Twists & Turns
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains; but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.
—Tennyson, from ‘Ulysses’
I was thinking this morning of pasting some old photographs of the sea into a little book, and annotating them with lines from Homer. As though the wine-dark sea (oinopa ponton) were not already a desperate cliché. As I said, this set me to thinking, mainly about place, but also about time. For what does the salt Pacific have to do with Aegean; and what has Hecuba to do with me, or I with Hecuba? Very little, I believe.