In my class studying novels this year we have been comparing novels written during the colonial period and post colonial. The novels have been Jane Ayre and Wide Sargasso Sea, The Outsider and The Meursault Investigation, Heart of Darkness and Trencherman. A more dismal set of novels I could not imagine but very interesting and though provoking.
One thing that did jar with me was that in the Heart of Darkness Marlow says that the sea is boring and always the same. I could not agree.
In my novel Tales from the Sea, a fictionalised account of my time serving as a ships officer in the British Merchant Navy, I start the novel with this poem.
The Sailor’s Mistress
When the cargo is loaded and all falls quiet
The sea itself is calling,
Beckoning the sailor out there beyond the dock.
His mistress is waiting
Where the river meets the sea.
He has no real knowledge of what her reaction will be
When he sails out to meet her.
She may greet him in a calm, balmy mood,
Like a gentle lover entwining him in her arms,
Leaving him refreshed and happy when they part.
It might be that she is angry
And will meet him with unmatched violence
A violence which beats upon the senses
And leaves the lovers drained and exhausted,
Ready to rush apart ,
Ready to find a place of peace and quiet
Not the feeling of complete satisfaction.
Like all lovers, the sea and the sailor
Will never quite know what moods will greet them when they meet
Or how the mood can change very quickly.
This is the excitement of the sea.
Every time a ship leaves port,
The sailor approaches that love
With a mixture of exhilaration and apprehension.
Will they together make beautiful love under a clear blue sky
Or will they fight?
It is not for the sailor to subdue the sea
But to live with her moods
In the hope that he can survive.
The sea is calling, always calling
As a lover calls.
It is a novel which looks at the excitement of seafaring. Meeting in its pages the characters who man the ships, the changing, challenging weather and the exotic places visited.
It is available from Amazon, www.createspace.com and the Kindle store.