On one of my favorite kayak trips from Rockport, on the Massachusetts coast, is to the Dry Salvages, a group of giant rocks off the coast of Cape Ann. It’s fun to paddle out there and even more fun when grey and harbor seals pop up next to your kayak to check you out.
I later learned that the Dry Salvages inspired T.S. Eliot’s “The Dry Salvages,” the third poem in his sequence Four Quartets. Eliot spent his summers on Cape Ann in Gloucester and the the poet’s estate has just acquired the Eliot family’s summer house by the sea there which the family sold many years ago. The estate plans to use it to promote Eliot’s life and works to his American readers. Hopefully that means lovers of literature and old houses may have a chance to take a tour. Read about it in this article in The Guardian.
The Dry Salvages obviously pose a danger for ships and many have crashed on them, hence the name. And, during the death and destruction of World War II, Eliot found used them as a symbol.
“the menace and caress of wave that breaks on water/ The distant rote in the granite teeth,/ And the wailing warning from the approaching headland…”
But, on a sunny day, in a brightly colored kayak, with seals around, the Dry Salvages seem a lot less dismal.