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“Then she dropped a coin in the box, and with a thunk and a flash the painting flared before her: sacred conversation, Virgin and the saints, the figures so familiar, so dear…The figures gazed away, each one away, not even at each other, yet it seemed to her that something hung between them, a constellation drawn among all those thoughtful eyes. Sacred conversation, silent conversation. Just what are you speaking of? Lucinde wondered. She had always wondered this – in all the sacred conversations, but especially this one, where the conversation seemed so intent. It was not even a conversation, but silent, without words, it seemed more a belief that hovered about the figures, like the invisible music of the angel singing at their feet. What, then, do you believe? What does that angel sing?

Music of the angels, music of the spheres. Lucinde tried to imagine the spheres and their music: abstract and pure, their tone like that of a triangle, clear. She contented herself that the silent conversation was something like this, a music that was pure concord, a concord that was surely love. And so a love that was invisible, a love that was intangible, but a love that was all the same known.”

– Jane Alison, The Marriage of the Sea

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