Clouds Beauty Quotes

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Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
Rabindranath Tagore (Stray Birds)
Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.
Bob Marley
Not into older guys, huh?" asked Adrian once we were alone. "You're imagining things," I said. "Clearly, my stunning beauty has clouded your mind.
Richelle Mead (Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2))
Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud...
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
She was a beautiful dreamer. The kind of girl, who kept her head in the clouds, loved above the stars and left regret beneath the earth she walked on.
Robert M. Drake
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
John Lubbock (The Use Of Life)
Wherever you are, at any moment, try and find something beautiful. A face, a line out of a poem, the clouds out of a window, some graffiti, a wind farm. Beauty cleans the mind.
Matt Haig (Reasons to Stay Alive)
There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3))
I painted stars and the moon and clouds and just endless, dark sky.” I finished the sixth, and was well on my way sawing through the seventh before I said, “I never knew why. I rarely went outside at night—usually, I was so tired from hunting that I just wanted to sleep. But I wonder … ” I pulled out the seventh and final arrow. “I wonder if some part of me knew what was waiting for me. That I would never be a gentle grower of things, or someone who burned like fire—but that I would be quiet and enduring and as faceted as the night. That I would have beauty, for those who knew where to look, and if people didn’t bother to look, but to only fear it … Then I didn’t particularly care for them, anyway. I wonder if, even in my despair and hopelessness, I was never truly alone. I wonder if I was looking for this place—looking for you all.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2))
It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of ANNABEL LEE; And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me. I was a child and she was a child, In this kingdom by the sea; But we loved with a love that was more than love- I and my Annabel Lee; With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven Coveted her and me. And this was the reason that, long ago, In this kingdom by the sea, A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling My beautiful Annabel Lee; So that her highborn kinsman came And bore her away from me, To shut her up in a sepulchre In this kingdom by the sea. The angels, not half so happy in heaven, Went envying her and me- Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea) That the wind came out of the cloud by night, Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee. But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we- Of many far wiser than we- And neither the angels in heaven above, Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee. For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride, In the sepulchre there by the sea, In her tomb by the sounding sea.
Edgar Allan Poe
This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything - other people, trees, clouds. And this is what I learned, that the world's otherness is antidote to confusion - that standing within this otherness - the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books - can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.
Mary Oliver
Cress?" "It's beautiful out there." A hesitation, before, "Could you be more specific?" "The sky is gorgeous, intense blue color." She pressed her fingers to the glass and traced the wavy hills on the horizon. "Oh, good. You've really narrowed it down for me." "I'm sorry, it's just..." She tried to stamp down the rush of emotion. "I think we're in a desert." "Cactuses and tumbleweeds?" "No just a lot of sand. It's kind of orangish-gold, with hints of pink, and I can see tiny clouds of it floating above the ground, like...like smoke." "Piles up in lots of hills?" "Yes, exactly! And it's beautiful." Thorne snorted. "If this is how you feel about a desert, I can't wait until you see your first real tree. Your mind will explode.
Marissa Meyer (Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3))
Being human means throwing your whole life on the scales of destiny when need be, all the while rejoicing in every sunny day and every beautiful cloud.
Rosa Luxemburg
Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises, Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices, That, if I then had waked after long sleep, Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming, The clouds methought would open, and show riches Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked, I cried to dream again.
William Shakespeare (The Tempest)
Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. The sun might shine, or the clouds might lour: but nothing could appear to me as it had done the day before.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Benedicto: May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you -- beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.
Edward Abbey
we are all beautiful even as we are all part of the problem, and that to be a part of the problem is to be human
Anthony Doerr (Cloud Cuckoo Land)
What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted—? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight towards a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
We are all unkind from time to time. We all do things we desperately wish we could undo. Those regrets just become part of who we are, along with everything else. To spend time trying to change that, well, it's like chasing clouds.
Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1))
I like storms. Thunder torrential rain, puddles, wet shoes. When the clouds roll in, I get filled with this giddy expectation. Everything is more beautiful in the rain. Don't ask me why. But it’s like this whole other realm of opportunity. I used to feel like a superhero, riding my bike over the dangerously slick roads, or maybe an Olympic athlete enduring rough trials to make it to the finish line. On sunny days, as a girl, I could still wake up to that thrilled feeling. You made me giddy with expectation, just like a symphonic rainstorm. You were a tempest in the sun, the thunder in a boring, cloudless sky. I remember I’d shovel in my breakfast as fast as I could, so I could go knock on your door. We’d play all day, only coming back for food and sleep. We played hide and seek, you’d push me on the swing, or we’d climb trees. Being your sidekick gave me a sense of home again. You see, when I was ten, my mom died. She had cancer, and I lost her before I really knew her. My world felt so insecure, and I was scared. You were the person that turned things right again. With you, I became courageous and free. It was like the part of me that died with my mom came back when I met you, and I didn’t hurt if I knew I had you. Then one day, out of the blue, I lost you, too. The hurt returned, and I felt sick when I saw you hating me. My rainstorm was gone, and you became cruel. There was no explanation. You were just gone. And my heart was ripped open. I missed you. I missed my mom. What was worse than losing you, was when you started to hurt me. Your words and actions made me hate coming to school. They made me uncomfortable in my own home. Everything still hurts, but I know none of it is my fault. There are a lot of words that I could use to describe you, but the only one that includes sad, angry, miserable, and pitiful is “coward.” I a year, I’ll be gone, and you’ll be nothing but some washout whose height of existence was in high school. You were my tempest, my thunder cloud, my tree in the downpour. I loved all those things, and I loved you. But now? You’re a fucking drought. I thought that all the assholes drove German cars, but it turns out that pricks in Mustangs can still leave scars.
Penelope Douglas (Bully (Fall Away, #1))
The moon will never lie to anyone. Be like the moon. No one hates the moon or wants to kill it. The moon does not take antidepressants and never gets sent to prison. The moon never shot a guy in the face and ran away. The moon has been around a long time and has never tried to rip anyone off. The moon does not care who you want to touch or what color you are. The moon treats everyone the same. The moon never tries to get in on the guest list or use your name to impress others. Be like the moon. When others insult or belittle in an attempt to elevate themselves, the moon sits passively and watches, never lowering itself to anything that weak. The moon is beautiful and bright. It needs no makeup to look beautiful. The moon never shoves clouds out of its way so it can be seen. The moon needs not fame or money to be powerful. The moon never asks you to go to war to defend it. Be like the moon.
Henry Rollins (Solipsist)
She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.
Terri St. Cloud
The world is a dream, you say, and it’s lovely, sometimes. Sunset. Clouds. Sky.” “No. The image is a dream. The beauty is real. Can you see the difference?
Richard Bach (Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah)
I'm not explaining this right. What happened was this. There were these beautiful feelings and loose little pleasures inside me. And this woman was something like an assembly line for my soul. I run these little pieces of myself through her and I come out complete. Now do you follow me?
Carson McCullers (A Tree, a Rock, a Cloud (Creative Short Stories Series))
I want you to tell me about every person you’ve ever been in love with. Tell me why you loved them, then tell me why they loved you. Tell me about a day in your life you didn’t think you’d live through. Tell me what the word home means to you and tell me in a way that I’ll know your mother’s name just by the way you describe your bedroom when you were eight. See, I want to know the first time you felt the weight of hate, and if that day still trembles beneath your bones. Do you prefer to play in puddles of rain or bounce in the bellies of snow? And if you were to build a snowman, would you rip two branches from a tree to build your snowman arms or would leave your snowman armless for the sake of being harmless to the tree? And if you would, would you notice how that tree weeps for you because your snowman has no arms to hug you every time you kiss him on the cheek? Do you kiss your friends on the cheek? Do you sleep beside them when they’re sad even if it makes your lover mad? Do you think that anger is a sincere emotion or just the timid motion of a fragile heart trying to beat away its pain? See, I wanna know what you think of your first name, and if you often lie awake at night and imagine your mother’s joy when she spoke it for the very first time. I want you to tell me all the ways you’ve been unkind. Tell me all the ways you’ve been cruel. Tell me, knowing I often picture Gandhi at ten years old beating up little boys at school. If you were walking by a chemical plant where smokestacks were filling the sky with dark black clouds would you holler “Poison! Poison! Poison!” really loud or would you whisper “That cloud looks like a fish, and that cloud looks like a fairy!” Do you believe that Mary was really a virgin? Do you believe that Moses really parted the sea? And if you don’t believe in miracles, tell me — how would you explain the miracle of my life to me? See, I wanna know if you believe in any god or if you believe in many gods or better yet what gods believe in you. And for all the times that you’ve knelt before the temple of yourself, have the prayers you asked come true? And if they didn’t, did you feel denied? And if you felt denied, denied by who? I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror on a day you’re feeling good. I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror on a day you’re feeling bad. I wanna know the first person who taught you your beauty could ever be reflected on a lousy piece of glass. If you ever reach enlightenment will you remember how to laugh? Have you ever been a song? Would you think less of me if I told you I’ve lived my entire life a little off-key? And I’m not nearly as smart as my poetry I just plagiarize the thoughts of the people around me who have learned the wisdom of silence. Do you believe that concrete perpetuates violence? And if you do — I want you to tell me of a meadow where my skateboard will soar. See, I wanna know more than what you do for a living. I wanna know how much of your life you spend just giving, and if you love yourself enough to also receive sometimes. I wanna know if you bleed sometimes from other people’s wounds, and if you dream sometimes that this life is just a balloon — that if you wanted to, you could pop, but you never would ‘cause you’d never want it to stop. If a tree fell in the forest and you were the only one there to hear — if its fall to the ground didn’t make a sound, would you panic in fear that you didn’t exist, or would you bask in the bliss of your nothingness? And lastly, let me ask you this: If you and I went for a walk and the entire walk, we didn’t talk — do you think eventually, we’d… kiss? No, wait. That’s asking too much — after all, this is only our first date.
Andrea Gibson
I look at the blanked-out faces of the other passengers--hoisting their briefcases, their backpacks, shuffling to disembark--and I think of what Hobie said: beauty alters the grain of reality. And I keep thinking too of the more conventional wisdom: namely, that the pursuit of pure beauty is a trap, a fast track to bitterness and sorrow, that beauty has to be wedded to something more meaningful. Only what is that thing? Why am I made the way I am? Why do I care about all the wrong things, and nothing at all for the right ones? Or, to tip it another way: how can I see so clearly that everything I love or care about is illusion, and yet--for me, anyway--all that's worth living for lies in that charm? A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don't get to choose our own hearts. We can't make ourselves want what's good for us or what's good for other people. We don't get to choose the people we are. Because--isn't it drilled into us constantly, from childhood on, an unquestioned platitude in the culture--? From William Blake to Lady Gaga, from Rousseau to Rumi to Tosca to Mister Rogers, it's a curiously uniform message, accepted from high to low: when in doubt, what to do? How do we know what's right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: "Be yourself." "Follow your heart." Only here's what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can't be trusted--? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight toward a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?...If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that will lead you dutifully towards the norm, reasonable hours and regular medical check-ups, stable relationships and steady career advancement the New York Times and brunch on Sunday, all with the promise of being somehow a better person? Or...is it better to throw yourself head first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name?
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
When we see grey clouds and lightning causing a storm; God shows us His rainbow in its most beautiful form.
Carolyn Cutler Hughes
Every day was like a day out of someone else's life. Nothing had ever happened to me, and now everything was happening to me -- and by everything, I really meant Lena. An hour was both faster and slower. I felt like I had sucked the air out of a giant balloon, like my brain wasn't getting enough oxygen. Clouds were more interesting, the lunchroom less disgusting, music sounded better, the same old jokes were funnier, and Jackson went from being a clump of grayish-green industrial buildings to a map of times and places where I might run into her. I found myself smiling for no reason, keeping my earphones in and replaying our conversations in my head, just so I could listen to them again. I had seen this kind of thing before. I had just never felt it.
Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1))
strange how suffering can look beautiful if you get far enough away
Anthony Doerr (Cloud Cuckoo Land)
what's so beautiful about a fool is that a fool never knows when to give up
Anthony Doerr (Cloud Cuckoo Land)
and then, in dreaming, The clouds methought would open and show riches Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked I cried to dream again.
William Shakespeare (The Tempest)
It is a very beautiful day. The woman looks around and thinks: 'there cannot ever have been a spring more beautiful than this. I did not know until now that clouds could be like this. I did not know that the sky is the sea and that clouds are the souls of happy ships, sunk long ago. I did not know that the wind could be tender, like hands as they caress - what did I know - until now?
Unica Zürn
Finished in a frenzy that reminded me of our last night in Cambridge. Watched my final sunrise. Enjoyed a last cigarette. Didn’t think the view could be any more perfect until I saw that beat-up trilby. Honestly, Sixsmith, as ridiculous as that thing makes you look, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything more beautiful. Watched you for as long as I dared. I don’t believe it was a fluke that I saw you first. I believe there is another world waiting for us, Sixsmith. A better world, and I’ll be waiting for you there. I believe we do not stay dead long. Find me beneath the Corsican stars, where we first kissed. Yours eternally, R.F.
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
Aren't the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton... I could just lie here all day, and watch them drift by... If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations... What do you think you see, Linus?" "Well, those clouds up there look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean... That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor... And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen... I can see the apostle Paul standing there to one side..." "Uh huh... That's very good... What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?" "Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind!
Charles M. Schulz (The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 5: 1959-1960)
Light is always more beautiful when it has to fight to be noticed, like sunlight fighting through the clouds after a rainstorm.
Nick Miller (Isn't It Pretty To Think So?)
There’s something beautiful about keeping certain aspects of your life hidden. Maybe people and clouds are beautiful because you can’t see everything.
Kamenashi Kazuya
You're imagining things. Clearly, my stunning beauty has clouded your mind. -Rose Hathaway
Richelle Mead (Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2))
My experiences remind me that it's those black clouds that make the blue skies even more beautiful.
