Under the Map

When I was very young, I often fantasized that there was a world where the only way to communicate was through music.

During my high school years, I had a friend who had a theory that musicians were really just singing messages back and forth to each other.

And all through my life, just in case, I have collected maps. After reading this poem I wonder, maybe it’s through our maps that we discover all that lies under them.

A Course in Creative Writing

They want a wilderness with a map –

but how about errors that give a new start? –

or leaves that are edging into the light? –

or the many places a road can’t find? –

Maybe there’s a land where you have to sing

to explain anything: you blow a little whistle

just right and the next tree you meet is itself.

(And many a tree is not there yet.)

Things come toward you when you walk.

You go along singing a song that says

where you are going becomes its own

because you start. You blow a little whistle –

And a world begins under the map.

William Stafford

3 thoughts on “Under the Map

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