The Island and the Albatross — Episode Three, Res Publica, Live on Radio NZ

Res Publica, read by Stuart Devenie, on Radio New Zealand

Res Publica, read by Stuart Devenie, on Radio New Zealand Nine-to-Noon

Listen now.

You can read notes on the previous episode here.

In this third episode, Arcady wonders how his parents — such loving parents — could have kept from him, for so many years, the fact that he was adopted.

He explains how, after learning this truth about his birth, he gave up all his ambitions and committed himself to a life of idleness; which is how he ended up drinking lots of beer and volunteering on a chasing boat for Team New Zealand, and how he ended up alone at sea that day, where we left him in the previous episode, sleeping, dreaming and drifting away.

Suddenly he awakes to a knocking sound against the stern of his boat. It’s night. There’s been a storm. He’s in the middle of the sea, and yet, when stepping out of the boat, his feet touch solid ground!

He muses about what it means to step upon some unexpected earth, someplace no one else has ever stepped before. He looks around, describes the tiny moonlit island on which he’s landed, and sees an albatross flap its wings and lift into the darkness, leaving him all alone.

This is where Episode Three ends. Episode Four will be broadcast on Monday, 10:45am, Radio NZ “Nine-to-Noon”.

A note about the verse structure:

Twelve-line tetrameter stanzas, with a mostly iambic cadence (although the rhythm is varied), and a rhyme scheme of abbaccddeeff. Some lines, of course, were cut or altered to fit the audio segments.

An example of a stanza from Episode Three:

The air was warm, my clothes were wet,
without a trace of salt. To the West
soft thunder answered in anapest
a pressing question. And new ones beget:
My mates? Perished? What absurdity!
On a different boat they must surely be!
Slowly my thoughts (I snoozed through a storm?)
diffused like sea from the low landform
which caused me to stand, and from the stern climb,
and question that morning’s rapid “burn-time,”
and whether my brain had sizzled while I slept.
But lo! On ground my feet had stepped!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Res Publica, Book One