Often when I imagine you,
your wholeness cascades into many shapes.
You run like a herd of luminous deer,
and I am dark;
I am forest.
Rainer Maria Rilke,from Rilke’s Book of Hours, I, 45.
It is growing colder. Scarcely a leaf left on the trees and the birds come to him in even greater numbers because, in this hard weather, it is lean pickings. The blackbirds and thrushes must hunt the snails from hedge bottoms and crack the shells on stones. But the Erl-King gives them corn and when he whistles to them, a moment later you cannot see him for the birds that have covered him like a soft fall of feathered snow. He spreads out a goblin feast of fruit for me, such appalling succulence; I lie above him and see the light from the fire sucked into the black vortex of his eye, the omission of light at the centre, there, that exerts on me such a tremendous pressure, it draws me inwards.
Angela Carter, from The Erl-King.
Without their chloroplasts plants would be left like the rest of us, to eat what they find. Instead they hold out their green palms and catch light. If there is magic in the world, surely this is it: the descendants of tiny creatures in leaves, capable of ingesting the sun.
Whoever said that light was life
and darkness nothing? For some
of us, the mythologies
Margaret Atwood, “My Life As A Bat,” from Sudden.