Anton Chekhov (translated by Peter Sekirin) ICOULD SEE ONLY THE DIM lights of the harbor we had just left, and the black sky above us, darker than pitch. A cold wind was blowing in the dark sky above; it was about to rain. We felt suffocated, despite the wind and the cold. By "we" I mean we sailors who stood in the hold. I could hear some noisy laughter; somebody was cracking jokes, and somebody else was crowing like a rooster to entertain the others. I was trembling all over, from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet; it was as if I had a hole in the back of my head, from which cold sweat was pouring down my spine. I was trembling from the cold, and from other things I don't want to tell you about here. I think man a vile creature, and a sailor worse than any other, worse than an animal; but sometimes there is a faithfulness that tells me I may be that a sailor has more reason to hate love than any other man. A man who is prepared to fall from the mast into the sea,
The Missouri Review – University of Missouri
Published: Oct 5, 1999
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