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Carsten Jensen   ::   We, the Drowned

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War was like sailing. You could learn about clouds, wind direction and currents, but the sea remained forever unpredictable. All you could do was adapt to it and try to return home alive.
Often away and gone for ever: the two phrases marked the difference between having a living father and a dead one. It wasn't a big difference, but it was big enough to make us cry when no one was looking.
Our mother sticks a knife in our heart when we say goodbye on the quay. And we stick a knife in hers when we go. And that's how we're connected: through the hurt we inflict on one another.
Every sailing ship has miles of rope, scores of blocks, hundreds of square yards of canvas. Unless the ropes are constantly pulled and the sails endlessly adjusted, the ship becomes a helpless victim of the wind. Managing a crew is the same thing. The captain holds hundreds of invisible ropes in his hands. Allowing the crew to take charge is like letting the wind take the helm: the ship will be wrecked. But if the captain takes complete control, the ship will be becalmed and go nowhere: if he strips his men of all initiative, they'll no longer do their best, and they'll go about their work reluctantly. It's all a question of experience and knowledge. But first and foremost it's about authority.
Life was like one big marching army. Death ran alongside and picked off a soldier here and there, but it didn't affect the fighting force. Its march continued, and its size didn't seem to diminish. On the contrary, it grew on into eternity, so that no one was alone in death. Someone else would always follow. That was what counted. Such was the chain of life: unbreakable.
He was old. Again, he reminded himself of that. Old men had their regular orbits like planets that circle a sun. But the sun they circled was cooling down.
Perhaps there was a spark left in him. But if so, it was the last spark: the one that flares suddenly in the embers of a fire that has burned itself out overnight. Finding no nourishment in ashes, it soon fades.
When we're wretched, we long for the company of others who also mourn: for the bittersweet confirmation that we aren't suffering because we've been unlucky or made the wrong choices, but because it's the law of life.
He didn't want to get to know another human being too well. He was afraid that what he might discover could destroy him.
books i've read..
2013 [12 read]
2012 [36 read]
2011 [5 read]
2010 [6 read]
2009 [5 read]
2008 [21 read]
2007 [31 read]
2006 [37 read]
2005 [37 read]
2004 [32 read]
2003 [18 read]
2002 [52 read]
2001 [43 read]
2000 [7 read]
1999 [25 read]
1998 [3 read]
unknown year [65 read]

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