These are exceptionally fine: hideous, maddening, absurdly childlike, deeply disturbing, thick with a charnel-scent, a world of blind eyes and silent contorted screams. This one reminds me of a quote from my bookish childhood:
''Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.''
(Coleridge's Ancient Mariner)
Albatross is a modification of an Arabic word by assimilation with Latin albus, --a, --um, ''white'', so I think I may apply it to the the sickly white dead bird with sightless eyes and stunted rotting, falling feathers, such a heavy weight. The face is hideous, grey-pale, almost shaped like a grave-stone, as blind as the sightless bird, though still peering into the dark, the skin puckered through endless peering for scraps of light. The raw bloody gums and twisted teeth are a shock of pain, red raw. The little chiming bell tinkles out a jeering tune of hope.
The light is sickly, a corpse-light over a slimy sea, wharves rotting and crumbling into the stinking estuary, a sole sick light in a tumbledown window, a few riddled hulks moored on gasping vomited mudflats.
. It is possible to take this as an allegory of grief, but for myself I prefer to see them as the inhabitants of a hideous world. In a mad way, I think the man and the bird will be quite fond of each other: the wings nearly now embrace, the long heavy head both crushes and consoles, a few bloody scraps and slivers torn from foul dock-inhabitants, rats and lugworms and other less fortunate wanderers, perhaps even scraps torn from his rotting tongue crammed into the blind beak, a loathsome pair whose life is torment who yet cannot part.
Please forgive these ramblings, they are very poor: I am a nervous invalid and great reader so I am never quite sure how it will be received.