The musician of disordered sound, the poet of decomposed language, the painter and sculptor of the fragmented visual and tactile world: they all portray the break up of the self and, through the rearrangement and reassemble of the fragments, try to create new structures that possess wholeness, perfection, new meaning.
After the trial, I watched as another female pathologist collected maggots from a spinal column found in the desert. There was a decomposed head, too, and before leaving work she planned to simmer it and study the exposed cranium for contusions. I was asked to pass this information along to the chief medical examiner, and, looking back, I perhaps should have chosen my words more carefully. 'Fire up the kettle,' I told him. 'Ol'-fashioned skull boil at five p.m.
It would indeed be a great delusion, if we stated that those sports of Nature [we find] enclosed in rocks are there by chance or by some vague creative power. Ah, that would be superficial indeed! In reality, those shells, which once were alive in water and are now dead and decomposed, were made thus by time not Nature; and what we now find as very hard, figured stone, was once soft mud and which received the impression of the shape of a shell, as I have frequently demonstrated.
Which grave are we in?" she said. "The oldest." She felt Eddie's puzzlement. "That can't be possible. He looks like he was just buried." "There must be something at work in the chemistry of the island that's preserving his body. It's like the incorruptibles, bodies that weren't preserved in any special way that don't decay. Catholic saints like Bernadette and Padre Pio are said not to have decomposed even though they died a long, long time ago. Environmental factors can cause a kind of mummification." Jessica said, or thought, "This is bizarre. I'm getting a lesson on mummification while in the coffin of a dead man.
Yet soil is miraculous. It is where the dead are brought back to life. Here, in the thin earthy boundary between inanimate rock and the planet's green carpet, lifeless minerals are weathered from stones or decomposed from organic debris. Plants and microscopic animals eat these dead particles and recast them as living matter. In the soil, matter recrosses the boundary between living and dead; and, as we have seen, boundaries-edges-are where the most interesting and important events occur.
It was in this situation that she penetrated as a vague shape into the existence of Thomas. Everything there appeared desolate and mournful. Deserted shores where deeper and deeper absences, abandoned by the eternally departed sea after a magnificent shipwreck, gradually decomposed. She passed through strange dead cities where, rather than petrified shapes, mummified circumstances, she found a necropolis of movements, silences, voids; she hurled herself against the extraordinary sonority of nothingness which is made of the reverse of sound, and before her spread forth wondrous falls, dreamless sleep, the fading away which buries the dead in a life of dream, the death by which every man, even the weakest spirit, becomes spirit itself.
On the edge of a tropical ocean, in a thousand reflections of the silver light of an invisible moon, among undulations of restless waters, ceaselessly changing... Among silent breakers, the tremors of the shining surface, in the swift flux and reflux martyrizing the patches of light, in the rendings of luminous loops and arcs, and lines, in the occultations and reappearances of dancing bursts of light being decomposed, recomposed, contracted, spread out, only to be re-distributed once more before me, with me, within me, drowned, and unendurably buffeted, my calm violated a thousand times by the tongues of infinity, oscillating, sinusoidally overrun by the multitude of liquid lines. enormous with a thousand folds, I was and I was not, I was caught, I was lost, I was in a state of complete ubiquity. The thousands upon thousands of rustlings were my own thousand shatterings.
In every combustion there is disengagement of the matter of fire or of light. A body can burn only in pure air [oxygen]. There is no destruction or decomposition of pure air and the increase in weight of the body burnt is exactly equal to the weight of air destroyed or decomposed. The body burnt changes into an acid by addition of the substance that increases its weight. Pure air is a compound of the matter of fire or of light with a base. In combustion the burning body removes the base, which it attracts more strongly than does the matter of heat, which appears as flame, heat and light.