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21 February 2006 

why i love faulkner

the sharp and brittle crack and clatter of its weathered and ungreased wood and metal is slow and terrific: a series of dry sluggish reports carrying for half a mile across the hot still pinewiney silence of the august afternoon. though the mules plod in a steady and unflagging hypnosis, the vehicle does not seem to progress. it seems to hang suspended in the middle distance forever and forever, so infinitesmal is its progress, like a shabby bead upon the mild red string of road. so much is this so that in the watching of it the eye loses it as sight and sense drowsily merge and blend, like the road itself, with all the peaceful and monotonous changes between darkness and day, like already measured thread being rewound onto a spool. so that at last, as though out of some trivial and unimportant region beyond even distance, the sound of it seems to come slow and terrific and without meaning, as though it were a ghost travelling a half mile ahead of its own shape. 'that far within my hearing before my seeing,' lena thinks. she thinks of herself as already moving, riding again, thinking then it will be as if i were riding for a half mile before i even got into the wagon, before the wagon even got to where i was waiting, and that when the wagon is empty of me again it will go on for a half mile with me still in it she waits, not even watching the wagon now, while thinking goes idle and swift and smooth, filled with nameless kind faces and voices: lucas burch? you say you tried in pocahontas? this road? it goes to springvale. you wait here. there will be a wagon passing soon that will take you as far as it goes thinking, 'and if he is going all the way to jefferson, i will be riding within the hearing of lucas burch before his seeing. he will hear the wagon, but he won't know. so there will be one within his hearing before his seeing. and then he will see me and he will be excited. and so there will be two within his seeing before his remembering.'

william faulkner, light in august

listen to how the unrefined plain language becomes beautiful with its repetition and longing to communicate something beyond what it is capable of. you can especially hear this at the end.