Posts Tagged ‘sailing’

Famagusta.  What a lovely word!  Earlier this week I was reading a book that talked about Famagusta, Cyprus and mentioned this poem.  It was a joy to read.  Take time to read it aloud or, at least, read it in aloud in your head. ,  Poetry is meant to be read and enjoyed.  Let this one fire your imagination.

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The Old Ships

James Elroy Flecker

I have seen old ships sail like swans asleep
Beyond the village which men call Tyre,
With leaden age o’ercargoed, dipping deep
For Famagusta and the hidden sun
That rings black Cyprus with a lake of fire;
And all those ships were certainly so old
Who knows how oft with squat and noisy gun,
Questing brown slaves or Syrian oranges,
The pirate Genoese
Hell-raked them till they rolled
Blood, water, fruit and corpses up the hold.
But now through friendly seas they softly run,
Painted the mid-sea blue or shore-sea green,
Still patterned with the vine and grapes in gold.
But I have seen,
Pointing her shapely shadows from the dawn
And image tumbled on a rose-swept bay,
A drowsy ship of some yet older day;
And, wonder’s breath indrawn,
Thought I – who knows – who knows – but in that same
(Fished up beyond Aeaea, patched up new –
Stern painted brighter blue -)
That talkative, bald-headed seaman came
(Twelve patient comrades sweating at the oar)
From Troy’s doom-crimson shore,
And with great lies about his wooden horse
Set the crew laughing, and forgot his course.It was so old a ship – who knows, who knows? –
And yet so beautiful, I watched in vain
To see the mast burst open with a rose,
And the whole deck put on its leaves again.
If you’d like to read a bit of commentary on the poem, you’ll find some here.

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While waiting for our plane on Thursday afternoon, we spotted a small jewel in our little corner of San Francisco International Airport, an exhibit entitled: “From Ship to Shore.”  Since the exhibit is located on the wrong side of security, I guess only travelers see it, but we enjoyed it.  And since I’ve been waiting for hours for the Weekly Photo Challenge to be posted (to no avail, so far), I find the waiting aspect of this post particularly apropos!!

Sailors were at sea for many weeks or months, providing time at least occasionally to wile away, so they expressed any artistic bend by decorating the everyday objects that they used or made, thus transforming them into anything but ordinary.  Wood, rope, bone, shell…all were used to create beauty, sometimes for daily use, sometimes to take home to family.  Some men eventually sold their crafts when they were onshore or might even be hired for specific commissions.

Here are some of the works of art on display.  Unfortunately, the venue isn’t conducive to being able to find a spot without reflections, so you’ll have to enjoy them as is.  If you’d like to see more examples from this display, you may click here:  http://www.flysfo.com/museum/exhibitions/ship-shore-nautical-arts-san-francisco-maritime-national-historical-park.  And for how to dress at the seaside, visit “People, Places and Bling”, http://peopleplacesandbling.com/2013/09/26/paris-tips-embracing-sailor-chic/. (more…)