Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Mind Is a Metaphor

Maps Are Metaphors

Standing Out from the Slush Pile
Photo by Garrett Buhl Robinson
I have often thought of topography
to map the rough terrain of my life
where tight increments of lines steeply climb
and swiftly slide through creases of ravines
washing with the watersheds as they spread
in fanning planes that slip beneath the sloughs
of a glassy lake where the soft plop
from a raindrop sends ripples on the body
of water's settled, reflective repose
so the whole sky begins waving overhead.

Or perhaps these rings of lyrics outline
a mountain, tightening as they rise,
narrowing to one peak from every side
like the opening of an eye.

Garrett Buhl Robinson
July 20, 2015

This poem has an interesting story to it.  The conception actually arose from a typographical mistake that I made on another posting when I was recapping a conversation I had with a mathematician last week.  One of the topics we discussed was topology, although I actually used the term topography in the post.

The next day I was considering correcting this mistake, but when I arrived in the Cartography Room of the New York Public Library, the idea for a poem arose in my thoughts and I decided to draft it out.  Later that day, I had the opportunity to sit down and polish the draft, smooth out some of the seams and develop some more of the images.

As I have commented before, I have become particularly fascinated lately with how various media provide unexpected perspectives.  I hope that the closing of the poem provides some poignancy to the insight as it arises.

In this modified sonnet - the sextet is actually attached to the opening quatrain.  I used an encapsulated rhyme scheme to mimic the layout of topographical maps and the appearance of ripples on the surface of a body of water.  Then of course, the final stanza draws the alternations into a unified whole.

Thank you for reading.

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