Friday, December 29, 2017

Geographer's Lament

I cannot count the countries of the world
Shifting and changing in political tornadoes.
Nations come and go in bewildering procession
And the map is not the one I learned at school.

Nor can I count the inner countries.
The heart’s geography erodes,
And endures the occasional tsunami.
Rivers of tears have watered my deserts,
And turned them to fecundity.
Here and there lie peninsulas
Which refuse to submit to boundaries,
(And fences have a way of breaking down).
Unexplored islands lie in raging seas
Awaiting the halcyon days
(Or so I think, or well, at least suspect).
I have built the occasional bridge,
I have weathered seasons,
Even climbed some hills, for a clearer view.
But even if I know their shapes,
I hardly know their names;
And the lingering fear is still:
Have I got it wrong?

Then I remember
I was always better at History.

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