-----The river ran soundlessly with the ebb-tide. The moon had gone and the street was in darkness. The tide-cone at the summit of its lofty pole was seen only by its shape, cast in the field of stars, a fake breitling phantom sign. A little vapour rose from one of the chimney-pots, seen only as a shimmering of stars above the castellations of its rim. The messenger, in the passing of the night, looked upward, his head raised, rather than his eyes, to stare at the fluttering of warmth with a temperate longing, for when he had stopped moving he had become cold, always it seemed sitting on hublot uk this step, the stone as cold as the grave and wet with a slow, heavy dew which did not spare his clothes, for his coat was wet, his hair was wet, perhaps the message would have been stained with wetness were it not for his body’s warmth. Once, between the rare noises, he looked up and saw a lamp being lit – the flare of the match, darkness, then oil-light – in an unfamiliar room, a high storey, beneath the parapet of the shallow roof, the curtains drawn, more than two hours after the harbourmaster had died, in swiss hublot the coldness of the night the passing of time being uncertain and irregular, the chiming of a distant steeple-clock, then the second bell, perhaps only the echo of rolex replica the first, remotely, beyond the town, for here the tower of the church stood mute and black in outline, and the man, looking up, half-wakened by the sound, saw the lighting of the lamp, no window lit in any other house, the town in darkness, threshold of true night, chronology unknown, no coming nor beginning, he was in that time, unrecordable, no-one to make the record, true tenebrae, no light beyond the sweep of the lighthouse on the distant headland, one night the occultation without end, the closing of the curtains at the window, the glow through the fabric fading, the lamp carried hence, appearances extinguished, immortal night,
-----no time for the rising of the questions, but the protean answers come, sea-born, naked of the nature of the life and sense of words, come with nothing, leave with nothing, in the half-observant sleep, too cold to sleep, too tired to wake, dreams and outward sight as one in time, polaris at the summit of the vision’s field, the widening arc in the slow circle of the night, the stars dropping down beyond the roofs, rising in the alleyways, shone out and were occulted by conjectured clouds, layers of clouds perhaps, shallow, as nets, widening in the throw of unknown cross-winds, the protean hand, the stars shone out and were occulted in the unforeseen, the brightest tracts of sky, drawn in, as though hand over hand, tiring of this mad semaphore, tired of guessing the skilful aim, the head in tiredness falling to the knees in sleep, thinking nothing, preparing nothing, for the morning, again the approach, to the river’s mouth and the dark shape of the town, again the thought, this lonely coastline needs no defence, tenses go, the sightful hand, the skilful aim, and are drawn away, turns his head to look at the thin horizons, as they appear in the narrow slits and gennels, the wet collar of the coat against his neck, the dew, freezing fast now, on the ends of the hair and on the coat and on the stone step’s slab, the false dawns appearing now from one quarter and now from another, the first of them taking him in completely in its slow effusive progress, the steady evolution, investing the horizon with a vague and general light, the thought, no words to it, night is over. Night is over. Making ready to stand unmoving, lowering the hands and taking them one from the other’s cuff and sliding them down the body inside the coat, against the body now the warm companion to the hands, soon a hunger comes, nature not yet known, had thought it was for light, the dim opalescence would not satisfy, standing, close and wary vigil within the close confines, weight on one leg, the other at something of an angle, the foot on the frost of the stone step, dark, frost known by the sound, looked down towards the dock across the square, the quay in darkness, the glow now falling indistinct, the slow fading of the first false dawn, darknesses closing in again, the thought, a hunger comes again, O not for light, I see it is a false dawn only as it goes, one day fallen short, unnamed, the intercalar day, the first outlining of those distant clouds’ brief colours in the hardly-moving turmoil, what a day it would have been, what a tranquil dawn the true dawn will be, still morning follows, after that I do not know, the dew dripping from the walls and lintels of the windows and the rests of the unlit street-lamp, why is the dew wet there but frozen on my hair and on my coat, am I in a place more open to the sky, is there no shade of building where I am, simultaneous with the coming of the dawn, a little after, simultaneous with the fading, the sounds of waters massing distantly, presentiments upon the senses, stillness’s acuteness, the uneven sound, at first unknown, the multitudes of voices from afar, hearing’s threshold, heard, heard again in memory, in the slightest turning of the air, the false phenomenon perhaps, unhurried, following the lengthy miles of meanders through the unknown fields, mind’s eye beneath the shallow banks of mists, seaward of the town, at last, close, the sustained noise of waters, slow, more heavy than a cataract, the bore drawn forward by the weight of sky, cast the summits of its waves upon the quay and then moved on, beating in its progress the wooden pilings, the iron piers of the bridge, the ill-determined lightness faded, the clouds obscured the stars, the sea-fog rolling landward on the marsh, how less effusive the grey of this true dawn, memory and world complete, the proteus returning to the sea.

 



[an extract from Onesimus by David Wheldon]

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