To know the world without maps
with each place relative to every other
is God’s privilege. Maps are a frame of mind.
To stretch earth’s skin
on the rack of an appropriate projection,
pinned down by latitude and longitude
is false security. Courage goes
beyond the consolation of the atlas—
it was absence of maps
tormented those wise men, searching between
fear’s cancer and a capricorn desire,
and drawn towards Bethlehem,
the real world’s compass locked upon
its passionate, magnetic north.
© Godfrey Rust 1998, firstname.lastname@example.org. See here for permissions.