I have tried to protect myself against men, to react against their madness to discern its source; I have listened and I have seen-and I have been afraid of acting for the same motives or for any motive whatever, of believing in the same ghosts or in any other ghost, of letting myself be engulfed by the same intoxications or by some other... afraid, in short, of raving in common and of expiring in a horde of ecstasies.
Through the clouds of smoke I seemed to see all old Asia before me, and the adventures of past years behind me. A carnival of old camp-scenes danced before my mind's eye, expiring like shooting-stars in the night""merry songs which came to an end among other mountains and the dying sound of strings and flutes. And I was surprised that I had not had enough of these things and that I was not tired of the light of camp-fires.
Methinks I am a prophet new inspired And thus, expiring, do foretell of him: His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last, For violent fires soon burn out themselves; Small show'rs last long, but sudden storms are short; He tires betimes that spurs too fast betimes; With eager feeding doth choke the feeder; Light vanity, insatiate cormorant, Consuming means, soon preys upon itself.
He would not mind hearing Petrus's story one day. But preferably not reduced to English. More and more he is convinced that English is an unfit medium for the truth of South Africa. Stretches of English code whole sentences long have thickened, lost their articulations, their articulateness, their articulatedness. Like a dinosaur expiring and settling in the mud, the language has stiffened. Pressed into the mold of English, Petrus's story would come out arthritic, bygone"(117).
J. M. Coetzee
And somewhat as in blind night, on a mild sea, a sailor may be made aware of an iceberg, fanged and mortal, bearing invisibly near, by the unwarned charm of its breath, nothingness now revealed itself: that permanent night upon which the stars in their expiring generations are less than the glinting of gnats, and nebulae, more trivial than winter breath; that darkness in which eternity lies bent and pale, a dead snake in a jar, and infinity is the sparkling of a wren blown out to sea; that inconceivable chasm of invulnerable silence in which cataclysms of galaxies rave mute as amber.
Oh, I was but a wounded Beast Oh, I was but a wounded Beast Teeth gnashing from a brutal feast Wolfing down with others; consuming every bite Eating every poison laid before my sight I dined upon Iniquity's endless shelf Blindly feeding, greedily... on myself Oh, I was but a wounded Beast Expiring with every taste of yeast Belly puffed and sour with death A haunting shutter with every breath Full of nothing but vanity Dipped in pleasure and tragedy Oh, I was but a wounded Beast As the West is far from the East I charted the lust of mine own eyes Thus, in my folly... I was sure to die My soul knew nothing of sacrifice Instead I danced with every vice Oh, I was but a wounded Beast You found me broken and utterly fleeced Naked, abandoned and truly alone You nurtured the wounds to which you sewn You gave me bread, You sang me a song And touched my wounds with a loving balm Oh, I was but a wounded Beast Yet, You taught me wisdom's leash So I walk with you... dawn through night Quenched by your fount of love and light No darkness, no hate not a selfish bone Can feed this fiend that You've atoned Oh, I was, but a wounded Beast! ~Jason Neville Versey
He saw two stars collapse against one another and a nova form; it flared up and then, as he watched, it began to die out. He saw it turn from a furiously blazing ring into a dim core of dead iron and then he saw it cool into darkness. More stars cooled with it; he saw the force of entropy, the method of the Destroyer of Forms, retract the stars into dull reddish coals and then into dust-like silence. A shroud of thermal energy hung uniformly over the world, over this strange and little world for which he had no love or use. It's dying, he realized. The universe. The thermal haze spread on and on until it became only a disturbance, nothing more; the sky glowed weakly with it and then flickered. Even the uniform thermal disbursement was expiring. How strange and goddamn awful, he thought. He got to his feet, moved a step toward the door. And there, on his feet, he died. They found him an hour later. Seth Morley stood with his wife at the far end of the knot of people jammed into the small room and said to himself, "to keep him from helping with the prayer". "The same force that shut down the transmitter, " Ignatz Thugg said. "They knew; they knew if he phrased the prayer it would go through. Even without the relay." He looked gray and frightened. All of them did, Seth Morley noticed. Their faces, in the light of the room, had a leaden, stone-like cast. Like, he thought, thousand-year-old idols. Time, he thought, is shutting down around us. It is as if the future is gone, for all of us.
