Upon All the Living and The Dead


In my opinion, the last paragraphs of James Joyce's short story The Dead from Dubliners (which was also legendary director John Huston's final hushed blessing upon the living, released after his death in 1987), is among the most beautiful string of words and sense in all of language. I had to look it up to solace my cubicle-addled soul this morning. Words like these balm the fear, and make my heart swoon to a bird's-eye view of wonder, reminding me, reminding me, reminding me...

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

Ahhh. I can breathe again.

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