Certain phrases resonate for me with unnatural force. A current fave: "birdless silence" --- originally perhaps from Philip Larkin's poem "Next, Please" (1951) which concludes:

Only one ship is seeking us, a black-
Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back
A huge and birdless silence. In her wake
No waters breed or break.

The phrase later appears in a Bob Geldof song ("Huge Birdless Silence", 1992), and echoes mythic-indirectly in a Counting Crows lyric ("Rain King", 1993, Adam Duritz):

When I think of heaven
Deliver me in a black-winged bird
I think of flying down into a sea of pens and feathers
And all other instruments of faith and sex and God
in the belly of a black-winged bird.

Last week, delighted was I to spy in Frank Copley's translation of Vergil's ├ćneid (Book VI):

There was a cave, deep, huge, and gaping wide,
rocky, guarded by night-black pools and woods;
above it hardly a bird could wing its way
safely, such were the vapors that poured forth
from that black throat, and rose toward a heaven's vault
(and hence the Greeks have named it "Birdless Cavern").

The cave is called Avernus, in Greek Aornum --- meaning "birdless" ...

(see also SlowRunSummaries (17 Feb 2004) ... )

TopicLanguage - TopicPoetry - TopicLiterature - 2004-06-05

(correlates: TolkienInspiration, ReversalOfFortune, SoSymbolic, ...)

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