That the Science of Cartography Is Limited
by Eavan Boland
That the Science of Cartography Is Limited Visions of Ireland Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
That the Science of Cartography is Limited
-and not simply by the fact that this shading of
forest cannot show the fragrance of balsam,
the gloom of cypresses,
is what I wish to prove. (1-4)
The speaker's understanding of her fair country goes beyond looking at maps. Her knowledge is sensory: she knows Ireland through the look and smell of forest.
When you and I were first in love we drove
to the borders of Connacht
and entered a wood there.
Look down you said: this was once a famine road.
I looked down at ivy and the scutch grass
rough-cast stone had
disappeared into (5-11)
The speaker's recognition of the famine road is recognition of how the road (and thus the land's history) has been obscured. The grass has grown over the stones. Deep. We know.
as you told me
in the second winter of their ordeal, in
1847, when the crop had failed twice,
Relief Committees gave
the starving Irish such roads to build.
Where they died, there the road ended (11-16)
The speaker's beloved knows the history behind this strange road that doesn't exist on maps. And it's not a happy history. The history of Ireland during the 1840s is one of cruelty, pain, and suffering. We sure are glad that whole potato blight bit got sorted out.