“… Snow Falling Faintly Through the Universe”

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

—James Joyce, from The Dead, a fine story to be inside reading on a very snowy night.

(Sherbrooke Street, Montreal, Canada / Wikimedia Commons.)

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3 Comments to “… Snow Falling Faintly Through the Universe”

  1. December 28, 2010 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Condolences to all the people sleeping in airports, but that is indeed a beautiful picture of snow. Here I’ll go off-topic if I may to alert folks that if you google Al Franken/Huffington Post there are two good stories about the FCC making alarming rulings that would affect websites like this one regarding net neutrality. Corporate websites should be banned from “priority pricing” that lets them buy the fast lanes on the Internet, leaving us in the slow. We need a Paul Revere community of independent bloggers so we can alert each other to crucial upcoming FCC rulings and make our voices heard.

  2. Sean Long's Gravatar Sean Long
    December 28, 2010 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Beautiful passage from one of my all-time favorite stories. If there’s a perfect short story, that’s it. That beautiful picture brings me to mind of my days of growing up on the North Side of Pittsburgh, but also reminds me why I haven’t been back up north during winter in 20 years!

  3. December 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Joyce would have recognised the scene in Ireland over these past two weeks when they have been experiencing some of the worst snow they have had in years. Here in the English Midlands we have had plenty ourselves, but nothing like the Irish have had in certain areas. Today ours has vanished and left us with fog instead. I’m already hankering for a world of white!

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