Full text: The waves

THE WAVES 
more truly death than the death of friends, than the death 
of youth. I am the swathed figure in the hairdresser’s shop 
taking up only so much space. 
“The scene beneath me withered. It was like the eclipse 
when the sun went out and left the earth, flourishing in full 
summer foliage, withered, brittle, false. Also I saw on a 
winding road in a dust dance the groups we had made, 
how they came together, how they ate together, how they 
met in this room or that. I saw my own indefatigable 
busyness—how I had rushed from one to the other, fetched 
and carried, travelled and returned, joined this group and 
that, here kissed, here withdrawn ; always kept hard at it 
by some extraordinary purpose, with my nose to the ground 
like a dog on the scent ; with an occasional toss of the head, 
an occasional cry of amazement, despair and then back 
again with my nose to the scent. What a litter—what 2 
confusion; with here birth, here death; succulence and 
sweetness ; effort and anguish ; and myself always running 
hither and thither. Now it was done with. I had no more 
appetites to glut ; no more stings in me with which to poison 
people ; no more sharp teeth and clutching hands or desire 
to feel the pear and the grape and the sun beating down 
from the orchard wall. 
“The woods had vanished; the earth was a waste of 
shadow. No sound broke the silence of the wintry land- 
scape. No cock crowed ; no smoke rose ; no train moved. 
A man without a self, I said. A heavy body leaning on a gate. 
A dead man. With dispassionate despair, with entire dis- 
illusionment, I surveyed the dust dance ; my life, my friends’ 
lives, and those fabulous presences, men with brooms, 
women writing, the willow tree by the river—clouds and 
phantoms made of dust too, of dust that changed, as clouds 
lose and gain and take gold or red and lose their summits 
and billow this way and that, mutable, vain. 1, carrying a 
notebook, making phrases, had recorded mere changes; a 
shadow, I had been sedulous to take note of shadows. How 
can I proceed now, I said, without a self, weightless and 
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