Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Sorrow of the wind

((A man of the Hebrides moves inland to work on a farm, leaving behind the love of his life, whom he knows would not follow him. Years pass and he remains alone, brooding and sad over his life’s great loss. A priest tries to console him and urge him to move on as they walk a strand one day.))

Rury Macarthur made no answer, but walked on, his grey eyes staring out across the long thistled greyness of the sandy machair and upon the dull grey and wan green of the tumbling sea, that sometimes seemed like a flood coming swift across a narrow downborne ridge; and sometimes was an idle and formless mist being furtively rolled back and mysteriously gathered by obscure withdrawing hands.

“...She has the wave in her heart. Ay, that’s it. She has the wave in her heart. She hears the tides as you hear the church-bell of Our Lady of the Sea. You wouldn’t be without the good sound of the bells, Father Angus ... An’ that you call the bell would be to you, the sound of the water an’ the whispering of the waste and that’s in the sea for good and evil (peace to it, the good sea; I’d say no evil of it, or any whose place it is) -- ay, all that and more, is the sea -- call to ((my lost love)) Maev ...

They hear, the everlasting ones. They hear a whisper in the dark: the wise will keep even thought of them screened from their proud, unrelenting eyes. It was they who put a wave of the sea between him and his hopes. If Maev were a woman as other women -- perhaps, even, he thought, if he could love as other men -- But no, it was their will that some would be children of water, and no love and no hope and no supplication would avail, no, not till they whole world was drowned in the sea, or till the sea was gathered to the yearning lips of the sky, as the sun sucks the midsummer dew.

The night wind rose out of the west. In the vastness of shadowy gloom over sea and land it moved, like a lamenting voice, a creature blind and without form, homeless, seeking what is not to be found; crying sometimes, as a lance slanting on the wind, an ancient sorrow; deepening sometimes in an immense, gathering, multitudinous sound, as though the tides of night broke against the shores of the stars.

-- from “The Sorrow of the Wind,” Fiona Macleod


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