La Vague (The Wave), 1897

La Vague

by Henri Privat Livemont

It’s like dancing. There’s meant to be a tension. When you dance you make a tension between your partner and gravity. You trust them to pull against you by pulling against themselves from falling. In water, your pulling against your mouth being covered, but leaving as much of yourself in the water as you can. You want to feel your head supported in the water.

Be not above the water. Be not under the water. Be on the water.

The nearest feeling to plain existence is to be water. And the nearest to being water is to be on it. Let the forces of gravity and floating keep you alive and let them battle each other. The battleground will be you. And you’ll not be cold. Anymore. And you’ll not keep your eye on the shore.

Anticipating the wave, you can let your feet or your middle get heavier. So that way, you’ll bob with the water as it bobs.

And then you can start directing the waves yourself.


Mer de Glace – Valley of Chamonix

Mer de Glace – Valley of Chamonix

by Joseph Mallord William Turner

Like a wave frozen in an instant the rocks ahead tell me the journey will be more comfortable than I know it will be. I could jump from here and float to the end of the valley. But I must climb. I must tread over every craggy precipice and leap over every crack. Those waves are not moving. They will not carry me.

This valley seems endless. My companion and I entered it three days ago. Three full days of walking and the end is still out of sight. Some conversation might alleviate the tedium, but he doesn’t talk. At all.

He will start making his noise soon. It’s not talking, this noise he makes. It’s a kind of grinding that seems to come from his chest. I have yet to determine its source. It may be a device he keeps in a pocket on his front. Or, it may be something stored inside his monstrous body. What little I have seen of him suggests the latter speculation to be the more likely.

The two times I have seen my companion:

1. Our first contact revealed a bit of his arm, as chronicled earlier.

2. He was climbing a crag in front of me. The sleeve of his pants lifted as he planted his foot. The split-second image of his ankle is seared in my mind. There was no flesh. Though I do not imagine what I saw was merely a fleshless leg. I have since felt my own ankle to compare. The inner workings of my foot and its hinge have nothing like what my companion accidentally displayed. It was like a stick. That is the best way I can describe it. His pants lifted and his leg was like a stick, but of smooth rock.

Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes is probably most famous for being the longest-lived member of the marriage between himself and Sylvia Plath. I first knew him as the author of the source material for Pete Townshend’s 1989 musical, Iron Man. I then knew him as my favorite writer of hawk poems.

Here is a letter he wrote to his doomed son:

“…And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them. It’s their humanity, their real individuality, the one that can’t understand why it was born and that knows it will have to die, in no matter how crowded a place, quite on its own. That’s the carrier of all the living qualities. It’s the centre of all the possible magic and revelation…”

And the full letter can be found here.