Projection

By Howard Nemerov

They were so amply beautiful, the maps,
With their blue rivers winding to the sea,
So calmly beautiful, who could have blamed
Us for believing, bowed to our drawing boards,
In a large and ultimate equivalence,
One map that challenged and replaced the world?

Our punishment? To stand here, on these ladders,
Dizzy with fear, not daring to look down,
Glue on our fingers, in our hair and eyes,
Piecing together the crackling, sticky sheets
We hope may paper yet the walls of space
With pictures any child can understand.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1967/05/projection/305175/