Metallic Colour Quotes

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A rose by any other name Would get the blame For being what it is-- The colour of a kiss, The shadow of a flame. A rose may earn another name, So call it love; So call it love I will, And love is like the sea, Which changes constantly, And yet is still The same.
Tanith Lee (The Silver Metal Lover (Silver Metal Lover, #1))
By now you know: I come from another planet. But I will never say to you, "Take me to your leaders." Even I--unused to your ways though I am--would never make that mistake. We ourselves have such beings among us, made of cogs, pieces of paper, small disks of shiny metal, scraps of coloured cloth. I do not need to encounter more of them. Instead I will say, "Take me to your trees. Take me to your breakfasts, your sunsets, your bad dreams, your shoes, your nouns. Take me to your fingers; take me to your deaths." These are worth it. These are what I have come for.
Margaret Atwood (Good Bones)
Riley squinted. He ran his fingers along my neck. When he found the collar he explored the surface and tried to tug it. "No seams. It doesn't fell like metal. The colour is amazing". "Why?" (Trella) "It blends in. It matches your skin. Didn't you know?" (Riley) "No mirrors in my cell." (Trella) He gasped with mock horror. "So cruel! How did you ever survive?" (Riley)
Maria V. Snyder (Outside In (Insider, #2))
Gray. The overcast skies had the colour of deadened stones, and seemed closer than usually, as though they were phlegmatically observing my every movement with their apathetic emptily blue-less eyes; each tiny drop of hazy rain drifting around resembled transparent molten steel, the pavement looked like it was about to burst into disconsolate tears, even the air itself was gray, so ultimate and ubiquitous that colour was everywhere around me. Gray...
Simona Panova (Nightmarish Sacrifice (Cardew))
The rubber tip had worn away from around the right heel, and although she had coloured the shoe in with an old black bingo marker, the sharp metal nail scraped the floor with the screech of hard times.
Douglas Stuart (Shuggie Bain)
And all the names of the tribes, the nomads of faith who walked in the monotone of the desert and saw brightness and faith and colour. The way a stone or found metal box or bone can become loved and turn eternal in a prayer. Such glory of this country she enters now and becomes a part of. We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all of this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography—to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience. All I desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps.
Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient)
On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I'd seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam; I saw convex equatorial deserts and each one of their grains of sand; I saw a woman in Inverness whom I shall never forget; I saw her tangled hair, her tall figure, I saw the cancer in her breast; I saw a ring of baked mud in a sidewalk, where before there had been a tree; I saw a summer house in Adrogué and a copy of the first English translation of Pliny -- Philemon Holland's -- and all at the same time saw each letter on each page (as a boy, I used to marvel that the letters in a closed book did not get scrambled and lost overnight); I saw a sunset in Querétaro that seemed to reflect the colour of a rose in Bengal; I saw my empty bedroom; I saw in a closet in Alkmaar a terrestrial globe between two mirrors that multiplied it endlessly; I saw horses with flowing manes on a shore of the Caspian Sea at dawn; I saw the delicate bone structure of a hand; I saw the survivors of a battle sending out picture postcards; I saw in a showcase in Mirzapur a pack of Spanish playing cards; I saw the slanting shadows of ferns on a greenhouse floor; I saw tigers, pistons, bison, tides, and armies; I saw all the ants on the planet; I saw a Persian astrolabe; I saw in the drawer of a writing table (and the handwriting made me tremble) unbelievable, obscene, detailed letters, which Beatriz had written to Carlos Argentino; I saw a monument I worshipped in the Chacarita cemetery; I saw the rotted dust and bones that had once deliciously been Beatriz Viterbo; I saw the circulation of my own dark blood; I saw the coupling of love and the modification of death; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph and in the Aleph the earth; I saw my own face and my own bowels; I saw your face; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon -- the unimaginable universe. I felt infinite wonder, infinite pity.
Jorge Luis Borges
By now you must have guessed: I come from another planet. But I will never say to you, Take me to your leaders. Even I - unused to your ways though I am - would never make that mistake. We ourselves have such beings among us, made of cogs, pieces of paper, small disks of shiny metal, scraps of coloured cloth. I do not need to encounter more of them. Instead I will say, Take me to your trees. Take me to your breakfasts, your sunsets, your bad dreams, your shoes, your nouns. Take me to your fingers; take me to your deaths. These are worth it. These are what I have come for.
Margaret Atwood (Good Bones and Simple Murders)
One day when no one else was around, I went into the craft room at the back of the ground floor. I touched Gran's collection of fabrics, the shiny bright buttons, the coloured threads. My head and shoulders melted first, followed by my hips and knees. Before long I was a puddle, soaking into the pretty cotton prints. I drenched the quilt she never finished, rusted the metal parts of her sewing machine. I was pure liquid loss...
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
We all have a dark side. I've always felt the most at home with people whose darkness is on their exterior. More often than not, they tend to be all the more colourful on the inside.
Lise Myhre
What in water did Bloom, waterlover, drawer of water, watercarrier, returning to the range, admire? Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own level: its vastness in the ocean of Mercator's projection: its unplumbed profundity in the Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8000 fathoms: the restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units: the variability of states of sea: its hydrostatic quiescence in calm: its hydrokinetic turgidity in neap and spring tides: its subsidence after devastation: its sterility in the circumpolar icecaps, arctic and antarctic: its climatic and commercial significance: its preponderance of 3 to 1 over the dry land of the globe: its indisputable hegemony extending in square leagues over all the region below the subequatorial tropic of Capricorn: the multisecular stability of its primeval basin: its luteofulvous bed: its capacity to dissolve and hold in solution all soluble substances including millions of tons of the most precious metals: its slow erosions of peninsulas and islands, its persistent formation of homothetic islands, peninsulas and downwardtending promontories: its alluvial deposits: its weight and volume and density: its imperturbability in lagoons and highland tarns: its gradation of colours in the torrid and temperate and frigid zones: its vehicular ramifications in continental lakecontained streams and confluent oceanflowing rivers with their tributaries and transoceanic currents, gulfstream, north and south equatorial courses: its violence in seaquakes, waterspouts, Artesian wells, eruptions, torrents, eddies, freshets, spates, groundswells, watersheds, waterpartings, geysers, cataracts, whirlpools, maelstroms, inundations, deluges, cloudbursts: its vast circumterrestrial ahorizontal curve: its secrecy in springs and latent humidity, revealed by rhabdomantic or hygrometric instruments and exemplified by the well by the hole in the wall at Ashtown gate, saturation of air, distillation of dew: the simplicity of its composition, two constituent parts of hydrogen with one constituent part of oxygen: its healing virtues: its buoyancy in the waters of the Dead Sea: its persevering penetrativeness in runnels, gullies, inadequate dams, leaks on shipboard: its properties for cleansing, quenching thirst and fire, nourishing vegetation: its infallibility as paradigm and paragon: its metamorphoses as vapour, mist, cloud, rain, sleet, snow, hail: its strength in rigid hydrants: its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea: its solidity in glaciers, icebergs, icefloes: its docility in working hydraulic millwheels, turbines, dynamos, electric power stations, bleachworks, tanneries, scutchmills: its utility in canals, rivers, if navigable, floating and graving docks: its potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora (anacoustic, photophobe), numerically, if not literally, the inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90 percent of the human body: the noxiousness of its effluvia in lacustrine marshes, pestilential fens, faded flowerwater, stagnant pools in the waning moon.
James Joyce (Ulysses)
The clockwork octopus came out. It extended a tentacle with a clicking of metal joints. Around it was looped the chain of his watch. He hesitated, but took it. The chain skittered over the metal tentacle with a high, thin pitch like incoming sea. It was quite a coincidence for a mechanical sea creature and he was speculating whether it could possibly have been done on purpose when Katsu stole his other sock and flopped on to the floor with an unbiological bang, whereupon it octopused out of the open door and slid down the banister. He exclaimed at it, was ignored, and then went after it just in time to see it disappear into the parlour. It was climbing up the leg of the piano stool when he caught up. The watchmaker confiscated the sock and threw it over his shoulder to Thaniel, who caught it with the tips of his fingers. The octopus settled in his lap. ‘Thank you for finding him,’ he said. Against the piano keys, his hands were too warmly coloured for the watery morning. ‘I was looking for him earlier. He plays hide and seek.
