A new collection by Jamaican poet Kei Miller; a dialogue between a map-maker, seeker of rational order and cartographical truth, and a rastaman, for whom the landscape, its names and landmarks weigh heavy with history, sufferation and spiritual hope.
The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion (extract)
... My job is to untangle the tangled,
to unworry the concerned ...
... the mapmaker's work is to make visible
that shoulda never exist in the first place
like the conquest of pirates, like borders,
like the viral spread of governments.
... No - what I do is science. I show
the earth as it is, without bias ...
... I aim to show the full
of a place in just a glance.
... draw me a map of what you see
then I will draw you a map of what you never see
and guess me who's map will be bigger than whose?
Guess me whose map will tell the larger truth?
What the Mapmaker Ought to Know
On this island things fidget.
The landscape does not sit
as if behind an easel
its lines, compose
its best features
or unruly contours.
by utter spite.
Whole places will slip
out from your grip.
Miller, K, 2014. The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion. Carcanet.
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