Saturday, 9 April 2016

The Day it Rained Forever

by Ray Bradbury
In his dream he was shutting the front door with its strawberry windows and lemon windows and windows like white clouds and windows like clear water in a country stream. Two dozen panes squared round the one big pane, colored of fruit wines and gelatins and cool water ices. He remembered his father holding him up as a child. ‘Look!’ And through the green glass the world was emerald, moss, and summer mint. ‘Look!’ The lilac pane made livid grapes of all the passersby. And at last the strawberry glass perpetually bathed the town in roseate warmth, carpeted the world in pink sunrise, and made the cut lawn seem imported from some Persian rug bazaar. The strawberry window, best of all, cured people of their paleness, warmed the cold rain, and set the blowing, shifting February snows afire.

One day, during recess, a small group of my students asked me if the English word damn, D-A-M-N, is a palabrota. I said that no, not in the 21st century anyway, not even in the 20th century. To illustrate this, I read them a passage from The Strawberry Window which just happened to be opened on Kindle in that very moment.

‘Why, we’ll be on some world with a number maybe; planet 6 of star system 97, planet 2 of system 99! So damn far off from here you need a nightmare to take it in! We’ll be gone, do you see, gone off away and safe! And I thought to myself, ah, ah. So that’s the reason we came to Mars, so that’s the reason men shoot off their rockets.’
The answer satisfied them; off they went.

As it happens, The Strawberry Window (Земляничное окошко) and Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed (Были они смуглые и золотоглазые) were among maybe the only three stories of this book that I read before. This before was long time ago, in 1970s, and all these years I misremembered them as belonging to The Martian Chronicles. Which, of course, makes them the part of The Martian Chronicles for me.

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