Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Abbott's Anni Mirabili

In thriving arts a long time had geography widely grown,
A broader world yet smaller, pettiness as expansive as a continent.
Vision decayed to a skeleton, the fragments of appetite shown,
The restless, banging bones of men and women made content.

Across the world, every nation like Iowa City become,
Aroused by idle speech, invisible omen, the smell of Maid Rite,
Armies fighting, not with sword or spear but objection to some
Shaded insult shared at home, every home, against the alien in flight.

Was it not for signs and wonders that the lord of hosts made me?
Was it not for maps? Googled maps? Long, long essays and maps?
Was it not to count the primary exports and to name each tree?
Was I not placed here, and Kathmandu and West Branch to bring justice between naps?

Aye, I am slave to nobody, master of all and victim of a very several few.
This is my year. You will hear from me and see me this year.
You will receive my books in boxes and unburden yourself as I do.
This will be a year remembered, carefully annotated without fear.

I see the world, from cacao orchards among the Yoruba and in Java
To the fishing boats behind Coralville dam and the puppies following men
Yipping in tongues of Hausa and Swahili and Czech and Ali Baba,
I draw the whole of habitable land and drillable sea and name it twenty-ten.

GEOGRAPHY, n. The study of the fixed Earth's moving parts.

17 comments:

TLP said...

#$%^@$#* I cannot believe I missed yesterday's word! I'm good at that stuff.

Geography: totally unnecessary study of the world. Everything is either "here" or "over there." I don't know why you'd want to know more than that.

Minka said...

geography,n. something to be overcome with technology; even Pogo sticks will do

Ariel the Thief said...

Geography, everything and everybody have a place where they are supposed to be the most, and when they they get there, they finally stop moving.

I skipped the poem. *yawning*

Jim said...

No wonder the kids on Leno don't know geography, there is too much for them to learn!

I like your poem, I was expecting it to end with a boastful 'I am ___________.'
Or just I AM.
..

pia said...

This is my year. You will hear from me and see me this year.
You will receive my books in boxes and unburden yourself as I do.

And so she says for the bazillionth year
Geography: When they say South USA they really mean the South Pole--it's freezing and has been for months

Ariel the Thief said...

Jim, that's the beginning not the end. :)

butch - "Listen, I don't mean to be a sore loser, but when it's done, if I'm dead, kill him."

charlie said...

Dear Doug and Everyone,

Great post! The perspective from here in Iowa City is that this decade will see more superb posts as this great decade progresses.

charlie

Alice said...

fate and geography..it's almost Far Eastern here these days.;)

Love the poem dear dawg.

sauerkraut said...

geography is a many-splendered thing: human, economic, political, societal, romantic, ornithological, etc., etc., etc. man, I love geography!

actonbell said...

I came by earlier, was about to say something, but then Ekim called me to dinner and now I forget what I was gonna say. (maybe I'm just radioactive)

On second thought, this verse is scaring me, and I don't know why. Perhaps it's just too late for me to be contemplating stuff.

I love your update, at any rate:)

quilly said...

GEO GRAPHY, N. Graphs by George -- duh.

Nessa said...

Lucifer revolted over territory.

Sean the Vampire

Doug said...

TLP, Bierce's definition of "GEOGRAPHER," which I believe you've seen is something about a man who can tell you off-hand the difference between the ootside of the world and the inside.

Right, Minka, and a long straw.

Ariel, you afraid that this poem is your place?

YHWH, Jim? That's a little boastful even for me. I am much more modest than that. I am modest as a thousand Zimbabwean villages, modest as a comet among the stars, modest as all the martyrs of every faith...

Pia, I look forward to a box of your books.

Nice quote, Ariel.

Chazz, glad you liked. This decade will see tweets even shorter than 140 characters!

Hahaha, Cooper. Yeah, I write every day from my couch, but never underestimate how far a man's couch can take him.

I do too, Sauerkraut. The genesis of today's post is with my friend, Charlie, above, a student of geography. I used to get contact highs listening to him talk about his research.

Sorry about that, Actonbell. It was meant in the usual light spirit but I admit now it looks kind of serious. Too much Dryden, not enough Nash.

That's a lot easier now that you mention it, Quilly.

Nessa, that sounds deep.

NicoleB said...

Geography, never got the hang of it, but I love to travel :P

Karen said...

MISCELLANY ON WEDNESDAY has been exceptional lately.

I have an RSS feed to Waking Ambrose. It comes directly to My Yahoo. I have a few other blogs which I follow, too.
Anyway, if you click on "The Abbott's Anni Mirabili", the URL reads: bitterbierce.blogspot.com/2010/03/annus-mirabilus-for-chazz.html

Iowa City was a surprise. Chazz is such an exotic nickname. I guessed Kathmandu.

Mrs said...

I am glad you are so modest, Doug. Thanks for letting me and others know in your modest way.
..

Doug said...

Nicole, I think geography is for the living room.

Thanks, Karen. Well, of course, Chazz brought his exotic nickname to Iowa City from Rochester, NY, which is culturally close to Kathmandu.

Everyone should know, Jim.