[quoted on this blog before, but still a favourite]

The Seven Seas:

The first symbol of life enclosed by its masters was the Mediterranean which celebrated rule and scale, and the myth of the waiting woman.

And the second symbol was the Baltic, from which the masters fled, fearing to be lured into its deeps. The terrified tribes brought with them a new myth, of the fatal woman.

From the Arctic, where the lights stained the air like radiant hair and the gnawed bone rocked on the threshold, came the myth of the devouring woman.

From the Antarctic, where straight lines are uncertain and the only regularity is darkness, came the myth of the invisible woman.

A sea which is a true sea will come up to its coasts like an inquisitive animal, lured by the fragrance and by the weeping: from the Indian Ocean came the myth of the captive woman.

Where the wind blows strongest there will be voyages, and where there are voyages there will be partings: from the Atlantic came the myth of the unfaithful woman.

And then when the clouds roll back and the sky is a perfect shell, when the line is fulfilled in the circle, and horizon confirms that the only land is now contained by sea, the light and the life negotiate in the Pacific the myth of the desirable woman.

So for a man the woman is a home that will always be there, the place he has come from and will eventually go to. For him, the interim is exile. The story of his life is the adventure of categories, the licensing of names, the geography of his exile.

from John Fuller's A Skin Diary