Staring out into the darkness


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Weymouth Sands

[ ... in French   ]
⇒  Cover

⇒  Preface

⇒  Introduction

⇒  The visit

⇒  Weymouth map c.1930

⇒  Portland map c.1930

⇒  Works quoted

⇒  Postface

A visit to the Weymouth Sands of John Cowper Powys     [ ⇒ continue... ]

Not a single hour of the day but one ought to realise this loneliness and say to oneself the magic formula, "Enjoy — defy — forget".



Late that night, long after old Martha had removed his supper-tray, Magnus stood staring out of his open window into the darkness.(...)
    He then slowly undressed himself in front of the few crimson coals that remained of his fire, while his candles spluttered themselves into extinction. And as he undressed himself the familiar smell of dead seaweed kept entering his room; and a strange phantasmal Weymouth, a mystical town made of a solemn sadness, gathered itself about him, a town built out of the smell of dead seaweed, a town whose very walls and roofs were composed of flying spindrift and tossing rain.(...)
Then something in him gathered itself together, as it always did, to resist this hopelessness. And as he felt so preternaturally self-conscious tonight he began once more trying to analyse the precise nature of this power in him upon which at a pinch he seemed always able to call.
   But he could no more catch its real nature or even decide whether it was a good or an evil motion of the mind than he had been able to do when he was sitting on that bench in the wind. Whatever it was, it was clearly that he had inherited from his father. It had something to do with seizing upon some dominant or poetical aspect of the physical present, such as this sea-wind now blowing into his room, such as these dying coals, such as that bulge of the red curtains, and drawing from it a fresh, a simple, a childish enchantment — the mystery of life reduced to the most primitive terms — that was able to push back as it were by several mysterious degrees all the emotional and mental troubles of life.

[ ⇒ footnote to the photograph... ]

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