Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Atlas

More than 20 years ago, my Dad bought a copy of the Reader's Digest Atlas of the World.
It's a huge book, not only because of its size, but for all the memories and possibilities it contains.
I have it still. 

The Atlas
Slowly, travelling through the well worn pages,
we gazed at all the cities never seen.
Through villages and hamlets, habitations
in unimagined towns in distant lands,

Browsing through those unexplored ambitions,
our fingers trailed a line from port to port,
passed through settlements, portrayed as blotches,
communities as specks on mottled leaves.

Before our eyes, the swarm of dots on paper
rose up. A swirling, thrumming storm,
A buzzing lilting whirl of foreign accents.
A flowing haze of wishes unfulfilled.
Vola con me.


Hannah Stephenson said...

Reminds me of Elizabeth Bishop's "The Map" (a gorgeous poem!)

I enjoyed this!

Elisabeth said...

Maps and Atlases lend themselves to memory and imagination, Sharon, as evident in your poem. Thanks

Saxy Shop Girl Canada said...

What a beautiful poem...

It was a swirling, thrumming, buzzing, lilting whirl within a flowing haze of poetic genius!

Sharon Longworth said...

Hannah, thank you for pointing me in the direction of the Elizabeth Bishop poem. I hadn't read it before, so googled it straight away - I agree it's gorgeous. Lots to aspire to there!

Elisabeth, yes there are so many possible stories - a good source of ideas if and when I run out.

Saxy Shop Girl - hello! Thank you for stopping by the blog and for leaving such a very kind comment - much appreciated.

Unknown Mami said...

Beautiful use of language. Makes me want to go out and get an atlas to pour over with my daughter.

Sharon Longworth said...

Unknown Mami, hello and thank you. do it - you never know where it might take you both!

Madame DeFarge said...

Wonderful. Reminds me of all my own time spent poring over maps, just wishing I could travel everywhere.

Pat said...

I dropped Geography at school - with a resounding clang but once I started to travel I became entranced with maps and atlases.
Your poem epitomises the fascination. Thank you.

Shrinky said...

I had a crap geography teacher, and hated the subject - many years later, along came hubby, a geography graduate, and well, the rest is history! (Grin) Mind, I still can't read a map to save my life, probably just as well I don't need to..

Love this poem, it encompasses (ouch, no pun intended) all the joy of possibility at our fingertips.