Sunday, 4 October 2009
This was the last tale in the thread before I surrendered to the inevitable and began this very blog. It's inspiration was a poem by Stephane Mallarme the 19th Century French poet called Brise Marine or Sea Breeze.
The wide sky filled with a grand drift of clouds their slow movement promising a breeze. The ships below rock gently cradled on a slightly rippling mass of water, clear and blue. Reflections of the sky drift on the waters and the ships are ready to go. But the men on their decks are at ease, taking things easy. Then a whisper of wind, a ruffling of hair, a stirring of the ropes and the masts lean towards each other murmurings in their lines of salt air and wide endless spaces. The men cry aloud to each other and move with excitement.
Women turn to each other catching the excitement of the wind and the waters and the tall masts around them like a forest about to move. They turn to the lines and release the sails that belly out and fill - a sudden pregnancy of expectations and desire. Moorings are slipped and languidly the ships slip away from the quays, slow at first, feeling their liberty - until sure of it they dart forwards into the open channels hearing the dizzying call of the greater liberty of the sea.
The sea and wind sprites are called up by the wise women on the prows, softly and politely invoked. The women lean over the prows, a single rope holding them to the ships, their hair streaming back, fluttering like the pennants and ensigns on the masts. Their arms cast outwards and wide in supplication, their soft words flung like gulls out into the bright clean sharp air. The sprites come then and tease their callers, cradling the ships before flinging them about a little to show their power.
"You do not treat us lightly," they seem to say.
The wise women speak with the sprites peaceably and politely. The men stand well back from the prow and do not speak. But this demonstration of the power of the wise women un-nerves them. They want their own power and do not understand the tricky relationship of the women and the sprites.
The time will come when they will no longer call the wise women onto their ships, they will trust in the power of their ships and engines and the women will be but figureheads - reminders of the invokers of sea and air. The sprites will no longer speak with us but disappear to their depths and heights of sea and sky. Every woman that grows wise will stand upon the shore and hear them singing and feel in her blood the link they once had with the sea and sky... and earth.