Mare Nostrum

The beating heart of a civilisation. The galaxy in which constellations of cultures were born, sparkled and died. The breathing space of reason, feeling and beauty.

As the summer draws to an end, I make it my own. No more mare nostrum, our sea, but mare meum, my sea. Mine, unshareable, indivisible, non-negotiable. I won’t claim one bay, one anchorage point, one piece of leafy coast, with its maquis and buzzing cicadas, but all of it, unapologetically, unrepentantly, with the last drop of the matrix imperialist energy that I can muster. Like the Phoenicians and the Egyptians before me, like the Greeks before me, like the Romans, the Moors, the Crusaders, the corsairs, the traders and the sailors before me. I hear them all in the gently crushing waves, the papyri buried under my feet, the vellum burned in the wind, the sails and the ropes and the rotting wood under the sea.

The ancients called it the Sea, the thalassa, the Middle Sea, the Internal Sea, Our Sea, the waters between the lands, medius terra, the Hinder Sea, the Sea of the Philistines, the Great Sea, the HaYam HaGadol of the Hebrews.

I call it mine, subsuming them all, gathering it up in my cupped hands, with a fistful of sand and immemorial desires and smashed dreams. I build the ekklesia of my mind on a rock rocked by the waves and there I enjoy a fleeting moment of oneiric happiness before the noise of this world jerks me back to reality.

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