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 of poems is The Marble Bed, Forthcoming from Turtle Point Press in October, 2020. Her previous collections include Without a Claim, The Broken String, The Paintings of Our Lives, For That Day Only, Hemispheres, and Burn Down the Icons. She is the author of Strange Paradise: Portrait of a Marriage, and First Loves, a collection of essays. Schulman is recipient of the Frost Award for Lifetime Achievement in American Poetry and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Other honors include a Pushcart Prize and the Aiken-Taylor Award. Distinguished Professor of English at Baruch College, C.U.N.Y., she is editor of The Poems of Marianne Moore. She is a former Poetry Editor of The Nation (1971-2006) and Director, The Poetry Center, 92nd Street Y.