Tuesday, December 7, 2010

more about that: the Sail

A sail -- it's a flag, a ship far at sea, noted with excitement or trepidation by those on shore. It is Possibility, a Beginning, it could be plague, war, or news; gifts, visitors, Change. The blank self -- the Self that only waits for what moves it, waiting for breath or breeze, impelled along the course set by a rudder that in turn is set by the stars and the weather... the Soul is a sail.

I'm drinking a glass of wine -- "7 Deadly Zins," Lodi 2008 -- which smells light and fragrant but tastes like wood smoke. Like camp fires, in fact. Even the label looks artfully "burnt." What does that have to do with the Sail? Not much, really...

Imagine the ship at sea, on a long voyage, the abstract trade route, an emigration, a slave ship, maybe a shipment of wine on its way to the Emperor's daughter where she languishes imprisoned on a Greek desert island. (Sent there by her father, to pay for the sin of disobedience, and the unforgivable, lust.) Sailors thirst, fresh water is scarce, but there are casks and casks of wine stacked carefully in the hold. Lips stained red, mending sail on a weather-becalmed ship in the middle of nowhere...

t.s. eliot.  "Ash Wednesday."
... Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth This is the time of tension between dying and birth The place of solitude where three dreams cross Between blue rocks But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated

And let my cry come unto Thee.

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