Kelly Clarkson
Because music, like color, or a cloud, is neither intelligent nor unintelligent - it just is. The chord, the simplest building block for even the tritest, silliest chart song, is a beautiful, perfect, mysterious thing, and when an ill-read, uneducated, uncultured, emotionally illiterate boor puts a couple of them together, he has every chance of creating something wonderful and powerful. All I ask of music is that is sounds good.
Nick Hornby (Songbook)
There are days when she mourns the prospect of another year, another decade, another century. There are nights when she cannot sleep, moments when she lies awake and dreams of dying. But then she wakes, and sees the pink and orange dawn against the clouds, or hears the lament of a lone fiddle, the music and the melody, and remembers there is such beauty in the world. And she does not want to miss it—any of it.
V.E. Schwab (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue)
A lifetime isn’t long enough for the beauty of this world and the responsibilities of your life. Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away. Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance. In the glare of your mind, be modest. And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.
Mary Oliver (The Leaf and the Cloud: A Poem)
Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me" Last night the rain spoke to me slowly, saying, what joy to come falling out of the brisk cloud, to be happy again in a new way on the earth! That’s what it said as it dropped, smelling of iron, and vanished like a dream of the ocean into the branches and the grass below. Then it was over. The sky cleared. I was standing under a tree. The tree was a tree with happy leaves, and I was myself, and there were stars in the sky that were also themselves at the moment, at which moment my right hand was holding my left hand which was holding the tree which was filled with stars and the soft rain— imagine! imagine! the wild and wondrous journeys still to be ours.
Mary Oliver (What Do We Know)
Thank God I have seen an orange sky with purple clouds. How easy it is to forget that we have the privilege of living in God's art gallery.
Erica Goros
Perhaps those deprived of beauty perceive it most instinctively.
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
Nix to Declan: Begin transcript— Testing. Hello, hellooo, anybody out there? Check, check, one, two. Soft pee. Puh, puh. Resonance! Sooooooft pee. Alpha bravo disco tango duck. This is Nïx! I’m the Ever-Knowing One, a goddess incandescent, incomparable, and irresistible. But enough about what you think of me. It’s a beautiful day in New Orleans. The wind is out of the east at a steady five knots and clouds look like rabbits … But enough about what you think of me! Now, down to business— Squirrel! Where was I? [Long pause] Why am I in Regin’s car? Bertil, you crawl right back out of that bong this minute! Oh, I remember! I am hereby laying down this track for Magister Declan Chase. If you are a mortal of the recorder peon class, know that Dekko and I go waaaaay back, and he’ll go berserk (snicker snicker) if he doesn’t receive this transmittal. … Chase, riddle me this: what’s beautiful but monstrous, long of tooth but sharp of tooth and soft of mind, and can never ever tell a lie? That’s right. The Enemy of Old can be very useful to you. So use him already. P.S. Your middle name’s about to be spelled r-e-g-r-e-t. And with that, I must bid you adieu. Don’t worry, we’ll catch up very soon. … [Muffled] Who’s mummy’s wittle echolocator? That’s right—you are! —End transcript
Kresley Cole (Dreams of a Dark Warrior (Immortals After Dark, #10))
That is the beauty of memory, isn’t it? Our reality is always clouded by our perceptions of truth. (Mnimi)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Night Embrace (Dark-Hunter, #2))
Brushing the clouds away from my eyes, I see clarity in the raindrop and beauty in the first ray of morning sun... Life is strange and wondrous...
Virginia Alison
But he is as we all are: light as air, transient as wisps of cloud before the sun, beautiful and fleeting, and if I ever did truly have hold of him, that has ended now.
Ally Condie (Reached (Matched, #3))
I try to find the beauty in things. On dark days I sit in my armchair looking at clouds and I am awed at how rain is made.
Ayana Mathis (The Twelve Tribes of Hattie)
Soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions, and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, we become seekers.
Peter Matthiessen
Thirty-nine years of my life had passed before I understood that clouds were not my enemy; that they were beautiful, and that I needed them. I suppose this, for me, marked the beginning of wisdom. Life is short.
Iimani David
Max," she said. He turned and briefly closed his eyes as the girl continued. There was once a strange, small man,"she said. Her arms were loose but her hands were fists at her side. "But there was a word shaker,too." One of the Jews on his way to Dachau had stopped walking now. He stood absolutely still as the others swerved morosely around him, leaving him completely alone. His eyes staggered, and it was so simple. The words were given across from the girl to the Jew. They climbed on to him. The next time she spoke, the questions stumbled from her mouth. Hot tears fought for room in her eyes as she would not let them out. Better to stand resolute and proud. Let the words do all of it. "Is it really you? the young man asked," she said. " Is it from your cheek that I took the seed.?" Max Vandenburg remained standing. He did not drop to his knees. People and Jews and clouds all stopped. They watched. As he stood, Max looked first at the girl and then stared directly into the sky who was wide and blue and magnificent. There were heavy beams-- planks of son-- falling randomly, wonderfully to the road. Clouds arched their backs to look behind as they started again to move on. "It's such a beautiful day," he said, and his voice was in many pieces. A great day to die. A great day to die,like this. Liesel walked at him. She was courageous enought to reach out and hold his bearded face. "Is it really you,Max?" Such a brilliant German day and its attentive crowd. He let his mouth kiss her palm. "Yes, Liesel, it's me," and he held the girl's hand in his face and cried onto her fingers. He cried as the soldiers came and a small collection of insolent Jews stood and watched.
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
In Nature, things are broken with a purpose—clouds break to pour rains, rivers break to water fields, fields break to yield crops, seeds break to yield plants … so if ever you feel broken, understand that you must be part of a better and more beautiful purpose...
Debashis Dey
People give flowers as presents because flowers contain the true meaning of love. Anyone tries to possess a flower will have to watch its beauty fading. But if you simply look at a flower on a field, you will keep it forever, because the flower is part of the evening and the sunset and the smell of damp earth and the clouds on the horizon.
Paulo Coelho (Brida)
I like storms. Thunder, torrential rain, puddles, wet shoes. When the clouds roll in, I get filled with this giddy expectation. Everything is more beautiful in the rain
Penelope Douglas (Bully (Fall Away, #1))
[Daniel] was still glowing, as if lit from within. She could still clearly see his violet-gray eyes and his full mouth. His strong hands and broad shoulders. She could reach out and fold herself into her love's light. He reached for her. Luce closed her eyes at his touch, expecting something too otherworldly for her human body to withstand. But no. It was simply, reassuringly, Daniel. She reached around his back to finger his wings. She reached for them nervously, as if they could burn her, but they flowed around her fingers, softer than the smoothest velvet, the plushest rug. The way she'd like to imagine that a fluffy, sun-drenched cloud would feel if she could cup it in her hands. "You're so...beautiful.
Lauren Kate (Fallen (Fallen, #1))
Tell me, enigmatical man, whom do you love best, your father, Your mother, your sister, or your brother? I have neither father, nor mother, nor sister, nor brother. Your friends? Now you use a word whose meaning I have never known. Your country? I do not know in what latitude it lies. Beauty? I could indeed love her, Goddess and Immortal. Gold? I hate it as you hate God. Then, what do you love, extraordinary stranger? I love the clouds the clouds that pass up there Up there the wonderful clouds!
Charles Baudelaire
Some people are like clouds, when they disappear it's a beautiful day.
₴₭ɎⱠ₳Ɽ ฿ⱠɄɆ
A compassionate heart radiates rays of beauty that remove the clouds of million hearts.
Amit Ray (Walking the Path of Compassion)
I found every breath of air, and every scent, and every flower and leaf and blade of grass and every passing cloud, and everything in nature, more beautiful and wonderful to me than I had ever found it yet. This was my first gain from my illness. How little I had lost, when the wide world was so full of delight for me.
Charles Dickens (Bleak House)
The evening sky was awash with peach, apricot, cream: tender little ice-cream clouds in a wide orange sky.
Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1))
If she were (looking into my eyes), she’d have seen how absolutely floored I was the first time I finally, truly saw her. The clouds moved at just the right moment, fully lighting her face by the moon. She was dazzlingly beautiful. Underneath thick lashes were eyes blue as ice, something cool to balance out the flames in her hair. I felt a strange flutter in my chest, like the glow of a fireplace or the warmth of the afternoon. It stayed there for a moment, playing with my pulse.
Kiera Cass (The Prince (The Selection, #0.5))
Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.
Martin Luther King Jr. (Letter from the Birmingham Jail)
Laments of an Icarus The paramours of courtesans Are well and satisfied, content. But as for me my limbs are rent Because I clasped the clouds as mine. I owe it to the peerless stars Which flame in the remotest sky That I see only with spent eyes Remembered suns I knew before. In vain I had at heart to find The center and the end of space. Beneath some burning, unknown gaze I feel my very wings unpinned And, burned because I beauty loved, I shall not know the highest bliss, And give my name to the abyss Which waits to claim me as its own.
Charles Baudelaire
Why did you leave him?" The sigh that was Nora’s first answer billowed out in front of her in a cloud of white. "Winter," she finally said, "can be so beautiful and so cruel. Cruel and cold. And if you live in the presence of winter you never have summer." Nora stepped close to him and put her nose at his cheek. "You smell like summer.
Tiffany Reisz (The Angel (The Original Sinners, #2))
We ate the birds. We ate them. We wanted their songs to flow up through our throats and burst out of our mouths, and so we ate them. We wanted their feathers to bud from our flesh. We wanted their wings, we wanted to fly as they did, soar freely among the treetops and the clouds, and so we ate them. We speared them, we clubbed them, we tangled their feet in glue, we netted them, we spitted them, we threw them onto hot coals, and all for love, because we loved them. We wanted to be one with them. We wanted to hatch out of clean, smooth, beautiful eggs, as they did, back when we were young and agile and innocent of cause and effect, we did not want the mess of being born, and so we crammed the birds into our gullets, feathers and all, but it was no use, we couldn’t sing, not effortlessly as they do, we can’t fly, not without smoke and metal, and as for the eggs we don’t stand a chance. We’re mired in gravity, we’re earthbound. We’re ankle-deep in blood, and all because we ate the birds, we ate them a long time ago, when we still had the power to say no.
Margaret Atwood
...And I wish that while walking in your life's lane, you come across and walk with dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let all the positive spirit & energies of this universe come together this way, your way, making every journey of your life most beautiful, fulfilling and prideful. Let the world feel blessed and continue to get better by touch of your elegance.
smishra
The dark is generous. Its first gift is concealment: our true faces lie in the dark beneath our skins, our true hearts remain shadowed deeper still. But the greatest concealment lies not in protecting our secret truths, but in hiding from the truths of others. The dark protects us from what we dare not know. Its second gift is comforting illusion: the ease of gentle dreams in night’s embrace, the beauty that imagination brings to what would repel in the day’s harsh light. But the greatest of its comforts is the illusion that dark is temporary: that every night brings a new day. Because it’s the day that is temporary. Day is the illusion. Its third gift is the light itself: as days are defined by the nights that divide them, as stars are defined by the infinite black through which they wheel, the dark embraces the light, and brings it forth from the center of its own self. With each victory of the light, it is the dark that wins. The dark is generous, and it is patient. It is the dark that seeds cruelty into justice, that drips contempt into compassion, that poisons love with grains of doubt. The dark can be patient, because the slightest drop of rain will cause those seeds to sprout. The rain will come, and the seeds will sprout, for the dark is the soil in which they grow, and it is the clouds above them, and it waits behind the star that gives them light. The dark’s patience is infinite. Eventually, even stars burn out. The dark is generous, and it is patient, and it always wins. It always wins because it is everywhere. It is in the wood that burns in your hearth, and in the kettle on the fire; it is under your chair and under your table and under the sheets on your bed. Walk in the midday sun, and the dark is with you, attached to the soles of your feet. The brightest light casts the darkest shadow. The dark is generous and it is patient and it always wins – but in the heart of its strength lies its weakness: one lone candle is enough to hold it back. Love is more than a candle. Love can ignite the stars.
Matthew Woodring Stover
The dawn was coming then. All the lower valley was covered with mist, and sometimes little pieces of it broke off and floated away in small clouds. The sky was lighter in the east, and the horizon was a thin golden line. The clouds changed from gray to pink, and the mist was touched with gold. There was a silent moment when everything held its breath, and then the sun rose. It was beautiful.
S.E. Hinton (The Outsiders)
Love shouldn't make you feel like that. It should be as natural as breathing. It should happen between two people because it grew there out of something beautiful.
A. Meredith Walters (Cloud Walking (Find You in the Dark, #1.5))
In Simon's eyes, he was the most beautiful creature walking on God's Earth.
Patrick C. Notchtree (The Clouds Still Hang (The Clouds Still Hang, #1-3))
If one of the things you believe in, Is that this world's an ugly place, You must have never gone outside at, And stared up into space, You haven't felt the way the air changes, In the minutes before it rains, Or watched the world pass by below, Out the window of a plane, You've never been awake so early, That you see the moment the sun starts to rise, And you've never lain with your back on the grass, And made shapes with the clouds in the sky, But maybe if you've done all this, But still don't believe it's not true, It's because you can't see all the beauty, That I see when I look at you" ~e.h.
Erin Hanson (Reverie (The Poetic Underground #1))
I believe in roses. And I believe in putting roses into a vase and sitting the vase on the table. I believe in getting lost and being found, I believe in going barefoot, and in laughter! My religion is to laugh at myself, whenever I can! I believe in the sunlight and in grey skies with big, beautiful clouds!
C. JoyBell C.
It was here at the bottom of heaven, where the sun was whole and the clouds burned away to give hope back to the hopeless, where the snow fell full and comfortable, where the wind was silent, even if only for the moment, it was here, Peter found his bear and Claus found his boy, and the world held its breath—
Douglas Weissman (Life Between Seconds)
O, how this spring of love resembleth The uncertain glory of an April day, Which now shows all the beauty of the sun, And by and by a cloud takes all away!
