"The Persian snored on, sitting splay-legged on the floor with his back to the wall, his head hanging sideways like a doll’s; Baal, racked by headache, fell back on to this cot. His verses, he thought, what had they been? What kind of idea damn it, he couldn’t even remember them properly does Submission seem today yes, something like that, after all this time it was scarcely surprising an idea that runs away that was the end anyhow. Mahound, any new idea is asked two questions. When it’s weak: will it compromise? We know the answer to that one. And now, Mahound, on your return to Jahilia, time for the second question. How do you behave when you win? When your enemies are at your mercy and your power has become absolute: what then? We have all changed: all of us except Hind. Who seems, from what this drunkard says, more like a woman of Yathrib then Jahilia. No wonder the two of you didn’t hit it off: she wouldn’t be your mother or your child.
As he drifted towards sleep, Baal surveyed his own uselessness, his failed art. Now that he had abdicated all public platforms, his verses were full of loss: of youth, beauty, love, health, innocence, purpose, energy, certainty, hope. Loss of knowledge. Loss of money. The loss of Hind. Figures walked away from him in his odes, and the more passionately he called out to them the faster they moved. The landscape of his poetry was still the desert, the shifting dunes with the plumes of white sand blowing from their peaks. Soft mountains, uncompleted journeys, the impermanence of tents. How did one map a country that blew into a new form every day? Such questions made his language too abstract, his imagery too fluid, his metre too inconstant. It led him to create chimeras of form, lionheaded goatbodied serpenttailed impossibilities whose shapes felt obliged to change the moment they were set, so that the demotic forced its way into lines of classical purity and images of love were constantly degraded by the intrusion of elements of farce. Nobody goes for that stuff, he thought for the thousand and first time, and as unconsciousness arrived he concluded, comfortingly: Nobody remembers me. Oblivion is safety.”
The prose in The Satanic Verses is an embarrassment of riches.