Youngblood Blog

Writing weblog, local, topical, personal, spiritual

December: Season of Gratitude and Merlot-Fruitcake Thoughts

Monthly IWSG Writers’ Block

Egyptian quinquireme,, restored on an Aegean shore, evokes 2ndC BC Salamis, Thermopylae sea battles

Egyptian quinquireme,, restored on an Aegean shore, evokes 2ndC BC Salamis, Thermopylae sea battles

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

Alighting on her prow

Alighting on her prow

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.

Glorious Nike, ice-gray marble goddess of victory alighting on prow of victorious quinquereme 200BC stolen by Napoleon, pride of Louvre

Glorious Nike, ice-gray marble goddess of victory alighting on prow of victorious quinquereme 200BC stolen by Napoleon, pride of Louvre

It is not for me to bring politics into the festive season; nor, more importantly, into our small supportive group of Insecure Writers, led by our fearless space commodore, Alex J. Cavanaugh, whose initiative IWSG has ticked along nicely for three years: quite some time, now 🙂

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

December 4, 2014 - Posted by | calendar customs, culture, fiction, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. One of the few poems I remember from school days. Is it called Cargos or something? Sadly, it always ends up on a dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack… Most depressing.

    Enjoyed your blog as usual Marian, and wishing you well for the coming solstice and festive season.

    Comment by Rob Read | December 4, 2014 | Reply

    • Doubt if you EVER forget a line so formative in both our childhoods—
      synapse-triggering 4me2

      Can’t resist:

      Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke-stack,
      Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
      With a cargo of Tyne coal,
      Road-rails, pig-lead,
      Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

      —but, cos I have Geordie in me, I took last verse as reality check/prompt2
      remember the pleasure dome [mixing my metaphors, ain’t it the pits!] visioned in verse 2.
      oh, Rob: I’m more of a ham 4the oldies than UR—

      Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
      Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
      With a cargo of diamonds,
      Emeralds, amethysts,
      Topazes and cinnamon and gold moidores.


      p.s. URliterary know-how sought:
      My 1st reaction is to write Masefield’s ‘Cargoes‘. Your sp. is w/o e. Is that U.S. lingo?

      Thank you 4kind wishes.
      May I return them one thousandfold—esp, full moon time in yr cellar circa 12/6 thru solstitial grandCross 12/20-22 😦 Stay cozy. BlessU 4 reconnecting,

      Comment by siderealview | December 5, 2014 | Reply

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