Monday, 20 January 2020

Maps of the Imagination

Inspired by the Phaidon book 'Maps' (2019), this week we used some ancient and contemporary maps as inspiration. We chose a photocopy of a map and described what we saw, what we felt, what it made us think; the map a starting point on our poetic journey rather than an end in itself. Reading very different responses to the same map was an interesting finale to our exercise and shows how much of ourselves we bring to our perception of the world around us.

MAP 1.

Choose a map
And write a response
He said
I did
(you might get the dregs)
She said
A fortified circle
Enclosing a belief, a faith
Crosses and towers
White and Black
Good and Bad

I am drawn
More to a plain
Black, circular line
Nothing within
Or without
Freedom to journey

- Pauline

MAP 2.

Empty things
The intensely cluttered
Making space
For one`s Self
A park maybe
A seat overlooking
St Kilda beach

Inner Space
Matching the outer

- Pauline


A sprawling body and legs above head
in a yoga pose.
I don't know what the pose is but I imagine
he is pretty flexible.
His moustache looks painted on - an afterthought I suppose
Twirling into two spirals, each a mirror of the other.
His face appears to be in complete symmetry
excepting the text, which is an artwork.
I've tried learning foreign languages
but the delicately formed sprawling script
took me completely by surprise.
Sometimes I think the way something is written
is more important than what is contained in the letters.
People call on the drawing to ascertain the luck of the letters.
The moon in all its phases is usually invoked as a sort of Goddess
a sign of passing time and when to plant seeds.
I look out my window and see the moon shining
faintly on the garden path.
A silver light show - quite different from the harsh
unblinking light of the sun.
I notice in my figure that he sports two giant round earrings
inscribed with astrological signs that he himself carries.
A replica of the moon where ever he goes.
Now I'm not superstitious.
I don't throw salt over my shoulder or touch wood.
But I somehow feel drawn to this image.
Do I vaguely believe it's true?
Well maybe not, but it's invoked a lot of emotion in me
And I'm pleased to have seen it.

- M.F.


My ancestors sailed these seas long before you came
with shells and coral they mapped the islands
palm fibre traced the ocean swells
They know where they were before you discovered them
generations of navigators
charted each atoll
in their outrigger canoes they travelled
many miles
When you plotted with pen and ink
for the benefit of
future explorers
They were there first.

- Helen


Map of Jerusalem as the Centre of the World
maps are political statements
my nation
my capital
takes the position of central attention
Places of historical importance are highlighted
ancient buildings and battlefields
we apply thet names
that we the conquerors
have bestowed
renaming or erasing
those that came before

- Helen

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