Poetic Prose

The weather here has been gorgeous.  Temperatures have been in the mid 50s to low 60s Fahrenheit, which is a great departure from the average.  It’s returned to winter this week, though, and the words of James Joyce are dancing about in my head.  His short story collection Dubliners is a literary puzzle that I enjoyed both deciphering and teaching.  The last story, aptly entitled “The Dead” ends with one of the most beautiful passages in literature.  It brings me a sense of peace:

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

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Joyce, James. “The Dead.”  Dubliners.  Prestwick House, Inc, 2006

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