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Five hundred twenty years ago this week, Christopher Columbus landed on what is today San Salvador and soon established the first permanent European settlement in what would become known as the New World.

Welcome to Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub! I’m Joe Hesch, once again coming to you from behind the bar following a holiday weekend in the United States.

What do we as poets have in common with Columbus? Well, each time we sit before the computer or a notebook with intent to write something, that blank space is as full of the unknown as the western sea Columbus traversed. As poets, we’re all explorers, making our way across that space to discover some kind of truth about ourselves and the world around us.

Another thing we have in common with the man whose (sometimes historically conflicted) accomplishments we in the US celebrated yesterday, is a cock-eyed optimism and hope. Legend holds that the crews of Columbus’ first three-vessel fleet were ready to give up their Admiral’s quest to find an as yet unknown western route to Japan and head back to Spain. But, confident in his inspired plan, he wouldn’t let them. By coming to the pub and linking our works, we show confidence that someone out in that other vast unknown, the Internet, would like to see our discoveries.

In 1892, the colorful (to say the least) American poet Joaquin Miller, “The Poet of the Sierras,” wrote his poem “Columbus,” commemorating the 400th anniversary celebration of Columbus’ first voyage. (I’m not trying to butt in on our Chris’ turf here, but this guy’s story would be perfect for a wild Bullfights and Pretzels treatment.) The final verse of that poem might hold a bit of a lesson for us as poetic explorers…Sail on!

Then, pale and worn, he kept his deck,
And peered through darkness. Ah, that night
Of all dark nights! And then a speck—
A light! A light! A light! A light!
It grew, a starlit flag unfurled!
It grew to be Time’s burst of dawn.
He gained a world; he gave that world
Its grandest lesson: “On! sail on!”

Let’s cast off for this week’s voyage to the unknown! Here’s how:

  • Link the poem you’d like to share–old or new, on any topic, (1 per blog, please)– by clicking on the Mr.Linky button just below. This opens a new screen where you’ll enter your information, and where you also choose links to read.
  • Once you have pasted your poem’s blog url and entered your name, simply click submit.
  • Don’t forget to let your readers know where you’re linking up and encourage them to participate by including a link to dVerse in your blog post. (Something I too often forget to do, so this is a reminder for me, too.)
  • Explore as many other poems as you like, commenting and liking as you see fit.
  • Spread the word on the poems you enjoy if you’d like. Tweet and Pin and otherwise Share on the social media of your choice. Think of it as charting others’ courses.
  • Finally, each time I do this I end by saying we should remember that we are here for each other. Well, I’ve been informed one of our own is going through a very difficult time right now. So, if you don’t mind, keep a good thought tonight for the lovely poetic explorer Yelena Sapranova (http://moonlitpoetic.wordpress.com).