“The fire is cupped in black rock….”

Western Christians observe Easter today and maybe it is an appropriate time to post this paragraph from a brief (roughly three-page) work of stunningly crafted expressions by John Updike, Archangel :

The workmanship of the bowers will be immaculate. Where the elements are joined, the sword of the thinnest whisper will find its point excluded. Where the beams have been tapered, each swipe of the plane is continuous. Where the wood needed locking, pegs of a counter grain have been driven. The ceilings are high, for coolness, and the spaced shingles seal at the first breath of mist. Though the windows are open, the eaves of the roof are so wide that nothing of the rain comes into the rooms but its scent. Mats of perfect cleanness cover the floor. The fire is cupped in black rock and sustained on a smooth breast of ash. Have you never lacked shelter?


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