Any Bright Horse
When Marco Polo was captured by the Genoese he whiled away his year in prison by dictating a memoir, the Livre des Merveilles. Polo’s Book of Wonders became a raging best seller before printing presses even existed–Christopher Columbus travelled with his own carefully-annotated copy. Poet Lisa Pasold takes Polo’s stories about Afghanistan, Russia, and China to speculate on the transformative effect of journeys, especially upon those who insist on finding marvels.
Any Bright Horse, Lisa Pasold, Poetry, ISBN 978-1-897181-55-3 112 pages, Paperback, 6″ x 9″, $15.95
If Christopher Columbus hadn’t owned & carefully read Marco Polo’s Livre de Merveilles
If Marco Polo had never travelled to meet the Great Khan. If he had never returned.
If in middle-age, he had not felt uneasily sedentary, stifled by the narrow canals of Venice.
If he had not then accepted command of a vessel sailing to triumph against Genoa.
If the naval battle had not been lost.
If Polo had not been held, a prisoner of war, in Genoa.
If he had not been imprisoned alongside a bored writer of Arthurian romances, languishing in a neighbouring cell of Genoa’s Palazzo di San Giorgio Jail.
If this fellow inmate, Rustichello, had not written down the stories Polo recounted.
If they had not collaborated, arguing through their various languages and dialects, until Rustichello penned Polo’s complete narrative in an ungrammatical but highly romantic French.
If this Book of Marvels had not been read rapturously even by priests, had not been recopied and translated variously and finally printed, for wide distribution, in 1477.