Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"Topography" by Sharon Olds (1987)

After we flew across the country we
got in bed, laid our bodies
delicately together, like maps laid
face to face, East to West, my
San Francisco against your New York, your
Fire Island against my Sonoma, my
New Orleans deep in your Texas, your Idaho
bright on my Great Lakes, my Kansas
burning against your Kansas your Kansas
burning against my Kansas, your Eastern
Standard Time pressing into my
Pacific Time, my Mountain Time
beating against your Central Time, your
sun rising swiftly from the right my
sun rising swiftly from the left your
moon rising slowly from the left my
moon rising slowly from the right until
all four bodies of the sky
burn above us, sealing us together,
all our cities twin cities,
all our states united, one

nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

In the past, I kept scraps of quotes, and passages that I thought were beautiful, and poems in notebooks.  I typed out the poem above, cut it out, and pasted it into a notebook.    I'm not so sure I shouldn't still be doing this.  Going through these notebooks every so often is a lovely experience.

I do not know when or how I came across this poem.  I think I probably heard Garrison Keillor read this poem aloud on The Writer's Almanac but I'm not sure.  

I still like the poem all these years later.  I'm a fan of maps, and used to pore over them as a child, and even create my own maps of imaginary worlds.  The geographical images in this poem make me smile, particularly those about Kansas.  

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Love that. It reminds me of the deep love I have for "Big Western Sky" by Kik Tracee, though I couldn't articulate the little maze of dots that connect them for me. Still, maybe it'll strike you too, in reverse association. Or maybe not :)


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