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This poem is taken from PN Review 265, Volume 48 Number 5, May - June 2022.

Three Poems William Wootten
Globe & Chart

In the Heroic Age, departing ships were mourned as they popped down
Beneath the edges of the world before they would, perhaps,
Resurface with hulls crammed full of veterans, slaves and booty.
To the widows, wives, children and old men who perched on harbour rocks
Or those aboard who watched the small coast sink or rise to them,
The planet they encountered was growing slightly spherical.

A sea on a flat planet would be perceived as different:
On clear days the watched sails would dwindle slowly till the point
Where they would vanish, then return to good binoculars.
And yet no telescope could reach beyond that limit where
Magellan and his men flipped keel then dropped towards the stars.
Young children watching from a pier beside a shipping lane
Would map adventurous minds onto a world whose certain margin
No ship could hope to sail beyond and ever journey back.

Wise Women

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