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Pickle Me This

October 16, 2011

Book I'm longing for: Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky

What I know is a mountain

What I know is a mountain, high as a coin.
My liquid wisdom would not fill a cup.
This vastity, that unshrinking cupity-
sit back and watch it grow.

Sunk far-off lands’ topography.
Magic words forgot by history.
Ursa Major, Asia Minor-
a thousand stations I’ll not go.

Fossils, bugs and dragon wings.
Burnt, lost or abandon’d things.
Mud or flood or lava lost-
mislaid worlds I cannot know.

A show that’s shown, curtain down.
Unsung songs and pin drop sounds.
Hot air balloons and sailing ships-
an old wind’s worn out blow.

Untold truths and uncaught looks.
Oral myths and dirty books.
Wombs and tombs and pyramids-
and a mountain’s all I know.

I wrote this poem (which, incidentally, does not contain one e) some years ago, and I post it now because it says everything I want to say about why I’m already in love with Judith Schalansky’s Atlas of Remote Islands. I stumbled upon it this morning whilst browsing (by myself!–speaking of islands) at Good Egg in Kensington Market after an early brunch (by myself!) with my friend Jennie, and immediately added it to the front of list of books for Christmas. Upon arriving home to the interet, I found that this writer was as besotted with the book as I was, and her piece clinched it. Looking forward to unwrapping this one somewhere one of these days not far from soon.

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