Here be legendary leviathans,
and all manner of monster.
Mermaids with looking-glasses
lure sailors into the sea.
cutters, frigates, galleons
go bravely o’er the waves
in search of
all the world’s exotica,
returning with gold and cinnamon,
cargoes of tea, strange fruit and parakeets.
All the world is here,
scattered across the flat surface,
drawn, depicted, described,
from mundane to bizarre,
travellers’ tales fabricated
to fanciful excess.
Knowledge is power is ownership
and to hold and know the map
is to lay claim to its contents
and all the wealth of the world.
Note This poem was inspired by an exhibition of ancient maps at the British Library circa 2010