Break, Break, Break; waves of thoughts from different lives
A/N I have quoted the poem in its entirety to write upon the thoughts of some of those within it.
Break, Break, Break
Break, break, break, O, well for the fisherman's boy, And the stately ships go on Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O, well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.
O, well for the fisherman's boy,
And the stately ships go on
Break, break, break,
The fisherman's boy looked curiously at the sad figure on the shore, staring out at his big brother's fishing boat, where his brother sang to himself, the man staring too past to the big ships that came in and out of the port. The man looked so full of sorrow.
"Missed!" called the boy's sister, having thrown the ball to her brother as he stared curiously at the figure of the man, bowed with grief.
The boy shrugged and turned away, throwing the ball back hard enough to make his sister cry, in vengeance for the taunt that he had missed her throw.
The grown ups said that the man's sweetheart had sailed across the sea and the ship was lost; that she was drowned.
But the fisherman's boy knew that life was precarious. Ten children his mother had brought into the world; four of them survived. And the sea was a cruel mistress that brought forth the largesse and riches of her bounty and took as a sacrifice into her pitiless grey-green depths the youngest, the bravest, the breadwinners. Plenty of women had lost their sweethearts to the depths of the ocean. But they were pragmatists, these people of the sea.
They got on with life, never perhaps ceasing their grieving; but they could not afford to mope upon the shore.
The boy felt sad scorn that the fellow had so much time to waste that he could spend day after endless day staring at the sea.
But the boy's brother understood.
He sang in the joy of his betrothal to the woman he loved; and he knew her fears for him, even as he feared for her as she rowed to market with fish to sell at the big harbour. The currents could be treacherous, especially with the wake of the big ships to rock a little boat.
It was not lack of sentiment that made the fisherfolk get on with their lives.
It was a grim acceptance of the inevitable; and far from thinking scorn on the bereaved poet, the older fisher lad thought sympathy that the poor fellow did not have a real job to occupy his mind and help him move on.
And the poet, in passing, thought but sympathy on the harsh lives of the fisherfolk.
And the seal…..
The seal accepted life and death as animals do.