Ducdame, Ducdame

POSTED: Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:10 pm

Cape Hopewell, The Fifteenth of September


The man stood in feral form, his nose upturned and ugly, to the sea and looked out. Unfortunate had been his lingering years-- he was growing older, yet not old was he, being of the brink of the end middle age, so that no elderly wisdom had he yet acquired (still being of tempestuous nature and treacherous thought), but showing still in the bowing of his back and the wear of his teeth, as all beasts do with the gnawing of time. But he stood undefeated, something akin to tears staining his cheeks (the wind blew harsh and cold that time of year), and with his paws stained with the mud of his recent efforts-- he was very hungry.
Starving, he had taken again to combing the beaches, the recent hills trodden offering nothing but the dust and lingering footsteps of what he would have made his prey. The beaches he did not know, unrecognizable in nature, both flora and fauna, but they reminded him of home, and he knew to dig for his supper. Clam-fish, the gulls themselves should they stray too close, he had wandered the beaches for a week and found little to stay his hunger. It racked him like the gnawing of some old guilt, sent him shivering and running into the night when sleep it deprived him. Some days ago he had devoured some old sea bird where it lay with broken wing abandoned, but nothing else sustained him even now. By himself, he wept not for the cold of the wind, but for some deep hunger crawling within him, and without. Nothing he had found here, neither food nor company nor kindness.

"I would but a clam, good hope, for my final breath would I a clam! But for some precious young babe for a clam-- I would dash it's head against the rocks. And if not a clam, something clammy then. From what the sea provides, it is my inheritance, justified. I am but her own barren offspring, sewn on rock, fruitless, ever blown hither by the wind, taking not root nor stock. And here, here-- my reward, neither good company nor drink for all my long years, where one has made to acquire them, and here I have again dashed myself upon her shores... friendless, and clam-less...

It would be all the same, if it had been I found the very edge of the earth, in fact if I had walked to the very ends of the world, to whatever precipice it had elected mine, and it would be the same if I had thrown myself over it, for what fruitless effort am I. Ducdame, ducdame, a fool beckoned here I am made.

Ah, but I am so hungry-- my paws are cold,"


He trailed off, again staring out to the unbidden waves as they came and went, as if he might divine something from the ever constant motion of the tides, predictable.

...
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