Down in the bilges

Apr 22nd, 2010 | By | Category: Ministry

Do you think death could possibly be a boat?

No, no, no…death is… not. Death isn’t.

You take my meaning. Death is the ultimate negative. Not being.

You can’t not be on a boat.

I’ve frequently not been on boats.

No, no, no… what you’ve been is not on boats.

“Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” – Tom Stoppard

Being on a boat gives time for thinking. There is nowhere to go; for hours and hours, there is nowhere to go. The ship is due to dock at 0045 and the car is in a hold below the waterline; down a ramp that appeared in a floor; so far down that neither stairs nor lift go down so deep and finding the way up to the deck requires taking one’s chances among the traffic. If we are clear by 0145 it will be more by chance than design.

Dido’s song ‘Sand in my shoes’ comes to mind pondering the past days – two weeks away and it seems like the whole world is changed, she sings. Five days away and the world seems changed. The world has not changed, though. It’s just a combination of travelling, and sleeping in a different bed every night, and meeting a string of different people, and having more to think about in a few days than sometimes there is in months.

Death is not a boat; a boat goes somewhere, its about departing from one shore and arriving on another. The last five days have been like a boat; moving in thought from one place to another.

Facing moving from one parish to another feels like being deep in a hold; unable to see even the daylight, let alone the horizon. Perhaps climbing the ramp out of the hold will not be so hard, perhaps, like the boat tonight there will be a long wait until clear skies are again visible.

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  1. Ian, I imagine you more as the Captain of a submarine, having the ability to get yourself and your crew from the depths to the surface and light…….And I bet the crew will enjoy the ride too…!!!

  2. Hmm, I can see you’re a glass half-full man!

  3. Here’s to happy days ahead watching the sun set from the boat deck!

  4. Or the lifeboats!

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