WINTER by WALTER de la Mare

One only remembers the unusual…

“I have sometimes laughed out. And queer the echo sounds in a barrel roof. And perhaps an old skimpy verger looks at you, round a pillar. Like a bat.”

Just like the story ‘Strangers and Pilgrims’, or ‘All Hallows’, but also it is another like LICHEN or BENIGHTED, and THE RETURN, with gravestone epitaphs in a symphony of words, alongside the WDLM-archetypal richness of landscape and spirituality, here possibly at its most powerful of soul pain as self seems to meet self in death, each the ghost of the other, spotted across this cruel winter scene.

“Stranger, a light I pray!
Not that I pine for day:
Only one beam of light
— To show me Night!”

Alice Rodd, as just one of the many examples of those buried here. Rodd a name that recurs in WDLM. 

And this perhaps a summary of this WDLM ethos…
“I turned to go – wearied a little even of the unwearying. Epitaphs in any case are only ‘marginal’ reading. There is rarely anything unusual or original in such sentiments as theirs. Up to that moment (apart from the increasing cold) this episode – this experience – had been merely that of a visitor ordinarily curious, vulgarly intrusive, perhaps, and one accustomed to potter about among the antiquated and forgotten.”

Till the even richer, more rarified prose during the later more monumental momentousness, as self meets self in such a setting, even if one does not fully recognise the other.


My other WDLM reviews:

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