William Shakespeare (The Two Gentlemen of Verona)
Beautiful, see the cloud, the cloud appear. Beautiful, see the rain, the rain draw near...
Kristin Cast (Marked (House of Night, #1))
On a certain day in the blue-moon month of September Beneath a young plum tree, quietly I held her there, my quiet, pale beloved In my arms just like a graceful dream. And over us in the beautiful summer sky There was a cloud on which my gaze rested It was very white and so immensely high And when I looked up, it had disappeared.
Bertolt Brecht (Poems 1913-1956)
The Day is Done The day is done, and the darkness Falls from the wings of Night, As a feather is wafted downward From an eagle in his flight. I see the lights of the village Gleam through the rain and the mist, And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me That my soul cannot resist: A feeling of sadness and longing, That is not akin to pain, And resembles sorrow only As the mist resembles the rain. Come, read to me some poem, Some simple and heartfelt lay, That shall soothe this restless feeling, And banish the thoughts of day. Not from the grand old masters, Not from the bards sublime, Whose distant footsteps echo Through the corridors of Time. For, like strains of martial music, Their mighty thoughts suggest Life's endless toil and endeavor; And to-night I long for rest. Read from some humbler poet, Whose songs gushed from his heart, As showers from the clouds of summer, Or tears from the eyelids start; Who, through long days of labor, And nights devoid of ease, Still heard in his soul the music Of wonderful melodies. Such songs have power to quiet The restless pulse of care, And come like the benediction That follows after prayer. Then read from the treasured volume The poem of thy choice, And lend to the rhyme of the poet The beauty of thy voice. And the night shall be filled with music, And the cares, that infest the day, Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, And as silently steal away.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems)
One evening, when we were already resting on the floor of our hut, dead tired, soup bowls in hand, a fellow prisoner rushed in and asked us to run out to the assembly grounds and see the wonderful sunset. Standing outside we saw sinister clouds glowing in the west and the whole sky alive with clouds of ever-changing shapes and colors, from steel blue to blood red. The desolate grey mud huts provided a sharp contrast, while the puddles on the muddy ground reflected the glowing sky. Then, after minutes of moving silence, one prisoner said to another, "How beautiful the world could be...
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
The varicolored cloud dust that the sun has stirred up in the sky was settling by slow degrees.
Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God)
The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity — it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
He was beautiful, that was always affirmed, but his beauty was hard to fix or to see, for he was always glimmering, flickering, melting, mixing, he was the shape of a shapeless flame, he was the eddying thread of needle-shapes in the shapeless mass of the waterfall. He was the invisible wind that hurried the clouds in billows and ribbons. You could see a bare tree on the skyline bent by the wind, holding up twisted branches and bent twigs, and suddenly its formless form would resolve itself into that of the trickster.
A.S. Byatt (Ragnarok: The End of the Gods)
But now she loved winter. Winter was beautiful "up back" - almost intolerably beautiful. Days of clear brilliance. Evenings that were like cups of glamour - the purest vintage of winter's wine. Nights with their fire of stars. Cold, exquisite winter sunrises. Lovely ferns of ice all over the windows of the Blue Castle. Moonlight on birches in a silver thaw. Ragged shadows on windy evenings - torn, twisted, fantastic shadows. Great silences, austere and searching. Jewelled, barbaric hills. The sun suddenly breaking through grey clouds over long, white Mistawis. Ice-grey twilights, broken by snow-squalls, when their cosy living-room, with its goblins of firelight and inscrutable cats, seemed cosier than ever. Every hour brought a new revalation and wonder.
L.M. Montgomery (The Blue Castle)
The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds - the cemeteries - and they're a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here. Going by, you try to be as quiet as possible, better to let them sleep. Greek, Roman, sepulchres- palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay - ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who've died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn't pass away so quickly here. You could be dead for a long time. The ghosts race towards the light, you can almost hear the heavy breathing spirits, all determined to get somewhere. New Orleans, unlike a lot of those places you go back to and that don't have the magic anymore, still has got it. Night can swallow you up, yet none of it touches you. Around any corner, there's a promise of something daring and ideal and things are just getting going. There's something obscenely joyful behind every door, either that or somebody crying with their head in their hands. A lazy rhythm looms in the dreamy air and the atmosphere pulsates with bygone duels, past-life romance, comrades requesting comrades to aid them in some way. You can't see it, but you know it's here. Somebody is always sinking. Everyone seems to be from some very old Southern families. Either that or a foreigner. I like the way it is. There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better. There's a thousand different angles at any moment. At any time you could run into a ritual honoring some vaguely known queen. Bluebloods, titled persons like crazy drunks, lean weakly against the walls and drag themselves through the gutter. Even they seem to have insights you might want to listen to. No action seems inappropriate here. The city is one very long poem. Gardens full of pansies, pink petunias, opiates. Flower-bedecked shrines, white myrtles, bougainvillea and purple oleander stimulate your senses, make you feel cool and clear inside. Everything in New Orleans is a good idea. Bijou temple-type cottages and lyric cathedrals side by side. Houses and mansions, structures of wild grace. Italianate, Gothic, Romanesque, Greek Revival standing in a long line in the rain. Roman Catholic art. Sweeping front porches, turrets, cast-iron balconies, colonnades- 30-foot columns, gloriously beautiful- double pitched roofs, all the architecture of the whole wide world and it doesn't move. All that and a town square where public executions took place. In New Orleans you could almost see other dimensions. There's only one day at a time here, then it's tonight and then tomorrow will be today again. Chronic melancholia hanging from the trees. You never get tired of it. After a while you start to feel like a ghost from one of the tombs, like you're in a wax museum below crimson clouds. Spirit empire. Wealthy empire. One of Napoleon's generals, Lallemaud, was said to have come here to check it out, looking for a place for his commander to seek refuge after Waterloo. He scouted around and left, said that here the devil is damned, just like everybody else, only worse. The devil comes here and sighs. New Orleans. Exquisite, old-fashioned. A great place to live vicariously. Nothing makes any difference and you never feel hurt, a great place to really hit on things. Somebody puts something in front of you here and you might as well drink it. Great place to be intimate or do nothing. A place to come and hope you'll get smart - to feed pigeons looking for handouts
Bob Dylan (Chronicles, Volume One)
Because--isn't it drilled into us constantly, from childhood on, an unquestioned platitude in the culture--? From William Blake to Lady Gaga, from Rousseau to Rumi to Tosca to Mister Rogers, it's a curiously uniform message, accepted from high to low: when in doubt, what to do? How do we know what's right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: "Be yourself." "Follow your heart." Only here's what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can't be trusted--? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight toward a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?...If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that will lead you dutifully towards the norm, reasonable hours and regular medical check-ups, stable relationships and steady career advancement the New York Times and brunch on Sunday, all with the promise of being somehow a better person? Or...is it better to throw yourself head first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name?
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
Without habit, the beauty of the world would overwhelm us. We’d pass out every time we saw— actually saw— a flower. Imagine if we only got to see a cumulonimbus cloud or Cassiopeia or a snowfall once a century: there’d be pandemonium in the streets. People would lie by the thousands in the fields on their backs.
Anthony Doerr (Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World)
Amid the moon and the stars, amid the clouds of the night, amid the hills which bordered on the sky with their magnificent silhouette of pointed cedars, amid the speckled patches of the moon, amid the temple buildings that emerged sparkling white out of the surrounding darkness - amid all this, I was intoxicated by the pellucid beauty of Uiko's treachery.
Yukio Mishima (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion)
when I see you, I see mystery - a pale moon's beauty behind a veil of cloud
John Geddes
eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in… And someone’s face, whom you love, will be as a star Both intimate and ultimate, And you will be heart-shaken and respectful. And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper Oh let me, for a while longer, enter the two Beautiful bodies of your lungs... Look, and look again. This world is not just a little thrill for your eyes. It’s more than bones. It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse. It’s more than the beating of a single heart. It’s praising. It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving. You have a life- just imagine that! You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe Still another… And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope. I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is. I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned, I have become younger. And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know? Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.
Mary Oliver (Evidence: Poems)
And when the moment came, even then Genji would be fortunate. He would die without fear, drenched in his own heart's blood, in the embrace of a beautiful woman, and she would weep for him. What samurai could hope for more?
Takashi Matsuoka
When I start reading I'm somewhere completely different, I'm in the text, it's amazing, I have to admit I've been dreaming, dreaming in a land of great beauty, I've been in the very heart of truth. Ten times a day, every day, I wonder at having wandered so far, and then, alienated from myself, a stranger to myself, I go home, walking the streets silently and in deep meditation, passing trams and cars and pedestrians in a cloud of books, the books I found that day and am carrying home in my briefcase.
Bohumil Hrabal (Too Loud a Solitude)
It may be laid down as a general rule that if a man begins to sing, no one will take any notice of his song except his fellow human beings. This is true even if his song is surpassingly beautiful. Other men may be in raptures at his skill, but the rest of creation is, by and large, unmoved. Perhaps a cat or a dog may look at him; his horse, if it is an exceptionally intelligent beast, may pause in cropping the grass, but that is the extent of it. But when the fairy sang, the whole world listened to him. Stephen felt clouds pause in their passing; he felt sleeping hills shift and murmur; he felt cold mists dance. He understood for the first time that the world is not dumb at all, but merely waiting for someone to speak to it in a language it understands. In the fairy's song the earth recognized the names by which it called itself.
Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell)
She could not fathom the hexagonal miracle of snowflakes formed from clouds, crystallized fern and feather that tumble down to light on a coat sleeve, white stars melting even as they strike. How did such force and beauty come to be in something so small and fleeting and unknowable? You did not have to understand miracles to believe in them, and in fact Mabel had come to suspect the opposite. To believe, perhaps you had to cease looking for explanations and instead hold the little thing in your hands as long as you were able before it slipped like water between your fingers. (kindle location 2950)
Eowyn Ivey (The Snow Child)
The full moon, well risen in a cloudless eastern sky, covered the high solitude with its light. We are not conscious of daylight as that which displaces darkness. Daylight, even when the sun is clear of clouds, seems to us simply the natural condition of the earth and air. When we think of the downs, we think of the downs in daylight, as with think of a rabbit with its fur on. Stubbs may have envisaged the skeleton inside the horse, but most of us do not: and we do not usually envisage the downs without daylight, even though the light is not a part of the down itself as the hide is part of the horse itself. We take daylight for granted. But moonlight is another matter. It is inconstant. The full moon wanes and returns again. Clouds may obscure it to an extent to which they cannot obscure daylight. Water is necessary to us, but a waterfall is not. Where it is to be found it is something extra, a beautiful ornament. We need daylight and to that extent it us utilitarian, but moonlight we do not need. When it comes, it serves no necessity. It transforms. It falls upon the banks and the grass, separating one long blade from another; turning a drift of brown, frosted leaves from a single heap to innumerable flashing fragments; or glimmering lengthways along wet twigs as though light itself were ductile. Its long beams pour, white and sharp, between the trunks of trees, their clarity fading as they recede into the powdery, misty distance of beech woods at night. In moonlight, two acres of coarse bent grass, undulant and ankle deep, tumbled and rough as a horse's mane, appear like a bay of waves, all shadowy troughs and hollows. The growth is so thick and matted that event the wind does not move it, but it is the moonlight that seems to confer stillness upon it. We do not take moonlight for granted. It is like snow, or like the dew on a July morning. It does not reveal but changes what it covers. And its low intensity---so much lower than that of daylight---makes us conscious that it is something added to the down, to give it, for only a little time, a singular and marvelous quality that we should admire while we can, for soon it will be gone again.
Richard Adams (Watership Down (Watership Down, #1))
One of the strangest things is the act of creation. You are faced with a blank slate—a page, a canvas, a block of stone or wood, a silent musical instrument. You then look inside yourself. You pull and tug and squeeze and fish around for slippery raw shapeless things that swim like fish made of cloud vapor and fill you with living clamor. You latch onto something. And you bring it forth out of your head like Zeus giving birth to Athena. And as it comes out, it takes shape and tangible form. It drips on the canvas, and slides through your pen, it springs forth and resonates into the musical strings, and slips along the edge of the sculptor’s tool onto the surface of the wood or marble. You have given it cohesion. You have brought forth something ordered and beautiful out of nothing. You have glimpsed the divine.
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
Wherever snow falls, or water flows, or birds fly, wherever day and night meet in twilight, wherever the blue heaven is hung by clouds, or sown with stars, wherever are forms with transparent boundaries, wherever are outlets into celestial space, wherever is danger, and awe, and love, there is Beauty, plenteous as rain, shed for thee, and though thou shouldest walk the world over, thou shalt not be able to find a condition inopportune or ignoble.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
My soul must reach into the clouds and touch the beauty of madness.
Melody Lee (Moon Gypsy)
There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was a light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings)
Outside the youth center, between the liquor store and the police station, a little dogwood tree is losing its mind; overflowing with blossomfoam, like a sudsy mug of beer; like a bride ripping off her clothes, dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds, so Nature’s wastefulness seems quietly obscene. It’s been doing that all week: making beauty, and throwing it away, and making more.
Tony Hoagland (What Narcissism Means to Me)
I know you all, and will awhile uphold The unyoked humour of your idleness. Yet herein will I imitate the sun, Who doth permit the base contagious clouds To smother up his beauty from the world, That when he please again to be himself, Being wanted, he may be more wondered at By breaking through the foul and ugly mists Of vapours that did seem to strangle him. If all the year were playing holidays, To sport would be as tedious as to work; But when they seldom come, they wished-for come, And nothing pleaseth but rare accidents. So, when this loose behaviour I throw off And pay the debt I never promisèd, By how much better than my word I am, By so much shall I falsify men’s hopes; And like bright metal on a sullen ground, My reformation, glitt’ring o’er my fault, Shall show more goodly and attract more eyes Than that which hath no foil to set it off. I’ll so offend to make offence a skill, Redeeming time when men think least I will.
