The Map of Places | A poem by Laura Riding (1928)

Lyonel Feininger, 1871-1956, Sailboat

The map of places passes.
The reality of paper tears.
Land and water where they are
Are only where they were
When words read “here” and “here”
Before ships happened there.

Now on naked names feet stand,
No geographies in the hand,
And paper reads anciently,
And ships at sea
Turn round and round
All is known, all is found.
Death meets itself everywhere.
Holes in maps look through to nowhere.

Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.

The Map of Places, Laura Riding, 1928

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Lyonel Feininger, Ship at Sea (Marine), 1918

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