".... They've taken the skeleton
Of the Great Irish Elk
Out of the peat, set it up
An astounding crate full of air."
Heaney, from Bogland.
"I found a pigeon's skull on the machair,
All the bones pure white and dry, and chalky,
Without a crack or a flaw anywhere.
At the back, rising out of the beak,
Were domes like bubbles of thin bone,
Almost transparent, where the brains had been
That fixed the tilt of the wings."
On the Western Seaboard of South Uist .
"And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When the bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot......"
Dylan Thomas, And Death shall have no Dominion .
"Here's the mould of a musical bird long passed from light
Which over the earth before man came was winging;
There's a contralto voice I heard last night,
That lodges in me still with its sweet singing.
Such a dream is Time that the coo of this ancient bird
Has perished not, but is blent, or will be blending
Mid visionless wilds of space with the voice that I heard,
In the full-fugued song of the universe unending."
Hardy, In a Museum.
found a spectacular moth marooned in a corner of a vestibule
window, and my mother dispatched it with ether. In later years
I used many killing agents, but the least contact with the
initial stuff would always cause the porch of the past to light
up and attract that blundering beauty. Once, as a grown man,
I was under ether during appendectomy, and with the vividness
of a decalcomania picture I saw my own self in a sailor suit
mounting a freshly emerged Emperor moth under the guidance
of a Chinese lady who I knew was my mother. It was all there
brilliantly reproduced in my dream, while my own vitals were
being exposed : the soaking , ice-cold absorbent cotton pressed
to the insect's lemurian head; the subsiding spasms of its
bodies; the satisfying crackle produced by the pin penetrating
the hard crust of its thorax; the careful insertion of the
pin in the cork-bottomed groove of the spreading board; the
symmetrical adjustment of the thick-veined wings under neatly
affixed strips of semitransparent paper...."
Vladimir Nabokov, Speak Memory ,