Wednesday, 26 October 2016


OUT there in the cold water, far from land, we waited every night for the coming of the fog, and it came, and we oiled the brass machinery and lit the fog light up in the stone tower. Feeling like two birds in the grey sky, McDunn and I sent the light touching out, red, then white, then red again, to eye the lonely ships. And if they did not see our light, then there was always our Voice, the great deep cry of our Fog Horn shuddering through the rags of mist to startle the gulls away like decks of scattered cards and make the waves turn high and foam. (Ray Bradbury, The Fog Horn)

It was very foggy last night, and I missed that sound, which has now gone for good from Corbiere lightouse, as apparently no longer needed in the days of GPS (but probably as much to do with cost-cutting). Gone is that haunting sound that took the listener back to the days when sailors were out there hoping for safety

The Ghost: Ship out there. Too close, by the sound. It's the loneliest sound... like a child lost and crying in the dark. Mmm, he's lost, all right... with a captain cursing a blue streak and wondering why he ever went to sea instead of opening a grocer's shop like a sensible man. Fog in the channel is treacherous. I'd rather face a northeaster. (from “The Ghost and Mrs Muir”)

There is a sense when one heard the fog horn that there was someone on guard, watching those who were out at sea. It was a pleasing, comforting sound.

Driving in the fog, especially at night, can be tricky. Those wisps and tendrils can suddenly thicken, and the curves and weaving of the road, so easy to navigate by day, become a maze to traverse with care.

I was looking up quotations about the fog for this blog, and I came across this poem by William Henry Davies.

W. H. Davies (3 July 1871 – 26 September 1940) was a Welsh poet and writer. He spent a significant part of his life as a tramp, both in the United Kingdom and United States, but became one of the most popular poets of his time.

The principal themes in his work are observations about life's hardships, the ways in which the human condition is reflected in nature, his own tramping adventures and the various characters he met.

This poem is a wonderful and surprising reflection on the human condition. The poet finds himself in a fog so thick that he is disoriented and cannot find his way home.

The Fog - Poem by William Henry Davies

I saw the fog grow thick,
Which soon made blind my ken;
It made tall men of boys,
And giants of tall men.

It clutched my throat, I coughed;
Nothing was in my head
Except two heavy eyes
Like balls of burning lead.

And when it grew so black
That I could know no place,
I lost all judgment then,
Of distance and of space.

The street lamps, and the lights
Upon the halted cars,
Could either be on earth
Or be the heavenly stars.

A man passed by me close,
I asked my way, he said,
'Come, follow me, my friend'—
I followed where he led.

He rapped the stones in front,
'Trust me,' he said, 'and come';
I followed like a child—
A blind man led me home.

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