storm in a teacup — paul rooms

Storm in a teacup

Mr. P is getting ready for his nightly sailing, on the pages of a novel, deluxe edition, gilt-edged morocco binding, when I open it — he thinks — the pages really look like two beautiful waves running one after the other.

Sails unfurled, he leaves, a gentle wind is blowing, bringing perfumes from far-away islands, foretelling adventures, mermaids and pirates.

But soon the sea of characters darkens, the lines become edged with a foam of sibilants, and here’s the storm, diphthongs and proparoxytones almost capsize the vessel, t’s and l’s bend under the strength of the wind, thunder and lightning, words of unknown languages like rocks awash, the gaze stretches out looking for a safe harbour beyond the sea of dissonances, alliterations, subjunctives, new-lines shattering the rhythm of the pounding wave.

Mr. P almost feels like fainting, I won’t get — he thinks — to the end of the chapter, he scans the horizon, sees a picture on the next page and it seems to him like a luxuriant island, a promise of happiness, calm and rest.

The storm is over, phrases spread in gerunds, passives and infinitives, calm sea and happy sailing: altogether — he thinks — it was only a storm in a teacup.