“A clapperless blue bell hung overhead,immense, flawless, infinitely clear. Stapled to it like the nub end of a rivet flared a white-yellow sun, naked and small. … On some hillocks, at a distance measured in exhausting hours, like a bag of spilled coffee beans on sparse carpet, herds of stoop-shouldered yaks gnawed at the touch, crew-cut grass.”
Edward Gargan has traveled to Tibet to the headwaters of the Mekong River, his plan to trace the river’s progress from Tibet down to the sea, passing through Burma, Laos, Camobia, and Vietnam in the process. Gargan’s prose otherwise rarely strays from the plain, descriptive prose of the journalist. The quoted paragraph is a spasm of metaphor that had me blinking. I like the bell-like sky. The coffee bean yaks? Less convinced.
source: The River’s Tale: a year on the Mekong by Edward A. Gargan