Sunday, December 21, 2014

`Stealthily Ready for a Drowning'

“The sea—this truth must be confessed—has no generosity.  No display of manly qualities—courage, hardihood, endurance, faithfulness—has ever been known to touch its irresponsible consciousness of power.  The ocean has the conscienceless temper of a savage autocrat spoiled by much adulation.  He cannot brook the slightest appearance of defiance, and has remained the irreconcilable enemy of ships and men ever since ships and men had the unheard of audacity to go afloat together in the face of his frown.  From that day he has gone on swallowing up fleets and men without his resentment being glutted by the number of victims—by so many wrecked ships and wrecked lives.  To-day, as ever, he is ready to beguile and betray, to smash and to drown the incorrigible optimism of men who, backed by the fidelity of ships, are trying to wrest from him the fortune of their house, the dominion of their world, or only a dole of food for their hunger.  If not always in the hot mood to smash, he is always stealthily ready for a drowning.  The most amazing wonder of the deep is its unfathomable cruelty.” 

[Joseph Conrad, The Mirror of the Sea, Chap. 36, 1906.]

1 comment:

Subbuteo said...

Reminded me of this:

Nothing Personal

The sea is not a person,
it’s just seething physics,
swelling up and down.
And yet the sea behaves,
and then it misbehaves.
Last night it threw a tantrum,
hurling paving stones,
kelp and shingle,
across the promenade
in a disgraceful and
unmannerly display,
leaving me, now, crunching
over stones and shells,
looking at the horizon.