Sunday, October 19, 2008

Legends of the Fall

"People finally don’t have much affection for questions, especially one so leprous as the apparent lack of a fair system of rewards and punishment on earth. The question is not less gnawing and unpleasant for being so otiose, so naïve. And we are not concerned with the grander issues: say the Nez Perce children receiving the hail of cavalry fire in their sleeping tents. Nothing is quite so grotesque as the meeting of a child and a bullet. And what distances in comprehension: the press at the time had insisted that we had won. We would like to think that the whole starry universe would curdle at such a monstrosity: the conjunctions of Orion twisted askew, the arms of the Southern Cross drooping. Of course not: immutable is immutable and everyone in his own private matter dashes his brains against the long-suffering question that is so luminously obvious. Even gods aren’t exempt: note Jesus’s howl of despair as he stepped rather tentatively into eternity. And we can’t seem to go from large to small because everything is the same size. Everyone’s skin is so particular and we are so largely unimaginable to one another.
Thus Tristan had not more than a shred of comprehension of the agony he cause Susannah..."

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