William Shakespeare (King Henry IV, Part 1)
Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river? Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air - An armful of white blossoms, A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies, Biting the air with its black beak? Did you hear it, fluting and whistling A shrill dark music - like the rain pelting the trees - like a waterfall Knifing down the black ledges? And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds - A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river? And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything? And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for? And have you changed your life?
Mary Oliver (Swan: Poems and Prose Poems)
Soon they were all sitting on the rocky ledge, which was still warm, watching the sun go down into the lake. It was the most beautiful evening, with the lake as blue as a cornflower and the sky flecked with rosy clouds. They held their hard-boiled eggs in one hand and a piece of bread and butter in the other, munching happily. There was a dish of salt for everyone to dip their eggs into. ‘I don’t know why, but the meals we have on picnics always taste so much nicer than the ones we have indoors,’ said George.
Enid Blyton (Five Go Off in a Caravan (Famous Five, #5))
In spring it is the dawn that is most beautiful. As the light creeps over the hills, their outlines are dyed a faint red and wisps of purplish cloud trail over them. In summer the nights. Not only when the moon shines, but on dark nights too, as the fireflies flit to and fro, and even when it rains, how beautiful it is! In autumn, the evenings, when the glittering sun sinks close to the edge of the hills and the crows fly back to their nests in threes and fours and twos; more charming still is a file of wild geese, like specks in the distant sky. When the sun has set, one's heart is moved by the sound of the wind and the hum of the insects. In winter the early mornings. It is beautiful indeed when snow has fallen during the night, but splendid too when the ground is white with frost; or even when there is no snow or frost, but it is simply very cold and the attendants hurry from room to room stirring up the fires and bringing charcoal, how well this fits the season's mood! But as noon approaches and the cold wears off, no one bothers to keep the braziers alight, and soon nothing remains but piles of white ashes.
Sei Shōnagon
And I saw it didn't matter who had loved me or who I loved. I was alone. The black oily asphalt, the slick beauty of the Iranian attendant, the thickening clouds--nothing was mine. And I understood finally, after a semester of philosophy, a thousand books of poetry, after death and childbirth and the startled cries of men who called out my name as they entered me, I finally believed I was alone, felt it in my actual, visceral heart, heard it echo like a thin bell.
Dorianne Laux
Everything Is Going to Be All Right How should I not be glad to contemplate the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window and a high tide reflected on the ceiling? There will be dying, there will be dying, but there is no need to go into that. The poems flow from the hand unbidden and the hidden source is the watchful heart. The sun rises in spite of everything and the far cities are beautiful and bright. I lie here in a riot of sunlight watching the day break and the clouds flying. Everything is going to be all right.
Derek Mahon (Collected Poems)
i am standing upon the seashore. a ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. she is an object of beauty and strength. i stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. then someone at my side says: "there, she is gone!" "gone where?" gone from my sight. that is all. she is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port. her diminished size is in me, not in her. and just at the moment when someone at my side says: "there, she is gone!" there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: "here she comes!" and that is dying.
Henry Van Dyke
Young people, Lord. Do they still call it infatuation? That magic ax that chops away the world in one blow, leaving only the couple standing there trembling? Whatever they call it, it leaps over anything, takes the biggest chair, the largest slice, rules the ground wherever it walks, from a mansion to a swamp, and its selfishness is its beauty. Before I was reduced to singsong, I saw all kinds of mating. Most are two-night stands trying to last a season. Some, the riptide ones, claim exclusive right to the real name, even though everybody drowns in its wake. People with no imagination feed it with sex—the clown of love. They don’t know the real kinds, the better kinds, where losses are cut and everybody benefits. It takes a certain intelligence to love like that—softly, without props. But the world is such a showpiece, maybe that’s why folks try to outdo it, put everything they feel onstage just to prove they can think up things too: handsome scary things like fights to the death, adultery, setting sheets afire. They fail, of course. The world outdoes them every time. While they are busy showing off, digging other people’s graves, hanging themselves on a cross, running wild in the streets, cherries are quietly turning from greed to red, oysters are suffering pearls, and children are catching rain in their mouths expecting the drops to be cold but they’re not; they are warm and smell like pineapple before they get heavier and heavier, so heavy and fast they can’t be caught one at a time. Poor swimmers head for shore while strong ones wait for lightning’s silver veins. Bottle-green clouds sweep in, pushing the rain inland where palm trees pretend to be shocked by the wind. Women scatter shielding their hair and men bend low holding the women’s shoulders against their chests. I run too, finally. I say finally because I do like a good storm. I would be one of those people in the weather channel leaning into the wind while lawmen shout in megaphones: ‘Get moving!
Toni Morrison (Love)
The woman who opens the door has a blue stain on her shirt and dark hair wound into a messy knot and the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. They're pale, like a lioness's, nearly golden, but they also look like they've done their fair share of crying, and we all know that a sky with clouds in it is much more interesting than one that doesn't have any.
Jodi Picoult (House Rules)
When I could hold my eyes open long enough, I did stare up at the rain pelting down on me. I’ve never looked at it like that, straight up into the sky, and while I flinched more than I could actually see, when I could see it was absolutely beautiful. Like each drop rocketing towards me was separate from the thousands of others and for a suspended moment in time, I could glimpse it and see its delicate facets. I saw the gray clouds churning above me and felt the car shake when the wind from the traffic pushed against it. I shivered even though it’s warm enough to swim. But nothing I saw or felt or heard was as warm and fascinating as Andrew’s closeness.
J.A. Redmerski (The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never, #1))
I came out of the park. The city streets rose up around me. There was a hotel with a courtyard with metal tables and chairs for people to sit in more clement weather. Today they were snow-strewn and forlorn. A lattice of wire was strung across the courtyard. Paper lanterns were hanging from the wires, spheres of vivid orange that blew and trembled in the snow and the thin wind; the sea-grey clouds raced across the sky and the orange lanterns shivered against them. The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.
Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
To the Taoist mentality, the aimless, empty life does not suggest anything depressing. On the contrary, it suggests the freedom of clouds and mountain streams, wandering nowhere, of flowers in impenetrable canyons, beautiful for no one to see, and of the ocean surf forever washing the sand, to no end.
Alan W. Watts (The Way of Zen)
Where am I going? I don't quite know. Down to the stream where the king-cups grow- Up on a hill where the pine-trees blow- Anywhere, anywhere. I don't know. Where am I going? The clouds sail by, Little ones, baby ones, over the sky. Where am I going? The shadows pass, Little ones, baby ones, over the grass. If you were a cloud, and sailed up there, You'd sail on the water as blue as air. And you'd see me here in the fields and say: "Doesn't the sky look green today?" Where am I going? The high rooks call: "It's awful fun to be born at all. Where am I going? The ring-doves coo: "We do have beautiful things to do." If you were a bird, and lived on high, You'd lean on the wind when the wind came by, You'd say to the wind when it took you away: "That's where I wanted to go today!" Where am I going? I don't quite know. What does it matter where people go? Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow- Anywhere, anywhere. I don't know.
A.A. Milne (When We Were Very Young (Winnie-the-Pooh, #3))
Love is the only bow on Life’s dark cloud. It is the morning and the evening star. It shines upon the babe, and sheds its radiance on the quiet tomb. It is the mother of art, inspirer of poet, patriot and philosopher. It is the air and light of every heart – builder of every home, kindler of every fire on every hearth. It was the first to dream of immortality. It fills the world with melody – for music is the voice of love. Love is the magician, the enchanter, that changes worthless things to Joy, and makes royal kings and queens of common clay. It is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart, and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts; but with it, earth is heaven, and we are gods.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Just then, down through the last glimmer of twilight, stepping high and free, like a cloud, a moth, a ghost in the shape of a horse — came the Silver Stallion. Wild, beautiful, and free as the wind he came, from one kingdom to another, Thowra
Elyne Mitchell (Silver Brumby's Daughter)
Gulls wheel through spokes of sunlight over gracious roofs and dowdy thatch, snatching entrails at the marketplace and escaping over cloistered gardens, spike topped walls and treble-bolted doors. Gulls alight on whitewashed gables, creaking pagodas and dung-ripe stables; circle over towers and cavernous bells and over hidden squares where urns of urine sit by covered wells, watched by mule-drivers, mules and wolf-snouted dogs, ignored by hunch-backed makers of clogs; gather speed up the stoned-in Nakashima River and fly beneath the arches of its bridges, glimpsed form kitchen doors, watched by farmers walking high, stony ridges. Gulls fly through clouds of steam from laundries' vats; over kites unthreading corpses of cats; over scholars glimpsing truth in fragile patterns; over bath-house adulterers, heartbroken slatterns; fishwives dismembering lobsters and crabs; their husbands gutting mackerel on slabs; woodcutters' sons sharpening axes; candle-makers, rolling waxes; flint-eyed officials milking taxes; etiolated lacquerers; mottle-skinned dyers; imprecise soothsayers; unblinking liars; weavers of mats; cutters of rushes; ink-lipped calligraphers dipping brushes; booksellers ruined by unsold books; ladies-in-waiting; tasters; dressers; filching page-boys; runny-nosed cooks; sunless attic nooks where seamstresses prick calloused fingers; limping malingerers; swineherds; swindlers; lip-chewed debtors rich in excuses; heard-it-all creditors tightening nooses; prisoners haunted by happier lives and ageing rakes by other men's wives; skeletal tutors goaded to fits; firemen-turned-looters when occasion permits; tongue-tied witnesses; purchased judges; mothers-in-law nurturing briars and grudges; apothecaries grinding powders with mortars; palanquins carrying not-yet-wed daughters; silent nuns; nine-year-old whores; the once-were-beautiful gnawed by sores; statues of Jizo anointed with posies; syphilitics sneezing through rotted-off noses; potters; barbers; hawkers of oil; tanners; cutlers; carters of night-soil; gate-keepers; bee-keepers; blacksmiths and drapers; torturers; wet-nurses; perjurers; cut-purses; the newborn; the growing; the strong-willed and pliant; the ailing; the dying; the weak and defiant; over the roof of a painter withdrawn first from the world, then his family, and down into a masterpiece that has, in the end, withdrawn from its creator; and around again, where their flight began, over the balcony of the Room of Last Chrysanthemum, where a puddle from last night's rain is evaporating; a puddle in which Magistrate Shiroyama observes the blurred reflections of gulls wheeling through spokes of sunlight. This world, he thinks, contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself.
David Mitchell (The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet)
Japan and Hong Kong are steadily whittling away at the last of the elephants, turning their tusks (so much more elegant left on the elephant) into artistic carvings. In much the same way, the beautiful furs from leopard, jaguar, Snow leopard, Clouded leopard and so on, are used to clad the inelegant bodies of thoughtless and, for the most part, ugly women. I wonder how many would buy these furs if they knew that on their bodies they wore the skin of an animal that, when captured, was killed by the medieval and agonizing method of having a red-hot rod inserted up its rectum so as not to mark the skin.
Gerald Durrell (The Aye-Aye and I)
I first became fascinated with the Sears catalogue because all the people in its pages were perfect. Nearly everybody I knew had something missing, a finger cut off, a toe split, an ear half-chewed away, an eye clouded with blindness from a glancing fence staple. And if they didn't have something missing, they were carrying scars from barbed wire, or knives, or fishhooks. But the people in the catalogue had no such hurts. They were not only whole, had all their arms and legs and eyes on their unscarred bodies, but they were also beautiful.
Harry Crews (A Childhood: The Biography of a Place)
I follow Plato only with my mind Pure beauty strikes me as a little thin A little cold, however beautiful. I am in love with what is mixed and impure Doubtful, dark and hard to disencumber I want beauty I must dig for, search for. Pure beauty is beginning and not end Begin with the sun and drop from sun to cloud From cloud to tree, and from tree to earth itself And deeper yet to the earth dark root. I am in love with what resists my loving With what I have to labor to make live.
Robert Francis
I see the mountains in the sky; the great clouds; and the moon; I have a great and astonishing sense of something there, which is “it”—it is not exactly beauty that I mean. It is that the thing is in itself enough: satisfactory, achieved. A sense of my own strangeness, walking on the earth is there too: of the infinite oddity of the human position; with the moon up there and those mountain clouds.
Virginia Woolf (The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Volume Three: 1925-1930)
The more often we see the things around us - even the beautiful and wonderful things - the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds - even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.
Joseph B. Wirthlin
What is a fleecy as a cloud, As majestic and shimmering as the breaking dawn, As gorgeous as the sun the sun is strong? Why, it's ME! Twilight, the Great Gray, Tiger of the sky --- Light of the Night, Most beautiful, An avian delight. I beam --- I gleam --- I'm a livin' flying dream. Watch me roll off this cloud and pop on back. This is flying. I ain't no hack.
Kathryn Lasky (The Journey (Guardians of Ga'Hoole, #2))
A beautiful and binding morning The world outside begins to breathe See clouds arriving without warning I need you here to shelter me. If I could make these moments endless If I could stop the winds of change If we just keep our eyes wide open Then everything would stay the same And I know that only time will tell me how We'll carry on without each other So keep me awake for every moment Give us more time to be this way We can't stay like this forever But I can have you next to me today
Josh Groban (Josh Groban - Awake Piano, Vocal and Guitar Chords)
I returned to the courtyard and saw that the sun had grown weaker. Beautiful and clear as it had been, the morning (as the day approached the completion of its first half) was becoming damp and misty. Heavy clouds moved from the north and were invading the top of the mountain, covering it with a light brume. It seemed to be fog, and perhaps fog was also rising from the ground, but at that altitude it was difficult to distinguish the mists that rose from below and those that come down from above. It was becoming hard to discern the bulk of the more distant buildings.
Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose)
Pruning is strategic. It is directional and forward-looking. It is intentional toward a vision, desires, and objectives that have been clearly defined and are measurable. If you have that, you know what a rose is, and pruning will help you get one of true beauty.
Henry Cloud (Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward)
The psychotic clown I sent for his birthday will feel like a feather falling on a pillow atop a cloud. The laxative in my lunch? Child's play. If you think it was bad when I sent that fake resume for his open assistant position and the stripper came for the interview? No. We're talking Defcon Five, Vietcong-level mind fucking, do you hear me, Chloe?
Christina Lauren (Beautiful Beginning (Beautiful Bastard, #3.5))
Do you know what a summer rain is? To start with, pure beauty striking the summer sky, awe-filled respect absconding with your heart, a feeling of insignificance at the very heart of the sublime, so fragile and swollen with the majesty of things, trapped, ravished, amazed by the bounty of the world. And then, you pace up and down a corridor and suddenly enter a room full of light. Another dimension, a certainty just given birth. The body is no longer a prison, your spirit roams the clouds, you possess the power of water, happy days are in store, in this new birth. Just as teardrops, when they are large and round and compassionate, can leave a long strand washed clean of discord, the summer rain as it washes away the motionless dust can bring to a person's soul something like endless breathing.
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness. Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful. Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance. Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure. Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong. Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs. Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for they will be crowned.
Francis of Assisi
I had to sit with my senses. This clear, beautiful intuition took over. I knew exactly how I felt, and I wasn't confused or clouded or compromised. I realized that none of my feelings had diminished, but I might have to lose someone I truly loved. I didn't want to run away from Claire, but I knew drug addiction was strong enough that I had to be willing, if need be, to let go of the person I'd just fallen in love with.
Anthony Kiedis (Scar Tissue)
Do I believe in an old man in the clouds with a white beard judging us mortals with a moral code from one to ten? Good Lord no, my sweet Elly, I do not! I would have been cast out from this life years ago with my tatty history. Do I believe in a mystery; the unexplained phenomenon that is life itself? The greater something that illuminates inconsequence in our lives; that gives us something to strive for as well as the humility to brush ourselves down and start all over again? Then yes, I do. It is the source of art, of beauty, of love, and proffers the ultimate goodness to mankind. That to me is God. That to me is life. That is what I believe in.
Sarah Winman
Eva knows I'm terra incognita and explores me unhurriedly, like you did. Because she's lean as a boy. Because her scent is almonds, meadow grass. Because if I smile at her ambition to be an Egyptologist, she kicks my shin under the table. Because she makes me think about something other than myself. Because even when serious she shines. Because she prefers travelogues to Sir Walter Scott, prefers Billy Mayerl to Mozart, and couldn't tell a C major from a sergeant major. Because I, only I, see her smile a fraction before it reaches her face. Because Emperor Robert is not a good man - his best part is commandeered by his unperformed music - but she gives me that rarest smile, anyway. Because we listened to nightjars. Because her laughter spurts through a blowhole in the top of her head and sprays all over the morning. Because a man like me has no business with this substance "beauty," yet here she is, in these soundproof chambers of my heart.
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
This story was written many moons ago under an apple tree in an orchard in Kent, which is one of England's prettiest counties . . . I had read at least twenty of the [fairy tales] when I noticed something that had never struck me before--I suppose because I had always taken it for granted. All the princesses, apart from such rare exceptions as Snow White, were blond, blue-eyed, and beautiful, with lovely figures and complexions and extravagantly long hair. This struck me as most unfair, and suddenly I began to wonder just how many handsome young princes would have asked a king for the hand of his daughter if that daughter had happened to be gawky, snub-nosed, and freckled, with shortish mouse-colored hair? None, I suspected. They would all have been of chasing after some lissome Royal Highness with large blue eyes and yards of golden hair and probably nothing whatever between her ears! It was in that moment that a story about a princess who turned out to be ordinary jumped into my mind, and the very next morning I took my pencil box and a large rough-notebook down to the orchard and, having settled myself under an apple tree in full bloom, began to write . . . the day was warm and windless and without a cloud in the sky. A perfect day and a perfect place to write a fairy story.
M.M. Kaye (The Ordinary Princess)
You shall suffer for ever the influence of my kiss. You shall be beautiful in my fashion. You shall love that which I love and that which loves me: water, clouds, silence and the night; the immense green sea; the formless and multiform streams; the place where you shall not be; the lover whom you shall not know; flowers of monstrous shape; perfumes that cause delirium; cats that shudder, swoon and curl up on pianos and groan like women, with a voice that is hoarse and gentle! And you shall be loved by my lovers, courted by my courtiers. You shall be the queen of all men that have green eyes, whose necks also I have clasped in my nocturnal caresses; of those who love the sea, the sea that is immense, tumultuous and green, the formless and multiform streams, the place where they are not, the woman whom they do not know, sinister flowers that resemble the censers of a strange religion, perfumes that confound the will; and the savage and voluptuous animals which are the emblems of their dementia.
Charles Baudelaire
In Vienna there are shadows. The city is black and everything is done by rote. I want to be alone. I want to go to the Bohemian Forest. May, June, July, August, September, October. I must see new things and investigate them. I want to taste dark water and see crackling trees and wild winds. I want to gaze with astonishment at moldy garden fences, I want to experience them all, to hear young birch plantations and trembling leaves, to see light and sun, enjoy wet, green-blue valleys in the evening, sense goldfish glinting, see white clouds building up in the sky, to speak to flowers. I want to look intently at grasses and pink people, old venerable churches, to know what little cathedrals say, to run without stopping along curving meadowy slopes across vast plains, kiss the earth and smell soft warm marshland flowers. And then I shall shape things so beautifully: fields of colour…
Egon Schiele
The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity- it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love, that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
It was growing dark on this long southern evening, and suddenly, at the exact point her finger had indicated, the moon lifted a forehead of stunning gold above the horizon, lifted straight out of filigreed, light-intoxicated clouds that lay on the skyline in attendant veils. Behind us, the sun was setting in a simultaneous congruent withdrawal and the river turned to flame in a quiet duel of gold....The new gold of moon astonishing and ascendant, he depleted gold of sunset extinguishing itself in the long westward slide, it was the old dance of days in the Carolina marshes, the breathtaking death of days before the eyes of children, until the sun vanished, its final signature a ribbon of bullion strung across the tops of water oaks.
Pat Conroy (The Prince of Tides)
At the edge of heaven, tatters of autumn Cloud. After ten thousand miles of clear Lovely morning, the west wind arrives. Here, Long rains haven't slowed farmers. Frontier Willows air thin kingfisher colors, and Red fruit flecks mountain pears. As a flute's Mongol song drifts from a tower, one Goose climbs clear through vacant skies.
Du Fu (The Selected Poems of Tu Fu)
We've done so much together, wherever I go and whatever I see, I think of you. Newborn babies; the pattern on the plate that you can see under a paper-thin slice of sashimi; fireworks in August. The moon hidden behind the clouds over the ocean at night. When I'm sitting down someplace, inadvertently stepping on someone's toes, and have to apologize. And when someone picks up something I've dropped, and I thank him. When I see an elderly man tottering along,and wonder how much longer he has to live. Dogs and cats peeking out from alleyways. A beautiful view from a tall building. The warm blast of air you feel when you go down into a subway station. The phone ringing in the middle of the night. Even when I have crushes on other men, I always see you in the curve of their eyebrows." "Yet I must remain calm, detached. It's a little like trying to ignore a plate of delicious food when you're really hungry. When it beckons you, there's no problem with enjoying the aroma and appreciating it with your eyes, but at some point you have to separate yourself and realize, like a professional waiter does, that it's not your own. It's my job to ignore those plates heaped with delicious morsels and just carry them where they need to go.
Banana Yoshimoto
Alas ! How few of Nature's faces are left alone to gladden us with their beauty ! The cares, and sorrows, and the hungerings, of the world, change them as they change hearts; and it is only when those passions sleep, and have lost their hold for ever, that the troubled clouds pass off, and leave Heaven's surface clear. It is a common thing for the countenances of the dead, even in that fixed and rigid state, to subside into the long-forgotten expression of sleeping infancy, and settle into the very look of early life; so calm, so peaceful, do they grow again, that those who knew them in their happy childhood, kneel by the coffin's side in awe, and see the Angel even upon earth.
Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist)
After that hard winter, one could not get enough of the nimble air. Every morning I wakened with a fresh consciousness that winter was over. There were none of the signs of spring for which I used to watch in Virginia, no budding woods or blooming gardens. There was only—spring itself; the throb of it, the light restlessness, the vital essence of it everywhere: in the sky, in the swift clouds, in the pale sunshine, and in the warm, high wind—rising suddenly, sinking suddenly, impulsive and playful like a big puppy that pawed you and then lay down to be petted. If I had been tossed down blindfold on that red prairie, I should have known that it was spring.
Willa Cather (My Ántonia (Great Plains Trilogy, #3))
By age seventeen he [Seymoure Sthulman]'d convinced himself that every human being he saw was a parasite, captive to the dictates of consumption. But as he reconstructs Zeno's translation, he realizes that the truth is infinitely more complicated, that we all are beautiful even as we are all part of the problem, and that to be a part of the problem is to be human.
Anthony Doerr (Cloud Cuckoo Land)
There's a peculiar thing that happens every time you get clean. You go through this sensation of rebirth. There's something intoxicating about the process of the comeback, and that becomes an element in the whole cycle of addiction. Once you've beaten yourself down with cocaine and heroin, and you manage to stop and walk out of the muck you begin to get your mind and body strong and reconnect with your spirit. The oppressive feeling of being a slave to the drugs is still in your mind, so by comparison, you feel phenomenal. You're happy to be alive, smelling the air and seeing the beauty around you...You have a choice of what to do. So you experience this jolt of joy that you're not where you came from and that in and of itself is a tricky thing to stop doing. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you know that every time you get clean, you'll have this great new feeling. Cut to: a year later, when you've forgotten how bad it was and you don't have that pink-cloud sensation of being newly sober. When I look back, I see why these vicious cycles can develop in someone who's been sober for a long time and then relapses and doesn't want to stay out there using, doesn't want to die, but isn't taking the full measure to get well again. There's a concept in recovery that says 'Half-measures avail us nothing.' When you have a disease, you can't take half the process of getting well and think you're going to get half well; you do half the process of getting well, you're not going to get well at all, and you'll go back to where you came from. Without a thorough transformation, you're the same guy, and the same guy does the same shit. I kept half-measuring it, thinking I was going to at least get something out of this deal, and I kept getting nothing out of it
Anthony Kiedis (Scar Tissue)
He dreams he is happy; that his corporeal nature has changed; or at least that he has flown off upon a purple cloud of another sphere peopled by beings of the same kind as himself. Alas! May his illusion last till dawn’s awakening! He dreams the flowers dance round him in a ring like immense demented garlands, and impregnate him with their balmy perfumes while he sings a hymn of love, locked in the arms of a magically beautiful human being. But it is merely twilight mist he embraces, and when he wakes their arms will no longer be entwined. Awaken not, hermaphrodite. Do not wake yet, I beg you. Why will you not believe me? Sleep … sleep forever. May your breast heave while pursuing the chimerical hope of happiness — that I allow you; but do not open your eyes. Ah! do not open your eyes.
Comte de Lautréamont (Maldoror and the Complete Works)
It is beyond a doubt that everyone should have time for some special delight, if only five minutes each day to seek out a lovely flower or cloud or star, or learn a verse to brighten another’s dull task. What is the use of such terrible diligence as many tire themselves out with, if they always postpone their exchanges of smiles with Beauty and Joy to cling to irksome duties and relations?
Helen Keller (The Open Door)
Oh fair enough are sky and plain, But I know fairer far: Those are as beautiful again That in the water are; The pools and rivers wash so clean The trees and clouds and air, The like on earth was never seen, And oh that I were there. These are the thoughts I often think As I stand gazing down In act upon the cressy brink To strip and dive and drown; But in the golden-sanded brooks And azure meres I spy A silly lad that longs and looks And wishes he were I.
A.E. Housman (A Shropshire Lad)
It was my teacher's genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful. It was because she seized the right moment to impart knowledge that made it so pleasant and acceptable to me. She realized that a child's mind is like a shallow brook which ripples and dances merrily over the stony course of its education and reflects here a flower, there a bush, yonder a fleecy cloud; and she attempted to guide my mind on its way, knowing that like a brook it should be fed by mountain streams and hidden springs, until it broadened out into a deep river, capable of reflecting in its placid surface, billowy hills, the luminous shadows of trees and the blue heavens, as well as the sweet face of a little flower. Any teacher can take a child to the classroom, but not every teacher can make him learn. He will not work joyously unless he feels that liberty is his, whether he is busy or at rest; he must feel the flush of victory and the heart-sinking of disappointment before he takes with a will the tasks distasteful to him and resolves to dance his way bravely through a dull routine of textbooks. My teacher is so near to me that I scarcely think of myself apart from her. How much of my delight in all beautiful things is innate, and how much is due to her influence, I can never tell. I feel that her being is inseparable from my own, and that the footsteps of my life are in hers. All the best of me belongs to her--there is not a talent, or an aspiration or a joy in me that has not been awakened by her loving touch.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life: With Her Letters (1887 1901) and a Supplementary Account of Her Education Including Passages from the Reports and Letters of Her Teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan by John Albert Macy)
Why is some music so much deeper and more beautiful than other music? It is because form, in music, is expressive–expressive to some strange subconscious regions of our minds. The sounds of music do not refer to serfs or city-states, but they do trigger clouds of emotion in our innermost selves; in that sense musical meaning IS dependent on intangible links from symbols to things in the world–those 'things', in this case, being secret software structures in our minds.