Natasha Pulley (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, #1))
When the alchemist speaks of Mercurius, on the face of it he means quicksilver (mercury), but inwardly he means the world-creating spirit concealed or imprisoned in matter. The dragon is probably the oldest pictoral symbol in alchemy of which we have documentary evidence. It appears as the Ouroboros, the tail-eater, in the Codex Marcianus, which dates from the tenth or eleventh century, together with the legend ‘the One, the All’. Time and again the alchemists reiterate that the opus proceeds from the one and leads back to the one, that it is a sort of circle like a dragon biting its own tail. For this reason the opus was often called circulare (circular) or else rota (the wheel). Mercurius stands at the beginning and end of the work: he is the prima materia, the caput corvi, the nigredo; as dragon he devours himself and as dragon he dies, to rise again in the lapis. He is the play of colours in the cauda pavonis and the division into the four elements. He is the hermaphrodite that was in the beginning, that splits into the classical brother-sister duality and is reunited in the coniunctio, to appear once again at the end in the radiant form of the lumen novum, the stone. He is metallic yet liquid, matter yet spirit, cold yet fiery, poison and yet healing draught - a symbol uniting all the opposites.
C.G. Jung (Psychology and Alchemy (Collected Works 12))
Mumbai is the sweet, sweaty smell of hope, which is the opposite of hate; and it's the sour, stifled smell of greed, which is the opposite of love. It's the smell of Gods, demons, empires, and civilizations in resurrection and decay. Its the blue skin-smell of the sea, no matter where you are in the island city, and the blood metal smell of machines. It smells of the stir and sleep and the waste of sixty million animals, more than half of them humans and rats. It smells of heartbreak, and the struggle to live, and of the crucial failures and love that produces courage. It smells of ten thousand restaurants, five thousand temples, shrines, churches and mosques, and of hunderd bazaar devoted exclusively to perfume, spices, incense, and freshly cut flowers. That smell, above all things - is that what welcomes me and tells me that I have come home. Then there were people. Assamese, Jats, and Punjabis; people from Rajasthan, Bengal, and Tamil Nadu; from Pushkar, Cochin, and Konark; warrior caste, Brahmin, and untouchable; Hindi, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Parsee, Animist; fair skin and dark, green eyes and golden brown and black; every different face and form of that extravagant variety, that incoparable beauty, India.
Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram)
My well-beloved was stripped. Knowing my whim, She wore her tinkling gems, but naught besides: And showed such pride as, while her luck betides, A sultan's favoured slave may show to him. When it lets off its lively, crackling sound, This blazing blend of metal crossed with stone, Gives me an ecstasy I've only known Where league of sound and luster can be found. She let herself be loved: then, drowsy-eyed, Smiled down from her high couch in languid ease. My love was deep and gentle as the seas And rose to her as to a cliff the tide. My own approval of each dreamy pose, Like a tamed tiger, cunningly she sighted: And candour, with lubricity united, Gave piquancy to every one she chose. Her limbs and hips, burnished with changing lustres, Before my eyes clairvoyant and serene, Swanned themselves, undulating in their sheen; Her breasts and belly, of my vine and clusters, Like evil angels rose, my fancy twitting, To kill the peace which over me she'd thrown, And to disturb her from the crystal throne Where, calm and solitary, she was sitting. So swerved her pelvis that, in one design, Antiope's white rump it seemed to graft To a boy's torso, merging fore and aft. The talc on her brown tan seemed half-divine. The lamp resigned its dying flame. Within, The hearth alone lit up the darkened air, And every time it sighed a crimson flare It drowned in blood that amber-coloured skin
Charles Baudelaire
Girl Without Hands Walking through the ruins on your way to work that do not look like ruins with the sunlight pouring over the seen world like hail or melted silver, that bright and magnificent, each leaf and stone quickened and specific in it, and you can't hold it, you can't hold any of it. Distance surrounds you, marked out by the ends of your arms when they are stretched to their fullest. You can go no farther than this, you think, walking forward, pushing the distance in front of you like a metal cart on wheels with its barriers and horizontals. Appearance melts away from you, the offices and pyramids on the horizon shimmer and cease. No one can enter that circle you have made, that clean circle of dead space you have made and stay inside, mourning because it is clean. Then there's the girl, in the white dress, meaning purity, or the failure to be any colour. She has no hands, it's true. The scream that happened to the air when they were taken off surrounds her now like an aureole of hot sand, of no sound. Everything has bled out of her. Only a girl like this can know what's happened to you. If she were here she would reach out her arms towards you now, and touch you with her absent hands and you would feel nothing, but you would be touched all the same.
Margaret Atwood (Morning In The Burned House: Poems)
There were wires coming out of Amanita’s olive skin. Thin-as-hairs and in the colour of silver, the threads appeared to descend from the bedroom ceiling (without physically being tethered to it) only to wrap themselves securely around the woman’s unsuspecting wrists. Mario rubbed his eyes raw, trying to dispense with the illusion. Amanita noticed him looking and pushed a lock of hair over her shoulder. As she moved, the white-metallic Thread followed her gesture without ever detaching from her wrist. Mario automatically beheld his own hands. They were not shackled. “She isn’t free!
Louise Blackwick (The Underworld Rhapsody)
He meditated resentfully on the physical texture of life. Had it always been like this? Had food always tasted like this? He looked round the canteen. A low-ceilinged, crowded room, its walls grimy from the contact of innumerable bodies; battered metal tables and chairs, placed so close together that you sat with elbows touching; bent spoons, dented trays, coarse white mugs; all surfaces greasy, grime in every crack; and a sourish, composite smell of bad gin and bad coffee and metallic stew and dirty clothes. Always in your stomach and in your skin there was a sort of protest, a feeling that you had been cheated of something that you had a right to. It was true that he had no memories of anything greatly different. In any time that he could accurately remember, there had never been quite enough to eat, one had never had socks or underclothes that were not full of holes, furniture had always been battered and rickety, rooms underheated, tube trains crowded, houses falling to pieces, bread dark-coloured, tea a rarity, coffee filthy-tasting, cigarettes insufficient -- nothing cheap and plentiful except synthetic gin. And though, of course, it grew worse as one's body aged, was it not a sign that this was not the natural order of things, if one's heart sickened at the discomfort and dirt and scarcity, the interminable winters, the stickiness of one's socks, the lifts that never worked, the cold water, the gritty soap, the cigarettes that came to pieces, the food with its strange evil tastes? Why should one feel it to be intolerable unless one had some kind of ancestral memory that things had once been different?
George Orwell (1984)
Outside in the yard, the rusted tractors and car bodies, the harvester combs and the sheets of corrugated iron, the motors and trays and wheel rims and cyclone wire and steel drums and sheep skulls and windows and metal lockers and a single broken vending machine crack and sigh as the morning sun evaporates the dew from their hides.
Paddy O'Reilly (The Fine Colour of Rust)
The art of the alchemist, whether spiritual or physical, consists in completing the work of perfection, bringing forth and making dominant, as it were, the “latent goldness” which “lies obscure” in metal or man. The ideal adept of alchemy was therefore an “auxiliary of the Eternal Goodness.” By his search for the “Noble Tincture” which should restore an imperfect world, he became a partner in the business of creation, assisting the Cosmic Plan. Thus the proper art of the Spiritual Alchemist, with whom alone we are here concerned, was the production of the spiritual and only valid tincture or Philosopher’s Stone; the mystic seed of transcendental life which should invade, tinge, and wholly transmute the imperfect self into spiritual gold. That this was no fancy of seventeenth-century allegorists, but an idea familiar to many of the oldest writers upon alchemy—whose quest was truly a spiritual search into the deepest secrets of the soul—is proved by the words which bring to an end the first part of the antique “Golden Treatise upon the Making of the Stone,” sometimes attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. “This, O Son,” says that remarkable tract, “is the Concealed Stone of Many Colours, which is born and brought forth in one colour; know this and conceal it . . . it leads from darkness into light, from this desert wilderness to a secure habitation, and from poverty and straits to a free and ample fortune.
