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Maps of Men by SS Venkateswaran

Art by Saul Steinberg

Maps of Men - Part I

Maps of men were cast in histories.

Path laid were borne from future memories.

Wars were never won, none buried.

Turn turn and return.

For you never started .

It must start with a bow.

smell of the earth,

Mud on the nose.

Smell of molasses stinks blood.

That which shines beholds the dark.

Unbridled heart must sing.

Wake the cuckoo's and bees,

they live in branchless trees.

The dragonfly guards the colours.

Re do , re write and re tell

so be it if needs to burn.

Let it smell words and not thoughts

Better still recast

Pyramids must be inverted.

Kings must lie in the bottom.

Maps redrawn.

Follow the spectacled saint to the salt,

Or fall in love for the dervish never halts

Maps of Men - Part II

Bells echoed in godless temples.

Dew fell into sandless dunes .

Unsaid stories emerged .

Dead men speak through dreams of men.

Some leaves have turned grey.

Priest pleaded him by his thousand and one names

Alas no one saw him cry,

Prisoner of the lord counted the stars ,

Numbered the strips of tiger that guarded the near and the far.

Who will ? brick by brick build the castle of the king.

Who will ? Hymn by hymn pray for the temple bells must ring.

The little men and their mind went on.

To the same place where it started .

Startled for it was timelessness.

Nothing learned.

Maps of men; were wasted labyrinth of forgotten memories.

Eternal return and the circle of life,

was the point of nothingness.

(The two poems were inspired by Jorge Luis Borges)


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