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This poem is taken from PN Review 86, Volume 18 Number 6, July - August 1992.

Sir Richard Burton's Map John Gallas

There is no knowing what might be useful
in the unknown parts of the world;
so it is best to take everything.
There may be nothing to shoot - but a kind of pest
that can only be despatched with a pair of scissors.

Kaffirboom burns on sod and prickle
asses rattle through bamboo
blue hills ebb in lines

and when they are discovered, all discovered,
walking in the secret distance out
from here to there, how sweet to know much less
of this here land, veiled with awful lightness:
you see how travelling maketh man banal.
To have seen what is here!
To have been where we were!

Ants go up the painted paper.

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