Ordnance Survey

I get lost in the Ordnance Survey,

following a streamlet from fount to

ford to flow at sea; finding the

crossed-swords of battlefields; the

demi-moon of a fine view; the

churches—steepled, belfried or

unadorned; how long or steep a walk before the

welcome public house; how well those

ancient builders knew the land when they

sighted their chambered tombs, as

alive to lines of sight as those

Gunners to whom we owe all this

rich detail, this masterpiece of the

cartographer’s art.


And yet I still hanker to find some

white space, unlined because

undiscovered, unpeopled,

“Not Marked on the Ordnance Map”.

(The last line is a chapter heading from Jocelyn Brooke’s remarkable but little-read novel “The Image of a Drawn Sword”.)

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