from A Chronicle of Beginnings


A word      written
in a ripple of ink on sand where blood was spilt
a fingerprint on the map of rumour through which
an English mariner conjured his ship
real and small as a nut
towards empirical fact: soil    beach
a hilly surface cloathed with Verdure

These were his entries:
This was chart    measurement    record:
time and the sun’s angle
tide    wind force    the sounding of ocean
estuary, elevation, anchorage
the empirical fact of others
dayly we saw smookes

This was the measurement
of the body    of earth    of the human
body    of water     of bone
shell, feather, fish scale    the sand banks
well store’d with Cockles, and clams
and in many places were Rock Oysters

This was the record
of grasses, groves of timber    iron sand
of soil rich and proper for cultivation
of a brave, open, warlike people
their skins, nets, gestures, gardens
gods, grammar, voices, weapons

This was the map
of a country: Two large Islands divided
by a strait or passage of 4 or 5 leagues broad

fixed in the chart of the English language

from The Powerlines, Polygon, 2000