Off the Map – a poem by Peter Green

Off the Map –

The Henry Brothers have always been fond of storytelling, fantasy, adventure and we’ve also always loved poetry. So here’s the perfect combination – a poem about adventure stories: “Off the Map” by Peter Green.

They say the blank spaces on the map are all
filled in. They lie. King Solomon’s mines are still
there to be found, the frontiers of Prester John’s kingdom
still exist for the traveller whose passport
is valid, the Fortunate Isles still beckon young sailors
who have shipped out with Squire Trelawney, or found
new friends at the back of the North Wind.

Let me confess it:
I still dream of boarding the Orient Express at Victoria,
a loaded Webley in my valise, and in my pocket
a letter from Flavia, a one-way ticket to Strelsau.

The books and stories referenced in the first verse are:
King Solomon’s mines by H. Rider Haggard; Prester John by John Buchan; the mythical Fortunate Isles; Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson; and At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald.

And the second verse refers to The Prisoner of Zenda and its sequel Rupert of Hentzau by Anthony Hope.

The Henry Brothers are also fond of extending poems, asking the audience to write an extra verse of their own. In this case that would mean choosing for themselves a means of transport, a starting point, a destination, one or two objects to take with them, and perhaps some travel companions.

So John Henry’s verse might go:

Let me confess it:
I still dream of slipping from her mooring the Swallow
or the Amazon
and setting sail across Coniston Water
with Captain Flint on my shoulder, and in my pocket
Jack Sparrow’s magic compass.

How about yours?

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About The Henry Brothers

We are English teachers involved in ELT publishing in Turkey, and also touring the country giving workshops and presentations to English teachers, mainly on the use of poetry, storytelling and other lively activities in the classroom. We can be contacted by e-mail to istanbuljohnm@hotmail.co.uk.
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One Response to Off the Map – a poem by Peter Green

  1. I think I like your confession better than the original!

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