Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine
John Masefield [1876-1967]
When it comes to love and war, give me an Egyptian Quinquereme manned by five rows of oarsmen, capable of outracing Greeks, Macedonians, Persians and Carthaginians—with a mermaid locker at the bottom of the deep blue sea.
My way of saying I retreat, like a lot of us writerly introverts, I suspect, into inner — #IamWriting— worlds, when real world conflict raises its warrior head.
The waters of the world begin in the dribble-drain down by the road and the tall ships, the galleons, the quinquiremes nudge on the hawthorn twig that goes swirling, seawards, there
Before she lost her arms, which have never been recovered, Nike’s right forearm is thought to have been raised, cupped around her mouth to revel in her shout of Victory. Her headless but otherwise ravishing beauty is considered to be the epitome of Hellenist art. She is flawless; inspired billions! Art historians are transfixed by her.
Her pose is symbolic of a place/moment where violent motion and sudden stillness collide. Her graceful balance and her figure’s draped garments ripple compellingly, as if in a strong sea breeze.
For me, she is true warrior goddess.
Wargames Ancient and Future
Ships ancient and modern have evoked images, ideals, dreams in the mind of Man since time immemorial. We are still better at dreaming victory in far-away lands by “imagining them distant” than in coming to terms with the reality of the killing fields.
It has not escaped our notice, however, that little by little our heart-centered family-and-community-oriented season of celebration may be marred by a reality check or two:
1. conflict in Ferguson, MO
2. conflict in Cradle of Civilization.
Neither conflict —in Ferguson, MO or Arabian Gulf—should have an immediate connection one with the other or each with us as individuals, I pray. But they are somebody’s sons and daughters out there, being told by a robot military machine to kill first, take prisoners second.
Not my idea of mellow fruitfulness.
My moan, therefore, Alex—forgive me—is less of a writerly struggle—more a prayer of gratitude: Thanks to you and our little community for holding each others’ hands thru close on forty months. We love you.
May we all survive the commerciality of Christmas, the nuances of New Year’s, Jewish 5775, Nassim Haramein’s Non-Time, and arrive safely in 2015.
©2014 Marian Youngblood