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Give Me Maps
Diane Lee Moomey


I'll search for you, MapQuest or Yahoo;
print out the words to send me
spiraling to your front door. Eventually.

Or I'll Google, click "satellite", note
the color of your mailbox; your boat,
how many dandelions in the yard.

Instruct my 'droid
to call out in loud voice,
(male or female, my choice), to
"turn left at next intersection,
turn left at next intersection,
turn left at next intersection." 
I'll do these things with grace, for you,
but oh for pure adventure, do
give me maps, give me paper, give me maps!

Give me ink: new, or with piney residue
of picnic tables past. I'll unfold
their vast beauty, fill the dashboard,
fold, refold, behold the North
and South of them, the scale of miles;
drop mustard onto Wichita,
count inches to Vancouver,
Cheboygan, Dubuque.

Give me maps!

Maps, and children who'll demand
while dripping jam on Alabama, who'll demand—
of course they will demand—to know
if we are There yet.

© by Diane Lee Moomey.
Used here with the author's permission.



Diane Lee Moomey grew up near the Great Lakes and, since then, has lived and wandered around the U.S. and Canada. These days, she dips her gardener's hands in California dirt, and reads and listens regularly at poetry venues in the San Francisco Bay Area. Diane has published three books of poetry and prose and won a prize or two along the way. Currently, she is co-curating a monthly poetry series in the Bay area. Besides poetry, Diane enjoys long walks beside the ocean, reading mysteries, and painting in watercolors. Learn more about her at and


Post New Comment:
Wow, I am touched by all the comments! So glad so many of you share this love of mine. And oh - remember the two-lane highways which seemed to end at every rise, and then appear again on the downslope?
Posted 07/14/2018 11:31 PM
Jennifer Wyatt :
Thank you for such a great poem. The poem reminded me of family vacations where my mother would be navigator and my father would be driving. Mom would yell, "Turn here just before the street came up. Dad would miss the turn and then it would start all over again.
Posted 07/13/2018 05:30 PM
Janet Leahy:
The man in the box in my car has a favorite line "as soon as possible make a legal U turn," I remember the maps of childhood, they did not talk back. Diane, your poem brings back miles of memories. Thank you.
Posted 07/13/2018 04:34 PM
Mary Lou Taylor:
Great to see how many poets (or readers) like this poem. Me, too. You touched a nerve in all of us.
Posted 07/13/2018 04:13 PM
Good poem. Makes me want to crank up and head out!!
Posted 07/13/2018 01:21 PM
My dogs will lick the mustard from Wichita, the jam from Alabama. They, too, love maps. And sniffing out new places.
Posted 07/13/2018 12:57 PM
LOVE this one!
Posted 07/13/2018 11:30 AM
We're about to head out on a road trip and despite being a digital geek we have been rounding up all relevant maps, either archival and condiment stained or newly acquired from AAA.
Posted 07/13/2018 11:07 AM
Jean Colonomos-1:
Jean Colonomos Love the "drop mustard onto Wichita...dripping jam on Alabama"
Posted 07/13/2018 11:00 AM
This poem is so "there" in my experience! Thank you for a poem that is at once nostalgic and contemporary.
Posted 07/13/2018 10:52 AM
wendy morton:
Let us all drip jam on maps, remember everything.
Posted 07/13/2018 10:41 AM
Glen Sorestad:
What a fine poem to help me find my way through today! Thanks, Diane.
Posted 07/13/2018 10:29 AM
Yes! yes, Dianne's poem captures my feelings exactly. I have an entire drawer of my old maps and relive long trips I have taken just by caressing the paper and tracing my route. No, I have never been satisfied with maps on the screen. They are cold and usually not helpful. Yes, yes, give me the folded old map.
Posted 07/13/2018 10:27 AM
Wonderful! There is a sense of place and orientation that digital doesn't provide, and what a lovely way to describe the difference.
Posted 07/13/2018 10:08 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I loved Dianne's charming poem evoking memories of road trips with maps sprawled on the dash when I was a kid asking Are we there yet. I still feel like a voyeur staring at a satellite picture of someone's roof and lawn and I won't even buy a car with an irritating android telling me which direction to turn and getting me lost anymore than I am already.
Posted 07/13/2018 09:52 AM
I am a collector of maps because I love them.
Posted 07/13/2018 09:05 AM
Larry Schug:
Having a degree in Geography from before the world became digitalized, I share your love of maps. I'm amazed at how many people don't know how to read a map. I could go on and on...the key line in this poem is "but oh for pure adventure", another thing people have seemed to have lost the knack for. thanks for a good poem, Diane.
Posted 07/13/2018 08:29 AM

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