Of wine-blue water

Of wine-blue water

The first time I read of the wine-blue Greek sea, I was baffled.  However, I took a second translation to read in Mykonos. Sitting one morning in a blindingly white sunlit courtyard, I cooled my eyes by looking at the sea and suddenly realized what...
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...
As fast as …

As fast as …

How fast can a pattering heart beat?  As fast as water can drip before it starts dribbling. You can’t quantify that transition, but you know it when you see it. Other speed similes use a viper to convey quickness: one by Williamson and another by Christopher...
Bright-bubbled barrier

Bright-bubbled barrier

I liked the alliteration of this triologism, and the recurrence of bubbles in the water-washed world of otters.  Bubbles blown by an otter can be a signal of joy or fear.  Here they are created by a line of human hunters and signal danger. ‘Way down the river...
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...
Crab-green water

Crab-green water

I think I can imagine the shade of ‘crab-green’, a deep dark place where this wily old conger eel escapes its enemy the seal.  Jarrk himself is so strong that he has no enemies, allowing him, in Williamson’s take, to be gentle. Except where it comes...
Bubble-whitened water

Bubble-whitened water

Bubbles blow and roll through Williamson’s prose, through the ebullition of both water and otters. Otters blow bubbles when they are happy and when they’re scared. See also another source of bubbles in this beautiful book. ‘The otters drifted on,...
As smooth as …

As smooth as …

Of course, this simile is obvious when you see it, but have you ever seen it before?  Please try incorporating it into your simile-store. ‘Over fall he slid, smooth as oil.’   Source: Henry Williamson, Tarka the Otter: His joyful water-life and death in...
Singing a stone-song

Singing a stone-song

Water is the principal element in Williamson’s assiduously researched, powerfully imagined life of an otter. I loved the idea of its singing a song by flowing over stones on its way to the sea. ‘The water sang its stone-song in the dark as it flowed its...

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