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'Not marble, nor the gilded monuments . . .'

Matthew Flinders

The explanation afterward

for everything

was the ship inside his skull

not the leaky one he sailed in

mistaking the new blue ocean

for Defoe’s prose

but the old barque of ambition

with hubris in its sails

tied to an arrogant rudder

his brilliant navigation

simply the superb


of his own self-importance

the consummate cartography of

a small, slight, thin-lipped man

drafting in every detail

his proud disagreeable nature

and haughty infallibility

and in doing so solved the riddle

of an unknown southern land

and put Australia on the map.

Jeff Guess

North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia. ©Jeff Guess 2017

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