Evelyn Underhill (Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness)
ARTHUR: Yellow car. DOUGLAS: What? ARTHUR: Nothing. Just – yellow car. MARTIN: Why did you say ‘yellow car’? ARTHUR: There was a yellow car. MARTIN: But why did you say ‘yellow car’? ARTHUR: You’ve got to say ‘yellow car’ when there’s a yellow car. MARTIN: Why? ARTHUR: That’s how you play Yellow Car. MARTIN: We’re not playing Yellow Car. ARTHUR: You’re always playing Yellow Car. DOUGLAS: And how, though I fear I can guess, does one play Yellow Car? ARTHUR: Right well, imagine you’re driving along – MARTIN: We are driving along. ARTHUR: Oh yeah, okay, so now you look at the cars as they come along in the other direction, and they’re all different colours. So, uh, for instance, now, uh, that one’s white; that one’s blue; that one’s a sort of metally grey – DOUGLAS: And when you see a yellow car, you say ‘yellow car’. ARTHUR: How did you know? DOUGLAS: A wild stab in the dark! MARTIN: And then what? ARTHUR: You start again! DOUGLAS: So how does it end, this game? ARTHUR: It never ends. DOUGLAS: That’s very much what I feared.
John Finnemore
The maple brings tourists who come to marvel at the blazing colours of the autumn leaves and it brings cash dollars in the form of the unctuous, faintly metallic syrup that Americans like to pour all over their breakfast, on waffles and pancakes certainly, but on bacon too. Sounds alarming to English ears, but actually it is rather delicious. Like crack, crystal meth, and Chocolate HobNobs, one nibble and you're hooked for life.
Stephen Fry (Stephen Fry in America)
I had woken into a metal world. The smooth unflawed slopes of snow on the mountain across the valley were iron. The deeper moonshadows had a tinge of steel blue to them. Otherwise, there was no true colour. Everything was greys, black, sharp silver-white. Inclined sheets of ice gleamed like tin. The hailstones lay about like shot, millions of them, grouped up against each rock and clustered in snow hollows. The air smelt of minerals and frost.
Robert Macfarlane (The Wild Places)
Gradually and mistily it became apparent that the Most Ancient One was holding something—some object clutched in the outflung folds of his robe as if for the sight, or what answered for sight, of the cloaked Companions. It was a large sphere or apparent sphere of some obscurely iridescent metal, and as the Guide put it forward a low, pervasive half-impression of sound began to rise and fall in intervals which seemed to be rhythmic even though they followed no rhythm of earth. There was a suggestion of chanting—or what human imagination might interpret as chanting. Presently the quasi-sphere began to grow luminous, and as it gleamed up into a cold, pulsating light of unassignable colour Carter saw that its flickerings conformed to the alien rhythm of the chant. Then all the mitred, sceptre-bearing Shapes on the pedestals commenced a slight, curious swaying in the same inexplicable rhythm, while nimbuses of unclassifiable light—resembling that of the quasi-sphere—played round their shrouded heads
H.P. Lovecraft (Through the Gates of the Silver Key)
The sunset had smitten into scarlet gold the upper windows of the houses opposite. The panes glowed like plates of heated metal. The sky above was like a faded rose. He thought of his friend's young fiery-coloured life and wondered how it was all going to end.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
She didn’t know what to say to this, or how to tell him she wasn’t strong, the patina of her resolve was made of soft metal. She wasn’t strong, but had become good at pretending – so good that only she knew it. She had developed a chameleon’s skin; she could change colour hide behind a false facade. She wasn’t made of steel. She still sometimes slept with a light on, and still sometimes heard a small child crying.
Charlie Laidlaw (The Things We Learn When We're Dead)
Alchemy is neither a premature chemistry nor a psychology in the modem sense, although both of these are to be found in alchemical writings . Alchemy is a symbolic science of natural forms based on the correspondence between different planes of reality and making use of mineral and metal symbolism to expound a spiritual science of the souh For alchemy, nature is sacred, and the alchemist is the guardian of nature considered as a theophany and reflection of spiritual realities . A purely profane chemistry could come into being only when the substances of alchemy became completely emptied of their sacred quality. For this very reason, a re-discovery of the alchemical view of nature, without in any way denying the chemical sciences which deal with substances from another point of view, could reinstate the spiritual and symbolic character of the forms, colours and processes that man encounters throughout his life in the corporeal world.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis in Modern Man)
I can see it in your eyes. If it weren’t for this I would have stopped trying long ago, to communicate with you in this halfway language which is so difficult for both of us, which exhausts the throat and fills the mouth with sand; if it weren’t for this I would have gone away, gone back. It’s this knowledge of death, which we share, where we overlap. Death is our common ground. Together, on it, we can walk forward. By now you must have guessed: I come from another planet. But I will never say to you, take me to your leaders. Even I – unused to your ways though I am – would never make that mistake. We ourselves have such beings among us, made of cogs, pieces of paper, small disks of shiny metal, scraps of coloured cloth. I do not need to encounter more of them. Instead I will say, take me to your trees. Take me to your breakfasts, your sunsets, your bad dreams, your shoes, your nouns. Take me to your fingers; take me to your deaths. These are worth it. These are what I have come for.
Margaret Atwood (Good Bones and Simple Murders)
It was good to emerge from this silent semi-darkness into a bright glade. Suddenly everything was different: the earth was warm; the air was in movement; you could smell the junipers in the sun; there were large, wilting bluebells which looked as though they had been cast from mauve-coloured metal, and wild carnations on sticky, resinous stems. You felt suddenly carefree; the glade was like one happy day in a life of poverty. The lemon-coloured butterflies, the polished, blue-black beetles, the ants, the grass-snake rustling through the grass, seemed to be joining together in a common task. Birch-twigs, sprinkled with fine leaves, brushed against his face; a grasshopper jumped up and landed on him as though he were a tree-trunk; it clung to his belt, calmly tensing its green haunches as it sat there with its round, leathery eyes and sheep-like face. The last flowers of the wild strawberries. The heat of the sun on his metal buttons and belt-clasp . . . No U-88 or night-flying Heinkel could ever have flown over this glade.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate (Stalingrad, #2))
March 1898 What a strange dream I had last night! I wandered in the warm streets of a port, in the low quarter of some Barcelona or Marseille. The streets were noisome, with their freshly-heaped piles of ordure outside the doors, in the blue shadows of their high roofs. They all led down towards the sea. The gold-spangled sea, seeming as if it had been polished by the sun, could be seen at the end of each thoroughfare, bristling with yard-arms and luminous masts. The implacable blue of the sky shone brilliantly overhead as I wandered through the long, cool and sombre corridors in the emptiness of a deserted district: a quarter which might almost have been dead, abruptly abandoned by seamen and foreigners. I was alone, subjected to the stares of prostitutes seated at their windows or in the doorways, whose eyes seemed to ransack my very soul. They did not speak to me. Leaning on the sides of tall bay-windows or huddled in doorways, they were silent. Their breasts and arms were bare, bizarrely made up in pink, their eyebrows were darkened, they wore their hair in corkscrew-curls, decorated with paper flowers and metal birds. And they were all exactly alike! They might have been huge marionettes, or tall mannequin dolls left behind in panic - for I divined that some plague, some frightful epidemic brought from the Orient by sailors, had swept through the town and emptied it of its inhabitants. I was alone with these simulacra of love, abandoned by the men on the doorsteps of the brothels. I had already been wandering for hours without being able to find a way out of that miserable quarter, obsessed by the fixed and varnished eyes of all those automata, when I was seized by the sudden thought that all these girls were dead, plague-stricken and putrefied by cholera where they stood, in the solitude, beneath their carmine plaster masks... and my entrails were liquefied by cold. In spite of that harrowing chill, I was drawn closer to a motionless girl. I saw that she was indeed wearing a mask... and the girl in the next doorway was also masked... and all of them were horribly alike under their identical crude colouring... I was alone with the masks, with the masked corpses, worse than the masks... when, all of a sudden, I perceived that beneath the false faces of plaster and cardboard, the eyes of these dead women were alive. Their vitreous eyes were looking at me... I woke up with a cry, for in that moment I had recognised all the women. They all had the eyes of Kranile and Willie, of Willie the mime and Kranile the dancer. Every one of the dead women had Kranile's left eye and Willie's right eye... so that every one of them appeared to be squinting. Am I to be haunted by masks now?
