The Spirit of English Magic

This land is all too shallow / It is painted on the sky
And trembles like the wind-shook rain / When the Raven King goes by.


I came to them out of mists and rain;
I came to them in dreams at midnight;
I came to them in a flock of ravens that filled a northern sky at dawn;
I came to them in a cry that broke the silence of a winter wood….


The first shall pass his life alone; he shall be his own gaoler;
The second shall tread lonely roads, the storm above his head, seeking a dark tower upon a high hillside….


The birds were like black letters against the grey of the sky. He thought that in a moment he would understand what the writing meant.


Magic shall be written upon the sky by the rain but they shall not be able to read it;
Magic shall be written on the faces of the stony hills but their minds shall not be able to contain it;
In winter the barren trees shall be a black writing by they shall not understand it….


The sky spoke to him again. This time he thought it was a question. Great consequences hung upon his answer. If he could just understand what was being asked and find the correct words in which to frame his reply, then something would be revealed….


Place his heart in a secret place so that all his desires shall be his own and the deceiver shall find no hold there.


Tree speaks to stone. Stone speaks to water.
All of John Uskglass’s old alliances are still in place.

*    *    *    *    *

Photos with borders by Spodzone from his Scottish Landscapes collection, all others by me.
Quotations from Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke.


Filed under art, Books, Nature

4 responses to “The Spirit of English Magic

  1. What perfect captions for such haunting pictures! Amazing.

  2. What a beautiful photo-essay. It makes me want to give Jonathan Strange another chance! I especially love the bird as letters against the sky.

  3. David, thank you for visiting and for your kind words. I was very excited to find that Flickr photostream that seemed to work so well with the text.

    Charlotte: I had fun making this post, and I’m glad you like it. I purposefully picked the most “magical” bits, but the rest of it can be quite eerie or funny, depending. Give it another try!

  4. I’ve never even heard of Jonathan Strange, but I LOVE this photo essay. Thank you so much!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s