Not the attendance of stones, nor the applauding wind, shall let you know you have arrived,

nor the sea that celebrates only departures, nor the mountains, nor the dying cities.

Nothing will tell you where you are. Each moment is a place you’ve never been.

You can walk believing you cast a light around you. But how will you know?

The present is always dark. Its maps are black, rising from nothing, describing,

in their slow ascent into themselves, their own voyage, its emptiness,

the bleak temperate necessity of its completion. As they rise into being they are like breath.

And if they are studied at all it is only to find, too late, what you thought were concerns of yours

do not exist. Your house is not marked on any of them, nor are your friends,

waiting for you to appear, nor are your enemies, listing your faults. Only you are there,

saying hello to what you will be, and the black grass is holding up the black stars.

Mark Strand Black Maps October 1, 2008
Posted on October 1, 2008