Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shipping Forecast

I can hear the long low bellow of a ship's horn. The quay is a half hour walk away if you don't want to hurry.

At night, or early in the morning, you can be woken by the moan of the ships as they slowly move their hulking weight through the harbour. The noise sounds like the ache of a whale's belly.

I never use the word belly for humans, I think it sounds ugly; it sounds huge and distended. We have tummies. Whales, though, have bellies that are gigantic and fit to swallow you whole. The rumble a whale's belly would make if the whale felt hungry is the sound of the horn. Or the low tone of a whale when it is sad, a deep baleful call because it can't cry tears underwater.

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