It was at this time, one autumn night — just as the bloodshot moon was sitting like a tipsy old man in the branches of the poplar tree, when all manner of intangible shadows flitted from garden to garden so that it seemed as if night was spontaneously producing animal and vegetable forms of its own, when faithful likenesses rendered in oils grew bored of leaning all day on their frames and stepped out into deserted rooms, when the books trembled on the tables of old houses and the pages turned over by themselves, when clocks that no one could remember working began to move their hands, and when doors on unoccupied floors of occupied houses started creaking as if in pain because someone behind them dared not cross the threshold — it was then that Sinbad rose from the dead. On this very night he, the enchanted mariner, was driving down the highway in a carriage whose wheels were made of fallen poplar leaves.
‘I want to talk to you about the bitter past, so full of waiting and hope, about those marvelous days when every morning found us at the window surveying the dawn snow or the brilliant icicles hanging from the eaves in the beautiful beams of the sun peeking over the wooden roofs, when we tried to guess what delights and pleasures the approaching day might hold by gazing at tiny patches of blue sky reflected in pools in the streets.’
Who knows where she is to be found, that woman in the music of whose voice one might hear the mingled chimes of life and death? And nobody ever steps out of that dream into reality. But would be the point of dreaming if dreams came true?
(Soon enough autumn would arrive with all its sadness, its huddlings by barely burning fires, its rain streaming down the windows like women’s tears, a time for consoling abandoned ladies and reading appropriate passages from books of verse, for sitting together, listening to the strange sounds of the wind.)