Douglas R. Hofstadter (Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid)
In Paradise it is true that I shall drink at dawn the pure wine mentioned in the Koran, but where in Paradise are the long walks with intoxicated friends in the night, or the drunken crowds shouting merrily? Where shall I find there the intoxication of Monsoon clouds? Where there is no Autumn how can Spring exist? If the beautiful houris are always there, where will be the sadness of a separation and the joy of union? Where shall we find there a girl who flees away when we would kiss her?
Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib
Some people are born with a vital and responsive energy. It not only enables them to keep abreast of the times; it qualifies them to furnish in their own personality a good bit of the motive power to the mad pace. They are fortunate beings. They do not need to apprehend the significance of things. They do not grow weary nor miss step, nor do they fall out of rank and sink by the wayside to be left contemplating the moving procession. Ah! that moving procession that has left me by the road-side! Its fantastic colors are more brilliant and beautiful than the sun on the undulating waters. What matter if souls and bodies are failing beneath the feet of the ever-pressing multitude! It moves with the majestic rhythm of the spheres. Its discordant clashes sweep upward in one harmonious tone that blends with the music of other worlds--to complete God's orchestra. It is greater than the stars--that moving procession of human energy; greater than the palpitating earth and the things growing thereon. Oh! I could weep at being left by the wayside; left with the grass and the clouds and a few dumb animals. True, I feel at home in the society of these symbols of life's immutability. In the procession I should feel the crushing feet, the clashing discords, the ruthless hands and stifling breath. I could not hear the rhythm of the march. Salve! ye dumb hearts. Let us be still and wait by the roadside.
Kate Chopin (The Awakening)
Surely some of you have felt the same way that I do. You have turned sullenly from those thousands of glowing, perfect teeth lighting the American landscape and slouched to the darkness—the half-lighted room, the twilight forest, the empty café. There you have sat and settled into the bare, hard fact that the world is terrible in its beauty, indifferent much of the time, incoherent and nervous and resplendent when on certain evenings, when the clouds are right, a furious owl swooshes luridly from the horizon. You feel that sweet pressure behind your eyes, as if you would at any minute explode into hot tears. You long to languish in this unnamed sadness, this vague sense that everything is precious because it is dying, because you can never hold it, because it exists for only an instant.
Eric G. Wilson (Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy)
I saw thee once - only once - years ago: I must not say how many - but not many. It was a July midnight; and from out A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring, Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven, There fell a silvery-silken veil of light, With quietude, and sultriness, and slumber, Upon the upturn'd faces of a thousand Roses that grew in an enchanted garden, Where no wind dared stir, unless on tiptoe - Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses That gave out, in return for the love-light, Their odorous souls in an ecstatic death - Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses That smiled and died in the parterre, enchanted By thee, and by the poetry of thy presence. Clad all in white, upon a violet bank I saw thee half reclining; while the moon Fell upon the upturn'd faces of the roses, And on thine own, upturn'd - alas, in sorrow! Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight - Was it not Fate, (whose name is also Sorrow,) That bade me pause before that garden-gate, To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses? No footsteps stirred: the hated world all slept, Save only thee and me. (Oh, Heaven! - oh, G**! How my heart beats in coupling those two words!) Save only thee and me. I paused - I looked - And in an instant all things disappeared. (Ah, bear in mind the garden was enchanted!) The pearly lustre of the moon went out: The mossy banks and the meandering paths, The happy flowers and the repining trees, Were seen no more: the very roses' odors Died in the arms of the adoring airs. All - all expired save thee - save less than thou: Save only divine light in thine eyes - Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes. I saw but them - they were the world to me. I saw but them - saw only them for hours - Saw only them until the moon went down. What wild heart-histories seemed to lie enwritten Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres! How dark a wo! yet how sublime a hope! How silently serene a sea of pride! How daring an ambition! yet how deep - How fathomless a capacity for love! But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight, Into a western couch of thunder-cloud; And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees Didst glide away. Only thine eyes remained. They would not go - they never yet have gone. Lighting my lonely pathway home that night, They have not left me (as my hopes have) since. They follow me - they lead me through the years. They are my ministers - yet I their slave. Their office is to illumine and enkindle - My duty, to be saved by their bright fire, And purified in their electric fire, And sanctified in their elysian fire. They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope,) And are far up in Heaven - the stars I kneel to In the sad, silent watches of my night; While even in the meridian glare of day I see them still - two sweetly scintillant Venuses, unextinguished by the sun!
Edgar Allan Poe (The Raven and Other Poems)
Her mighty lakes, like oceans of liquid silver; her mountains, with bright aerial tints; her valleys, teeming with wild fertility; her tremendous cataracts, thundering in their solitudes; her boundless plains, waving with spontaneous verdure; her broad, deep rivers, rolling in solemn silence to the ocean; her trackless forests, where vegetation puts forth all its magnificence; her skies, kindling with the magic of summer clouds and glorious sunshine - no, never need an American look beyond his own country for the sublime and beautiful of natural scenery.
Washington Irving (The Sketch Book)
Lovers find secret places inside this violent world where they make transactions with beauty. Reason says, Nonsense. I have walked and measured the walls here. There are no places like that. Love says, There are. Reason sets up a market and begins doing business. Love has more hidden work. Hallaj steps away from the pulpit and climbs the stairs of the gallows. Lovers feel a truth inside themselves that rational people keep denying. It is reasonable to say, Surrender is just an idea that keeps people from leading their lives. Love responds, No. This thinking is what is dangerous. Using language obscures what Shams came to give. Every day the sun rises out of low word-clouds into burning silence.
Rumi (Bridge to the Soul: Journeys Into the Music and Silence of the Heart)
We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if we could only arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us. So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloud shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
I remember just how bizarre my friendship with Tiffani has been - but then I remember that no one else but Tiffani could really even come close to understanding how I feel after losing Nikki forever. I remember that apart time is finally over, and while Nikki is gone for good, I still have a woman in my arms who has suffered greatly and desperately needs to believe once again that she is beautiful. In my arms is a woman who has given me a Skywatcher's Cloud Chart, a woman who knows all my secrets, a woman who knows just how messed up my mind is, how many pills I'm on and yet she allows me to hold her anyway. There's something honest about all of this, and I cannot imagine any other woman lying in the middle of a frozen soccer filed with me-in the middle of a snowstorm even - impossibly hoping to see a single cloud break free of a nimbostratus. Nikki would not have done this for me, not even on her best day.
Matthew Quick (The Silver Linings Playbook)
They stay in my mind, these beautiful people, or anyway beautiful people to me, of which there are so many. You, and you, and you, whom I had the fortune to meet, or maybe missed. Love, love, love, it was the core of my life, from which, of course, comes the word for the heart. And, oh, have I mentioned that some of them were men and some were women and some — now carry my revelation with you — were trees. Or places. Or music flying above the names of their makers. Or clouds, or the sun which was the first, and the best, the most loyal for certain, who looked so faithfully into my eyes, every morning. So I imagine such love of the world — its fervency, its shining, its innocence and hunger to give of itself — I imagine this is how it began.
Mary Oliver (New and Selected Poems, Volume One)
I suppose you think you know what autumn looks like. Even if you live in the Los Angeles dreamed of by September’s schoolmates, you have surely seen postcards and photographs of the kind of autumn I mean. The trees go all red and blazing orange and gold, and wood fires burn at night so everything smells of crisp branches. The world rolls about delightedly in a heap of cider and candy and apples and pumpkins and cold stars rush by through wispy, ragged clouds, past a moon like a bony knee. You have, no doubt, experienced a Halloween or two. Autumn in Fairyland is all that, of course. You would never feel cheated by the colors of a Fairyland Forest or the morbidity of a Fairyland moon. And the Halloween masks! Oh, how they glitter, how they curl, how their beaks and jaws hook and barb! But to wander through autumn in Fairyland is to look into a murky pool, seeing only a hazy reflection of the Autumn Provinces’ eternal fall. And human autumn is but a cast-off photograph of that reflecting pool, half burnt and drifting through the space between us and Fairyland. And so I may tell you that the leaves began to turn red as September and her friends rushed through the suddenly cold air on their snorting, roaring high wheels, and you might believe me. But no red you have ever seen could touch the crimson bleed of the trees in that place. No oak gnarled and orange with October is half as bright as the boughs that bent over September’s head, dropping their hard, sweet acorns into her spinning spokes. But you must try as hard as you can. Squeeze your eyes closed, as tight as you can, and think of all your favorite autumns, crisp and perfect, all bound up together like a stack of cards. That is what it is like, the awful, wonderful brightness of Fairy colors. Try to smell the hard, pale wood sending up sharp, green smoke into the afternoon. To feel to mellow, golden sun on your skin, more gentle and cozier and more golden than even the light of your favorite reading nook at the close of the day.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1))
Happy the writer who, passing by characters that are boring, disgusting, shocking in their mournful reality, approaches characters that manifest the lofty dignity of man, who from the great pool of daily whirling images has chosen only the rare exceptions, who has never once betrayed the exalted turning of his lyre, nor descended from his height to his poor, insignificant brethren, and, without touching the ground, has given the whole of himself to his elevated images so far removed from it. Twice enviable is his beautiful lot: he is among them as in his own family; and meanwhile his fame spreads loud and far. With entrancing smoke he has clouded people's eyes; he has flattered them wondrously, concealing what is mournful in life, showing them a beautiful man. Everything rushes after him, applauding, and flies off following his triumphal chariot. Great world poet they name him, soaring high above all other geniuses in the world, as the eagle soars above the other high fliers. At the mere mention of his name, young ardent hearts are filled with trembling, responsive tears shine in all eyes...No one equals him in power--he is God! But such is not the lot, and other is the destiny of the writer who has dared to call forth all that is before our eyes every moment and which our indifferent eyes do not see--all the stupendous mire of trivia in which our life in entangled, the whole depth of cold, fragmented, everyday characters that swarm over our often bitter and boring earthly path, and with the firm strength of his implacable chisel dares to present them roundly and vividly before the eyes of all people! It is not for him to win people's applause, not for him to behold the grateful tears and unanimous rapture of the souls he has stirred; no sixteen-year-old girl will come flying to meet him with her head in a whirl and heroic enthusiasm; it is not for him to forget himself in the sweet enchantment of sounds he himself has evoked; it is not for him, finally, to escape contemporary judgment, hypocritically callous contemporary judgment, which will call insignificant and mean the creations he has fostered, will allot him a contemptible corner in the ranks of writers who insult mankind, will ascribe to him the quality of the heroes he has portrayed, will deny him heart, and soul, and the divine flame of talent. For contemporary judgment does not recognize that equally wondrous are the glasses that observe the sun and those that look at the movement of inconspicuous insect; for contemporary judgment does not recognize that much depth of soul is needed to light up the picture drawn from contemptible life and elevate it into a pearl of creation; for contemporary judgment does not recognize that lofty ecstatic laughter is worthy to stand beside the lofty lyrical impulse, and that a whole abyss separates it from the antics of the street-fair clown! This contemporary judgment does not recognize; and will turn it all into a reproach and abuse of the unrecognized writer; with no sharing, no response, no sympathy, like a familyless wayfarer, he will be left alone in the middle of the road. Grim is his path, and bitterly he will feel his solitude.
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
A huge cloud of dust is not a beautiful thing to look at. Very few painters have done portraits of huge clouds of dust or included them in their landscapes or still lifes. Film directors rarely choose huge clouds of dust to play the lead roles in romantic comedies, and as far as my research has shown, a huge cloud of dust has never placed higher than twenty-fifth in a beauty pageant. Nevertheless, as the Baudelaire orphans stumbled around the cell, dropped each half of the battering ram and listening to the sound of crows flying in circles outside, they stared at the huge cloud of dust as if it were a thing of great beauty.
Lemony Snicket (The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #7))
Love? What is it? The most natural painkiller what there is.” You may become curious, though, about what happened to that painkiller should depression take hold and expose your love—whatever its object—as just one of the many intoxicants that muddled your consciousness of the human tragedy. You may also want to take a second look at whatever struck you as a person, place, or thing of “beauty,” a quality that lives only in the neurotransmitters of the beholder. (Aesthetics? What is it? A matter for those not depressed enough to care nothing about anything, that is, those who determine almost everything that is supposed to matter to us. Protest as you like, neither art nor an aesthetic view of life are distractions granted to everyone.) In depression, all that once seemed beautiful, or even startling and dreadful, is nothing to you. The image of a cloud-crossed moon is not in itself a purveyor of anything mysterious or mystical; it is only an ensemble of objects represented to us by our optical apparatus and perhaps processed as a memory.
