Sunday, November 04, 2012

Nancy Stickles and the Blue Mist

 A favourite passage from 'The Glastonbury Romance' (1933) by John Cowper Powys:

"This particular day was indeed as characteristic of autumn in Somerset as any day could be. A blue haze was over everything, so thick and intense, that it was as if the blueness in the sky had fallen upon the earth, leaving only a vague grey hollowness in the upper air. The blue haze invaded everything. It crept through gaps in hedges; it floated over old crumbling walls; it slipped into open stickhouses and haysheds. And though it was blue in colour, it smelled strongly of brown mud and of yellow apples. The blue mist, reeking of cider-juice and ditches, seems to possess a peculiar somnolent power. Travellers from the north, or from the east, coming into Glastonbury by train through Wareham, may be sitting erect and alert as they pass Stalbridge and Templecombe but they will find it difficult to keep their eyes on the landscape when the train has carried them beyond Evercreech and they come into the purlieus of Avalon.
Sleep seems to emanate from this district like a thin, penetrating anaesthetic, possessed of a definite healing power, and it is a sleep full of dreams; not of the gross, violent, repulsive dreams of the night, but of lovely, floating, evasive day-dreams, lighter, more voluptuous, nearer the heart's desire, than the raw, crude, violent visions of the bed.
Nancy Stickles felt a wave of delicious languor steal over her as she contemplated the Glover family enjoying themselves on the little lawn and as she watched the blue mists floating over the old walls and lying in hollows between the narrow alleys, and hovering in pigsty doors, and privy doors and fowl-run doors, and flowing like the vaporous essence of some great blue apple  of the orchards of space over everything she could see." 

More of my favourite passages from this book: HERE

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