Great sky river floods,
Entices our flimsy craft,
Cataract of stars ...
Alexandria. Alhaerie. Atlantis.
El Dorado. Ecbatana.
Gehenna. Garternay. Golconda.
Heliopolis. Hy Bresail. Hiigara. Hyperborea.
Illyria. Ilos. Ithaca. Irian Jaya.
Khartoum. Khatovar. Karakorum.
Manzikert. Marrakech. Meridian. Massassauga.
Samarkand. Sarnath. Saqqara.
Tashkent. Tripoli. Timbuktu.
Zerzura. Zion. Ziguinchor.
The land of the summer stars… the winter garden…that way…the land of paradoxes…the city of angels…aigle… anywhere is…roma…the island of ebony….
persia…the island of the four precious walls…the willows on the water… the land of three winters…ole inigo…thoraigh… wood of dreams…the plain of the winds…
anywhere is…gaothdobhair…this way… a whispering world…orinoco… lothlorien….the palace of solitude…. the garden of the singing-ringing tree…
the land of illusion…cuyahoga… the painted ball…the crystal sea… lake disappointment….aldebaran…life… my way home…anywhere is…
—Roma Ryan, on “Anywhere Is”;
performed by Enya in The Memory of Trees (1995)
Sometimes driven aground by the photon storms, by the swirling of the galaxies, clockwise and counterclockwise, ticking with light down the dark sea-corridors lined with our silver sails, our demon-haunted mirror sails, our hundred-league masts as fine as threads, as fine as silver needles sewing the threads of starlight, embroidering the stars on black velvet, wet with the winds of Time that goes racing by. The bone in her teeth! The spume, the flying spume of Time, cast up on these beaches where old sailors can no longer keep their bones from the restless, the unwearied universe. Where has she gone? My lady, the mate of my soul? Gone across the running tides of Aquarius, of Pisces, of Aries. Gone. Gone in her little boat, her nipples pressed against the black velvet lid, gone, sailing away forever from the star-washed shores, the dry shoals of the habitable worlds. She is her own ship, she is the figurehead of her own ship, and the captain. Bosun, Bosun, put out the launch! Sailmaker, make a sail! She has left us behind. We have left her behind. She is in the past we never knew and the future we will not see. Put out more sail, Captain, for the universe is leaving us behind…
—Hethor, in Severian’s fever dream;
The Citadel of the Autarch, chapter IV,
I have sailed down mighty rivers, and seen the sun rise and set, and the stars come forth, whilst I have sailed night and day down a rapid stream among mountains. I have seen populous cities, and have watched the passions which rise and spread, and sink and change, amongst assembled multitudes of men.
—Percy Bysshe Shelley
Like stars in heaven, and joyously it showed;
Some lying fast at anchor in the road,
Some veering up and down, one knew not why.
A goodly Vessel did I then espy
Come like a giant from a haven broad;
And lustily along the bay she strode,
Her tackling rich, and of apparel high.
This Ship was nought to me, nor I to her,
Yet I pursued her with a Lover’s look;
This Ship to all the rest did I prefer:
When will she turn, and whither? She will brook
No tarrying; where She comes the winds must stir:
On went She, and due NORTH her journey took.