Jean Lorrain (Monsieur De Phocas)
One can take the colour-electric field as the fundamental entity, and then try to understand the picture of a string stretched between the quarks as a consequence of space having properties that make it something like an electric version of a superconductor. This is the route taken by those physicists who work on QCD. For them, the key problem is to understand why empty space has properties that make it behave in certain circumstances like a superconductor. This is not as crazy as it sounds. We understand that in quantum theory space must be seen to be full of oscillating random fields, as discussed in Chapter 6. So we may imagine that these vaccum fluctuations sometimes behave like the atoms in a metal in a way that leads to large-scale effects like superconsuctivity.
Lee Smolin (Three Roads To Quantum Gravity)
The girl was staring at the muddy river as if it were sweeping away her memories. Corso saw her smile, thoughtfully, absently. "I never knew an impartial god. Or devil." She turned to him suddenly - her earlier thoughts seemed to have washed downstream. "Do you believe in the Devil, Corso?" He looked at her intently, but the river had also swept away the images that had filled her eyes seconds before. All he could see there now was liquid green, and light. “I believe in stupidity and ignorance.” He smiled wearily at the girl. They had continued walking and were now on the wooden boards of the Pont des Arts. The girl stopped and leaned on the metal rail, by a street artist selling tiny water colours.” "I like this bridge," she said. "No cars. Only lovers, and old ladies in hats. People with nothing to do. This bridge has absolutely no common sense.
Arturo Pérez-Reverte (The Club Dumas)
The room was two-tiered, its marble balconies filled with rams and water nymphs in fancy dress; a kaleidoscope of colours swayed in time to the beat of hypnotic music. A concerto of absent musicians, it played only in her mind. The numerous chandeliers with sculptured metal frames hung down from chains, with endless fireflies attached. At the far end stretched a grand staircase, dressed with a plush velvet carpet in deep cerise, and ceiling paintings edged with gold embossed dado rails clung to the walls. Then Eve honed in on herself and saw that she wore a crushed white taffeta A-line gown that fit her trim figure like a glove. Her butterfly mask with floral patterns embroidered in red and gold silk sat against her pale skin, her reflection like that of a porcelain doll. A matching shawl rested softly on her shoulders. Everything was so beautiful that she almost totally lost herself in the mirror’s reflection." (little snippet from our book)
L. Wells
Its chief covering seemed to me to be composed of large wings folded over its breast and reaching to its knees; the rest of its attire was composed of an under tunic and leggings of some thin fibrous material. It wore on its head a kind of tiara that shone with jewels, and carried in its right hand a slender staff of bright metal like polished steel. But the face! it was that which inspired my awe and my terror. It was the face of man, but yet of a type of man distinct from our known extant races. The nearest approach to it in outline and expression is the face of the sculptured sphinx—so regular in its calm, intellectual, mysterious beauty. Its colour was peculiar, more like that of the red man than any other variety of our species, and yet different from it—a richer and a softer hue, with large black eyes, deep and brilliant, and brows arched as a semicircle. The face was beardless; but a nameless something in the aspect, tranquil though the expression, and beauteous though the features, roused that instinct of danger which the sight of a tiger or serpent arouses. I felt that this manlike image was endowed with forces inimical to man.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton (The Coming Race)
At this point, the sequence of my memories is disrupted. I sank into a chaos of brief, incoherent and bizarre hallucinations, in which the grotesque and the horrible kept close company. Prostrate, as if I were being garrotted by invisible cords, I floundered in anguish and dread, oppressively ridden by the most unbridled nightmares. A whole series of monsters and avatars swarmed in the shadows, coming to life amid draughts of sulphur and phosphorus like an animated fresco painted on the moving wall of sleep. There followed a turbulent race through space. I soared, grasped by the hair by an invisible hand of will: an icy and powerful hand, in which I felt the hardness of precious stones, and which I sensed to be the hand of Ethal. Dizziness was piled upon dizziness in that flight to the abyss, under skies the colour of camphor and salt, skies whose nocturnal brilliance had a terrible limpidity. I was spun around and around, in bewildering confusion, above deserts and rivers. Great expanses of sand stretched into the distance, mottled here and there by monumental shadows. At times we would pass over cities: sleeping cities with obelisks and cupolas shining milk-white in the moonlight, between metallic palm-trees. In the extreme distance, amid bamboos and flowering mangroves, luminous millennial pagodas descended towards the water on stepped terraces.
Jean Lorrain (Monsieur De Phocas)
A shudder went through me at the thought of what I should still learn in this hour. How awry, altered and distorted everything and everyone was in these mirrors, how mockingly and unattainably did the face of truth hide itself behind all these reports, counter-reports and legends! What was still truth? What was still credible? And what would remain when I also learned about myself, about my own character and history from the knowledge stored in these archives? I must be prepared for anything. Suddenly I could bear the uncertainty and suspense no longer. I hastened to the section Chattorum res gestas, looked for my sub-division and number and stood in front of the part marked with my name. This was a niche, and when I drew the thin curtains aside I saw that it contained nothing written. It contained nothing but a figure, an old and worn-looking model made from wood or wax, in pale colours. It appeared to be a kind of deity or barbaric idol. At first glance it was entirely incomprehensible to me. It was a figure that really consisted of two; it had a common back. I stared at it for a while, disappointed and surprised. Then I noticed a candle in a metal candlestick fixed to the wall of the niche. A match-box lay there. I lit the candle and the strange double figure was now brightly illuminated. Only slowly did it dawn upon me. Only slowly and gradually did I begin to suspect and then perceive what it was intended to represent. It represented a figure which was myself, and this likeness of myself was unpleasantly weak and half-real; it had blurred features, and in its whole expression there was something unstable, weak, dying or wishing to die, and looked rather like a piece of sculpture which could be called "Transitoriness" or "Decay," or something similar. On the other hand, the other figure which was joined to mine to make one, was strong in colour and form, and just as I began to realise whom it resembled, namely, the servant and President Leo, I discovered a second candle in the wall and lit this also. I now saw the double figure representing Leo and myself, not only becoming clearer and each image more alike, but I also saw that the surface of the figures was transparent and that one could look inside as one can look through the glass of a bottle or vase. Inside the figures I saw something moving, slowly, extremely slowly, in the same way that a snake moves which has fallen asleep. Something was taking place there, something like a very slow, smooth but continuous flowing or melting; indeed, something melted or poured across from my image to that of Leo's. I perceived that my image was in the process of adding to and flowing into Leo's, nourishing and strengthening it. It seemed that, in time, all the substance from one image would flow into the other and only one would remain: Leo. He must grow, I must disappear. As I stood there and looked and tried to understand what I saw, I recalled a short conversation that I had once had with Leo during the festive days at Bremgarten. We had talked about the creations of poetry being more vivid and real than the poets themselves. The candles burned low and went out. I was overcome by an infinite weariness and desire to sleep, and I turned away to find a place where I could lie down and sleep.
Hermann Hesse (The Journey To The East)
While glass had been used by the rich to drink wine for hundreds of years, most beers until the nineteenth century were drunk from opaque vessels such as ceramic, pewter or wooden mugs. Since most people couldn’t see the colour of the liquid they were drinking, it presumably didn’t matter much what these beers looked like, only what they tasted like. Mostly, they were dark brown and murky brews. Then in 1840 in Bohemia, a region in what is now the Czech Republic, a method to mass-produce glass was developed, and it became cheap enough to serve beer to everyone in glasses. As a result people could see for the first time what their beer looked like, and they often did not like what they saw: the so-called top-fermented brews were variable not just in their taste, but in their colour and clarity too. Not ten years later, though, a new beer was developed in Pilsen using bottom-fermenting yeast. It was lighter in colour, it was clear and golden, it had bubbles like champagne – it was lager. This was a beer to be drunk with the eyes as much as with the mouth, and these light golden lagers have continued in this tradition ever since, being designed to be served in a glass. How ironic, then, that so much lager is drunk from an opaque metal can, meaning that the only beer uniquely identifiable for its visual appearance is the epitome of opaqueness, a beer in the old pre-glass tradition, Guinness.
