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Joanne Durham


Every home
needs a map of the world.
Hang it by the entrance.
Bless it as you might
a cross or a mezuzah
when you come and go.
Trace your finger across continents
not your own.
Say names of countries whose sounds
tickle your throat and move your lips
differently from your own language.
Be curious about who lives there,
sharing seas and stars.
Hope to meet them,
fellow earth-dwellers,
all calling this planet

From To Drink from a Wider Bowl (Evening Street Press 2022).
Used here with permission.


Joanne Durham is a retired educator who lives on the North Carolina coast, with the ocean as her backyard and muse. She's the author of To Drink from a Wider Bowl, which won the Sinclair Poetry Prize, and On Shifting Shoals. Joanne's poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies and she teaches workshops about poetry inspired by art. When she's not writing, Joanne says she plays tennis, practices yoga, delights in her grandchildren, and "works for a better world in which they can grow up." Learn more about her at





Post New Comment:
This is so hopeful and good! Thank you, Joanne!
Posted 02/20/2024 01:19 AM
I like this feeling of connection to the world,
Posted 02/17/2024 07:13 PM
Lori Levy:
I love the feeling of hope this poem gives me.
Posted 02/17/2024 01:36 PM
I collect maps and have built a special rack to hold them all. They are treasures.
Posted 02/17/2024 09:53 AM
Wilda Morris:
Very creative and beautiful. Think how it might influence our children if we all had world maps by our doors.
Posted 02/17/2024 09:36 AM
Thank You! This is a beautiful poem! I have a map tacked on the wall of the stairway. I think I may move it...
Posted 02/17/2024 08:52 AM
Darrell Arnold:
It is truly hard to fully understand without also doing a little traveling of your own. Once you've visited at least on "third world country," you will understand so much more about "your fellow earth-dwellers," and you will realize how truly blessed you are to live in the good ol' USA.
Posted 02/17/2024 08:40 AM
Larry Schug:
A Wider Bowl, yes, but it's how much is contained in a few short lines that gets to me.
Posted 02/17/2024 07:44 AM
Now that's drinking from a wider bowl. Very nice. I liked that. Randy Mazie
Posted 02/17/2024 07:09 AM

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