Tagged life and death

“Blurtseau Lundif – Corsaire Extraordinaire” (VII)

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At this point in the novel, said Blurtso, Blurtseau Lundif and his friends have intercepted the British sugar ship and are fleeing for their lives…

Claude did as directed, with the British sloop behind, until pursuer and pursued were lost from sight beneath the watery peaks. Blurtseau, who could no longer see the enemy ship, turned to descend the rigging, but before he could, a wall of water struck the schooner, causing the hull to rock and roll, and throwing our hero—as if he had been pitched from a catapult—into the frothing jaw of the sea. His companions watched in horror as he soared, head over hooves, describing a perfect parabola across the moonlit sky.

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“Blurtseau!” called Pableau.
“Blurtseau!” called Josette.
“Blurtseau!” called Claude. But their comrade could not hear, or if he could, he could not reply, and the rudderless ship, steered now by the storm, drew quickly away, leaving our hero bobbing like a cork on the writhing water.

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“We must turn and find him!” cried Pableau.
“Turn whither?” said Claude.
“Blurtseau is an excellent swimmer,” said Pableau. “I’m sure he’s secured a plank, or piece of driftwood, and is paddling for calmer seas. If we circle, describing a broader and broader circumference, we’ll cross him with our bow.”
“Yes,” said Claude, “when the storm has settled.”

And so they waited, tossed and turned in the belly of the gale, until the sky cleared. By dawn the British frigate, carried east with the careening clouds, was no longer to be seen, and the Zurrabelle was free to begin her search.

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They sailed for fourteen days and fourteen nights, each day broadening the scope of their search, and each day encountering only sea. On the morning of the fifteenth day Pableau, perched on the foremast, thought he had spied his lost friend, but he was soon dismayed when closer inspection revealed a dark-grey dolphin. Josette, who had been holding up bravely, burst into tears, and Claude drew slowly and solemnly upon his pipe.

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“Blurtso crosses the river”

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Well, I guess it’s time to cross the river. The river was wide and the current was strong and Blurtso could not tell how deep it was. I suppose it will wash me to sea, he thought, testing the water with his hoof. I suppose I will float for a while and then sink like a stone. I suppose I will become part of the river before I reach the sea.

“Blurtso follows his shadow”

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Off I go, said Blurtso, following my shadow. Off I go, following my flat friend, painting and unpainting the prairie, darkening each step I take. Off I go, farther and farther, stretching to a place… where darkness… meets darkness.

“Blurtso goes to Hollywood” (XI)

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Like my brothers, I have found time
to escape time and its burden.
I have found pleasure in distraction,
and satisfaction in its pleasure.
The fugitive light leaves a temporary trace.
One sits, another dances,
still another builds walls of silver
which another with silver shall destroy.
I walk beside the waters,
an insignificant syllable dissolving in the sand.

“Blurtso hears a whisper” (XII)

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Harlan? said Blurtso. Yes? said Harlan. Do you think we’ll ever see our snakes again? I don’t know, said Harlan. I wonder, said Blurtso, what else we’ll never see again? It’s impossible to tell, said Harlan, what will be gone in the morning. Harlan? said Blurtso. Yes? said Harlan. I’ll do what I can to be here in the morning.

“Blurtso reads the morning paper”

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Hmm, said Blurtso, licking his hoof and turning the page of the morning paper. Let’s see who did what when and why… love hate, give take, future past, slow fast, here there, then now, what when, who how, win lose, live die, settle choose, where why, fortune fame, pardon blame, smoke choke, weep joke, his hers, yours mine, rain shine, sad fine… rolls are fresh and the coffee’s free, la dee da dee da dee dee.

“Blurtso considers where he’s standing”

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I suppose I am a temporary thing, thought Blurtso. The day will come when I am gone and forgotten. As if I never existed. As before I existed. In the meanwhile I’m here, standing between two oblivions, pausing to enjoy a snack, and sending a mouthful of grass… to its next oblivion.