Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Marius left the horses behind him.

When Marius isn't there I don't miss him, or his pallor, or his honorable poverty, or his long walks and moony meanderings; Marius in love especially I do not miss. But whenever he returns to Les Misérables, poetry appears. Approaching the barricades at the Corinthe, penetrating the pitch black streets of Saint-Denis in a journey likened to entering a cellar--nothing but broken street lamps and no window candles allowed--Marius creeps street by street, guided by memory and fingertips alone, until he perceives up ahead something big, white, animate. It's the two horses that the insurrectionists have unhitched from the omnibus they've toppled for use in their barrricade. Now the horses are wandering lost among the empty streets. Marius approaches: and at this point a scene occurs that isn't in the book. It happens in the space between two paragraphs.

Marius approaches through the dark. The tall thin pale young man pauses to calm the two gigantic white horses, exchanging wordless language made of breath with them; his long hands stroke their necks and faces. One horse nuzzles his pocket, its lump of revolver, and one the black locks that stray over his forehead--Marius and his magnificent, epic, poetic, beautiful forehead walking smack into a benison shaped like a symbolist poem, complete with velvet whiskered lips invisible.

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