Monday, 2 February 2009

snow - james joyce

The kids were up early this morning demanding I check to see if their school was closed due to the heavy snow fall overnight. It is, along with other schools across the county and my two were straight out into the garden like many children up and down the land.

Whenever it snows like this I think of the James Joyce short story The Dead from his collection Dubliners. The story was made into a film by John Huston featuring his daughter Angelica. It was the last film Huston directed and was released after his death. Critics have written thousands of words on Joyce’s use of the image of snow but I love the lyrical beauty of his prose.

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.

Outside the front door

From the garden

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