Journey to the Interior

                  There are similarities
                  I notice: that the hills
                  which the eyes make flat as a wall, welded
                  together, open as I move
                  to let me through; become
                  endless as prairies; that the trees
                  grow spindly, have their roots
                  often in swamps; that this is a poor country;
                  that a cliff is not known
                  as rough except by hand, and is
                  therefore inaccessible. Mostly
                  that travel is not the easy going
                  from point to point, a dotted
                  line on a map, location
                  plotted on a square surface
                  but that I move surrounded by a tangle
                  of branches, a net of air and alternate
                  light and dark, at all times;
                  that there are no destinations apart from this.
                  There are differences
                  of course: the lack of reliable charts;
                  more important, the distraction of small details:
                  your shoe among the brambles under the chair
                  where it shouldn't be; lucent
                  white mushrooms and a paring knife
                  on the kitchen table; a sentence
                  crossing my path, sodden as a fallen log
                  I’m sure I passed yesterday
                  (have I been
                  walking in circles again?)
                  but mostly the danger:
                  many have been here, but only
                  some have returned safely.
                  A compass is useless; also
                  trying to take directions
                  from the movements of the sun,
                  which are erratic;
                  and words here are as pointless
                  as calling in a vacant wilderness.
                  Whatever I do I must
                  keep my head. I know
                  it is easier for me to lose my way
                  forever here, than in other landscapes

Margaret Atwood