Momo (1973) is an extended parable about time and mindfulness by Michael Ende, author of The Neverending Story. The title character is a little homeless girl whose superpower is listening — and her listening catalyzes awakening for those around her. In the original German its full name is Momo oder Die seltsame Geschichte von den Zeit-Dieben und von dem Kind, das den Menschen die gestohlene Zeit zurückbrachte, which translates into English as, "Momo, or the strange story of the time-thieves and the child who brought the stolen time back to the people".

Evil cigar-smoking Grey Men take away time from human victims, who are left in helter-skelter unhappy busy-ness. With the help of a communicative tortoise and a mysterious time-master, Momo saves the world. It's a sweet story, allegorical and kind-hearted, rather preachy in places, rather important in its sermon. The translation is by J. Maxwell Brownjohn. In Chapter 12 ("Nowhere House") there's a lyrical passage that D B Davis on the discussion group rec.arts.sf.movies quotes as his favorite. It's the heart of Momo:

Everything was bathed in a sort of golden twilight.

When her eyes became accustomed to it, Momo saw that she was standing beneath a mighty dome as big as the vault of heaven itself, or so it seemed to her, and that the whole of this dome was made of the purest gold.

High overhead, in the very centre of the dome, was a circular opening through which a shaft of light fell straight on to an equally circular lake whose dark, smooth waters resembled a jet-black mirror.

Just above the surface, glittering in the shaft of light with the brilliance of a star, something was slowly and majestically moving back and forth. Momo saw that it was a gigantic pendulum, but one with no visible means of support. Apparently weightless, it soared and swooped above the mirror-smooth water with birdlike ease.

As the glittering pendulum slowly neared the edge of the lake, an enormous waterlily bud emerged from its dark depths. The closer the pendulum came, the wider it opened, until at last it lay full-blown on the surface.

Momo had never seen so exquisite a flower. It was composed of all the colours in the spectrum — brilliant colours such as Momo had never dreamed of. While the pendulum hovered above it, she became so absorbed in the spectacle that she forgot everything else. The scent alone seemed something she had always craved without knowing what it was.

But then, very slowly, the pendulum swung back, and as it did so Momo saw to her dismay that the glorious flower was beginning to wilt. Petal after petal dropped off and sank into the blackness below. To Momo, it was as if something unutterably dear to her were vanishing beyond recall.

By the time the pendulum reached the centre of the lake, the flower had completely disintegrated. At the moment, however, a new bud arose near the opposite shore, and as the pendulum drew nearer Momo saw that an even lovelier blossom was beginning to unfold. She walked around the lake to inspect it more closely.

This new flower was altogether different from its predecessor. Momo had never seen such colours before, but these colours seemed richer and more exquisite by far. The petals, too, gave off a different and far more delicious scent, and the longer Momo studied them the more marvelous in every detail she found them.

But again the glittering pendulum swung back, and as it did so the glorious blossom withered and sank, petal by petal, into the dark and unfathomable depths of the lake.

Slowly, very slowly, the pendulum proceeded on its way, but not to exactly the same place as before. This time it checked its swing a little way further along the shore, and there, one pace from where it had previously paused, another bud arose and unfolded.

To Momo this seemed the loveliest lily of all, the flower of flowers — a positive miracle. She could have wept aloud when this perfect blossom, too, began to fade and subside into the depths, but she remembered her promise to Professor Hora and uttered no sound.

Meanwhile, the pendulum had returned to the opposite shore, another pace further along, and a fresh bud broke the glassy surface.

As time went by, it dawned on Momo that each new blossom differed entirely from those that had gone before, and that it always seemed the most beautiful of all. She wandered around the lake watching flower after flower unfold and die.

Although she felt she would never tire of this spectacle, she gradually became aware of another marvel — one that had escaped her till now: she could not only see the shaft of light that streamed down from the centre of the dome; she could hear it as well.

At first it reminded her of wind whistling in distant treetops, but the sound swelled until it resembled the roar of a waterfall or the thunder of waves breaking on a rocky shore.

More and more clearly, Momo perceived that this mighty sound consisted of innumerable notes whose constant changes of pitch were forever weaving different harmonies. It was music, yet it was also something else. All at once, she recognized it as the faraway music she had sometimes faintly heard while listening to the silence of a starry night. ...

... a dreamlike vision of Life, unique and precious, transient and immortal.

(cf "Why a Classic German Children's Tale Is Ripe for Revisiting" by Giulia Pines in The Atlantic (2018-03-12), ...) - ^z - 2019-09-10