Saturday, March 19, 2011

The limitations of cartography.....and even Google Earth


Maps by PJ Arthur



That the Science of Cartography Is Limited 
                                                -by Eavan Boland

—and not simply by the fact that this shading of
forest cannot show the fragrance of balsam,
the gloom of cypresses,
is what I wish to prove.

When you and I were first in love we drove
to the borders of Connacht
and entered a wood there.

Look down you said: this was once a famine road.

I looked down at ivy and the scutch grass
rough-cast stone had
disappeared into as you told me
in the second winter of their ordeal, in

1847, when the crop had failed twice,
Relief Committees gave
the starving Irish such roads to build.

Where they died, there the road ended

and ends still and when I take down
the map of this island, it is never so
I can say here is
the masterful, the apt rendering of
the spherical as flat, nor
an ingenious design which persuades a curve
into a plane,
but to tell myself again that

the line which says woodland and cries hunger
and gives out among sweet pine and cypress,
and finds no horizon

will not be there.


.

17 comments:

mythopolis said...

This again reminds me of my heritage. My great grand-parents left Ireland for America because of such famine. I wish I knew more about them.

Kathe W. said...

this is wonderful- you have a way with words that is sublime!

ds said...

One of my favorite poets, and a powerful selection. Thank you for sharing this.

Roxana said...

oh how wonderful, i adore this poem... and how true it is, how true

thank you for posting it, i am connecting it in my head to japan now, thinking of their feeling when looking at the maps of the stricken coast, in some years from now...

Lydia said...

mythopolis~ Have you watched that tv show "Who Do You Think You Are?" I just love it. Last night Rosie O'Donnell followed her roots back to the famine workhouses of Ireland. She is not a favorite of mine, but she was very sweet and touching in that element of personal discovery.

Kathe~ You must mean my title, because the poem is certainly not mine. :)

ds~ I only discovered him around this St. Patrick's Day. So glad I did because his work is marvelous.

Roxana~ When I read it the night before St. Pat's Day I was looking for poems by Irish poets for a post. I decided to not post for St. Pat's because, in my mind, it had that Japan effect also.
I brought my husband to your blog late last night to show him the image of the couple on the beach at Sendai. I cannot get it out of my mind, I love it so much. We both had tears in our eyes.

Aayushi Mehta said...

This was such amazing writing. Thank you for posting it.

Agneta said...

Lydia, I just love your blues & words!
Agneta, the swedish one ;)

Lydia said...

Aayushi Mehta~ My pleasure to post it. I was enthralled by this poem also!

Agneta~ You are kind, and a very fun Swedish one!

English Rider said...

Very thought provoking and beautiful.

mythopolis said...

Yes, I have watched that show. It is so interesting. I also like a show called 'History Detectives'. Someone maybe has an old photo, or some memorabilia from someone in their family, etc, and the history detectives track it all back to its origins.

Owen said...

Beautiful photo and poem, they go perfectly together. The only thing I might want to add to the mix is a song that mixes geography with love and discovery... "Popsicle Toes", by Michael Franks on his fabulous album The Art of Tea, there are one or two versions of it on YouTube if you can find them. Some lines from it linger in memory forever..."She's got the nicest north america, this sailor's ever seen..."
:-)

Lydia said...

English Rider~ Thank you for being here. :)

mythopolis~ Oh, I like "History Detectives" also. Those shows are like mini time machines in a way.

Owen~ Brilliant! That song is a marvel (like love and discovery) and would have been perfect for this post, if only I had your brain. :)

Beth Niquette said...

What a talented writer you are!

Thank you so much for your encouraging comment--your beautifully encouraging comment--on my art page.

((hugs)) You are a dear.

Jingle Poetry said...

love love your piece,
smiles.





Greetings:

Week 27 Poetry Potluck is open, welcome/Thanks (4) joining us…share your poetry with us today…

Friendship Awards, Enjoy!

Happy Monday,
Bless you!
xxx

Lydia said...

Beth~ Heavens, Beth, this is not my poem! I think I must capitalize the poet's name following the title to make sure that no one else thinks I could write a poem this great!
Your art, on the other hand, is original and great. :)

Jingle~ Thank you for the happy reminder. I am not sure I will be there this week but I will try to read what others offer as their potluck poem.

susan said...

A map is not a place. Lovely poem ♡

Lydia said...

susan~ Exactly. (Love that heart!)

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