Thursday, June 14, 2007

bright lights of moscow stations flashing into view and vanishing again behind me

i was on a train, travelling by day, but it was winter-time - late december, the very depths - and to add to it the train was heading north - to leningrad - so it was quickly darkening on the other side of the windows - bright lights of moscow stations flashing into view and vanishing again behind me like the scattering of some invisible hand - each snow-veiled suburban platform with its fleeting row of lamps melting into one fiery ribbon - the dull drone of a station rushing past, as if the train were roaring over a bridge - the sound muffled by the double-glazed windows with frames not quite hermetically sealed into fogged-up, half-frozen panes of glass - pierced even so by the station-lights forcefully etching their line of fire - and beyond, the sense of boundless snowy wastes - and the violent sway of the carriage from side to side - pitching and rolling - especially in the end corridor - and outside, once complete darkness had fallen and only the hazy whiteness of snow was visible

from leonid tsypkin's novel summer in baden-baden (first sentence)

m swiezynski leaving berlin at night to venice
(by train) 2005

8 comments:

cineboy said...

as soon as I saw that image I thought of G. Richter's Administration Building (1964)

kclare said...

"scattering of some invisible hand" ...nice, that....

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the art of memory said...

i love that richter, i probably was thinking "richter" when i was in germany.
that paragraph is just so full of beauty.
only just into it, but it sure is a good book.

cineboy said...

I'm glad you reminded me of the book. I had heard about it, but then forgot to get it. I now have it reserved at the library.

the art of memory said...

good for dostoevsky fans and the susan sontag essay on his life is a great read, he had an interesting life.
there is a section where dostoevsky gets reprimanded at a german museum for standing on a chair to look at a painting which is very funny.

shahn said...

i've only taken the train through the snow one time. i had sprung for a sleeping berth, which not only came with a complimentary bottle of champagne but temperature control. i cranked the heat and left the curtains open to watch the snow blurring past. double glazed windows indeed.

though this was amtrak and the only pitching, rolling and swaying from side to side was the side effect of the champagne.

the art of memory said...

it is mandatory to have a nice drink on a train.
never seen the snow on one, must be quite an experience.
before i die, i would love to take the orient express, that looks like a truly otherworldly experience.
like stepping back in time.