Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Red In The Morning

The novel ends: "Above the cliffs, a few eastern clouds turned red." (11)

This is mixed symbolism. Red is the color of sunsets. Something is ending. But these are eastern clouds. This is a morning. Something is beginning. We will see what when we turn to the next work in the History.
-copied from here.

I was reminded of the conclusion of Mirkheim by this passage:

"Murcheson's Eye had long since vanished. Now the east was blood-red in a sunrise that still startled Whitbread. Red sunrises were rare on inhabitable worlds."
-Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The Mote In God's Eye (London, 1979), p. 372.

We have a saying:

"Red sky at night,
"Shepherd's delight.
"Red in the morning,
"Shepherd's warning." (See here.)

Dornford Yates used the phrase, "Red in the morning...," as the dramatic title of a novel.

By describing red sunrises, Anderson and Niven & Pournelle warn the reader of stormy weather ahead.

Searching the blog for sunrises and sunsets shows how often I have found occasion to praise Anderson's descriptions of nature.


  1. "Red sky at night,
    "Shepherd's delight.
    "Red in the morning,
    "Shepherd's delight."

    I've never heard this said without the final line being 'Shepherd's warning'. This was said in Devon, Cornwall, East Anglia and the North-West of England, so I don't believe there are regional variations (at least in England).

  2. Ketlan,
    Obviously I wrote it wrong and am about to correct it. Thanks.

  3. Kaor, Paul!

    I can see how a red sky at sunrise can have mixed meanings: an ending, or an ominous beginning, or stormy weather. In fact, you can find such similes being used by Our Lord in Matthew 16.2b-3: "When it is evening you say, the weather will be fair, for the sky is red. And in the morning you say, it will be stormy today, for the sky is red and lowering."


  4. Sean,
    Yes, the site I linked to in the post referred to Matthew but did not quote chapter and verse.

    1. Kaor, Paul!

      Because Ketlan's comments reminded me of how I had seen similar metaphors used by Christ. And I thought they would be found in Matthew's gospel.