Dots on a map flash flatly up at me—
and in my ears there chants again the sea.
The thousand isles I’ve never seen
toss up their sheaves of tawny green;
wing-slanting sea birds scream
across the wind-whirled vortex of my dream.
And then my feet are lonely
for the tilting of the decks,
for the sand of sun-drenched beaches
along the Bay of Wrecks;
jade lagoons I never swam
fold around me where I am;
I recline beneath the fara
trees that bloom at Rimatara
or I tap
deep cool drinking-nuts at Pingelap.
Now the sharkskin drums are pounding
and the thin high chant is sounding
where the leaf-clad dancers sway:
Aue ho’i! to be away
to the thousand fabled islands,
jungled lowlands, tumbled highlands;
to go searching on and on
for the sun-god’s hidden island
at the door-posts of the dawn!
Dots on a map—and in my eyes
the morning landfall’s fresh surprise;
the incense of the fires of husk
coiling to the stars at dusk,
and when the night intones its psalm,
the braided mat beneath the palm …
and dreamless sleep—if one might but entrap
dots on a map!