Szyzygy's Blog

September 4, 2009

an incomplete map of the world (a fragment)

Filed under: Uncategorized — syzygy @ 7:31 pm
Tags: ,

paper, pen and ink
land and sky and sea
are horizons impenetrable,
since all maps of the world
are destined to be incomplete
and this is one of many such
still at best vestigial
and replete with details which perhaps
are not entirely necessary

work on it began
before aluminium was even a metal of the future
in a simpler and (supposedly) less complicated time
when details were fewer
and distances, in human terms,
were greater
traversing ages
acquiring depth and definition
yet it remains
an incomplete map of the world
since still it does not show the many strangenesses
the hungry miasmas of the human heart and mind
the haunts of ghosts of shades of gods
the cities vanished long beneath the swelling seas
the trade routes of Phoenicians
the wrecks of slavers
fortresses levelled even unto dust
where time’s oblivion corrodes

the server room is not marked on it
nor are the slender wires connecting continents
dissipating love and hate and money

it does not show the paths of jets and ships
which bind the world together
nor does it display the contours of your heart
the flicker of your eyelids
nor yet the evaporating traces of your breath
lightly etched upon the windowpane

there is no outward sign of the winding way
we walked together just the other day
the kissing gate nor any of that wild and windy weather
the fallen leaves that rose like Lazarus as if from death
and swirled within their self-fulfilling gyre
it does not show the cigarette I smoked
the photographs I took
and which, one day, I will render,
digitally in black and white
because that is the way that you and I both see the world in winter
ashen and devoid

the S-Tog though is clearly marked
and the new metro the graffiti artists haven’t got to (yet)

by the bridges down at Sydhavn,
the elephants at the Carlsberg brewery
(which some genius some day must surely paint pink)
and along the waterway
across the Nippelsbro near where I used to live
in Christianshavn in a house once owned by Hammershøj
its wooden floorboards uneven and, in many places, thickly caked in candle wax
down along the docks
that string their way along the coast to Nordhavn and just beyond
I sat down one grey day
the cold like electricity
in the nerves of my head
the bench on which I sat a thing of unsubtle torture
and began to contemplate
the incompleteness of the incompleteness of the map of the world
the darkness at this time of year in northern latitudes
the sullen ebb and flow of tides

The signs lead off;
To the right to Malmo,
Ahead to Sundsby and to the left to Copenhagen
Bridges, roads, the station at Tørnby
One stop down from the lufthavn.



Filed under: Uncategorized — syzygy @ 3:42 pm
Tags: , ,

Poets, like their poems, come in divers shapes and sizes. Most, at some level or other, like their creations, are broken by a lack of human completeness in some subtle way or other, much as Philip Pullman’s character Lyra’s model of her incomplete map of the world itself does not, and can not, explain or describe the totality of that which it is striving to express.


Blog at