HomeDLSU Dialogue: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Cultural Studiesvol. 3 no. 2 (1967)

Hollow Ships On A Wine-Dark Sea

William Henry Scott

Discipline: Literature



There are probably thousands of veterans of the Second World War who carry in some nostalgic inner eye, ready to leap into focus when the subject comes up, a background picture of landing craft drawn up on the beaches of Normandy or rusting on some tropical reef off Guadalcanal. So the reader of the Iliad must recall that drama as being played out against a backdrop of beached benched ships, and the Odyssey as one grand sea story whose episodes of shipwreck and escapes while lashed to floating wreckage are perhaps unsurpassed in later literature. If Homer was the poet who sang of the wine-dark sea, he sang no less effectively of the hollow ships, the black ships, that sailed those darkling water, and of the sailors who, sitting well in order on the benches, leaned back upon their oars and smote the waves beneath.