Who hath desired the Sea? Her menaces swift as her mercies? and the silver-winged breeze that disperses? The unstable mined berg going South and the calvings and groans that declare it – White water half-guessed overside and the moon breaking timely to bare it – His Sea as his fathers have dared — his Sea as his children shall dare it: His Sea as she serves him or kills? So and no otherwise — so and no otherwise — hillmen desire their Hills..R.Kipling
This is the latest painting from my collection “Who Hath Desired the Sea” (see the others below)… The poem is a magnificent one which resounds with the movement of waves….see the full review at the bottom of the page…. Here the fog moves in over the sea and the land, not rolling in but in-rolling which is much more expressive… I added a mysterious land this time, based on the sleeping giant in Northern Ontario, but the atmosphere is definitely Turneresque, (that is if I’m allowed to say so)… I try always to include the brilliance of a setting or rising sun as I think the drama matches the cadence of the poem..
Acrylic on Canvas..to read the other verses in the poem, click the titles of the images..
An extraordinary poem of desire is presented here and a no less extraordinary technical achievement, where the pounding energy of the sea is created through language and rhythm, only to be interrupted and masterfully turned against itself at the close of every verse. This structure means that readers are flung repeatedly against a contradiction: in speaking of the sea, the poem asks them to take pleasure in violent sound and movement but it immediately compares this pleasure with the longing for composure, for silence and stillness, as they are found in the hills.
This technique attempts to present as a single experience the longing for utter wildness and a desire for home. Yet for a reader who does not insist that naming the sea as ‘she’ is purely conventional, the image of a woman, perhaps a mother, hovers behind the surface of this poem. This woman, like the sea and also like the mother who abandoned him in Southsea is both the site of a dangerous turbulence of feeling and the object of inveterate longing. The hills, on the other hand, present an image of the maternal body that promises peace….M. Hamer