As the falcon flies

As the falcon flies

Even the rhythm of this simile conveys something of a great bird’s single, confident swoop to land precisely on a specific, awaiting glove. ‘But flying, as the falcon to the gloveSwoops home when signalled.’ For another sleek and powerful bird in...
As dogs in summer

As dogs in summer

Desperate people, condemned to eternal infernal cruelties, are likened to dogs failing to fight off the tiny tormenting assaults of insects.   ‘On either side their hands beat in defence Now from the flames, now from the burning sand, As dogs in summer...
A milliner’s invention

A milliner’s invention

Again, the charming Swelter, whose every move is offensive to one sense or another. See, for example, the sound of his feet when he walks. Here his gaping yawn makes nudity seem prim. ‘He does not listen for an answer, but yawns, his face opening lewdly upon...
Sucking at stones

Sucking at stones

Swelter is one of the less attractive characters in Mervyn Peake’s sprawling, crawling, mossy pile of forgotten granite, Gormenghast.  He consumes prodigious quantities of food and wine and is consumed by hatred (fully reciprocated). Peake depicts his...
Of guardian trees

Of guardian trees

A beautiful way to convey the kind, protective presence of someone quietly keeping an eye on the well-being of another.  I hope you have such benevolence in your life, from both people and trees. ‘As the days passed he began to know her better, in the great,...
Quick as …

Quick as …

Not an eye you would want settling its penetrating gaze on you, giving you a cold adder-quick assessment through the lace curtains of its blood-alley veins. This is one of many descriptions of a quite terrifying individual.’So alive is it, this eye, quick as an...
As huge as …

As huge as …

Mervyn Peake is a fount of original similes and metaphors.  Given the granite-gothic ambiance of Gormenghast, it makes sense that ‘huge’ should evoke ‘doom’. ‘… at their centre, between the brittle petals, lies a pool of indigo,...
Like a wound…

Like a wound…

A stunningly original depiction of the pink streaks of dawn resembling a sky-wound. ‘… as the dawn like a wound in the sky welled into her consciousness…’ Source: Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan, introduction by Anthony Burgess (London: Vintage...
Life lived as a rose trellis

Life lived as a rose trellis

One of Rilke’s translators used this surprising and touching metaphor to describe him. I like the idea of being – figuratively – a human trellis for beauty to grow upon. ‘Roses climb his life as if he were their trellis.’ Source: Quoted...

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