“Now and then a dead black wave would race over the scene…a cloud’s gliding shadow…now and then…”
—O.E. Rølvaag, from Giants in the Earth

About

Poets think in lines, prose writers in sentences; the best of both work from sound to sense, with an ear for the music in their compositions. S for Sentence celebrates lyricism in prose, the play and craft at work in the artful sentence. We post a sentence a month along with comments by a guest writer on the craft that shapes it, on what makes it great. In one or two sentences.
—Pearl Abraham, Editor
—Stephanie Grant, Guest Editor
This is a sentence not about a cloud, but about its shadow, and how it foreshadows death, which here races – not floats – towards its watcher. The morbidity of the first clause influences the second – the verb “gliding” is now sinister. Visually, the clauses appear to us as clouds, separated as they are by the ellipses; the ellipses become shadows of their clauses, and also suggest the formlessness of the fear. The opening clause, “now and then,” has transformed in its repetition from promise to threat.
—Hanna Pylväinen is the author of We Sinners