16 Dez

Quote: David Mitchell

“Gulls wheel through spokes of sunlight over gracious roofs and dowdy thatch,
snatching entrails at the marketplace and escaping over cloistered gardens, spike
topped walls and treble-bolted doors. Gulls alight on whitewashed gables, creaking
pagodas and dung-ripe stables; circle over towers and cavernous bells and over
hidden squares where urns of urine sit by covered wells, watched by mule-drivers,
mules and wolf-snouted dogs, ignored by hunch-backed makers of clogs; gather
speed up the stoned-in Nakashima River and fly beneath the arches of its bridges,
glimpsed from kitchen doors, watched by farmers walking high, stony ridges. Gulls fly
through clouds of steam from laundries‘ vats; over kites unthreading corpses of cats;
over scholars glimpsing truth in fragile patterns; over bath-house adulterers,
heartbroken slatterns; fishwives dismembering lobsters and crabs; their husbands
gutting mackerel on slabs; woodcutters‘ sons sharpening axes; candle-makers,
rolling waxes; flint-eyed officials milking taxes; etiolated lacquerers; mottle-skinned
dyers; imprecise soothsayers; unblinking liars; weavers of mats; cutters of rushes;
ink-lipped calligraphers dipping brushes; booksellers ruined by unsold books; ladies-
in-waiting; tasters; dressers; filching page-boys; runny-nosed cooks; sunless attic
nooks where seamstresses prick calloused fingers; limping malingerers; swineherds;
swindlers; lip-chewed debtors rich in excuses; heard-it-all creditors tightening nooses;
prisoners haunted by happier lives and ageing rakes by other men’s wives; skeletal
tutors goaded to fits; firemen-turned-looters when occasion permits; tongue-tied
witnesses; purchased judges; mothers-in-law nurturing briars and grudges;
apothecaries grinding powders with mortars; palanquins carrying not-yet-wed
daughters; silent nuns; nine-year-old whores; the once-were-beautiful gnawed by
sores; statues of Jizo anointed with posies; syphilitics sneezing through rotted-off
noses; potters; barbers; hawkers of oil; tanners; cutlers; carters of night-soil; gate-
keepers; bee-keepers; blacksmiths and drapers; torturers; wet-nurses; perjurers; cut-
purses; the newborn; the growing; the strong-willed and pliant; the ailing; the dying;
the weak and defiant; over the roof of a painter withdrawn first from the world, then
his family, and down into a masterpiece that has, in the end, withdrawn from its
creator; and around again, where their flight began, over the balcony of the Room of
Last Chrysanthemum, where a puddle from last night’s rain is evaporating; a puddle
in which Magistrate Shiroyama observes the blurred reflections of gulls wheeling
through spokes of sunlight. This world, he thinks, contains just one masterpiece, and
that is itself.”
― David Mitchell, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet , 2011, pp. 515-16.

 

 

Read by Ilse at the LitUp! CopPorn & PopCorn, December 2015.