Philip K. Dick
What?' He cried, darting at him a look of fury: 'Dare you still implore the Eternal's mercy? Would you feign penitence, and again act an Hypocrite's part? Villain, resign your hopes of pardon. Thus I secure my prey!' As He said this, darting his talons into the Monk's shaven crown, He sprang with him from the rock. The Caves and mountains rang with Ambrosio's shrieks. The Daemon continued to soar aloft, till reaching a dreadful height, He released the sufferer. Headlong fell the Monk through the airy waste; The sharp point of a rock received him; and He rolled from precipice to precipice, till bruised and mangled He rested on the river's banks. Life still existed in his miserable frame: He attempted in vain to raise himself; His broken and dislocated limbs refused to perform their office, nor was He able to quit the spot where He had first fallen. The Sun now rose above the horizon; Its scorching beams darted full upon the head of the expiring Sinner. Myriads of insects were called forth by the warmth; They drank the blood which trickled from Ambrosio's wounds; He had no power to drive them from him, and they fastened upon his sores, darted their stings into his body, covered him with their multitudes, and inflicted on him tortures the most exquisite and insupportable. The Eagles of the rock tore his flesh piecemeal, and dug out his eyeballs with their crooked beaks. A burning thirst tormented him; He heard the river's murmur as it rolled beside him, but strove in vain to drag himself towards the sound. Blind, maimed, helpless, and despairing, venting his rage in blasphemy and curses, execrating his existence, yet dreading the arrival of death destined to yield him up to greater torments, six miserable days did the Villain languish. On the Seventh a violent storm arose: The winds in fury rent up rocks and forests: The sky was now black with clouds, now sheeted with fire: The rain fell in torrents; It swelled the stream; The waves overflowed their banks; They reached the spot where Ambrosio lay, and when they abated carried with them into the river the Corse of the despairing Monk.
The moon fled eastward like a frightened dove, while the stars changed their places in the heavens, like a disbanding army. 'Where are we?' asked Gil Gil. 'In France, ' responded the Angel of Death. 'We have now traversed a large portion of the two bellicose nations which waged so sanguinary a war with each other at the beginning of the present century. We have seen the theater of the War of Succession. Conquered and conquerors both lie sleeping at this instant. My apprentice, Sleep, rules over the heroes who did not perish then, in battle, or afterward of sickness or of old age. I do not understand why it is that below on earth all men are not friends? The identity of your misfortunes and your weaknesses, the need you have of each other, the shortness of your life, the spectacle of the grandeur of other worlds, and the comparison between them and your littleness, all this should combine to unite you in brotherhood, like the passengers of a vessel threatened with shipwreck. There, there is neither love, nor hate, nor ambition, no one is debtor or creditor, no one is great or little, no one is handsome or ugly, no one is happy or unfortunate. The same danger surrounds all and my presence makes all equal. Well, then, what is the earth, seen from this height, but a ship which is foundering, a city delivered up to an epidemic or a conflagration?' 'What are those ignes fatui which I can see shining in certain places on the terrestrial globe, ever since the moon veiled her light?' asked the young man. 'They are cemeteries. We are now above Paris. Side by side with every city, every town, every village of the living there is always a city, a town, or a village of the dead, as the shadow is always beside the body. Geography, then, is of two kinds, although mortals only speak of the kind which is agreeable to them. A map of all the cemeteries which there are on the earth would be sufficient indication of the political geography of your world. You would miscalculate, however, in regard to the population; the dead cities are much more densely populated than the living; in the latter there are hardly three generations at one time, while, in the former, hundreds of generations are often crowded together. As for the lights you see shining, they are phosphorescent gleams from dead bodies, or rather they are the expiring gleams of thousands of vanished lives; they are the twilight glow of love, ambition, anger, genius, mercy; they are, in short, the last glow of a dying light, of the individuality which is disappearing, of the being yielding back his elements to mother earth. They are - and now it is that I have found the true word - the foam made by the river when it mingles its waters with those of the ocean.' The Angel of Death paused. ("The Friend of Death")
Pedro Antonio de Alarcon