Posted by: Mark Nielsen | April 24, 2009

The Mapmaker (an original poem)

The Mapmaker                               by Mark Nielsen, April 2009

I a*2 R

I am almost ready
to cross
the bridge that you built,
ready to endure danger and deprivation,
to identify and occupy the land you have given.

I am Abraham’s realtor.

I will not be roadkill,
or even radiant
in this journey you have set me upon,
off the map,
over bright but rugged terrain.

I will be only a workman,
a wanderer,
a willing and able journeyman
with filthy feet but clean heart,
plying the trade of prayers for pennies,
begging my bread like Francis,
sleeping in doorways,
asking for absolution,
calling to account.

My wandering
is not waywardness
but devotion to being lost,
a dedication to the desert.

I am a mapmaker.
I go where no road leads,
but where all roads come from.
I will listen for the voice in the wilderness,
and set out on the path he first walked.
Surely I will stray–
for a time will not know where I am —
but I will not be lost to you.

I am the people’s burden,
the poor man,
the wealthy widow’s wandering orphan.
I am a call to arms
and a stone around their neck,
dragging them to their knees–
the only decent posture
from which to do battle.

Now, I am ready.

Make a home for us both,
out there, in the wilderness:
a modest lean-to of sturdy cedar and blackest pitch,
a chapel in the cold,
exposed, vulnerable,
from which I will go out
to witness the world,
and pray to be found




  1. moving theme. good work

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