Today's poem is by Terence Tiller
Old sailors making landfall (but the tide
unruly and the wind uncertain) boast,
in their home port, of beauties undescribed.
Fog had kept modest all that skirted coast;
no matter, legends knew the hinterland:
all was a cradle of lotos, flower or fruit;
islanders gentle, jewels many, and
the strongest storm as lulling as a flute.
Or so they say; and so the maps are made.
Valleys and orchards, gardens and springs, are guessed;
even the shape, that never was surveyed,
they make what symbol satisfies them best.
Only one thrust of conscience? at the centre
their lying falters, their inventions lapse:
these are the woods not even thought might enter.
There are white spaces on the best of maps.
Legends are built of longing: my own ship,
wind-racked and wary, hovers off the shore
of your enshrouded island; hand and lip
know little of that Eden, guess the more;
eyes (fox-hair, elf-rose, firm and delicate wand)
map all your beauty in the veils' despite
shine for the apples and the flowers beyond;
but fall before your secrecies of white.
Copyright © 2017 Terence Tiller All rights reserved
from The Collected Poems
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
Archives Web Weekly Features About Verse Daily FAQs Submit to Verse Daily
Copyright © 2002-2017 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved