By noon Carter reached the jasper terraces of Kiran which slope down to the river's edge and bear that temple of loveliness wherein the King of Ilek-Vad comes from his far realm on the twilight sea once a year in a golden palanquin to pray to the god of Oukranos, who sang to him in youth when he dwelt in a cottage by its banks. All of jasper is that temple, and covering an acre of ground with its walls and courts, its seven pinnacled towers, and its inner shrine where the river enters through hidden channels and the god sings softly in the night. Many times the moon hears strange music as it shines on those courts and terraces and pinnacles, but whether that music be the song of the god or the chant of the cryptical priests, none but the King of Ilek-Vad may say; for only he had entered the temple or seen the priests. Now, in the drowsiness of day, that carven and delicate fane was silent, and Carter heard only the murmur of the great stream and the hum of the birds and bees as he walked onward under the enchanted sun.
I hate the idea of theatre just being an evening pastime. It should be emotionally and intellectually demanding. I love football. The level of analysis that you listen to on the terraces is astonishing. If people did that in the theatre... but they don't. They expect to sit back and not participate.
If there is anything so romantic as that castle-palace-fortress of Monaco I have not seen it. If there is anything more deliciousthan the lovely terraces and villas of Monte Carlo I do not wish to see them. There is nothing beyond the semi-tropical vegetation, the projecting promontories into the Mediterranean, the all-embracing sweep of the ocean, the olive groves, and the enchanting climate! One gets tired of the word beautiful.
M. E. W. Sherwood
As we drew nearer the green shore the bearded man told me of that land, the Land of Zar, where dwell all the dreams and thoughts of beauty that come to men once and then are forgotten. And when I looked upon the terraces again I saw that what he said was true, for among the sights before me were many things I had once seen through the mists beyond the horizon and in the phosphorescent depths of the ocean.
Everyone understands the pain that accompanies death, but genuine pain doesn't live in the spirit, nor in the air, nor in our lives, nor on these terraces of billowing smoke. The genuine pain that keeps everything awake is a tiny, infinite burn on the innocent eyes of other systems.
Federico Garcia Lorca
I was feeling everything much too much. Everything was pulling at my eyes. I spent hours floating in pools. I sat on terraces and stared for afternoons at mediocre views. I was feeling overjoyed for happy couples. I would see or hear about people, usually people I hardly knew or didn't even like, getting together, finding each other after so much groping, and I would feel bliss. I was blindsided by familiar things.
You can take Lucas to watch football when he's older, ' she once told me. Ah, the rheumy-eyed grandpa on the terraces inducting the lad into the mysteries of soccer: how to loathe people wearing different coloured shirts, how to feign injury, how to blow your snot on to the pitch - See, son, you press hard on one nostril to close it, and explode the green stuff out of the other. How to be vain and overpaid and have your best years behind you before you've even understood what life's about. Oh yes, I look forward to taking Lucas to the football.
In Paris, strolling arm in arm with a casual sweetheart through a late autumn, it seemed impossible to imagine a purer happiness than those golden afternoons, with the woody odor of chestnuts on the braziers, the languid accordions, the insatiable lovers kidding on the open terraces, and still he had told himself with his hand on his heart that he was not prepared to exchange all that for a single instant of his Caribbean in April. He was still too young to know that heart's memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.
Gabriel GarceÂa Me¡rquez
At five-thirty the rain began to fall in great, heavy drops which bounced off the pavement before they spread out into black spots. At the same time thunder rumbled from the direction of Charenton and an eddy of wind lifted the dust, carried away the hats of passers-by who took to their heels and who, after a few confused moments, were all in the shelter of doorways or under the awnings of cafe terraces. Street pedlars of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine scurried about with an apron or a sack over their heads, pushing their carts as they tried to run. Rivulets already began to flow along the two sides of the street, the gutters sang, and on every floor you could see people hurriedly closing their windows.
