The earth is flat, they said, be warned! Don’t travel too far or you’ll fall into the sky.
The earth is round, he said, and I
will surmount every summit bathed in golden sun
traverse every trench at the sea’s bottom
And map every crevasse and curve
To prove that you lie.
Every inch of this sphere he set out to see
To feel with his finger, to taste the air
To trace a path
Over each mound, into every cavern.
Too early, and write my name in the sand
For I am the man
Who conquered each curve
Of this mystery earth.
You’ll do no such thing,
She declared, in the silence native to women of such galactic gravity
And shifting in celestial slumber
Her ocean gown undulated, sweeping away the profane sand-inscription with a tidal kiss
So sweet, as he was knocked off his feet
By new nameless mountains
Tumbling down a vertical road of red river rock
Losing track of his limbs, the power to talk
Crawling into the dark. Falling into the sky
is preferable to this fate of failure, he cried
Wondering why he ever had tried.
Meanwhile, her crystalline caves unpenatrated
Ocean rocking slowly to stillness
The ever-changing earth
Returned to her beauty sleep
For another pristine millennium or two
And man’s fear and jealousy only grew
For the treasures of this terrific and terrible
Earth of the sphere
Earth of the curves.
Image credits: (in order of appearance)