Mind Map of a Forgotten Coast

Our coastal skin shrank as knowledge grew;
why have we forgotten paths and dunes
devoured by an increasingly hungry sea?

Never sated, the leviathan lingers on the shore
until its rumbling belly sends it back for more.

Ancient rock has turned to crumbling cliffs and sand.
There are no maps to fathom what lies beneath,
how the now familiar landscape looked before,

a village drowned, the bells of ancient churches
silenced, paths and cart tracks erased from memory.

And yet the human race continues to leave its trace
in the shifting sands of time and place,
to become figments in the imagination
of a future, mapless generation.

Kim M. Russell, 28th April 2020

Swells of Romance

My response to earthweal weekly challenge: A New Map to the Old World, also linked to dVerse Poets Pub where I am hosting Open Link Night

Brendan says that corona virus time ‘feels like we’re adrift in a stillness which echoes vastly down the abyss of geologic time, sails lagging, motion nil’. We have no idea when the world will resume and so we wait, ‘praying for anything like a breeze’.

He has shared an extract from Robert Macfarlane’s Underland: A Deep Time Journey, and  writes about his interest in ‘countermapping’, which he says is associated with ‘indigenous or suppressed cultures who seek to disinter and reinscribe forgotten or overwritten topyonymies and modes of perceptions’. He also says that mapping is ‘always partial, and for that reason is always an expression of priority—and often an expression of power’.

Brendan compares the ease of navigating with Google Maps with the difficulty in ‘reckoning a soul’s history or a nation’s fall’, and asks: What’s your new map to the old world? What hidden perils and treasures does it reveal?

39 thoughts on “Mind Map of a Forgotten Coast

  1. I worry about that future mapless generation. Already we are in uncharted waters. The coast is being eroded here too, banks crumbling away. The mansions along the shore may get gobbled one day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do too, Sherry. I love maps. I prefer to read a map than use a satnav. Maps belong to a special art form, of explorers and adventurers. Sadly, the shapes of countries are changing and we’re losing so many old places.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A wonderful response to the challenge, Kim. Sea level rise is erasing coastlines around the world, creating contours we have yet to experience. With new submerged coastal towns becoming suburbs of Ys and Atlantis. Deep memory holds those places in ken, but I wonder how long it will be before we miss Miami Beach enough. Great work – Brendan

    Liked by 2 people

  3. New Orleans is in peril too. In NE WA , near Colville, after they built the Coulee Dam, it backed up the Columbia River for a 100 miles, covering a whole town. In summer you could see church steeples.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read about that somewhere, Glenn. It;’s not new, though. England was once linked to Europe until the sea broke our little island off. It used to take millennia, now it’s only a matter of years.


  4. I just KNEW when I read the first line that your words would be deep and wonderful and indeed they are, sad also.
    Sadly our coastlines diminish and we fail to notice, notice that landmass reduces year on year and our world gets smaller and smaller…
    Superb write Kim/
    Anna :o]

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So much wisdom captured in your poem, Kim. You ensnare magic with your words, a talent I so admire. As for the mapless generation .. dependent on their GPS and their cyber-voice Siri for directions…they consider a map a mysterious document! As for me (the elder generation), GPS is like driving with a bag over my head!! I want to SEE where I’m going!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So many changes over time–I really like this.
    I remember doing some reading on mapmaking for one of my books, and I learned how some native American cultures made maps that reflected their perception of time and space, which was different from the way Europeans made and understood maps.
    Underland is wonderful. Black Bough Poetry is doing a two-volume issue of poems inspired by the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read and heard a little about native American cultures, and I love their way of thinking, Maps of perception of time and space sound fascinating. Is Black Bough Poetry based in America? I’ll look them up.Thanks for the info, Merril!


  7. The ice caps are melting. The water has to go somewhere. It may be held in more clouds which means more cloudy days, but most of it will fill up the waterways. Maybe we will go back to being sea creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can pour over maps for ages. I didn’t know that the ocean is crumbling up the coastlines, presumably not only in England. I’ll do some reading.

    Btw: a bit slow at taking up the trail. I’m house-hunting but will get round to everyone asap.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fourteen lines, an intricate tho idiosyncratic rhyme scheme:
    a volta in the last quatrain, and plenty of iambs. This works very well as a postmodern English sonnet.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nothing last forever. People in the past knew that. We have lived, in the Western world at least, for more than half a century with the delusion that all will last. Nicely done however.

    Liked by 1 person

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