Dreams were the worst. Of course I dreamed of food and love, but they were pleasant rather than otherwise. But then I'd dream of things like slitting a baby's throat, mistaking it for a baby goat. I'd have nightmares of other islands stretching away from mine, infinities of islands, islands spawning islands, like frogs' eggs turning into polliwogs of islands, knowing that I had to live on each and every one, eventually, for ages, registering their flora, their fauna, their geography.
Therefore, men of Polynesia and Boston and China and Mount Fuji and the barrios of the Philippines, do not come to these islands empty-handed, or craven in spirit, or afraid to starve. There is no food here. In these islands there is no certainty. Bring your own food, your own gods, your own flowers and fruits and concepts. For if you come without resources to these islands you will perish... On these harsh terms the islands waited.
James A. Michener
Islands of memory begin to rise above the river of his life. At first they are little uncharted islands, rocks just peeping above the surface of the waters. Round about them and behind in the twilight of the dawn stretches the great untroubled sheet of water; then new islands, touched to gold by the sun.
Once we were happy in our own country and we were seldom hungry, for then the two-leggeds and the four-leggeds lived together like relatives, and there was plenty for them and for us. But the Wasichus came, and they have made little islands for us and other little islands for the four-leggeds, and always these islands are becoming smaller, for around them surges the gnawing flood of the Wasichu; and it is dirty with lies and greed.
We have created islands, small islands of power, but we have not built a bridge between those islands, .. The center and the territories, regional and local authorities are still competing with each other, competing for power. Those who take advantage of disorder and arbitrary rule are watching their mutually destructive fight.
In the vast archipelago of the east, where Borneo and Java and Sumatra lie, and the Molucca Islands, and the Philippines, the sea is often fanned only by the land and sea breezes, and is like a smooth bed, on which these islands seem to sleep in bliss,--islands in which the spice and perfume gardens of the world are embowered, and where the bird of paradise has its home, and the golden pheasant, and a hundred others of brilliant plumage, whose flight is among thickets so luxuriant, and scenery so picturesque, that European strangers find there the fairy land of their youthful dreams.
There are spirits in Hawaii. They're very protective and very good and they watch over these islands. I must confess, they're not entirely happy with what they see, with the way the civilization is moving. But they're patient. They've been here for a long time, and they'll be here long after the human beings have ceased to inhabit the islands.
For relationships, too, must be like islands. One must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands surrounded and interrupted by the sea, continuously visited and abandoned by the tides. One must accept the serenity of the winged life, of ebb and flow, of intermittency.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
He only wishes there were something that would heal the scars in his mind, which he can still feel. He sees his mind now as an archipelago of islands that he labors to build bridges between - and while he's had great success engineering the most spectacular of bridges, he suspects there are some islands that he'll never reach.
Therefore, be islands unto yourselves. Be your own refuge. Have recourse to none else for refuge. Hold fast to the Dharma as a refuge. Resort to no other refuge. Whosoever, either now or after I am gone, shall be islands unto themselves, shall seek no eternal refuge, it is they, among my disciples who shall reach the very topmost height! But they must be keen to progress.
I know enough about the moon to know how unpleasant and inhospitable it is. . . . I know enough about Mars to know that you can't live there, you can't settle it. Mars and the moon are two ugly islands. So then, you say, what's the point of going to them? The point is to be able to say I've been there, I've set foot on them, and I can go further to look for beautiful islands.
Am going to cross Pacific on a wooden raft to support a theory that the South Sea islands were peopled from Peru. Will you come? I guarantee nothing but a free trip to Peru and the South Sea islands and back, but you will find good use for your technical abilities on the voyage. Reply at once.' Next day the following telegram arrived from Torstein: COMING. TORSTEIN.
The British Islands are small islands and our people numerically a little people. Their only claim to world importance depends upon their courage and enterprise, and a people who will not stand up to the necessity of air service planned on a world scale, and taking over thousands of aeroplanes and thousands of men from the onset of peace, has no business to pretend anything more than a second rate position in the world. We cannot be both Imperial and mean.
