J. G. Ballard and ‘The Evening of the Birds’ – A Surrealist passage from The Unlimited Dream Company

“Their dreaming minds suspended me in my flight. As I passed above their heads I knew that I was flying, not as a pilot in an aircraft, but as a condor, bird of good omen… I sailed grandly through the  cold air. I could see my huge wings and the fluted rows of ice-white feathers, and feel the powerful muscles across my chest. I raked the sky with the claws of a great raptor… All over Shepperton birds were appearing on the rooftops, raised by my cries from the sleeping minds of the people below, husbands and wives wearing their brilliant new night plumage, parents with their excited nestlings, ready to mount the air together. As I soared above them I could hear their eager cries and feel the beat of their wings overtaking mine. A dense spiral of flying forms rose into the night, an ascending carousel of wakening sleepers”

NB: passage from JGB’s Unlimited Dream Company (London: Harper, 2008) pp. 56-58. Featured image is from Max Ernst’s collage novel ‘A week of kindness’ (1934)

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