I press my face into his cold skin, immersing myself in the smell of the man who has so fundamentally changed me. He twists his head left again, watching me. “If these chains were to disappear, I would tan that beautiful backside for you for that comment.” His tone is low, sending a shiver through me. I feel my breath quicken at his words, imagining me sprawled over his strong lap, my skirts tossed over my torso as he administers my spanking. I clench the moistening muscles between my legs, acknowledging how good the idea sounds. His eyes sparkle as they assess my responses. “You would like that too, wouldn’t you, my captive?” he probes. I swallow hard, knowing that even in this gloom, Anders will notice my colour rising from my neck to my cheeks. “Yes,” I murmur, transfixed by him even in this new role reversal. “Have you missed me?” he asks, moving his arms in the metal chains above us. “Have you missed my discipline?” “You know I have,” I reply, not daring to take my eyes from his blue orbs.
Felicity Brandon (The Viking's Conquest)
A smell of strawberries on her breath, so enticing I could crawl into her mouth. Bubblegum visible through her clicky-clacky cheerleader teeth, no braces like Clondine, a mouthful of colourful metal.
Ali Land (Good Me, Bad Me)
The Clock Cell A Poem by Rosa Jamali Something happens to die And the sunlight which has been soaking is wet and obscure If I carry on the lines The frozen object which has been captured in your hands will drop Otherwise, the day has come to an end. Void When I get home; staring at all those cubical shapes; Standstill current of water And the sunlight which is never damp On the blank sheets of writing bursting into tears over old sheets on my bed. The elements Its essence has been painted by my blood The rain of cats and dogs on my field The moon is encompassing the land! Here with the frostbite on the iron post, I left the time on the river bank Time was a whim slipped away from my fingers The moments have been cleaned and cleared. The wall has turned blue Me and the black gown Have taken the flow of the river. It's a calf death breast-fed. What is it? Sediments on a neutral background It could be in a different colour It's been many days since I started walking on the rope The creased moon is hanging down the ceiling. Blizzard A flimsy stone The frostbite on the window glass The bridge has fallen down Silence on a metal tape Ending to a blind full stop. (TRANSLATED FROM ORIGINAL PERSIAN TO ENGLISH BY ROSA JAMALI)
Rosa Jamali (Selected Poems of Rosa Jamali)
When you melt the gold to make grills, what darts across the surface is like chrome – totally different to the actual colour of the metal when it’s solid. The impact of the oxygen-acetylene is almost a white-out – the molten gold becomes this magical blue-tinted white, and the silver on the surface is as clear as liquid, but it darts around in a totally chaotic way. That’s my life right there – the chaos – but within that chaos there is something that makes sense, and if you concentrate hard enough, the patterns will surely become clear ...
Goldie (All Things Remembered)
Jessica… Jesse! You have to stop this now!” Patrick held the arm that she was going to use to strike her victim still as gently as he could while still retaining control of the limb. Jessica stopped and forcefully pulled her arm out of Patrick's grip before glaring at him and the now unconscious doctor. Then she spoke firmly and resolutely. “What was I supposed to do? Let her cut open our son? Let her risk any chance of us saving him?” “No, of course not! But look closer Jessica. Look at the table! Look at the boy.” When Patrick asked her to look, she was suddenly furious at him. She did not want to look at her poor dead Alexander, cold on a metal slab. She knew, however, that she would eventually have to look so she did. What she saw made her feel worse not better. It was not her son on the autopsy table. It was another teenage boy that was about Alexander's age but not the same weight, eye colour, or hair colour. She put her hands to her face and cried then.
L.B. Ó Ceallaigh (Souls' Inverse (Red Sun #1))
Last Star Standing (Feb. 18, 2021) It's set in the near future - 2094 - and follows an alien invasion - so it HAS to be marketed as science fiction - but it's really about the narrator's tough, terrifying, but ultimately life-affirming personal journey. The book hit me, about three years ago, when I was meditating. This is something I do very badly! - but I have had amazing experiences - swirling colours, images - and, in this case, a character. I found myself looking down, from the Earth's surface, about a hundred metres, down a metallic shaft, at a young man imprisoned in a metal chair. It was Aiden, my narrator, and - from that bizarre introduction - he wouldn't leave me alone. With sinking heart I realised that I was being asked to write - at least technically - science fiction, of which I'd read exactly three - 1984, Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go and The Handmaid's Tale. The idea was crazy and I fought it tooth and nail. But Aiden fought back. He wanted his book to happen. He wanted to BE. And - long story short - he won! It's jst been published. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it. If you enjoy it, I hope you review it. And I very, VERY much hope, in these tough times, it really does offer a little escape! Spaulding Taylor
Spaulding Taylor (Last Star Standing)
Jon sighed and climbed a crate, loosening his belt so that he could relieve himself over the gunwale. The hammock… As Tom had stood that day with the awl, making holes for the thick metal hooks that would hold the colourful hammock in place, he had explained that he sometimes felt crowded in the bed with Baltsaros and Jon and just liked the option of sleeping alone. Jon had seen the lie immediately for what it was: diplomacy. He had a feeling that, given the chance, Tom would hold him close every night. Instead, the first mate chose to distance himself so as not to interfere with the captain’s affection for Jon. A sacrifice.
Bey Deckard (Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires (Baal's Heart, #2))
I don't like shopping. In movies that depict a futuristic dystopia, people tend to wear uniforms in a single colour, usually a metallic onesie with a high neck and gender-neutral panelling in the front. I am fine with this. I look great in silver and gold.
Scaachi Kour
The decorative arms race finally caved in under the sheer absurdity of Augustus the Strong (1670–1733), the Elector of Saxony who, with money pouring in from his hideous porcelain factory and from defrauding the Poles (whose king through chicanery he had become), decided to go for broke. When many of his contemporaries were sharpening up and reforming their armies, he spent much of his revenue on mistresses, lovely palaces and daft trinkets. He was aided in this last aim by the services of the great Badenese goldsmith Johann Melchior Ding-linger, who blew astounding sums making such monstrosities as a giant cup made from a block of polished chalcedony, dripping with coloured enamels and metals and balanced on stag horns, or creating repulsive little statues of dwarves by decorating mutant pearls, or a mad but magnificent object called The Birthday of the Grand Mogul Aurangzeb in which dozens of tiny figures made from precious stones and metals fill the tiny court of the Mogul, itself made from all kinds of spectacular and rare stuff. This delirious thing (not paid for by Augustus for many years as the money sort of ran out when a Swedish invasion swept through a virtually undefended Saxony) simply ended the tradition. Looking at it today in the head-spinning Green Vault in Dresden, Dinglinger’s fantasy seems a long way from the relative, bluff innocence of a yellowy whale tooth in a little display box – but it was the same tradition endlessly elaborated. Aside
Simon Winder (Germania)
It seemed stupid that I had stayed in the cold stone room, knowing that as soon as the new day had crested, I was no longer in the Inquisitor’s service and no longer had to follow his orders. I finished eating and opened the package, revealing the complicated sections of leather pieces that somehow made up an outfit. Some of the sections were hardened with inlaid metal, a tarnished golden colour peeking through the stitching. I finally discerned something resembling the usual bodysuits worn beneath sectorian women’s clothing, though this one was different. It was thick brown leather, a silk underlining hidden on the inside. It moulded tightly to the body, two ovals cut into the sides, exposing the hips and the sides of the stomach and back. Some sort of covering fit over the top of the bodysuit, ending a few inches above the waist. The metal-inlaid patterns curved around the front of my chest and the top of my spine, connected with brown, buckled straps along my sides. A belted skirt slid over the hips, the belt pulling along the cut of the bodysuit, above my hips, another band looping around my hips. The skirt had two short layers. Yet another section of the outfit fit over my shoulders, metallic glimpses peering out from the leather that cupped my shoulders, attaching to the upper chest armour with straps. Another set of wraps covered my wrists and forearms, and I was glad to see the Inquisitor’s mark and the Spider’s mark disappearing from view. I was able to re-wear the same footwear, as there were also knee and thigh wraps in the same boiled brown leather that complemented the knee-high boots. The outfit was clearly some kind of warrior’s uniform. The Vold—and the Sentinels in particular—often wore revealing, scant clothing to show off their impressive physiques. With Calder’s cloak still on the ground, I could see half of his bare back above the golden armour that wrapped his torso. The muscles bunched and stretched as he pulled his forearm up for investigation. He had clearly stitched and re-dressed his wound after my dismal attempt at caring for it the night before. Despite my outfit showing so much skin, it was by far the heaviest thing I had ever worn, and I started to truly appreciate how quickly and silently Calder moved, weighed down as he must have been by so much armour. I tugged my hair over my shoulders, arranging the strands so that they might hide my face better. There was a lump in my throat when I stuffed everything back into my pack and muttered, “Done.
Jane Washington (A Tempest of Shadows (A Tempest of Shadows, #1))
He meditated resentfully on the physical texture of life. Had it always been like this? Had food always tasted like this? He looked round the canteen. A low-ceilinged, crowded room, its walls grimy from the contact of innumerable bodies; battered metal tables and chairs, placed so close together that you sat with elbows touching; bent spoons, dented trays, coarse white mugs; all surfaces greasy, grime in every crack; and a sourish, composite smell of bad gin and bad coffee and metallic stew and dirty clothes. Always in your stomach and in your skin there was a sort of protest, a feeling that you had been cheated of something that you had a right to. It was true that he had no memories of anything greatly different. In any time that he could accurately remember, there had never been quite enough to eat, one had never had socks or underclothes that were not full of holes, furniture had always been battered and rickety, rooms underheated, tube trains crowded, houses falling to pieces, bread dark-coloured, tea a rarity, coffee filthy-tasting, cigarettes insufficient — nothing cheap and plentiful except synthetic gin. And though, of course, it grew worse as one’s body aged, was it not a sign that this was NOT the natural order of things, if one’s heart sickened at the discomfort and dirt and scarcity, the interminable winters, the stickiness of one’s socks, the lifts that never worked, the cold water, the gritty soap, the cigarettes that came to pieces, the food with its strange evil tastes? Why should one feel it to be intolerable unless one had some kind of ancestral memory that things had once been different?
George Orwell (1984 & Animal Farm)
The penumbra of dusk moves slowly westward. The owls of Europe are already hunting. The zoo owls will be waking now as the light declines and the grey Victorian brickwork glows with evening gold. Trees drift in the wind above the roar of traffic in the road outside. White mice lie dead on the floor of the cage. The eagle owl will not feed till dusk. He is waking as the people watch him, stretching his neck and uttering a soft call. His sunset-coloured eyes are kindling, the light coming slowly forward from within. The owl looks outward, beyond the watching faces. They have no significance for him. He is waking to his own world, to glooms of spruce or desert rock. He does not see the dull metallic chains that fence us in. His mind is still unscalable, a crag from which he can look down at the captives gazing up at him.
J.A. Baker (The Peregrine: The Hill of Summer & Diaries: The Complete Works of J. A. Baker)
I want to share with you the thought that chemistry provides the infrastructure of the modern world. There is hardly an item of everyday life that is not furnished by it or based on the materials it has created. Take away chemistry and its functional arm the chemical industry and you take away the metals and other materials of construction, the semiconductors of computation and communication, the fuels of heating, power generation, and transport, the fabrics of clothing and furnishings, and the artificial pigments of our blazingly colourful world. Take away its contributions to agriculture and you let people die, for the industry provides the fertilizers and pesticides that enable dwindling lands to support rising populations. Take away its pharmaceutical wing and you allow pain through the elimination of anaesthetics and deny people the prospect of recovery by the elimination of medicines. Imagine a world where there are no products of chemistry (including pure water): you are back before the Bronze Age, into the Stone Age: no metals, no fuels except wood, no fabrics except pelts, no medicines except herbs, no methods of computation except with your fingers, and very little food.
Peter Atkins (Chemistry: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions))
Coming to the alchemists, we find the view that the metals are all composed of two elementary principles—sulphur and mercury—in different proportions and degrees of purity, well-nigh universally accepted in the earlier days of Alchemy. By these terms “sulphur” and “mercury,” however, must not be understood the common bodies ordinarily designated by these names; like the elements of Aristotle, the alchemistic principles were regarded as properties rather than as substances, though it must be confessed that the alchemists were by no means always clear on this point themselves. Indeed, it is not altogether easy to say exactly what the alchemists did mean by these terms, and the question is complicated by the fact that very frequently they make mention of different sorts of “sulphur” and “mercury.” Probably, however, we shall not be far wrong in saying that “sulphur” was generally regarded as the principle of combustion and also of colour, and was said to be present on account of the fact that most metals are changed into earthy substances by the aid of fire; and to the “mercury,” the metallic principle par excellence, was attributed such properties as fusibility, malleability and lustre, which were regarded as characteristic of the metals in general.
H. Stanley Redgrove (Alchemy: Ancient and Modern (Illustrated))
The estate sprawled across a rolling green land. I'd never seen anything like it; even out former manor couldn't compare. It was veiled in roses and ivy, with patios and balconies and staircases sprouting from it's alabaster sides. The grounds were encased by woods, but stretched so far that I could barely see the distant line of the forest. So much colour, so much sunlight and movement and texture... I could hardly drink it in fast enough. To paint it would be useless, would never do it justice. My awe might have subdued my fear had the place not been so wholly empty and silent. Even the garden through which we walked, following a gravel path to the main doors of the house, seemed hushed and sleepingg. Above the array of amethyst irises and pale snowdrops and butter-yellow daffodils swaying in the balmy breeze, the faint stench of metal tickled my nose. Of course it would be magic, because it was spring here. What wretched power did they possess to make their lands so different from ours, to control the seasons and weather as if they owned them?
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
His red hair was tied back, and there wasn't a hint of finery on him, just armoured leather, swords, knives... His metal eye roamed over me, his golden skin pale. 'We've been hunting you for over two months,' he breathed, now scanning the woods, the stream, the sky. Rhys. Cauldron save me. Rhys was too far back, and- 'How did you find me?' My steady, cold voice wasn't one I recognised. But- hunting for me. As if I were indeed prey. If Tamlin was here... My blood went icier than the freezing rain now sluicing down my face, into my clothes. 'Someone tipped us off you'd been out here, but it was luck that we caught your scent on the wind, and-' Lucien took a step toward me. I stepped back. Only three feet between me and the stream. Lucien's eye widened slightly. 'We need to get out of here. Tamlin's been- he hasn't been himself. I'll take you right to-' 'No,' I breathed. The word rasped through the rain, the stream, the pine forest. The four sentinels glanced between each other, then to the arrow I kept aimed. Lucien took me in again. And I could see what he was gleaming: the Illyrian fighting leathers. The colour and fullness that had returned to my face, my body. And the silent steel of my eyes. 'Feyre,' he said,' holding out a hand. 'Let's go home.' I didn't move. 'That stopped being my home the day you let him lock me up inside of it.' Lucien's mouth tightened. 'It was a mistake. We all made mistakes. He's sorry- more sorry than you realise. So am I.' He stepped toward me, and I backed up another few inches.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2))
Suburbia Knocks by Stewart Stafford Covert dawn's surreptitious light, A magpie sentry's warning song, Swooping, scanning silent streets, Cackling danger all night long. Metallic cross of crucified clothes, A choir of colours in the breeze, Waterboarded by lashing rain, Made them suffer incrementally. One knock for no, two knocks for yes, One and a half for uncertainty, Three knocks for drinks and company, The rite of suburban courtesy. 37 years ago, down at number 37, Came the first and last royal visit, Dizzying anticipation from first light, Fading fairytale in a curtsying gibbet. © Stewart Stafford, 2023. All rights reserved.
