Sunday, October 5, 2008


by Janet Frame

Once I was overtaken by
geometry: a golden compass lying
in a silver box that had cutting edges
and sliced through my finger -- if
you had to choose would you be
the centre or the foot of the compass?

-- the short foot harnessed to a dainty pencil
with nothing to do all day but describe
describe the perfect circle and
meet your origins foot to foot on a highway
narrow enough to contain you only
or would you rather pierce what you touch
putting out who knows what eyes of light
sharp deep stay-at-home as balance, reference for
the wandering -- no, rather the successfully striding -- foot?

But if you are a compass have you really a choice?
Are you not wholly -- stay-at-home and traveller --
I think I'd rather be the wide-open measured mouth of
the radius tasting every drop of distance.

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