Thomas Ligotti (The Conspiracy Against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror)
Uninvited, the thought of you stayed too late in my head, so I went to bed, dreaming you hard, hard, woke with your name, like tears, soft, salt, on my lips, the sound of its bright syllables like a charm, like a spell. Falling in love is glamorous hell; the crouched, parched heart like a tiger ready to kill; a flame's fierce licks under the skin. Into my life, larger than life, beautiful, you strolled in. I hid in my ordinary days, in the long grass of routine, in my camouflage rooms. You sprawled in my gaze, staring back from anyone's face, from the shape of a cloud, from the pining, earth-struck moon which gapes at me as I open the bedroom door. The curtains stir. There you are on the bed, like a gift, like a touchable dream. "You
Carol Ann Duffy (Rapture)
To Helen I saw thee once-once only-years ago; I must not say how many-but not many. It was a july midnight; and from out A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring, Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven, There fell a silvery-silken veil of light, With quietude, and sultriness, and slumber Upon the upturn'd faces of a thousand Roses that grew in an enchanted garden, Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe- Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses That gave out, in return for the love-light Thier odorous souls in an ecstatic death- Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses That smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted by thee, by the poetry of thy prescence. Clad all in white, upon a violet bank I saw thee half reclining; while the moon Fell on the upturn'd faces of the roses And on thine own, upturn'd-alas, in sorrow! Was it not Fate that, on this july midnight- Was it not Fate (whose name is also sorrow) That bade me pause before that garden-gate, To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses? No footstep stirred; the hated world all slept, Save only thee and me. (Oh Heaven- oh, God! How my heart beats in coupling those two worlds!) Save only thee and me. I paused- I looked- And in an instant all things disappeared. (Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted!) The pearly lustre of the moon went out; The mossy banks and the meandering paths, The happy flowers and the repining trees, Were seen no more: the very roses' odors Died in the arms of the adoring airs. All- all expired save thee- save less than thou: Save only the divine light in thine eyes- Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes. I saw but them- they were the world to me. I saw but them- saw only them for hours- Saw only them until the moon went down. What wild heart-histories seemed to lie enwritten Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres! How dark a woe! yet how sublime a hope! How silently serene a sea of pride! How daring an ambition!yet how deep- How fathomless a capacity for love! But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight, Into western couch of thunder-cloud; And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees Didst glide away. Only thine eyes remained. They would not go- they never yet have gone. Lighting my lonely pathway home that night, They have not left me (as my hopes have) since. They follow me- they lead me through the years. They are my ministers- yet I thier slave Thier office is to illumine and enkindle- My duty, to be saved by thier bright light, And purified in thier electric fire, And sanctified in thier Elysian fire. They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope), And are far up in heaven- the stars I kneel to In the sad, silent watches of my night; While even in the meridian glare of day I see them still- two sweetly scintillant Venuses, unextinguished by the sun!
Edgar Allan Poe
There is a sacred horror about everything grand. It is easy to admire mediocrity and hills; but whatever is too lofty, a genius as well as a mountain, an assembly as well as a masterpiece, seen too near, is appalling. Every summit seems an exaggeration. Climbing wearies. The steepnesses take away one's breath; we slip on the slopes, we are hurt by the sharp points which are its beauty; the foaming torrents betray the precipices, clouds hide the mountain tops; mounting is full of terror, as well as a fall. Hence, there is more dismay than admiration. People have a strange feeling of aversion to anything grand. They see abysses, they do not see sublimity; they see the monster, they do not see the prodigy.
Victor Hugo (Ninety-Three)
II A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear,       A stifled, drowsy, unimpassioned grief,       Which finds no natural outlet, no relief,           In word, or sigh, or tear — O Lady! in this wan and heartless mood, To other thoughts by yonder throstle woo'd,       All this long eve, so balmy and serene, Have I been gazing on the western sky,       And its peculiar tint of yellow green: And still I gaze — and with how blank an eye! And those thin clouds above, in flakes and bars, That give away their motion to the stars; Those stars, that glide behind them or between, Now sparkling, now bedimmed, but always seen: Yon crescent Moon as fixed as if it grew In its own cloudless, starless lake of blue; I see them all so excellently fair, I see, not feel how beautiful they are! III           My genial spirits fail;           And what can these avail To lift the smothering weight from off my breast?           It were a vain endeavour,           Though I should gaze for ever On that green light that lingers in the west: I may not hope from outward forms to win The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (The Complete Poems)
I see the eight of us in the Annex as if we were a patch of blue sky surrounded by menacing black clouds. The perfectly round spot on which we’re standing is still safe, but the clouds are moving in on us, and the ring between us and the approaching danger is being pulled tighter and tighter. We’re surrounded by darkness and danger, and in our desperate search for a way out we keep bumping into each other. We look at the fighting down below and the peace and beauty up above. In the meantime, we’ve been cut off by the dark mass of clouds, so that we can go neither up nor down. It looms before us like an impenetrable wall, trying to crush us, but not yet able to. I can only cry out and implore, “Oh, ring, ring, open wide and let us out!
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
Ty, I’ve thought so many times about what I would say to you if you reappeared suddenly. If I was walking along the street and you popped out of thin air, walking along beside me like you always used to, with your hands in your pockets and your head tilted back. Mom used to say you walked celestially, looking upat the sky as if you were scanning the clouds for angels. Do you remember that? In your world I am ashes, I am ancestors, my memories and hopes and dreams have gone to build the City of Bones. In your world, I am lucky, because I do not have to live in a world without you. But in this world, I am you. I am the twinless twin. So I can tell you this: When your twin leaves the earth you live on, it never turns the same way again: the weight of their soul is gone, and everything is off balance. The world rocks under your feet like an unquiet sea. I can’t tell you it gets easier. But it does get steadier; you learn how to live with the new rocking of the new earth, the way sailors gain sea legs. You learn. I promise. I know you’re not exactly the Ty I had in this world, my brilliant, beautiful brother. But I know from Julian that you are beautiful and brilliant too. I know that you are loved. I hope that you are happy. Please be happy. You deserve it so much. I want to ask if you remember the way we used to whisper words to each other in the dark: star, twin, glass. But I’ll never know your answer. So I’ll whisper to myself as I fold this letter up and slide it into the envelope, hoping against hope it will somehow reach you. I whisper your name, Ty. I whisper the most important thing: I love you. I love you. I love you. Livvy
Cassandra Clare (Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices, #3))
And Iluvatar spoke to Ulmo, and said: 'Seest thou not how here in this little realm in the Deeps of Time Melkor hath made war upon thy province? He hath bethought him of bitter cold immoderate, and yet hath not destroyed the beauty of thy fountains, nor of my clear pools. Behold the snow, and the cunning work of frost! Melkor hath devised heats and fire without restraint, and hath not dried up thy desire nor utterly quelled the music of the sea. Behold rather the height and glory of the clouds, and the ever changing mists; and listen to the fall of rain upon the Earth! And in these clouds thou art drawn nearer to Manwe, thy friend, whom thou lovest.' Then Ulmo answered: 'Truly, Water is become now fairer than my heart imagined, neither had my secret thought conceived the snowflake, nor in all my music was contained the falling of the rain. I will seek Manwe, that he and I may make melodies for ever to my delight!' And Manwe and Ulmo have from the beginning been allied, and in all things have served most faithfully the purpose of Iluvatar.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Silmarillion)
From William Blake to Lady Gaga, from Rousseau to Rumi to Tosca to Mister Rogers, it’s a curiously uniform message, accepted from high to low: when in doubt, what to do? How do we know what’s right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: “Be yourself.” “Follow your heart.” Only here’s what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted—? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight towards a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
Respect the man of noble races other than your own, who carries out, in a different place, a combat parallel to yours -- to ours. He is your ally. He is our ally, be he at the other end of the world. Love all living things whose humble task is not opposed in any way to yours, to ours: men with simple hearts, honest, without vanity and malice, and all the animals, because they are beautiful, without exception and without exception indifferent to whatever "idea" there may be. Love them, and you will see the eternal in the glance of their eyes of jet, amber, or emerald. Love also the trees, the plants, the water that runs though the meadow and on to the sea without knowing where it goes; love the mountain, the desert, the forest, the immense sky, full of light or full of clouds; because all these exceed man and reveal the eternal to you.
Savitri Devi
The leaves did not stir on the trees, cicadas twanged, and the monotonous muffled sound of the sea that rose from below spoke of the peace, the eternal sleep awaiting us. So it rumbled below when there was no Yalta, no Oreanda here; so it rumbles now, and it will rumble as indifferently and as hollowly when we are no more. And in this constancy, in this complete indifference to the life and death of each of us, there lies, perhaps a pledge of our eternal salvation, of the unceasing advance of life upon earth, of unceasing movement towards perfection. Sitting beside a young woman who in the dawn seemed so lovely, Gurov, soothed and spellbound by these magical surroundings - the sea, the mountains, the clouds, the wide sky - thought how everything is really beautiful in this world when one reflects: everything except what we think or do ourselves when we forget the higher aims of life and our own human dignity.
Anton Chekhov (The Lady With the Little Dog and Other Stories, 1896-1904)
There is a sweetness in being the sole source, the autocratic and irresponsible cause of the greatest joy and profoundest pain to another, and I was like wax in Zinaïda's hands; though, indeed, I was not the only one in love with her. All the men who visited the house were crazy over her, and she kept them all in leading-strings at her feet. It amused her to arouse their hopes and then their fears, to turn them round her finger (she used to call it knocking their heads together), while they never dreamed of offering resistance and eagerly submitted to her. About her whole being, so full of life and beauty, there was a peculiarly bewitching mixture of slyness and carelessness, of artificiality and simplicity, of composure and frolicsomeness; about everything she did or said, about every action of hers, there clung a delicate, fine charm, in which an individual power was manifest at work. And her face was ever changing, working too; it expressed, almost at the same time, irony, dreaminess, and passion. Various emotions, delicate and quick-changing as the shadows of clouds on a sunny day of wind, chased one another continually over her lips and eyes.
Ivan Turgenev (First Love)
Perhaps I ought to remember that she is very young, a mere girl and make allowances. She is all interest, eagerness, vivacity, the world is to her a charm, a wonder, a mystery, a joy; she can’t speak for delight when she finds a new flower, she must pet it and caress it and smell it and talk to it, and pour out endearing names upon it. And she is color-mad: brown rocks, yellow sand, gray moss, green foliage, blue sky; the pearl of the dawn, the purple shadows on the mountains, the golden islands floating in crimson seas at sunset, the pallid moon sailing through the shredded cloud-rack, the star-jewels glittering in the wastes of space — none of them is of any practical value, so far as I can see, but because they have color and majesty, that is enough for her, and she loses her mind over them. If she could quiet down and keep still a couple of minutes at a time, it would be a reposeful spectacle. In that cases I think I could enjoy looking at her; indeed I am sure I could, for I am coming to realize that she is a quite remarkably comely creature — lithe, slender, trim, rounded, shapely, nimble, graceful; and once when she was standing marble-white and sun-drenched on a boulder, with her young head tilted back and her hand shading her eyes, watching the flight of a bird in the sky, I recognized that she was beautiful.
Mark Twain (The Diaries of Adam and Eve)
What a night it was! The jagged masses of heavy dark cloud were rolling at intervals from horizon to horizon, and thin white wreaths covered the stars. Through all the rush of the cloud river the moon swam, breasting the waves and disappearing again in the darkness. I walked up and down, drinking in the beauty of the quiet earth and the changing sky. The night was absolutely silent. Nothing seemed to be abroad. There was no scurrying of rabbits, or twitter of the half-asleep birds. And though the clouds went sailing across the sky, the wind that drove them never came low enough to rustle the dead leaves in the woodland paths. Across the meadows I could see the church tower standing out black and grey against the sky. ("Man Size In Marble")
E. Nesbit (Ghost Stories (Haunting Ghost Stories))
This is my last letter There will be no others. This is the last grey cloud That will rain on you, After this, you will never again Know the rain. This is the last drop of wine in my cup There will be no more drunkenness. This is the last letter of madness, The last letter of childhood. After me you will no longer know The purity of youth The beauty of madness. I have loved you Like a child running from school Hiding birds and poems In his pockets. With you I was a child of Hallucinations, Distractions, Contradictions, I was a child of poetry and nervous writing. As for you, You were a woman of Eastern ways Waiting for her fate to appear In the lines of the coffee cups. How miserable you are, my lady, After today You won't be in the blue notebooks, In the pages of the letters, In the cry of the candles, In the mailman's bag. You won't be Inside the children's sweets In the colored kites. You won't be in the pain of the letters In the pain of the poems. You have exiled yourself From the gardens of my childhood You are no longer poetry.
Nizar Qabbani (Arabian Love Poems: Full Arabic and English Texts (Three Continents Press))
I sat wondering: Why is there always this deep shade of melancholy over the fields arid river banks, the sky and the sunshine of our country? And I came to the conclusion that it is because with us Nature is obviously the more important thing. The sky is free, the fields limitless; and the sun merges them into one blazing whole. In the midst of this, man seems so trivial. He comes and goes, like the ferry-boat, from this shore to the other; the babbling hum of his talk, the fitful echo of his song, is heard; the slight movement of his pursuit of his own petty desires is seen in the world's market-places: but how feeble, how temporary, how tragically meaningless it all seems amidst the immense aloofness of the Universe! The contrast between the beautiful, broad, unalloyed peace of Nature—calm, passive, silent, unfathomable,—and our own everyday worries—paltry, sorrow-laden, strife-tormented, puts me beside myself as I keep staring at the hazy, distant, blue line of trees which fringe the fields across the river. Where Nature is ever hidden, and cowers under mist and cloud, snow and darkness, there man feels himself master; he regards his desires, his works, as permanent; he wants to perpetuate them, he looks towards posterity, he raises monuments, he writes biographies; he even goes the length of erecting tombstones over the dead. So busy is he that he has not time to consider how many monuments crumble, how often names are forgotten!
Rabindranath Tagore
And there I was at night, chasing after the full moon behind the clouds like a mad man in search of the reflection of the light of love in another person, without daring to light up the spark of light that I had left within myself. It was nowhere to be seen, but I felt it was out there somewhere. I've surely seen it a couple of days ago up in the sky and my eyes couldn't have lied to me, it was so beautiful, or so it appeared to be. I guess I have to stop stalking what can't be seen for awhile and let the light of the full moon find its way through my messed up soul. Maybe it's time to go to sleep and trust that another sunrise will renew what the full moon couldn't clear away tonight. During all that time, I might've not found the light of the moon, but I rested deeply with the sound of the raindrops, while gazing at the quiet river flowing slowly. What a crucial moment to be alive!
