Friday, August 6, 2010

217 / Human Traces

I enjoyed Birdsong, by Sebastian Faulks, so I have been reading some of his other books, too, and most recently Human Traces, which is mainly aimed at an exploration of psychiatry.

Faulks ends Human Traces with the following, without any acknowledgment of, or reference to, the poetry of Antonio Machado. Yet I certainly hear Machado's poetry in what Faulks says here:

Her footprints now were in the mud: left and right, the regular, shortish pace of an adult female - clear marks for a moment on the earth. She watched carefully where she placed her feet, not wishing to slip and damage her brittle bones; she saw the people of water and the white stones that punctured the dark soil ahead of her.

Then the long trail of her footprints, stretching back toward the sea, became slowly indistinct as each one filled with water and edged in upon itself; and in a matter of minutes, as darkness began to fall, the shape of the foot was lost at every pace until the last vestiges of her presence were washed away, the earth closing over as though no one had passed by.

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