H. G. Wells
Once upon a time there was a young prince who believed in all things but three. He did not believe in princesses, he did not believe in islands, he did not believe in God. His father, the king, told him that such things did not exist. As there were no princesses or islands in his father's domains, and no sign of God, the young prince believed his father. But then, one day, the prince ran away from his palace. He came to the next land. There, to his astonishment, from every coast he saw islands, and on these islands, strange and troubling creatures whom he dared not name. As he was searching for a boat, a man in full evening dress approached him along the shore. Are those real islands?' asked the young prince. Of course they are real islands,' said the man in evening dress. And those strange and troubling creatures?' They are all genuine and authentic princesses.' Then God must exist!' cried the prince. I am God,' replied the man in full evening dress, with a bow. The young prince returned home as quickly as he could. So you are back,' said the father, the king. I have seen islands, I have seen princesses, I have seen God,' said the prince reproachfully. The king was unmoved. Neither real islands, nor real princesses, I have seen God,' said the prince reproachfully. The king was unmoved. Neither real islands, nor real princesses, nor a real God exist.' I saw them!' Tell me how God was dressed.' God was in full evening dress.' Were the sleeves of his coat rolled back?' The prince remembered that they had been. The king smiled. That is the uniform of a magician. You have been deceived.' At this, the prince returned to the next land, and went to the same shore, where once again he came upon the man in full evening dress. My father the king has told me who you are,' said the young prince indignantly. 'You deceived me last time, but not again. Now I know that those are not real islands and real princesses, because you are a magician.' The man on the shore smiled. It is you who are deceived, my boy. In your father's kingdom there are many islands and many princesses. But you are under your father's spell, so you cannot see them.' The prince pensively returned home. When he saw his father, he looked him in the eyes. Father, is it true that you are not a real king, but only a magician?' The king smiled, and rolled back his sleeves. Yes, my son, I am only a magician.' Then the man on the shore was God.' The man on the shore was another magician.' I must know the real truth, the truth beyond magic.' There is no truth beyond magic,' said the king. The prince was full of sadness. He said, 'I will kill myself.' The king by magic caused death to appear. Death stood in the door and beckoned to the prince. The prince shuddered. He remembered the beautiful but unreal islands and the unreal but beautiful princesses. Very well,' he said. 'I can bear it.' You see, my son,' said the king, 'you too now begin to be a magician.
Centuries ago, sailors on long voyages used to leave a pair of pigs on every deserted island. Or they'd leave a pair of goats. Either way, on any future visit, the island would be a source of meat. These islands, they were pristine. These were home to breeds of birds with no natural predators. Breeds of birds that lived nowhere else on earth. The plants there, without enemies they evolved without thorns or poisons. Without predators and enemies, these islands, they were paradise. The sailors, the next time they visited these islands, the only things still there would be herds of goats or pigs. Oyster is telling this story. The sailors called this "seeding meat." Oyster says, "Does this remind you of anything? Maybe the ol' Adam and Eve story?" Looking out the car window, he says, "You ever wonder when God's coming back with a lot of barbecue sauce?
