Sunday, 22 September 2013

On the subject of maps

" 'Dear friends,' [Angus]  began,  'Domenica is back from a distant place.  Would you mind a great deal if I were to deliver a poem on the subject of maps?'

'Not in the slightest,' said David Robinson. 'Maps are exactly what we need to hear about.' ...

 'Although' he began, ' they are useful sources
Of information we cannot do without,
Regular maps have few surprises: their contour lines
Reveal where the Andes  are, and are reasonably clear
On the location of Australia, and the Outer Hebrides;
Such maps abound; more precious, though,
Are the unpublished maps we make ourselves,
Of our city, our place, our daily world, our life;
Those maps of our private world
We use every day; here I was happy, in that place
I left my coat behind after a party,
That is where I met my love; I cried there once,
Once I saw the hills of Fife across the Forth,
Things of that sort, our personal memories,
That make the private tapestry of our lives.
Old maps had personified winds,
Gusty figures from whose bulging cheeks
Trade winds would blow; now we know
That wind is simply a matter of isobars;
Science has made such things mundane,
But love  -  that, at least, remains a mystery,
Why it is, and how it comes about
That love's transforming breath, that gentle wind,
Should blow its healing way across our lives.' "

Love over Scotland Street   A. McCall Smith

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