Friday, January 1, 2010

the colour of black grapes

Yesterday evening, that is, New Year's Eve, I was on the platform of the local railway station waiting to go into the city when an immense dark storm rolled in and we were all soaked. The boys in white going to the Sensation rave were soaked and the man with a curly brown beard who stood in the open eating an ice cream in the rain was soaked and the older private-smiling Lebanese woman in the grey-blue dust-coloured coat by the fence was soaked and oh we were all soaked soaked soaked - it was glorious - I was dripping - and after the train reached the city I spent the new few hours being even more soaked until it was impossible to be soaked any more without actually dissolving, and by the time I took my shoes off at half past twelve that night, fireworks over, waiting at a different station for the train to take us home, my toes were white and shrivelled as little sets of fetuses waiting for their jars and the formaldehyde bath.

Anyway, I mention this because tonight, reading E.R. Eddison's The Mezentian Gate for the first time, I came across - a storm.

That way thunder-storms were brewing. A murky darkness of vapours, which, leaden-hued, and oily, swoll and shouldered and mounted and spread upward till that whole quarter of the sky, east and south-east up to the zenith, was turned to the colour of black grapes ...

There was no wind now in the lower air, but a great heat and stillness: and, with the stillness, a silence. It was as though all sound had been emptied out till not even (as in ordinary silences) the unemptiable exiguous residue remained: fall of leaf, or, immeasurably far away, in immeasurably faint echo, the unsleeping welter and surge of the sea, or stir of the market-place below. Even such shadows of sound had drowsed away to nothingness. There was left but that simulacrum of audability born of the pulsing of living blood in the hearkening ear as it strains to catch the extreme unvoiced voice of the silence.


  1. I didn't know you were in Melbourne, Deane. Resident or visitor?

  2. Maybe we could have lunch in town one day...

  3. That sounds like a plan. My email is frollostone at hotmail dot com, if you want to suggest dates and times.