Monday, 15 February 2010

Sea and Wind

The sea for me has always been a point of reference in life. Gazing at the Arabian sea yesterday, watching the dhows bob near the horizon while scores of young and not so young played beach cricket I saw at play an eternal movement.

Later in the last quarter of night when I played Samuel Barber's magisterial Adagio I felt rocked by the sea and its lyrical truth. I have yet to listen to his musical interpretation of Mathew Arnold's 'Dover Beach.'

The timelessness of the moment by the sea seems to be distilled - despite its disorientation - in Ted Hughes' 'Wind'. The poem describes an entire day and how the elements rage against the house by the sea. In its reaching towards a meaning that eludes, the poem is about the mystery of life itself as articulated in the panopoly of the cosmos.


by Ted Hughes

This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet

Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.

At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
The coal-house door. Once I looked up -
Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope,

The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
At any second to bang and vanish with a flap;
The wind flung a magpie away and a black-
Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house

Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
That any second would shatter it. Now deep
In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought,

Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
Seeing the window tremble to come in,
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.

Samuel Barber (1910-81) Adagio, Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Simon Rattle, EMI
Picture courtesy: Mumbai sea by Aroj on Flickr

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