Today I opened my computer and typed in my chosen search words of the day: "abandoned greenhouse". Little did I know how many photographs I was about to scroll through. So many, too many! Why is that? Surely we still all eat greens and enjoy decorating our houses with them. Why have so many of these
Jade Flower Palace The stream swirls. The wind moans in The pines. Grey rats scurry over Broken tiles. What prince, long ago, Built this palace, standing in Ruins beside the cliff? There are Green ghost fires in the black rooms. The shattered pavements are all Washed away, Ten-thousand organ pipes whistle and roar. The storm scatters the red Autumn leaves. His dancing girls are yellow dust. Their painted cheeks have crumbled Away. His gold chariots And courtiers are gone. Only A stone horse is left of his Glory. I sit on the grass and Start a poem, but the pathos of It overcomes me. The future Slips inperceptively away. Who can say what the years will bring? -Tu Fu (c. 713-770) tr. Kenneth Rexroth The sigh of History rises over ruins… - Derek Walcott They told of dripping stone walls in uninhabited castles and of ivy-clad monastery ruins by moonlight, of locked inner rooms and secret dungeons, dank charnel houses and overgrown graveyards, of footsteps creaking upon staircases and fingers tapping at casements, of howlings and shriekings, groanings and scuttlings and the clanking of chains, of hooded monks and headless horseman, swirling mists and sudden winds, insubstantial specters and sheeted creatures, vampires and bloodhounds, bats and rats and spiders, of men found at dawn and women turned white-haired and raving lunatic, and of vanished corpses and curses upon heirs. -Susan Hill In the park which surrounded our house were the ruins of the former mansion of Brentwood, a much smaller and less important house than the solid Georgian edifice which we inhabited. The ruins were picturesque, however, and gave importance to the place. Even we, who were but temporary tenants, felt a vague pride in them, as if they somehow reflected a certain consequence upon ourselves. The old building had the remains of a tower, an indistinguishable mass of mason-work, overgrown with ivy, and the shells of walls attached to this were half filled up with soil. I had never examined it closely, I am ashamed to say. There was a large room, or what had been a large room, with the lower part of the windows still existing, on the principal floor, and underneath other windows, which were perfect, though half filled up with fallen soil, and waving with a wild growth of brambles and chance growths of all kinds. This was the oldest part of all. At a little distance were some very commonplace and disjointed fragments of the building, one of them suggesting a certain pathos by its very commonness and the complete wreck which it showed. This was the end of a low gable, a bit of grey wall, all encrusted with lichens, in which was a common doorway. Probably it had been a servants’ entrance, a backdoor, or opening into what are called “the offices” in Scotland. No offices remained to be entered-pantry and kitchen had all been swept out of being; but there stood the doorway open and vacant, free to all the winds, to the rabbits, and every wild creature. It struck my eye, the first time I went to Brentwood, like a melancholy comment upon a life that was over. A door that led to nothing - closed once perhaps with anxious care, bolted and guarded, now void of any meaning. It impressed me, I remember, from the first; so perhaps it may be said that my mind was prepared to attach to it an importance, which nothing justified. - Margaret Oliphant, The Gentlewomen of Evil: An Anthology of Rare Supernatural Stories from the Pens of Victorian Ladies He loved the extensive vaults where you could hear the night birds and the sea breeze; he loved the craggy ruins bound together by ivy, those dark halls, and any appearance of death and destruction. Having fallen so far from so high a position, he loved anything that had also fallen from a great height. -Gustave Flaubert The stones here speak to me, and I know their mute language. Also, they seem deeply to feel what I think. So a broken column of the old Roman times, an old tower of Lombardy, a weather-beaten Gothic piece of a pillar understands me well. But I am a ruin myself, wandering among ruins. -Heinrich Heine It seems, in fact, that the more advanced a society is, the greater will be its interest in ruined things, for it will see in them a redemptively sobering reminder of the fragility of its own achievements. Ruins pose a direct challenge to our concern with power and rank, with bustle and fame. They puncture the inflated folly of our exhaustive and frenetic pursuit of wealth. -Alain de Botton Ozymandias I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed: And on the pedestal these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away. -Percy Bysshe Shelley Ah, what sights and sounds and pain lie beneath that mist. And we had thought that our hard climb out of that cruel valley led to some cool, green and peaceful, sunlit place—but it’s all jungle here, a wild and savage wilderness that’s overrun with ruins. But put on your crown, my Queen, and we will build a New City on these ruins. -Eldridge Cleaver He used to say that he never felt the hardness of the human struggle or the sadness of history as he felt it among those ruins. He used to say, too, that it made one feel an obligation to do one’s best. -Willa Cather, The Song of the Lark The ascendancy over men’s minds of the ruins of the stupendous past, the past of history, legend and myth, at once factual and fantastic, stretching back and back into ages that can but be surmised, is half-mystical in basis. The intoxication, at once so heady and so devout, is not the romantic melancholy engendered by broken towers and mouldered stones; it is the soaring of the imagination into the high empyrean where huge episodes are tangled with myths and dreams; it is the stunning impact of world history on its amazed heirs. -Rose Macaulay, The Pleasure of Ruins The sight of so many ruins destroys any desire to build shanties; all this ancient dust makes one indifferent to fame. -Gustave Flaubert: Flaubert in Egypt Shame on those who remain unmoved, whose pace fails to quicken, on entering one of these old habitations, a manor-house falling to wrack and ruin or a desecrated church! - Petrus Borel Some ruins of ancient times are much more beautiful than the best buildings of modern eras! - Mehmet Murat ildan The broken pink pillars, in the half-light, might have been waiting to fall down on him: the pool, covered with green scum, its steps torn away and hanging by one rotting clamp, to close over his head. The shattered evil-smelling chapel, overgrown with weeds, the crumbling walls, splashed with urine, on which scorpions lurked - wrecked entablature, sad archivolt, slippery stones covered with excreta - this place, where love had once brooded, seemed part of a nightmare. - Malcolm Lowery, Under the Volcano There’s something inherently melancholy about ruins and abandoned places. Perhaps it is a recognition of the fragility, mortality, and inevitability of our own demise i spite of our best efforts and in the face of our striving for beauty. A great many ruins speak of mankind’s stupidity: warfare and greed… leading to economic collapse. I also feel a degree of incomprehension. How do some of these gorgeous buildings end up abandoned? How do we allow them to remain so while expending vast fortunes building new homes and factories and stores? How do we allow them to remain so while endless individuals are left homeless… living on the streets? At the same time… many of these ruins speak of hope as we observe the dialog… the betrothal of Art and Nature building upon the bones of the dead.
1. The abandoned subway, This is where an underground settlement of chipless persons would be hiding out, only to be betrayed by one of their own. A hunter of the chipless. Ruby, the leader, is kil…
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