Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The National Maritime Museum and Compelling Water

The National Maritime Museum (NMN) was founded in 1937 in Greenwich, England, one of the largest maritime museums in the world.  Along with the museum, one can also visit the Royal Observatory and the Greenwich Mean Time centers, located on the same property.

But, the most important museum are the maritime articfacts mostly from the 18th Century, when the Royal Navy had reached its pinnacle, utilizing incredible technology from the Enlightened Age, including sextants, astrolabes, compasses that are not only extremely accurate for the time, but also incredibly beautiful in their workmanship. This is also the age of Lord Nelson, his ship the Victory, the famous naval tall-ship battles. Of course, Nelson's uniform is there, carefully preserved. He was a giant among naval men, though physically he was rather short, and small-framed.

One of my favorite things about the National Maritime Museum is its logo! It is "water-based" in theme, and extremely elegant. But upon closer view, one realizes that it depicts a crown! A royal crown, formed as a drop of water hits the ocean's surface! The splash is the crown! I just love it!
It is designed by the London-based company called "Someone".

This leads me to WATER! What a wonderful thing it is. Nourishing, Powerful, Mysterious, Compelling! It has an attraction for us, perhaps because we are what, 90-95% water?! Perhaps its mystery is what keeps sailors going out to sea! See below some beautiful poetry about the sea. There are so many, but here I offer a few!

Mid-ocean in War-time by Joyce Kilmer
(For My Mother)

The fragile splendour of the level sea,
The moon's serene and silver-veiled face,
Make of this vessel an enchanted place
Full of white mirth and golden sorcery.
Now, for a time, shall careless laughter be
Blended with song, to lend song sweeter grace,
And the old stars, in their unending race,
Shall heed and envy young humanity.
And yet to-night, a hundred leagues away,
These waters blush a strange and awful red.
Before the moon, a cloud obscenely grey
Rises from decks that crash with flying lead.
And these stars smile their immemorial way
On waves that shroud a thousand newly dead!
The Ocean's Song by Victor Hugo
We walked amongst the ruins famed in story
Of Rozel-Tower,
And saw the boundless waters stretch in glory
And heave in power.

O Ocean vast! We heard thy song with wonder,
Whilst waves marked time.
"Appear, O Truth!" thou sang'st with tone of thunder,
"And shine sublime!

"The world's enslaved and hunted down by beagles,
To despots sold.
Souls of deep thinkers, soar like mighty eagles!
The Right uphold.

"Be born! arise! o'er the earth and wild waves bounding,
Peoples and suns!
Let darkness vanish; tocsins be resounding,
And flash, ye guns!

"And you who love no pomps of fog or glamour,
Who fear no shocks,
Brave foam and lightning, hurricane and clamour,--
Exiles: the rocks!"

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