Nowhere along here do the maps
offer much more than a hope
we’re heading the right way.
Each page offers a new start
and confirmation of the Irish saying
‘If you want to get there
you shouldn’t be starting from here.’
The place names are printed so small
they’re self-effacing, roads
wander and peter out like creeks
in a drought, mountains
of course are paper flat and the red
hatching of a firing range is mute
but enticing. Cartographers
in some quiet studios have traced
their reveries across these pages
of beautiful artwork, while here
wind blows, birds sing, and oncoming traffic
must know wherever it comes from.
This poem is part of Southerly’s 78.1 Festschrift: David Brooks. You can purchase a copy of Festschrift here and help keep Australian literature alive.
About the author
Andrew Taylor was born in Victoria in 1940, educated at Melbourne University, and lived for many years in Adelaide. He now teaches at Edith Cowan University in Perth. He is the author of the critical book Reading Australian Poetry (UQP 1987), and the libretti for two operas. Travelling (UQP 1986) was the regional winner of the British Airways Commonwealth Poetry Prize, and Sandstone (UQP 1995) won the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award for Poetry. Andrew is one of Australia’s most accomplished and anthologised contemporary poets. He has lived and worked at various times in Italy, the USA, England and Germany, where he visits regularly.