[Image: untitled, by David McConochie (cover illustration for The Guardian (Books), April 10, 2015). I first encountered this in a thumbnail accompanying the Robert Macfarlane essay excerpted below.]
From whiskey river:
It is getting dark. In the low mists over the hills, an orange glow broods, as if the trees are on fire. Bats are flooding out from the hundreds of caves that perforate these mountainsides. I watch them plunge into the mists without any hesitation, trusting in the echoes and silences in which they fly.
Are all of us the same, I wonder, navigating our lives by interpreting the silences between words spoken, analyzing the returning echoes of our memory in order to chart the terrain, in order to make sense of the world around us?
(Tan Twan Eng [source])
In the night there are of course the seven wonders of the world
and greatness, tragedy and enchantment.
Forests collide with legendary creatures hiding in thickets.
There is you.
In the night there are the walker’s footsteps the murderer’s the town policeman’s light from the street lamp and the ragman’s lantern.
There is you.
In the night trains go past and boats
and the fantasy of countries where it’s daytime. The last breaths of twilight and the first shivers of dawn.
There is you.
A piano tune, a shout.
A door slams. A clock.
And not only beings and things and physical sounds.
But also me chasing myself or endlessly going beyond me.
There is you the sacrifice, you that I’m waiting for.
Sometimes at the moment of sleep strange figures are born and disappear.
When I shut my eyes phosphorescent blooms appear and fade
and come to life again like fireworks made of flesh.
I pass through strange lands with creatures for company.
No doubt you are there, my beautiful discreet spy.
And the palpable soul of the vast reaches.
And perfumes of the sky and the stars, the song of a rooster from 2000 years ago and piercing screams in a flaming park and kisses.
Sinister handshakes in a sickly light and axles grinding on paralyzing roads.
No doubt there is you who I do not know, who on the contrary I do know.
But who, here in my dreams, demands to be felt without ever appearing.
You who remain out of reach in reality and in dream.
You who belong to me through my will to possess your illusion
but who brings your face near mine only if my eyes are closed in dream as well as in reality.
You who in spite of an easy rhetoric where the waves die on the beach
where crows fly into ruined factories, where the wood rots
crackling under a lead sun.
You who are at the depths of my dreams stirring up a mind
full of metamorphoses
leaving me your glove when I kiss your hand.
In the night there are stars and the shadowy motion of the sea,
of rivers, forests, towns, grass and the lungs
of millions and millions of beings.
In the night there are the seven wonders of the world.
In the night there are no guardian angels, but there is sleep.
In the night there is you.
In the daylight too.
(Robert Desnos [source, in slightly different form])