Here is the soundless cypress on the lawn: It listens, listens. Taller trees beyond Listen. The moon at the unruffled pond Stares. And you sing, you sing. That star-enchanted song falls through the air From lawn to lawn down terraces of sound, Darts in white arrows on the shadowed ground; And all the night you sing. My dreams are flowers to which you are a bee As all night long I listen, and my brain Receives your song, then loses it again In moonlight on the lawn. Now is your voice a marble high and white, Then like a mist on fields of paradise, Now is a raging fire, then is like ice, Then breaks, and it is dawn.
The night of the fireworks changed the course of many lives in England, though no one suspected the dark future as hundreds of courtiers stared, faces upturned in delight, at the starbursts of crimson, green, and gold that lit up the terraces, gardens, and pleasure grounds of Rosethorn House, the country home of Richard, Baron Thornleigh. That night, no one was more proud to belong to the baron's family than his eighteen-year-old ward, Justine Thornleigh; she had no idea that she would soon cause a deadly division in the family and ignite a struggle between two queens. Yet she was already, innocently, on a divergent path, for as Lord and Lady Thornleigh and their multitude of guests watched the dazzle of fireworks honoring the spring visit of Queen Elizabeth, Justine was hurrying away from the public gaiety. Someone had asked to meet her in private.
My old friend, what are you looking for? After years abroad you've come back with images you've nourished under foreign skies far from you own country.' 'I'm looking for my old garden; the trees come to my waist and the hills resemble terraces yet as a child I used to play on the grass under great shadows and I would run for hours breathless over the slopes.' 'My old friend, rest, you'll get used to it little by little; together we will climb the paths you once knew, we will sit together under the plane trees' dome. They'll come back to you little by little, your garden and your slopes.' 'I'm looking for my old house, the tall windows darkened by ivy; I'm looking for the ancient column known to sailors. How can I get into this coop? The roof comes to my shoulders and however far I look I see men on their knees as though saying their prayers.' 'My old friend, don't you hear me? You'll get used to it little by little. Your house is the one you see and soon friends and relatives will come knocking at the door to welcome you back tenderly.' 'Why is your voice so distant? Raise your head a little so that I understand you. As you speak you grow gradually smaller as though you're sinking into the ground.' 'My old friend, stop a moment and think: you'll get used to it little by little. Your nostalgia has created a non-existent country, with laws alien to earth and man.' 'Now I can't hear a sound. My last friend has sunk. Strange how from time to time they level everything down. Here a thousand scythe-bearing chariots go past and mow everything down
The Stadium Have you ever entered an empty stadium? Try it. Stand in the middle of the field and listen. There is nothing less empty than an empty stadium. There is nothing less mute than stands bereft of spectators. At Wembley, shouts from the 1966 World Cup, which England won, still resound, and if you listen very closely you can hear groans from 1953 when England fell to the Hungarians. Montevideo's Centenario Stadium sighs with nostalgia for the glory days of Uruguayan soccer. Maracane£ is still crying over Brazil's 1950 World Cup defeat. At Bombonera in Buenos Aires, drums boom from half a century ago. From the depths of Azteca Stadium, you can hear the ceremonial chants of the ancient Mexican ball game. The concrete terraces of Camp Nou in Barcelona speak Catalan, and the stands of San Mames in Bilbao talk in Basque. In Milan, the ghosts of Giuseppe Meazza scores goals that shake the stadium bearing his name. The final match of the 1974 World Cup, won by Germany, is played day after day and night after night at Munich's Olympic Stadium. King Fahd Stadium in Saudi Arabia has marble and gold boxes and carpeted stands, but it has no memory or much of anything to say.
