Where Do You Come From? #NaPoWriMo18 #NPM2018

1689 world map by chuck closer

people of the fields
swift and strong
people born along the river
river of rivers

red like an ember
sacred center
place of pomegranates
land of flames

place of abundant fish
land of shallow sea
beside the water
high and beautiful

land beside the silvery river
place where one stands
land of the long white clouds
waterside dweller
land of many trees
forest clearer
bird’s tail

eight standing together
in the naval of the moon
mountain of whiteness
stone enclosure

land of many rabbits
land of young cattle
land of argument
those who went away

place of refuge
where the land ends

Notes: I have been obsessed with this map of literal translations of country names since I first saw it. The map itself is beautiful, and the country names are poetry.  Every line of this found poem is a different country name literally translated from its original language. The photo shows a 1689 world map. Photo CC-BY Chuck Coker at Flickr.com






5 responses to “Where Do You Come From? #NaPoWriMo18 #NPM2018”

  1. Amanda Potts Avatar

    I was entranced as I read this, puzzling things out. I read & reread the early stanzas, then relaxed into the rhythms and images. I *love* that this is literal translations of country names. What an amazing & fun resource. I am already dreaming about what to do with it…

  2. margaretsmn Avatar

    This is fascinating and poetic. Each line could be a title.

  3. cweichel Avatar

    Like Amanda I kept wondering wondering and revelling in the words and images. After I read your notes at the end, I went and read it again with new perspective and enthusiasm.

  4. #NPM2018: Time to Fill the Well | Reflections on the Teche Avatar

    […] my poem, I took a line from Elisabeth Ellington’s Poem “Where do you Come From?” She wrote that each line of her poem was the translated name of a real place.  I responded that […]

  5. glenda funk Avatar
    glenda funk

    This is a clever, clever, clever found poem. The translations add depth to the names, and it all works to remind us of our place in the world. Maps fascinate me. My mentor in the NEA Master Teacher Project is a historian and cartographer who worked at the Boston PL eight years. She and I spent lots of time talking about maps.

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