,
But this is what I gleam;
That we’d spent nearly half a day
Turning a puddle green.
I love rowter, have fond memories of my small yellow friend strangling herself in there. The ice cream series is one of the more satisfactory parts of weak district caving
 
Entry for Aberystwyth University Caving Club (AUCC)

The Elder Darkness
Ahlan al-Ahya'i!
Salvete, Oscuria,
Prima et Ultima.
Salvete, aeternus as-Sima!

So long is the night,
Which no sun shall shine upon.
So deep is the darkness,
Which with no torch is wholly gone.
So far down is the cavern,
Which the minds of men
Were not made to see.
So sheer are the walls,
Carved by rivers, fast and free.
Beneath the brooks and waterfalls,
So old is the restless serene.

Much is heard which goes unseen.

So harsh is the silence,
That mortal sound
Is swiftly drowned,
There, in its gentle violence.

So much lives and does not dwell.
So much seethes in the under-dell.
What I see and what I saw,
Upon the breach and on the tore,
Where all my thoughts did come to null,
Was the Elder Darkness,
So empty and so full.


By Sully Ap Najeeb

Authorial Notes: The first paragraph is in mixed arabic and latin and it reads "Greetings to the Darkness! Greetings to be to you, the Darkness, the First and the Last. Greetings be to you, the endless Chasm!"
I've also included an attached online recording of myself reading the poem, cos I feel the spoken form is often better than the written one for poetry.

well now I wish I hadn't dropped out of my latin class in the first week of term. V cool reading
 

Karstic

New member
Deep beneath the surface

LH - entry for CUCC


I felt a flutter that I’ve never felt before

Seeing your face

Lit by the silent white of my torch

And all the passing thoughts

Of the on route, and tight crawls, and seeping cold

Fled from my mind.

I felt the emptiness grow heady with a reverent awe

And my breath caught

Watching your eyes glow in reflected light

from fractured rock.



A steady drip,

Fell from the passage ceiling

Where droplets glimmered with the captured light of stars,

Fell quick, and burning,

In that light I watched you turning

Till your eyes met mine in wonder.

In that cavern vast and vacant

Vagrant love within me wakened

There we stood, alone together

Passing souls within the ancient.
 

Matrixman355

New member
Nopes from the Underground, a poem by J.A.Craig (SUSS)

I take a grip of my descender,
Is this place safe for mere pretenders?,
I hope I do not meet my end here,
Bones laid out beside the sheep’s,
Down here,
In the Quiet Deep.

I feel the cold and slimy rockface,
As it slides against my cockface,
I am still in my tiktok phase,
Gen Z can but only weep,
Down here,
In the Quiet Deep.

But surely we can’t get much lower?
…OK, yes, I am hungover,
Dear God I wish I wasn’t sober,
What I sowed, I now must reap,
Down here,
In the Quiet Deep.

The squeeze machine was not like this,
There’s shit in here. I need to piss,
This feels like an unhealthy twist,
And so my spinal fluid seeps,
Down here,
In the Quiet Deep.

As I resurface, now elated,
The yellow moon holds me sedated,
While young Tan is refrigerated,
Memories I’ll gladly keep,
Of down here,
In the Quiet Deep.
 
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