I CAN'T TAKE ALL THE BLAME, NOW CAN I IT TAKES MORE THAN ONE TO LOSE SUCH A FINE LINE THAT LIES BETWEEN THAT HOLDS TOGETHER I'LL TURN THE NIGHT TO TURN THE TIDE WHOA, WHOA, AND I'M FINDIN' OUT THE HARD WAY IT'S GONNA TAKE SOME TEARS, A LITTLE BIT OF HEARTACHE WE'RE LIKE ISLANDS IN THE STREAM WATCHIN' ALL OUR DREAMS START TO FADE, FADIN' AWAY A MOMENT GONE IS GONE FOREVER IT'S LIKE WATER THROUGH YOUR HANDS AND YOU SPIN THE WHEEL OF MISFORTUNE WATCHING IN TURN, WITH LIVING YOU LEARN NOW, I'M FINDIN' OUT THE HARD WAY IT'S GONNA TAKE SOME TEARS, A LITTLE BIT OF HEARTACHE WE'RE LIKE ISLANDS IN THE STREAM WATCHIN' ALL OUR DREAMS START TO FADE, FADIN' AWAY I KEEP REACHIN' OUT, COME UP EMPTY HANDED DIDN'T I LET YOU DOWN OR DID I LEAVE YOU STRANDED AND I'M FINDIN' OUT THE HARD WAY IT'S GONNA TAKE SOME TEARS, LITTLE BIT OF HEARTACHE WE'RE LIKE ISLANDS IN THE STREAM WATCHIN' ALL OUR DREAMS START TO FADE, FADIN' AWAY OH, AND I'M FINDIN' OUT THE HARD WAY IT'S GONNA TAKE SOME TEARS, A LITTLE BIT OF HEARTACHE WE'RE LIKE ISLANDS IN THE STREAM WATCHIN' ALL OUR DREAMS START TO FADE, FADIN' AWAY START TO FADE, FADIN' AWAY START TO FADE, FADIN' AWAY
There are several other sources of enjoyment in a long voyage, which are of a more reasonable nature. The map of the world ceases to be a blank; it becomes a picture full of the most varied and animated figures. Each part assumes its proper dimensions: continents are not looked at in the light of islands, or islands considered as mere specks, which are, in truth, larger than many kingdoms of Europe. Africa, or North and South America, are well-sounding names, and easily pronounced; but it is not until having sailed for weeks along small portions of their shores, that one is thoroughly convinced what vast spaces on our immense world these names imply.
The late 1920s were an age of islands, real and metaphorical. They were an age when Americans by thousands and tens of thousands were scheming to take the next boat for the South Seas or the West Indies, or better still for Paris, from which they could scatter to Majorca, Corsica, Capri or the isles of Greece. Paris itself was a modern city that seemed islanded in the past, and there were island countries, like Mexico, where Americans could feel that they had escaped from everything that oppressed them in a business civilization. Or without leaving home they could build themselves private islands of art or philosophy; or else - and this was a frequent solution - they could create social islands in the shadow of the skyscrapers, groups of close friends among whom they could live as unconstrainedly as in a Polynesian valley, live without moral scruples or modern conveniences, live in the pure moment, live gaily on gin and love and two lamb chops broiled over a coal fire in the grate. That was part of the Greenwich Village idea, and soon it was being copied in Boston, San Francisco, everywhere.
After 1656 the Dutch, who had gained control over the Moluccas, chose the islands that could be most easily defended. They then burned all the nutmeg trees on the other islands to make sure no one else could profit from the trees. Anyone caught trying to smuggle nutmeg out of the Moluccas was put to death. The Dutch also dipped all their nutmegs in lime (a caustic substance) to stop the seed from sprouting and to prevent people from planting their own trees. Pigeons, however, defied these Dutch precautions. Birds could eat nutmeg fruits, fly to another island and leave the seeds behind in their droppings.
Meredith Sayles Hughes
Internationalism is in any case hostile to democracy... The only purely popular government is local, and founded on local knowledge. The citizens can rule the city because they know the city; but it will always be an exceptional sort of citizen who has or claims the right to rule over ten cities, and these remote and altogether alien cities... To make all politics cosmopolitan is to create an aristocracy of globe-trotters. If your political outlook really takes in the Cannibal Islands, you depend of necessity upon a superior and picked minority of the people who have been to the Cannibal Islands; or rather of the still smaller and more select minority who have come back.
Aegean Islands 1940-41 Where white stares, smokes or breaks, Thread white, white of plaster and of foam, Where sea like a wall falls; Ribbed, lionish coast, The stony islands which blow into my mind More often than I imagine my grassy home; To sun one's bones beside the Explosive, crushed-blue, nostril-opening sea (The weaving sea, splintered with sails and foam, Familiar of famous and deserted harbours, Of coins with dolphins on and fallen pillars.) To know the gear and skill of sailing, The drenching race for home and the sail-white houses, Stories of Turks and smoky ikons, Cry of the bagpipe, treading Of the peasant dancers; The dark bread The island wine and the sweet dishes; All these were elements in a happiness More distant now than any date like '40, A. D. or B. C., ever can express.