Stewart Stafford
The first half of your detention will be spent digging an eight foot deep hole in the meadow.” Darius stalked off with the other guys and I moved forward to collect my shovel. Orion scooped it up, holding it out for me. Before I took it he caught my hand, brushing his thumb across my palm and sending a shiver through me. He repeated the process on the other hand then pressed his index finger to his lips. “That'll stop your skin chaffing,” he whispered. I stared at him in complete surprise as he passed me the shovel and moved aside. “Thank you,” I said, confused as I stepped past him, making my way through the high grass and colourful array of meadow flowers as I walked toward the Heirs. The four of them had formed a circle and were already getting to work digging the hole. ... “Vega!” Orion beckoned me and I was grateful to put the shovel down. I was a little dizzy as I walked up to his high metal chair where he was sitting a few feet above my head. He now had a large umbrella set up over it and a flask of coffee in his hand which he'd apparently brought with him. His Atlas was propped on his knee and he looked like he was thoroughly enjoying his morning as he gazed down at my mud stained skin with a bright smile. Thanks to his magic, at least I didn't have any blisters on my hands. “Water.” Orion waved his hand and water gathered in the air before me, circling into a glistening sphere. Orion tossed me a cup and I caught it at the last second. The water dropped straight into it with a splash and I guzzled it down greedily, “That's favouritism, sir!” Caleb called. “You're right, how rude of me!” Orion shouted back, lifting a hand and a torrential waterfall poured down on all of the heirs. Max crowed like a cockerel, pounding his chest, seemingly spurred on by the downpour. The others didn't seem quite as happy as the water continued to fall down on them. A laugh rushed from my throat and Orion threw me a wink. “So I'm having a little trouble, Miss Vega.” “With what, sir?” “Telling you apart from your sister,” he said in a low voice that I imagined only I could hear through the torrential storm he was still casting over the Heirs. “And you never did answer my question. Blue or green?” A smile twisted up my lips and I shrugged, deciding to leave him in continued suspense over that question, walking back to join the group. “I want an answer by sundown,” he called after me and my grin grew even wider. ... “Shut the fuck up!” Orion shouted. “I'm trying to concentrate here.” “Watching porn again, sir?” Seth shot at him with a smirk. “Yeah, your mom's really improved since the last edition,” he answered without missing a beat and Seth's face dropped into a scowl as a laugh tore from my throat. “Do you know who is always watching porn?” Max chipped in. “You?” the three other guys answered in unison. They all burst out laughing and I fought the urge to join in. “Hilarious,” Max said dryly. “I meant Washer. He snuck off in class the other day to rub one out.” “Useless. Well up you go then,” he said and I moved toward the ladder, taking hold of the first rung. Orion stepped up close behind me and his fingers brushed my waist, barely perceptible but I felt it everywhere. It scored a line of goosebumps across my back and a heavenly shiver fluttered up my spine. Heated air pushed under my clothes, drying them out almost instantly. “Thank you,” I whispered for the second time today. What’s gotten into him? He took hold of the ladder either side of my hands. “Up,” he breathed against my cheek and hot wax seemed to pour down each of my legs, making it almost impossible to move. But somehow, I managed it.
Caroline Peckham (Ruthless Fae (Zodiac Academy, #2))
A nobler colour than all these – the noblest colour ever seen on this earth – one which belongs to a strength greater than that of the Egyptian granite, and to a beauty greater than that of the sunset or the rose – is still mysteriously connected with the presence of this dark iron. I believe it is not ascertained on what the crimson of blood actually depends; but the colour is connected, of course, with its vitality, and that vitality with the existence of iron as one of its substantial elements. Is it not strange to find this stern and strong metal mingled so delicately in our human life that we cannot even blush without its help? John Ruskin "The Two Paths
John Carey (The Faber Book of Science)
The Scientific Revolution was revolutionary in a way that is hard to appreciate today, now that its discoveries have become second nature to most of us. The historian David Wootton reminds us of the understanding of an educated Englishman on the eve of the Revolution in 1600: He believes witches can summon up storms that sink ships at sea. . . . He believes in werewolves, although there happen not to be any in England—he knows they are to be found in Belgium. . . . He believes Circe really did turn Odysseus’s crew into pigs. He believes mice are spontaneously generated in piles of straw. He believes in contemporary magicians. . . . He has seen a unicorn’s horn, but not a unicorn. He believes that a murdered body will bleed in the presence of the murderer. He believes that there is an ointment which, if rubbed on a dagger which has caused a wound, will cure the wound. He believes that the shape, colour and texture of a plant can be a clue to how it will work as a medicine because God designed nature to be interpreted by mankind. He believes that it is possible to turn base metal into gold, although he doubts that anyone knows how to do it. He believes that nature abhors a vacuum. He believes the rainbow is a sign from God and that comets portend evil. He believes that dreams predict the future, if we know how to interpret them. He believes, of course, that the earth stands still and the sun and stars turn around the earth once every twenty-four hours.7 A century and a third later, an educated descendant of this Englishman would believe none of these things. It was an escape not just from ignorance but from terror. The sociologist Robert Scott notes that in the Middle Ages “the belief that an external force controlled daily life contributed to a kind of collective paranoia”: Rainstorms, thunder, lightning, wind gusts, solar or lunar eclipses, cold snaps, heat waves, dry spells, and earthquakes alike were considered signs and signals of God’s displeasure. As a result, the “hobgoblins of fear” inhabited every realm of life. The sea became a satanic realm, and forests were populated with beasts of prey, ogres, witches, demons, and very real thieves and cutthroats. . . . After dark, too, the world was filled with omens portending dangers of every sort: comets, meteors, shooting stars, lunar eclipses, the howls of wild animals.8 To the Enlightenment thinkers the escape from ignorance and superstition showed how mistaken our conventional wisdom could be, and how the methods of science—skepticism, fallibilism, open debate, and empirical testing—are a paradigm of how to achieve reliable knowledge. That knowledge includes an understanding of ourselves.
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
the chocolates were all wrapped in those red and gold and green metallic colours which are almost better than chocolate itself; and the huge white wedding-cake in the window was somehow at once remote and satisfying, just as if the whole North Pole were good to eat. Such rainbow provocations could naturally collect the youth of the neighbourhood up to the ages of ten or twelve. But this corner was also attractive to youth at a later stage; and a young man, not less than twenty-four, was staring into the same shop window.
Elsinore Books (Classic Short Stories: The Complete Collection: All 100 Masterpieces)
Behind the glass, dozens of butterflies were pinned to a board, cocoons beside them, stunted. Although their patterns were pretty and the metallic colours glorious, they were sad little specimens, dead and still.
Clare Sager (Stolen Threadwitch Bride (Bound by a Fae Bargain, #1))
Jane bit her lip. ‘You’re thinking about Mrs. Behan, aren’t you?’ she asked. ‘I did apologise.’ ‘I know, and that the question of the real colour of her hair was only to be expected if one insists on dyeing grey-brown hair that very metallic shade of red. But it’s a known middle-class fact that ladies do not dye their hair. Only actresses and prostitutes dye their hair.
Kerry Greenwood (The Castlemaine Murders (Phryne Fisher Mysteries Book 13))
Sergeant Joe Washington watched from the southern end of the Victoria Bridge as arm in arm they came, a ribbon of colour braided between the metal arches of the bridge that spanned the oily river. Loose-limbed girls with bobbed hair or tight curls pasted to their foreheads, giggling and nudging each other, arms linked. Bobby-soxers and dames, broads and beauties. Blondes, brunettes, redheads. Long evening dresses shimmered under the weak lights of the evening brownout, short skirts twirled. Every now and then a slim figure was in uniform, the drab green and khaki of the AWAS relieved by a sprig of mimosa or a pink-throated orchid pinned to the collar.
J.P. Powell (The Brisbane Line)
Before him stood a tall bay horse, a very fine hunter, and on it sat the man. He was as large as his voice and, thought Jack, a most peculiar sight: a picture of softened sharpness. He was middle-aged and of a rather fair, but rich colouring, with glinting eyes and ruddy cheeks. He wore colourful clothes, a beautiful embroidered waistcoat of gold and green and pink and red, beneath a riding coat of a familiar shade of green, and bright white breeches with polished black top boots that had lovely brown trim. But there was nothing cheery about these colours, they were strong and shone like metal. Just like a suit of armour, thought Jack.
