The Chimaera: Issue 7, March 2010

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by Paul Stevens

A man that is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea. If he tries to climb out into the air as inexperienced people endeavour to do, he drowns — nicht wahr? . . . No! I tell you! The way is to the destructive element submit yourself, and with the exertions of your hands and feet in the water make the deep, deep sea keep you up.

— Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

The image of the sea voyage runs through Alan Gould’s writing like a flood tide, and to honour this tide your editors have plotted to send our writers off on a journey to be undertaken through the themed section of The Seventh Chimaera.  How handsomely our writers have taken up the call to quest, crossing the threshold to leave the mundane world, by Shank’s pony, wagon, passenger jet,  outrigger, ship,  or birth canal; by wing of goose or Pegasus. And with what fortunate boons they have returned! A treasure-horde of cunningly wrought  measures, intricately worked verse, richly textured prose,

The call to quest! To horse! To sea! Away!  

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. ...
                 ...That which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Tennyson knew; Conrad saw; Gould answered the call. Dear Readers, we too must leave: like Peter Wyton’s Oliver of Malmsbury, let’s leap from the parapet wearing our home-made wings, ‘holler[ing] something monosyllabic in Anglo-Saxon’!

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