La mer – (Beyond
the sea) - qu’on voit danser le long des golfes clairs – a des reflets d’argent – La mer – des reflets
changeants – sous la pluie - who does
not know this beautiful romantic song composed and first
sung by Charles Trenet in the 1940s. The theme tune of the early morning radio programme
in Luanda, Angola I woke up to.
This song represents best the longing that overcomes
people when they are sitting in their office at a rainy cold day and they dream
of the sea, anywhere, and for once in a year they make their
dreams come true. To plunge into the warm embrace of the sea to let go of all
hardship, lie on the back and feel at home. It is where they hope to get back
their strength. Do we get drawn to the sea because it represents the primordial
soup, primordial mother? The very beginning
where we come from?
The Sea that never changes, perhaps
getting bigger with the pole caps melting, there we stand by the coast and look
beyond it; the longing for the sea automatically contains the longing for other
coasts, for the root of the rainbow, for treasures and happiness, for the
fulfillment of our longing for something we don’t know. I know about it since one day in our life we
decided to build our own boat and go to do just that, exploring the coasts and
meeting with the unknown we have always been chasing for.
The Sea, theme for many poets and
authors: The Old Man and the Sea by E. Hemingway¸ the early science fiction by
Jules Verne: 20000 leagues under the sea; my favourite books in my childhood
were the seagoing adventurers, explorers such as Captain Cook, all the pirates
of the Caribbean, Bartholomeus Diaz, Christopher Colombus,; there is an endless
list of them.
Fever BY JOHN MASEFIELD
must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking,
must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
poetry or a novel is very similar to the experience of the sea and I know quite
a number of poets that entrust their thoughts to the wide unknown kingdom of
mystery. In mythology we find many beings that inhabit the deep seas, we find
them in all ancient mythologies around the world, the Greek, Romans and
Egyptians had their own gods; the Germans, Finns and Irish had them; the Aztecs and the Maori certainly honoured their own.
Remember the sirens Odysseus had to fight off. This
painful longing to let go and join those deep in the sea. The mermaids and sea
monsters that are at home in the depths of the ocean and heavy storms have
often been regarded by the seafaring men as unleashed by mysterious powers. The rumours of lost airplanes and ships in the
Triangle or Devil’s Triangle, do we not tend to believe the weird stories?
The sea that can be good to us, nourishes us, can get mad at us and
develop enormous deadly seas to devour vast stretches of land and with its
thousands of people. We with all our high technologies are helpless in front of
this almighty energy. Après moi le deluge, we often say lightly as if it would
not concern us when islands of plastic rotate in the vastness of the Atlantic
carried together by the streams of the world oceans.
Also here on Cypriot coasts, especially on the Western beaches where we
love to go along to air our system in the winter months, where the turtles
still come ashore to lay their eggs, those have to swim alongside rubbish
thrown into the sea in countries west of us.
How delightful it is though to sit with the anglers on the wall of
Kyrenia harbour and wait for the sun to set beyond the western horizon.