Saturday, February 13, 2010

Danse Macabre - David Park Barnitz

I saw a line of corpses old,
Dead with diseases manifold,
Solemnly dancing'neath the moon.

Their perish'd limbs moved to the tune
Of some worm-orchestra unheard--
A sight enormously absurd.

First in the valse, with fishy eye
Tripped something dead of leprosy,
All silvery like a virgin's breast.

A buried glutton danced with zest,
All greenish and all dropsical,
Like a deform'd and vital ball.

The third was very beautiful,
Of charming small-pox sorelets full;
A small-pox ending, corpse, was thine.

There danced one in that naked line
Whose corpse was rotten with much love;
I wish the white worms joy thereof.

A suicidal corpse came next,
Who wish'd to illustrate the text:
--better to be chewed than to chew;

So he became a worm-ragout
And cholera-corpses weirdly black
Carrying their dead flesh like a sack,

Vals'd graceful beneath the sun.
Blue fever, and Consumption,
And hollow-pated lunacy.

Bowed, in that dance with courtesy
Cover'd with sores from foot to head,
Like flowers in a flower-bed,

Strange plagues all beautifully green
Went pirouetting through the scene;
And shrunken corpses dead of Age.--

These things went dancing o'er the stage.
Smelling of graves and worm-tooth scars,--
Death's musty-meated avatars."

From "The Book of Jade" by David Park Barnitz

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman

"’…And there are always people who find their lives have become so unsupportable they believe the best thing they could do would be to hasten their transition to another plane of existence.’
‘They kill themselves, you mean?’ said Bod. He was about eight years old, wide-eyed and inquisitive, and he was not stupid.
‘Does it work? Are they happier dead?’
‘Sometimes. Mostly, no. It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. If you see what I mean.’"

“Rich man, poor man, come away.
Come to dance the Macabray.”

"‘Now the Lady on the Grey leads us in the Macabray,’ sang Liza Hempstock, before the whirl of the dance took her off and away from Bod. They stomped to the music and stepped and spun and kicked, and the lady danced with them, stepping and spinning and kicking with enthusiasm. Even the white horse swayed its head and stepped and shifted to the music.
The dance sped up, and the dancers with it. Bod was breathless, but he could not imagine the dance ever stopping: the Macabray, the dance of the living and the dead, the dance with Death. Bod was smiling and everyone was smiling."

    "The boy was a model pupil, forgettable and easily forgotten, and he spent much of his spare time in the back of the English class where there were shelves of old paperbacks, and in the school library, a large room filled with books and old armchairs, where he read stories as enthusiastically as some children ate.
    Even the other kids forgot about him. Not when he was sitting in front of them: they remembered him then. But when that Owens kid was out of sight he was out of mind. They didn’t think about him. They didn’t need to. If someone asked all the kids in Eight B to close their eyes and list the twenty-five boys and girls in the class, that Owens kid wouldn’t have been on the list. His presence was almost ghostly."

"We know… we remember things that most people have forgotten. The Old Knowledge.
    Bod said, ‘Magic, you know a little magic.’
    The man nodded agreeably. ‘If you want to call it that. But it’s a very specific sort of magic. There’s a magic you take from death. Something leaves the world, something else comes into it.’
    ‘You killed my family for - for what? For magic powers? That’s ridiculous.’
    ‘No. We killed you for protection. Long time ago, one of our people – this was back in Egypt, in pyramid days - he foresaw that one day, there would be a child born who would walk the borderland between the living and the dead. That if this child lived to adulthood it would mean the end of our Order and all we stand for.’"

"’There’s not much happens here to make one day unlike the next. The seasons change. The ivy grows. Stones fall over. But you coming here… well, I’m glad you did, that’s all.’"