Grace Schulman

The Lost Explorers
January 12, 2015 Schulman Grace

The Lost Explorers


Give me the lost explorers, the last-seens,

gone missings, vanished-in-fog, no wreckage found,

with names that ring with danger, like Uemura

and Crozier, or rhyme with awe, like Fawcett,


lost seeing Z, the last alphabet letter,

the hidden city in Brazil he’d peer at

through jungle vines. Perhaps he found it,

walked with a lover there, and never left.


I’m for the one who feels exile at home

and breathes deep on departures, who would quit

leather recliners for a matchbox plane

to soar in, clutching a wind-blown chart;


the one who drives a dogsled through the snow’s

blank pages, the way unmarked by tracks

or wheelruts, and the life an open question.

Names echo like the last notes of a fugue.


Watch them stir to chatter in hissing consonants

and growls of a new language; dare them to travel

across the world’s time zones until they find

extra days, past and future. I’ll cheer for


listeners to wind song, losing balance

only to right themselves (who hasn’t walked on,

steadier, once lost?), just as I write this

with broken compass and no GPS.

Grace Schulman‘s newest book is Without a Claim, which Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish in the fall of 2013. Her earlier books include Paintings of Our Lives, For That Day Only, Hemispheres, and Burn Down the Icons. She is the recipient of the Delmore Schwartz Award for Poetry and of a Poetry Fellowship from the New York Foundation of the Arts. Her poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry and The Best of the Best American Poetry and in Pushcart Prizes 21 and 23. She is author of Marianne Moore: The Poetry of Engagement; editor of Ezra Pound, translator from the Hebrew of T. Carmi’s At the Stone of Losses; and co-translator from the Spanish of Pablo Antonio Cuadra’s Songs of Cifar. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New Republic, Paris Review, Antaeus, Grand Street, the Yale Review, the Hudson Review, the Kenyon Review and elsewhere. She was the Poetry Editor of the Nation, and former director of the Poetry Center, 92nd Street Y.