February 2, 2023


Writer's Showcase

Terra Incognita

2 min read
So be careful how you boast; unless you’re prepared to fold your coast, into the empty interior.’

Then he, boasting of his own country:

so vast – while mine was so small –

he likened it to a postage stamp.

‘Enough’ – I thought, so I said:

“get me two sheets of paper,

one for you and one for me.’

Taking mine, and folding it

over and over – folding it

until it became smaller

and then smaller

and smaller.

Then –


He looked so perplexed – so I said:

‘please see what we now have –

two sheets; yours still blank,

while mine is condensed

with special significance;

folded in such a way,

it’s not easy to see

what is inside,

in essence.


And yet,

I can state,

that this land –

the one to hand,

though being small,

may be larger overall;

with more packed inside:

nature, culture, and history,

not to mention its topography,

that can be realised from outside;

so, if I may, I’ll defend its smaller size.


About your land I grant, you may certainly boast,

though, you are still living mainly on the coast.

In the interior – where your sheet is blank,

there’s the place you seldom visit or see;

still in the minds of the people of time,

who ages ago folded that space from

distance – into their dreamtime.”

So be careful how you boast;

unless you’re prepared

to fold your coast,

into the empty



  © D.G. Moody 2022

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)


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6 thoughts on “Terra Incognita

  1. I really like the last three lines. It gives a very good message to everyone. I’d like to remind you of another saying: “Empty vessels make the best noise.” Those with the least wisdom or knowledge are always the most talkative. Some people in our society talk a lot about their knowledge, talent or experience. But in reality, they often don’t have much knowledge, talent or experience as they say. However, they will be socially embarrassed one day.

    1. Thanks Amanda. I have to confess an interest here, as I was that poor immigrant – or ‘migrant’ as we were told; who had to have the superiority of the host country rammed down our throats. It took me coming back to here, to realise just how big my country is – in its infinite variety.

      1. This ‘superiority’ is really prevalent – I might even venture, ingrained, isn’t it! It may be true that, like other nations, it was superior in its heyday, but the fact is the way that it obtained the means to be superior was decidedly nothing to brag about! This is true of many of the seafaring nations who went around the world plundering assets of the land and the assets of indigenous peoples.
        The attitude maintains, and the the mirage of what was is being sought eagerly in the face of the reality that you can never go back – and even if you could, I for one wouldn’t want to go back being party to things like the Opium War! There are hundreds of other instances I wouldn’t want to be party to.
        Stop me now! I could go on for hours!

        1. Thanks for your comment Allen. I wasn’t aiming for a critique on Imperialism (not that I would disagree with you). The two countries are Australia and the United Kingdom. As a young immigrant I was sometimes subjected to criticism of the ‘old country’, compared to the ‘wide open spaces’ of Australia. Returning to the UK, what struck me, was just how much variety was (and is) packed into these islands. Not that I don’t also love ‘the sunburned country’.

  2. You are very right Dougie, a country’s size cannot determine its value. The comparison you have made in the poem is very clever. A country’s value is decided by its citizens and their talent and hunger to learn and add value to the world to make it a better place to live.

  3. Thanks Mike. I did pen the poem as a ‘fancy’, not meant to be posted; but then I though it might amuse. And yes, size is not the criteria of a nations value; Ireland is a small island (being divided), but it has contributed so much to our culture.

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