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That the Science of Cartography Is Limited

 —and not simply by the fact that this shading of
forest cannot show the fragrance of balsam,
the gloom of cypresses,
is what I wish to prove.
When you and I were first in love we drove to the borders of Connacht and entered a wood there.
Look down you said: this was once a famine road.
I looked down at ivy and the scutch grass rough-cast stone had disappeared into as you told me in the second winter of their ordeal, in 1847, when the crop had failed twice, Relief Committees gave the starving Irish such roads to build.
Where they died, there the road ended and ends still and when I take down the map of this island, it is never so I can say here is the masterful, the apt rendering of the spherical as flat, nor an ingenious design which persuades a curve into a plane, but to tell myself again that the line which says woodland and cries hunger and gives out among sweet pine and cypress, and finds no horizon will not be there.

Poem by Eavan Boland
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