The language of maps

Here’s a poem about the relationship of icons to linguistic representations.

Yours is the language of maps,
The tracing out with light-veined finger
The green veins of mountains
Stroking softly, just with the pads
Of the sides of your thumbs
The ochre lushness of a delta.

Yours is the language of maps,
Your touch soothes
The familiarizing hum of old Khandihar,
You sigh over the Aleuts,
Reaching, aching for Mérida.

Yours is the language of maps,
The hidden voice of yearning sight
The gentlest stroking of the flats of palms
That transforms from icon to thought
From symbol to word
In the mapping of language
Onto the topography of the soul.
(c) Latayne C. Scott

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