Friday, February 15, 2008

Longitude Unknown

Traveling to foreign lands is difficult enough
but someone’s pulled the rumpled surface of the globe askew
and moved the ends of the meridians. Longitude: unknown
unfindable now by clever arithmetic. The navigator wails
and grinds his teeth.

Strike flat the thick rotundity of the earth,
said Lear in madness. Perhaps he got his wish.
The compass hangs limp or spins crazy, no use
either way. The sextant mocks with brassy grins.
Charts just lie there.

Now the navigator walks the deck and mutters
talismanic names: Mercator, Equator, Greenwich,
Horse. He paces in great circles, unaware of gravity
all the direction he needs right under his feet
drawing him down.

NB: The Lear quote is from King Lear, by, of course, Shakespeare.
Poefusion: skew, foreign, wailing, travel, arithmetic
Theme: Someone moved the ends

7 comments:

tumblewords said...

Interesting poem. I particularly like the second stanza...

Michelle Johnson said...

I love this poem. I'm with Tumblewords, the second stanza is great. Strike flat the thick rotundity of the earth. Wow~ You are an incredible writer. Keep up the good work. Have a nice weekend.

Scott Clawson said...

Exactly what will happen when the GPS satellites stop working! I love this nautical theme, thanks for sharing it! :-)

julia said...

'The sextant mocks with brassy grins'

Wonderful image! Really like the whole poem, and these other lines especially:

'Now the navigator walks the deck and mutters
talismanic names: Mercator, Equator, Greenwich,
Horse'

Rhian said...

ah - i love that last stanza, very clever and lovely word play!

R.G. ALEXANDER said...

That is lovely. Love the flow of it.

Ann said...

Wonderful imagery. Lovely poem.