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October 9, 2015


Paper, please: Ode to a Genuine Map

by Gradmama2011

[Writing 201, Poetry.  DAY FOUR: Metaphors]

                          Paper, Please…

One of the things I quite enjoy and sorely miss is a Map,
a good old fashion paper map in a neatly-folded packet.
Nevermind that it opens easily, but defies return to its jacket

Assuming a set of highway coordinates– say 77 and 211,
a North or a West or the name of a city,
a paper map illustrates orientation in words and symbols
helpful and geared to simplicity

Spoken directions–out in the boondocks
may be  clear to a resident but like mud to a stranger
who needs good direction to get where he’s going.
it won’t help him to look for a “guy mowing” a field

Clearly murky and  useless advice
“turn left at Jim Handy’s place, over the creek,
then right at the big Chestnut  tree (or it may be an Elm…)
about a mile, or two, where the old well used to be.”

At a four-way junction there is no function to say
“a drug store on the corner” an ambiguous term
which is not helpful at all for Right or Left
and East or West can be clearly obscured
when the sun has disappeared.

Much clearer indeed is direction with proper inflection–
take this way, then left, then two rights and a STOP sign,
a mile to the South and you will find
the address…a big white house with a blue barn–

Give me a good old paper map–even ripped and torn
it is  better than guessing if I will ever get where I’m going.
I don’t miss the cheerful depressing voice, which after agonizing
pauses and fear of malfunction, startles in the silence–
After twisting and turning, on an intricate quagmire of unlikely paths:
“This is NOT your destination.”

Read more from Poetry, This and That
16 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oct 9 2015

    We had a really bad experience with a GPS unit on the Boston Turnpike. Went through the same toll booth six times till the toll taker finally asked if we were having trouble and told us how to get off — GPS units weren’t reliable, he said, because the roads of the turnpike are layered one on top of each other! I wonder if a map would have been possible to find for THAT mess of road? Great poem!

    • Oct 9 2015

      toll roads are not good with GPS… I have better results just making my own direction sheet

  2. Oct 9 2015

    Maps used to frustrate me but this convinces me otherwise! 🙂

    • Oct 9 2015

      I like real maps because one can point a finger or pencil at
      I am here….. and another at… here is where I’m going. The
      route to take is in between.

      • Oct 9 2015


      • Oct 10 2015

        the system isn’t perfect, but it works as long as there aren’t too many orange barrels and one-ways 🙂

      • Oct 10 2015


  3. Oct 9 2015

    I think I am now dependent on the little blue electronic dot..

    • Oct 10 2015

      like so many of my kids and friends… My friend named hers”Millie” and she works like a charm…it’s all in the setting I guess. I can never set my GPS.

      • Oct 10 2015

        No I don’t obey the GPS unfortunately! I prefer the map on my iPad that tells me where I am!

      • Oct 10 2015

        I haven’t tried the map on my kindle yet.

      • Oct 10 2015

        one of my cousins in Pennsylvania used to work with orphan kittens and another person I know did photos of animals at the APL center in Pittsburgh and they printed up some note cards for sale.. Those centers are just over-run though.

      • Oct 10 2015

        One of these cats is about to produce several more I think

      • Oct 10 2015

        good luck to her…hope she finds a home

  4. Oct 10 2015

    I love a paper map also. I was travelling from one quilt shop to another last summer. I got to a T intersection. GPS told me to go left then had me going down a myriad of farm-to-market roads. My destination was on the right about 1/2 mile from the T intersection…if I had turned right instead.

    • Oct 10 2015

      yep, there ya go…so you’re a quilter, I’m not but my daughter-in-law and one daughter are.


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