Came the yellow days of winter, filled with boredom. The rust-colored earth was covered with a threadbare, meager tablecloth of snow full of holes. There was not enough of it for some of the roofs and so they stood there, black and brown, shingle and thatch, arks containing the sooty expanses of attics – coal black cathedrals, bristling with the ribs of rafters, beams, and spars – the dark lungs of winter winds. Each dawn revealed new chimney stacks and chimney pots which had emerged during the hours of darkness, blown up by the night winds: the black pipes of a devil’s organ. The chimney sweeps could not get rid of the crows which in the evening covered the branches of the trees around the church with living black leaves, then took off, fluttering, and came back, each clinging to its own place on its own branch, only to fly away at dawn in large flocks, like gusts of soot, flakes of dirt, undulating and fantastic, blackening with their insistent cawing the musty yellow streaks of light. The days hardened with cold and boredom like last year’s loaves of bread. One began to cut them with blunt knives without appetite, with lazy indifference.
From Bruno Schulz’s The Street of Crocodiles, which it taking me forever to get through because I keep having to stop and savor what I just read.
Although Schulz is “regarded as one of the great Polish-language prose stylists of the 20th century”, I had only heard of him through The Quay Brothers film, Street of Crocodiles, which is conveniently available on youtube and well worth a watch: