That Undiscovered Country

Inside the pages
of every novel I ever saw you
sink into; every book whose tortured paths
I travelled, whose country lanes I meandered,
whose highways I traversed in dubious company

inside each book we read, separately,
sequentially, sometimes by recommendation
sometimes serendipity, we entered
undiscovered countries

of time, place, plot and character,
meeting old friends and new, finding
soul mates, escaping villains, hoping
for a final verdict that would dispense
justice with a masterly hand.

We met ourselves there.

I do not fear for you, my friend,
gone ahead into that last undiscovered country,
the book cover closed forever
behind you.

Julie Thorndyke (New South Wales)

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