Algy perched on the lighthouse rocks, and gazed out across the moody sea towards the Small Isles of the Inner Hebrides, which were looking unusually menacing on the horizon. The colours of the sea and sky were those of January, and yet it was August. There was certainly something very strange about the world this year, and it did not feel quite right at all. But even in the worst summer in living memory, the sea was infinitely appealing, whatever its mood, and there was nothing Algy liked more than to perch beside the water, watching its constantly changing motion and the ebb and flow of the tide. Just as Carl Sandburg said, Algy is “a loon about the sea”:

The sea is large.
The sea hold on a leg of land in the Chesapeake hugs an early sunset and a last morning star over the oyster beds and the late clam boats of lonely men.
Five white houses on a half-mile strip of land … five white dice rolled from a tube.

Not so long ago … the sea was large…
And to-day the sea has lost nothing … it keeps all.

I am a loon about the sea.
I make so many sea songs, I cry so many sea cries, I forget so many sea songs and sea cries.

I am a loon about the sea.
So are five men I had a fish fry with once in a tar-paper shack trembling in a sand storm.

The sea knows more about them than they know themselves.
They know only how the sea hugs and will not let go.

The sea is large.
The sea must know more than any of us.

[Algy is quoting the poem The Sea Hold by the 20th century American poet Carl Sandburg.]


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