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That the Science of Cartography Is Limited

That the Science of Cartography Is Limited


by Eavan Boland

Analysis: Sound Check

Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle, yeah. "That the Science of Cartography is Limited" is written in free verse, so it's not redundant or hard to understand, like some traditional verse forms; you can dance to it however you want to. It's not trying too hard to be all fancy and poetic.

But it's still a pleasure to listen to. Don't believe us? Listen to Boland herself reading the poem

If you do, you'll hear tons of repeated sounds, including the slant rhymes of "love" and "drove" (4), and the consonance of the final "r" sounds in "hunger" (25) and "there" (28).

These repetitive vowel and consonant sounds echo throughout the poem. And the recurrence of these echoes can surprise us; since the poem has no regular rhyme scheme, you never know when one of these sounds will sneak up on you. Just like how you never know when the past will sneak up on you. Right?

Surprise sonic repetitions, surprise run-ins with history? Folks, we're pretty sure that this poem's form parallels its content.

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