This has been bumping around in my brain for seven years; I’ve only just summoned the nerve to get it down on paper. Apologies to Lewis Carroll, who I’m sure would never have imagined his harmless verse being put to such purpose. And for those who feel the need to inform me just how sick and wrong it is: I know. That's why it's taken seven years. (Though at least a year has probably been tacked onto that span by the idea that I ought to do it Tenniel-style or not at all ... thanks for that helpful suggestion, brain.)
Bill was pretty well acquainted with death; he had serious tuberculosis in his 20s and scurvy on the Discovery expedition, with numerous other close shaves and accidents along the way, so would have looked death in the face a few times, and that brings a person to come to terms with mortality. His thoughts on faith, fate, life, and death are unorthodox but worth reading, if you are into that sort of thing – I was collecting them for a while on ourdailybill.tumblr.com, but Cheltenham in Antarctica, and for a deeper exploration, The Faith of Edward Wilson, are much more organised sources.
In my head, the words go like this. (I doubt Lewis Carroll would have been able to imagine ... that ... either.)