Mappa Mundi

Posted on 04 November 2009

With thanks to Gerard Manley Hopkins

Four mortal dragons corner the earth
As capitals have gilded Evangelists
With prodigal colour, with glory swirls:
Terror illuminates joy.

Dragonflies draw down spears of flame
and dragonwings weave the invisible air
while dragonwalks stalk a thunder ground
and dragondeeps quiet the waves.

Scarlet are their mile-long tongues:
Golden their keyhole irises.
The planet is squared in their slender bones
And time quartered between.

Dragonflies draw down spears of fire
and dragonwings weave the invisible sky
while dragonwalks stalk a thunder land
and dragondeeps quiet the sea.

Earth lies spread like an ancient chart
Before the eyes of its dragon kings.
Rivers are lapis lazuli chains,
Cities scales of bronze.

Dragonflies draw down shafts of fire
and dragonwings spin the invisible light
while dragonwalks tread a thunder drum
and dragondeeps silence the sea.

Stylized winds with ridiculous cheeks
Embouchure every joint of the frame
And cool with their breath the dragon smoke
And stir the parchment waves.

Dragonflies loose their fiery shafts
and dragonwings visit the spin of their sight
while dragonwalks thunder a trampled beat
and dragondeeps see into silence.

Four phases of spirit, four inspired flames
Inhale and exhale the germens of earth
And in turn are breathed forth from beyond the page:
The nimbus, the ether, the All.

Dragonflies draw down spears of flame
and dragonwings weave the invisible air
while dragonwalks stalk a thunder ground
and dragondeeps quiet the waves.


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