The writers and the sea

My readers know very well that this Owl loves the sea. Since I was a child, I don’t know why, since I saw him for the first time. It would be four years old. From the roof of the Mirones Neighborhood Unit building where he lived, the sea and the immense San Lorenzo Island were clearly visible. Shortly after I would see it live and direct. On the terrifying beach of the Lima Cultural Club in Chorrillos, at that time of fashion. But those huge waves made me not only love the sea, but also respect it.

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Later he would discover great beaches of the Pacific, Atlantic and Caribbean. Great pens of universal literature have fallen under its spell and influence. Men of the world who have surely navigated it and explored its waters of different colors and temperatures. I would like to collect some ‘gems’ from masters who wrote about the sea.

I begin with a mythical Peruvian poet, Martin Adam, who responded thus to an Argentine journalist, who was an admirer of his poetry and wanted to travel to Lima to interview him: ‘If you want to know about my life, go look at the sea,’ he told her through an admirable poem.

The great William Shakespeare, in his hallucinated play ‘La tempestad’, shows us a story with storms, tempests, shipwrecks. There the sea has a magical, transforming power, if not read this paragraph from a lover of the oceans: ‘Five fathoms deep lies your father/his bones made of coral, it is pearls that were his eyes/nothing in him has decomposed, although the sea has transformed him into something rich and strange/the nymphs, every hour, toll their bell‘.

The great Spanish poet Raphael Alberto He was born in the port of Santa María, in Cádiz, where he lived his childhood happily. A poet committed to the Republic in the Spanish Civil War, he had to go into exile in Argentina, in Córdova, where there was no sea, and also in Rome, which is not a coastal city either. That is why this poem is understood to be the allegory of how painful it was for the bard to be forced to leave his beloved port to live far from the sea: ‘The sea, the sea/The sea! the sea! Why did you bring me to the city? Why did you dig me up from the sea? In dreams, the swell tugs at my heart/I would like to take it away/Father, why did you bring me here?’

The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, Nobel Prize winner, identified himself so much with the sea that he preferred to live in Isla Negra, with a house facing the ocean. In his imagination, the town was his port, his house -today a museum-, his ship and he was a captain, because he was a frustrated sailor. How could it be otherwise, he wrote an impressive poem entitled ‘El mar’. Here’s a fragment: ‘I need the sea because it teaches me/I don’t know if I’m learning music or awareness: I don’t know if it’s a single wave or being deep/or just a hoarse voice or a dazzling suggestion of fish and ships’.

Ernest Hemingway wrote ‘The Old Man and the Sea’

The famous novelist and prize Nobel Ernest Hemingway wrote the indelible novel ‘The old man and the sea’. There the character is an old fisherman, whom he describes as if the novelist were looking in a mirror: ‘Everything about him was old, except his eyes, and they had the same color as the sea and were happy and undefeated.’ The plot presents us with the enormous fight between the old fisherman who caught a large shark and the inhabitants of the sea that are devouring it. That is why ‘Ernie’ writes in the novel: ‘The sea is sweet and beautiful, but it can be cruel’. Or a definitive of how immense and powerful its waters can be. ‘He looked out over the sea and realized how lonely he was.’

In this selection, could not miss Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who had a house facing the sea in Cartagena de Indias and that this Owl met, which is located behind the imposing fortresses built by the Spanish colonialists to defend the city from the attacks of pirates and corsairs. In ‘The Sea of ​​Lost Time’, Gabo narrates: ‘One night in March, a scent of roses came to the town, coming from the sea, that only some of its inhabitants felt and of which only two were sure, Tobías, a young man, and Petra, an old woman’.

and the great Herman Melville He was never a harpoon sailor searching for whales overseas, but he did write the remarkable novel ‘Moby Dick’. The sea is the stage for the white monster to face the captain obsessed with annihilating it. He did not get any trophy, but inexorable death. Melville captures the dramatic situations: ‘The sea had bitten his finite body, but it drowned the infinity of his soul’.

But we could not finish if it is not with a poem to the sea of ​​the immeasurable Argentine Jorge Luis Borges: ‘Before sleep (terror) wove mythologies and cosmogonies/before time was coined in days/the sea, the always sea already was and was/Who is the sea? Who is that violent and ancient being that gnaws at the pillars of the earth and is one and many seas and abyss and brightness and chance and wind? It will be coined in days/who always looks at it for the first time/with the astonishment that the most elementary things leave, the beautiful afternoons, the moon, the fire of a bonfire/Who is the sea, who am I? I will know the day after the agony.’

With these beautiful verses I am going to take a dip in the salt water. Because as Carlos Argentino sang with La Sonora Matancera: ‘In the sea life is tastier’. I turn off the television.


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The writers and the sea