Light-stream interplay

Light-stream interplay

The dancing dust of a sunbeam also glimmering as a mirror hall for fireflies.  What a bright image.  ‘A light-stream interplay, a mirror hallFor fireflies…’ (Book III, Canto 22) Source: Dante, The Divine Comedy, trans. Clive James (New York:...
Prawn-coloured motes

Prawn-coloured motes

Having spent his long and entire adult life ensconced in the castle walls of Gormenghast, Flay, now dismissed, finds a new existence living wild in the surrounding mountains. At first his exile is desperate, but he eventually develops a certain liking for his newfound...
Onion-outlined turnmoil

Onion-outlined turnmoil

Such a detailed description of a passing light effect created by a boat moving through night waters. Particularly original is that ‘onion-outlined’ churn. ‘A boat, its dark shape looking faintly ominous, sculled towards the island and broke the...
Light-laden drops

Light-laden drops

When did you last stop to study a light-laden drop of water, seeing in it a convex-reflected cosmos?  You have, of course, at some time, done so, haven’t you? No?  Then put it to the top of your to-do list. ‘Light-laden drops rolled down the green flags as...
Light-smitten height

Light-smitten height

The only time I’ve seen the sun likened to a dandelion, here smiting the heights with light! ‘When the sun, like an immense dandelion, looked over the light-smitten height of Cosdon Beacon, Tarka was returning along a lynch, or rough trackway, to the...
Vapour-ringed sun

Vapour-ringed sun

I recall seeing more vapour-ringed moons than suns, but it may be that I look at the moon more than the blinding sun. ‘Every day on the Burrows was a period of silence under a vapour-ringed sun that slid into night glowing and quivering with the zones and...
Bright and blinking

Bright and blinking

An alliterative description of a bone-like beacon. ‘The bright eye of the light-house standing like a bleached bone at the edge of the sandhills, blinked in the clear air.’   Source: Henry Williamson, Tarka the Otter: His joyful water-life and death...
Sun-whitened clouds

Sun-whitened clouds

This is part of a poetically imagined overview of joyous, resilient and pure-spirited swallows contemplating their coming continent-spanning migrations. ‘They talked of white-and-grey seas, of winds that fling away the stroke of wings, of great thunder-shocks in...
Sun-splashy ripples

Sun-splashy ripples

You can feel the warmth of a summer day with diaphanous wings darting over glittering ripples. ‘She heard the rustling clicks of dragon-flies’ wings over the sun-splashy ripples.’   Source: Henry Williamson, Tarka the Otter: His joyful...
Dimmit dimmity

Dimmit dimmity

An English south-west dialect word for dusk or twilight, hinted at in the opening ‘dim…’. ‘At dimmity it flew down the right bank of the river …’ ‘At dimmit light …’ Not to be confused with ‘dimity’, a...
Ammil

Ammil

This wondrous word, describing a complex and ethereal effect of light, is mercifully preserved for posterity by Williamson. It doesn’t yet appear in the 600,000 word-hoard of the OED. May you enjoy many magical Ammil mornings. ‘When the sun, like an...
Varied like an ocean floor

Varied like an ocean floor

And the more we learn about the ocean floor, the better it seems as a metaphor for variety.  Curious to think of Virginia Woolf using this since so much less was known of ocean floors in her lifetime and they didn’t have the incredible underwater images we now...
Genius as lighthouse beams

Genius as lighthouse beams

An interesting metaphor to describe the haphazard workings of genius, appearing like a beam illuminating the surrounding darkness at intervals, but without the pulsing regularity of the lighthouse.  And in between their dazzling flashes, the genius withdraws into...
Million-candled tree

Million-candled tree

This is Sasha’s description of her glittering English aristocratic lover, but she doesn’t seem particularly dazzled by his brightness.  He appears to be burning up even as she is cooling down, and her attraction to him has something measured and even...

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