Wednesday, 19 September 2007


Perhaps one of the nicest things about falling asleep on the sofa is the occasional unexpected pleasure to be found from waking again to a different programme to the one which sent you to sleep.

Last night I fell asleep and woke to Storyville on BBC 4 which was being presented by the American Irish Poet and undertaker Thomas Lynch. And what an incredible way with words he has. It was beautiful, poignant and inspirational. I have a hazy memory of him describing the ocean.......'out there at the edge of the weather where the Seagulls wheel'. I love that idea that you can be so far out there as to be at the edge. Perhaps that's how early explorers felt?

Feeling in a thoughful mood I logged into Alison Dyer's blog this morning and was once again struck by the power of some of the words she had chosen written by the ecologist Rachel Carson, "The shore is an ancient world...that keeps alive the sense of continuing creation and of the relentless drive of life." "Only the most hardy and adaptable can survive in a region so mutable." In a different way this demonstrates the edginess of the sea.

But of course there is a point to these ramblings. Seafarers (including lifeboatmen) still perceive this edginess and respect it. Once off the slipway we cut our ties with the shore and enter that world "at the edge of the weather" with little knowledge of what outcome to expect. Just sometimes the outcome is not pleasant. No happy ending, just a job to be done so someone can tend to their grief........

Some days the worst that can happen happens.
The sky falls or weather overwhelms or
The world as we have come to know it turns
Towards the eventual apocalypse
Long prefigured in all the holy books --
The end times of floods and conflagrations
That bring us to the edge of our oblivions.

But here brave men and women pick the pieces up.
They serve the living tending to the dead.
They bring them home, the missing and adrift,
They give them back to let them go again.
Like politics, all funerals are local.

(Thomas Lynch - Local Heroes)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too fell asleep on the sofa last night..... however, i woke to the cat licking my face and porn on TV..... not quite so beautiful or poignant though slightly inspirational until the wife told me to p*#s off