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Monday, November 29, 2004

The Birds at the Cinnamon Shop

The Stories of Bruno Schulz

ALONG CAME the yellow and thoroughly boring days of winter. A ragged, sparse and undersized cloth of snow was spread over the russet hued earth. On many of the roofs it was insufficient and they remained black or rust coloured - shingle or thatched arks concealing the smoke blackened expanses of the attics within them - black, charred cathedrals bristling with their ribs of rafters, cross-beams, and spars - the dark lungs of the winter gales. Every daybreak revealed new chimney stacks and chimney pots, sprung up in the night, poking out through the night's gale - the black pipes of diabolical organs. Chimney-sweeps could not drive away the crows which perched in the evenings in the form of living black leaves on the branches of the trees by the church; they took off again, fluttering, only to cling again at last each to its own place on its own branch; and at daybreak they flew up in great flocks - clouds of soot, flakes of lampblack, undulating and fantastic, smearing the dull-yellow streaks of daybreak with their twinkling cawing. The days hardened in the cold and boredom like last year's bread loaves. They were cut with blunt knives, without appetite, in idle sleepiness.

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