Victor Tapner

This Turning World

Emery Molyneux, Elizabethan globe maker

I track the coast of Africa
and find the Indies,
skirt mountains
that disfigure a continent,

ride the demons
of the seas.

This orb is fashioned
from readings I took
as we sailed the horizon

in a ship as sick
as a plague village.

Measuring the Americas
we lost souls each month,

though I’d serve again
to hear rigging creak,

catch spray over the bows

or stand on the shore
of an unknown inlet.

But one’s days, too,
are unmarked on a map
and refuse to obey
any compass setting.

At this trestle by the window
I cross an ocean

and watch the world turn
from daylight
to shadows of the room.

Victor Tapner
’s latest book, Waiting to Tango, is a Templar Poetry Straid Award collection. His first collection, Flatlands (Salt), was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize and won the East Anglian Book Award for Poetry. He has also won the Munster Literature Centre’s international chapbook prize, and his individual poems have received major accolades, most recently joint runner-up in the 2021 Keats-Shelley awards. He lives and writes in Essex.

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