Chiara Kilian (The First Tale of the Tinners' Rabbits)
I felt heady in the swirl of colour, skirts of deep red, emerald green, peacock blue, the glint of yellow metal. Quick hands brushed our faces, and a blur of white-toothed smiles flashed around us. I couldn’t help laughing aloud, batting these flapping creatures away from me. They were like soulscape harpies in plumage of white silk, who might carry us off to a final and exquisite devouring.
Storm Constantine (Burying the Shadow)
I looked toward the small vent in the corner of the ceiling through which the music entered my cell. The source must have been far away, for it was just a faint stirring of notes, but when I closed my eyes, I could hear it more clearly. I could... see it. As if it were a grand painting, a living mural. There was beauty in the music- beauty and goodness. The music folded over itself like batter being poured from a bowl, one note atop another, melting together to form a whole, rising, filling me. It wasn't wild music, but there was a violence of passion in it, a swelling kind of joy and sorrow. I pulled my knees to my chest, needing to feel the sturdiness of my skin, even with the slime of the oily paint upon it. The music built a path, an ascent founded upon archways of colour. I followed it, walking out of that cell, through layers of earth, up and up- into fields of cornflowers, past a canopy of trees, and into the open expanse of sky. The pulse of the music was like hands that gently pushed me onward, pulling me higher, guiding me through the clouds. I'd never seen clouds like these- in their puffy sides, I could discern faces fair and sorrowful. They faded before I could view them too clearly, and I looked into the distance to where the music summoned me. It was either a sunset or a sunrise. The sun filled the clouds with magenta and purple, and its orange-gold rays blended with my path to form a band of shimmering metal. I wanted to fade into it, wanted the light of that sun to burn me away, to fill me with such joy that I would become a ray of sunshine myself. This wasn't music to dance to- it was music to worship, music to fill in the gaps of my soul, to bring me to a place where there was no pain. I didn't realise I was weeping until the wet warmth of a tear splashed upon my arm. But even then I clung to the music, gripping it like a ledge that kept me from falling. I hadn't realised how badly I didn't want to tumble into that deep dark- how much I wanted to stay here among the clouds and colour and light. I let the sounds ravage me, let them lay me flat and run over my body with their drums. Up and up, building to a palace in the sky, a hall of alabaster and moonstone, where all that was lovely and kind and fantastic dwelled in peace. I wept- wept to be so close to that palace, wept for the need to be there. Everything I wanted was there- the one I loved was there- The music was Tamlin's fingers strumming my body; it was the gold of his eyes and the twist of his smile. It was that breathy chuckle, and the way he said those three words. It was this I was fighting for, this I had sworn to save. The music rose- louder, grander, faster, from wherever it was played- a wave that peaked, shattering the gloom of my cell. A shuddering sob broke from me at the sound faded into silence. I sat there trembling and weeping, too raw and exposed, left naked by the music and the colour in my mind.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
The room was small, slightly bigger than his bedroom, but far, far more beautiful. It resembled some of the Asian temples he'd seen in his aunt's coffee-table books. The walls were painted in rich hues of red, green, blue, yellow, and gold. When Alex looked up, he saw a dome-shaped ceiling with a sun, moon and stars made out of pearls and gems. The ground was tiled and shaped into a model of forests, mountains, pastures and rivers-like a mosaic. And across the room was a set of jewel-encrusted thrones where two finely carved statues sat. The life-size carvings were different than those of the army outside the chamber. Theses still wore their original colours, preserved perhaps by the lack of fresh air in the room. Instead of armour, the male figure wore a long, regal robe made of small rectangular-shaped tiles. Alex immediately thought of the chain0mail that knights wore in the Middle Ages, except this was made of jade and not metal. The statue of the beautiful woman also wore clothes or richness and royalty, but hers did not include jade, only gold and precious stones. "They must be the Emperor and Empress," Ryan said.
B.L. Sauder (Year of the Golden Dragon (Journey to the East))
There are large and stately studios, panelled and high, in strong stone houses filled with gleaming brass and polished oak. There are workaday studios – summer perching-places rather than settled homes – where a good north light and a litter of brushes and canvas form the whole of the artistic stock-in-trade. There are little homely studios, gay with blue and red and yellow curtains and odd scraps of pottery, tucked away down narrow closes and adorned with gardens, where old-fashioned flowers riot in the rich and friendly soil. There are studios that are simply and solely barns, made beautiful by ample proportions and high-pitched rafters, and habitable by the addition of a tortoise stove and a gas-ring. There are artists who have large families and keep domestics in cap and apron; artists who engage rooms, and are taken care of by landladies; artists who live in couples or alone, with a woman who comes in to clean; artists who live hermit-like and do their own charing. There are painters in oils, painters in water-colours, painters in pastel, etchers and illustrators, workers in metal; artists of every variety, having this one thing in common – that they take their work seriously and have no time for amateurs.
Dorothy L. Sayers (Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey, #7))
It’s impossible to deny it: Filipinos have a zest for life that may be unrivalled on our planet. The national symbol, the jeepney, is an apt metaphor for the nation. Splashed with colour, laden with religious icons and festooned with sanguine scribblings, the jeepney flaunts the fact that, at heart, it’s a dilapidated pile of scrap metal. No matter their prospects in life, Filipinos face them with a laugh and a wink. Whatever happens…‘so be it’.
Lonely Planet (Lonely Planet Philippines (Travel Guide))
Can you name a single one of the great fundamental and original intellectual achievements which have raise man in the scale of civilization that may be credited to the Anglo-Saxon? The art of letters, of poetry, of music, of sculpture, of painting, of the drama, of architecture; the science of mathematics, of astronomy, of philosophy, of logic, of physics, of chemistry, the use of the metals and principles of mechanics, were all invented or discovered by darker and what we now call inferior races and nations.
James Weldon Johnson (The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man)
I consider myself a student of colours and shades and hues and tints. Crimson lake, burnt umber, ultramarine … I was too clumsy as a child to paint with my moistened brush the scenery that I would have liked to bring into being. I preferred to leave untouched in their white metallic surroundings my rows of powdery rectangles of water-colours, to read aloud one after another of the tiny printed names of the coloured rectangles, and to let each colour seem to soak into each word of its name or even into each syllable of each word of each name so that I could afterwards call to mind an exact shade or hue from an image of no more than black letters on a white ground. Deep cadmium, geranium lake, imperial purple, parchment … after the last of our children had found employment and had moved out of our home, my wife and I were able to buy for ourselves things that had previously been beyond our means. I bought my first such luxury, as I called it, in a shop selling artists’ supplies. I bought there a complete set of coloured pencils made by a famous maker of pencils in England: a hundred and twenty pencils, each stamped with gold lettering along its side and having at its end a perfectly tapered wick. The collection of pencils is behind me as I write these words. It rests near the jars of glass marbles and the kaleidoscope mentioned earlier. None of the pencils has ever been used in the way that most pencils are used, but I have sometimes used the many-striped collection in order to confirm my suspicion as a child that each of what I called my long-lost moods might be recollected and, perhaps, preserved if only I could look again at the precise shade or hue that had become connected with the mood – that had absorbed, as it were, or had been permeated with, one or more of the indefinable qualities that constitute what is called a mood or a state of feeling. During the weeks since I first wrote in the earlier pages of this report about the windows in the church of white stone, I have spent every day an increasing amount of time in moving my pencils to and fro among the hollow spaces allotted to them in their container. I seem to recall that I tried sometimes, many years ago, to move my glass marbles from place to place on the carpet near my desk with the vague hope that some or another chance arrangement of them would restore to me some previously irretrievable mood. The marbles, however, were too variously coloured, and each differed too markedly from the other. Their colours seemed to vie, to compete. Or, a single marble might suggest more than I was in search of: a whole afternoon in my childhood or a row of trees in a backyard when I had wanted back only a certain few moments when my face was brushed by a certain few leaves. Among the pencils are many differing only subtly from their neighbours. Six at least I might have called simply red if I had not learned long ago their true names. With these six, and with still others from each side of them, I often arrange one after another of many possible sequences, hoping to see in the conjectured space between some or another unlikely pair a certain tint that I have wanted for long to see.
Gerald Murnane (Border Districts)