At this point, the sequence of my memories is disrupted. I sank into a chaos of brief, incoherent and bizarre hallucinations, in which the grotesque and the horrible kept close company. Prostrate, as if I were being garrotted by invisible cords, I floundered in anguish and dread, oppressively ridden by the most unbridled nightmares. A whole series of monsters and avatars swarmed in the shadows, coming to life amid draughts of sulphur and phosphorus like an animated fresco painted on the moving wall of sleep. There followed a turbulent race through space. I soared, grasped by the hair by an invisible hand of will: an icy and powerful hand, in which I felt the hardness of precious stones, and which I sensed to be the hand of Ethal. Dizziness was piled upon dizziness in that flight to the abyss, under skies the colour of camphor and salt, skies whose nocturnal brilliance had a terrible limpidity. I was spun around and around, in bewildering confusion, above deserts and rivers. Great expanses of sand stretched into the distance, mottled here and there by monumental shadows. At times we would pass over cities: sleeping cities with obelisks and cupolas shining milk-white in the moonlight, between metallic palm-trees. In the extreme distance, amid bamboos and flowering mangroves, luminous millennial pagodas descended towards the water on stepped terraces.
To sit indoors was silly. I postponed the search for Savchenko and Ludmila till the next day and went wandering about Paris. The men wore bowlers, the women huge hats with feathers. On the cafe terraces lovers kissed unconcernedly - I stopped looking away. Students walked along the boulevard St. Michel. They walked in the middle of the street, holding up traffic, but no one dispersed them. At first I thought it was a demonstration - but no, they were simply enjoying themselves. Roasted chestnuts were being sold. Rain began to fall. The grass in the Luxembourg gardens was a tender green. In December! I was very hot in my lined coat. (I had left my boots and fur cap at the hotel.) There were bright posters everywhere. All the time I felt as though I were at the theatre. I have lived in Paris off and on for many years. Various events, snatches of conversation have become confused in my memory. But I remember well my first day there: the city electrified my. The most astonishing thing is that is has remained unchanged; Moscow is unrecognizable, but Paris is still as it was. When I come to Paris now, I feel inexpressibly sad - the city is the same, it is I who have changed. It is painful for me to walk along the familiar streets - they are the streets of my youth. Of course, the fiacres, the omnibuses, the steam-car disappeared long ago; you rarely see a cafe with red velvet or leather settees; only a few pissoirs are left - the rest have gone into hiding underground. But these, after all, are minor details. People still live out in the streets, lovers kiss wherever they please, no one takes any notice of anyone. The old houses haven't changed - what's another half a century to them; at their age it makes no difference. Say what you will, the world has changed, and so the Parisians, too, must be thinking of many things of which they had no inkling in the old days: the atom bomb, mass-production methods, Communism. But with their new thoughts they still remain Parisians, and I am sure that if an eighteen-year-old Soviet lad comes to Paris today he will raise his hands in astonishment, as I did in 1908: "A theatre!
It is sheer coincidence that my hunk of the creek is strewn with boulders. I never merited this grace, that when I face upstream I scent the virgin breath of mountains, I feel a spray of mist on my cheeks and lips, I hear a ceaseless splash and susurrus, a sound of water not merely poured smoothly down air to fill a stead pool, but tumbling live about, over, under, around, between, through an intricate speckling of rock. It is sheer coincidence that upstream from me the creek's bed is ridged in horizontal croppings of sandstone. I never merited this grace, that when I face upstream I see the light on the water careening towards me, inevitably, freely, down a graded series of terraces like the balanced winged platforms on an infinite, inexhaustible font. 'Ho, if you are thirsty, come down to the water; ho if you are hungry, come sit and eat.' This is the present, at last. This is the now , this flickering, broken light, this air that the wind of the future presses down my throat, pumping me buoyant giddy with praise. My god, I look at the creek. It is the answer to Merton's prayer, 'Give us time!' It never stops. If I seek the senses and skills of children, the information of a thousand books, the innocence of puppies, even the insights of my own city past, I do so only, solely, entirely that I might look well at the creek. You don't run down the present, pursue it with baited hooks and nets. You wait for it, empty-handed, and you are filled. You'll have fish left over. The creek is the one great giver. Here is the word from a subatomic physicist: 'everything that has already happened is particles, everything in the future is waves.' Let me twist his meaning. Here it comes. The particles are broken; the waves are translucent, laving, roiling with beauty like sharks. The present is the wave that explodes over my head, flinging the air with particles at the height of its breathless unroll; it is the live water and light that bears from undisclosed sources, the freshest news, renewed and renewing, world without end.