Virgil Kalyana Mittata Iordache
Zen has been called the "religion before religion," which is to say that anyone can practice, including those committed to another faith. And that phrase evokes that natural religion of our early childhood, when heaven and a splendorous earth were one. But soon the child's clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, at the bottom of each breath, there is a hollow place filled with longing. We become seekers without knowing that we seek, and at first, we long for something "greater" than ourselves, something apart and far away. It is not a return to childhood, for childhood is not a truly enlightened state. Yet to seek one's own true nature is "a way to lead you to your long lost home." To practice Zen means to realize one's existence moment after moment, rather than letting life unravel in regret of the past and daydreaming of the future. To "rest in the present" is a state of magical simplicity...out of the emptiness can come a true insight into our natural harmony all creation. To travel this path, one need not be a 'Zen Buddhist', which is only another idea to be discarded like 'enlightenment,' and like 'the Buddha' and like 'God.
Peter Matthiessen (Nine-Headed Dragon River: Zen Journals, 1969-1982)
A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are. Because—isn’t it drilled into us constantly, from childhood on, an unquestioned platitude in the culture—? From William Blake to Lady Gaga, from Rousseau to Rumi to Tosca to Mister Rogers, it’s a curiously uniform message, accepted from high to low: when in doubt, what to do? How do we know what’s right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: “Be yourself.” “Follow your heart.” Only here’s what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted—? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight towards a beautiful flare of ruin self-immolation, disaster? Is Kitsey right? If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you?
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
I believe in Free Will, the Force Almighty by which we conduct ourselves as if we were the sons and daughters of a just and wise God, even if there is no such Supreme Being. And by free will, we can choose to do good on this earth, no matter that we all die, and do not know where we go when we die, or if a justice or explanation awaits us. I believe that we can, through our reason, know what good is, and in the communion of men and women, in which the forgiveness of wrongs will always be more significant than the avenging of them, and that in the beautiful natural world that surrounds us, we represent the best and the finest of beings, for we alone can see that natural beauty, appreciate it, learn from it, weep for it, and seek to conserve it and protect it. I believe finally that we are the only true moral force in the physical world, the makers of, ethics and moral ideas, and that we must be as good as the gods we created in the past to guide us. I believe that through our finest efforts, we will succeed finally in creating heaven on earth, and we do it every time that we love, every time that we embrace, every time that we commit to create rather than destroy, every time that we place life over death, and the natural over what is unnatural, insofar as we are able to define it. And I suppose I do believe in the final analysis that a peace of mind can be obtained in the face of the worst horrors and the worst losses. It can be obtained by faith in change and in will and in accident and by faith in ourselves, that we will do the right thing, more often than not, in the face of adversity. For ours is the power and the glory, because we are capable of visions and ideas which are ultimately stronger and more enduring than we are. That is my credo. That is my belief, for what it's worth, and it sustains me. And if I were to die right now, I wouldn't be afraid. Because I can't believe that horror or chaos awaits us. If any revelation awaits us at all, it must be as good as our ideals and our philosophy. For surely nature must embrace the visible and the invisible, and it couldn't fall short of us. The thing that makes the flowers open and the snowflakes fall must contain a wisdom and a final secret as intricate and beautiful as the blooming camellia or the clouds gathering above, so white and so pure in the blackness. If that isn't so, then we are in the grip of a staggering irony. And all the spooks of hell might as well dance. There could be a devil. People who burn other people to death are fine. There could be anything. But the world is simply to beautiful for that. At least it seems that way to me.
Anne Rice (The Witching Hour (Lives of the Mayfair Witches, #1))
Dear Deborah, Words do not come easily for so many men. We are taught to be strong, to provide, to put away our emotions. A father can work his way through his days and never see that his years are going by. If I could go back in time, I would say some things to that young father as he holds, somewhat uncertainly, his daughter for the very first time. These are the things I would say: When you hear the first whimper in the night, go to the nursery leaving your wife sleeping. Rock in a chair, walk the floor, sing a lullaby so that she will know a man can be gentle. When Mother is away for the evening, come home from work, do the babysitting. Learn to cook a hotdog or a pot of spaghetti, so that your daughter will know a man can serve another's needs. When she performs in school plays or dances in recitals, arrive early, sit in the front seat, devote your full attention. Clap the loudest, so that she will know a man can have eyes only for her. When she asks for a tree house, don't just build it, but build it with her. Sit high among the branches and talk about clouds, and caterpillars, and leaves. Ask her about her dreams and wait for her answers, so that she will know a man can listen. When you pass by her door as she dresses for a date, tell her she is beautiful. Take her on a date yourself. Open doors, buy flowers, look her in the eye, so that she will know a man can respect her. When she moves away from home, send a card, write a note, call on the phone. If something reminds you of her, take a minute to tell her, so that she will know a man can think of her even when she is away. Tell her you love her, so that she will know a man can say the words. If you hurt her, apologize, so that she will know a man can admit that he's wrong. These seem like such small things, such a fraction of time in the course of two lives. But a thread does not require much space. It can be too fine for the eye to see, yet, it is the very thing that binds, that takes pieces and laces them into a whole. Without it, there are tatters. It is never too late for a man to learn to stitch, to begin mending. These are the things I would tell that young father, if I could. A daughter grown up quickly. There isn't time to waste. I love you, Dad
Lisa Wingate (Dandelion Summer (Blue Sky Hill #4))
There were just all those evenings we sat together and it doesn't seem possible that it will never be again. It was like we were the only two people in the world. No one will ever understand how happy we were...I could sit there all night watching her, just the shape of her head and the way the hair fell from it with a special curve, so graceful it was, like the shape of a swallow-tail. It was like a veil or a cloud, it would lie like silk strands all untidy and loose but lovely over her shoulders, I wish I had words to describe it like a poet would or an artist. She had a way of throwing it back when it had fallen too much forward, it was just a simple natural movement. Sometimes I wanted to say to her, please do it again, please let your hair fall forward and toss it back. Only of course it would have been stupid. Everything she did was delicate like that. Just turning a page. Standing up or sitting down, drinking, smoking, anything. Even when she did things considered ugly, like yawning or stretching, she made it seem pretty. The truth was she couldn't do ugly things. She was too beautiful.
John Fowles (The Collector)
[339] Vita femina. To see the ultimate beauties in a work-all knowledge and good-will is not enough; it requires the rarest, good chance for the veil of clouds to move for once from the summits, and for the sun to shine on them. We must not only stand at precisely the right place to see this, our very soul itself must have pulled away the veil from its heights, and must be in need of an external expression and simile, so as to have a hold and remain master of itself. All these, however, are so rarely united at the same time that I am inclined to believe that the highest summit of all that is good, be it work, deed, man, or nature, has hitherto remained for most people, and even for the best, as something concealed and shrouded-that, however, which unveils itself to us, unveils itself to us but once. The Greeks indeed prayed: "Twice and thrice, everything beautiful!" Ah, they had their good reason to call on the Gods, for ungodly actuality does not furnish us with the beautiful at all, or only does so once! I mean to say that the world is overfull of beautiful things, but it is nevertheless poor, very poor, in beautiful moments, and in the unveiling of those beautiful things. But perhaps this is the greatest charm of life: it puts a gold- embroidered veil of lovely potentialities over itself, promising, resisting, modest, mocking, sympathetic, seductive. Yes, life is a woman!
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs)
NINA Your life is beautiful. TRIGORIN I see nothing especially lovely about it. [He looks at his watch] Excuse me, I must go at once, and begin writing again. I am in a hurry. [He laughs] You have stepped on my pet corn, as they say, and I am getting excited, and a little cross. Let us discuss this bright and beautiful life of mine, though. [After a few moments' thought] Violent obsessions sometimes lay hold of a man: he may, for instance, think day and night of nothing but the moon. I have such a moon. Day and night I am held in the grip of one besetting thought, to write, write, write! Hardly have I finished one book than something urges me to write another, and then a third, and then a fourth--I write ceaselessly. I am, as it were, on a treadmill. I hurry for ever from one story to another, and can't help myself. Do you see anything bright and beautiful in that? Oh, it is a wild life! Even now, thrilled as I am by talking to you, I do not forget for an instant that an unfinished story is awaiting me. My eye falls on that cloud there, which has the shape of a grand piano; I instantly make a mental note that I must remember to mention in my story a cloud floating by that looked like a grand piano. I smell heliotrope; I mutter to myself: a sickly smell, the colour worn by widows; I must remember that in writing my next description of a summer evening. I catch an idea in every sentence of yours or of my own, and hasten to lock all these treasures in my literary store-room, thinking that some day they may be useful to me. As soon as I stop working I rush off to the theatre or go fishing, in the hope that I may find oblivion there, but no! Some new subject for a story is sure to come rolling through my brain like an iron cannonball. I hear my desk calling, and have to go back to it and begin to write, write, write, once more. And so it goes for everlasting. I cannot escape myself, though I feel that I am consuming my life. To prepare the honey I feed to unknown crowds, I am doomed to brush the bloom from my dearest flowers, to tear them from their stems, and trample the roots that bore them under foot. Am I not a madman? Should I not be treated by those who know me as one mentally diseased? Yet it is always the same, same old story, till I begin to think that all this praise and admiration must be a deception, that I am being hoodwinked because they know I am crazy, and I sometimes tremble lest I should be grabbed from behind and whisked off to a lunatic asylum. The best years of my youth were made one continual agony for me by my writing. A young author, especially if at first he does not make a success, feels clumsy, ill-at-ease, and superfluous in the world. His nerves are all on edge and stretched to the point of breaking; he is irresistibly attracted to literary and artistic people, and hovers about them unknown and unnoticed, fearing to look them bravely in the eye, like a man with a passion for gambling, whose money is all gone. I did not know my readers, but for some reason I imagined they were distrustful and unfriendly; I was mortally afraid of the public, and when my first play appeared, it seemed to me as if all the dark eyes in the audience were looking at it with enmity, and all the blue ones with cold indifference. Oh, how terrible it was! What agony!
Anton Chekhov (The Seagull)
All those summer drives, no matter where I was going, to a person, a project, an adventure, or home, alone in the car with my social life all before and behind me, I was suspended in the beautiful solitude of the open road, in a kind of introspection that only outdoor space generates, for inside and outside are more intertwined than the usual distinctions allow. The emotion stirred by the landscape is piercing, a joy close to pain when the blue is deepest on the horizon or the clouds are doing those spectacular fleeting things so much easier to recall than to describe. Sometimes I thought of my apartment in San Francisco as only a winter camp and home as the whole circuit around the West I travel a few times a year and myself as something of a nomad (nomads, contrary to current popular imagination, have fixed circuits and stable relationships to places; they are far from beign the drifters and dharma bums that the word nomad often connotes nowadays). This meant that it was all home, and certainly the intense emotion that, for example, the sequence of mesas alongside the highway for perhaps fifty miles west of Gallup, N.M., and a hundred miles east has the power even as I write to move me deeply, as do dozens of other places, and I have come to long not to see new places but to return and know the old ones more deeply, to see them again. But if this was home, then I was both possessor of an enchanted vastness and profoundly alienated.
Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)
It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of ANNABEL LEE; And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me. I was a child and she was a child, In this kingdom by the sea; But we loved with a love that was more than love- I and my Annabel Lee; With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven Coveted her and me. And this was the reason that, long ago, In this kingdom by the sea, A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling My beautiful Annabel Lee; So that her highborn kinsman came And bore her away from me, To shut her up in a sepulchre In this kingdom by the sea. The angels, not half so happy in heaven, Went envying her and me- Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea) That the wind came out of the cloud by night, Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee. But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we- Of many far wiser than we- And neither the angels in heaven above, Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee. For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride, In the sepulchre there by the sea, In her tomb by the sounding sea." "It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of ANNABEL LEE; And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me. I was a child and she was a child, In this kingdom by the sea; But we loved with a love that was more than love- I and my Annabel Lee; With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven Coveted her and me. And this was the reason that, long ago, In this kingdom by the sea, A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling My beautiful Annabel Lee; So that her highborn kinsman came And bore her away from me, To shut her up in a sepulchre In this kingdom by the sea. The angels, not half so happy in heaven, Went envying her and me- Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea) That the wind came out of the cloud by night, Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee. But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we- Of many far wiser than we- And neither the angels in heaven above, Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee. For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride, In the sepulchre there by the sea, In her tomb by the sounding sea.
Edgar Allan Poe
And What Good Will Your Vanity Be When The Rapture Comes” says the man with a cart of empty bottles at the corner of church and lincoln while I stare into my phone and I say I know oh I know while trying to find the specific filter that will make the sun’s near-flawless descent look the way I might describe it in a poem and the man says the moment is already right in front of you and I say I know but everyone I love is not here and I mean here like on this street corner with me while I turn the sky a darker shade of red on my phone and I mean here like everyone I love who I can still touch and not pass my fingers through like the wind in a dream but I look up at the man and he is a kaleidoscope of shadows I mean his shadows have shadows and they are small and trailing behind him and I know then that everyone he loves is also not here and the man doesn’t ask but I still say hey man I’ve got nothing I’ve got nothing even though I have plenty to go home to and the sun is still hot even in its endless flirt with submission and the man’s palm has a small river inside I mean he has taken my hand now and here we are tethered and unmoving and the man says what color are you making the sky and I say what I might say in a poem I say all surrender ends in blood and he says what color are you making the sky and I say something bright enough to make people wish they were here and he squints towards the dancing shrapnel of dying light along a rooftop and he says I love things only as they are and I’m sure I did once too but I can’t prove it to anyone these days and he says the end isn’t always about what dies and I know I know or I knew once and now I write about beautiful things like I will never touch a beautiful thing again and the man looks me in the eyes and he points to the blue-orange vault over heaven’s gates and he says the face of everyone you miss is up there and I know I know I can’t see them but I know and he turns my face to the horizon and he says we don’t have much time left and I get that he means the time before the sun is finally through with its daily work or I think I get that but I still can’t stop trembling and I close my eyes and I am sobbing on the corner of church and lincoln and when I open my eyes the sun is plucking everyone who has chosen to love me from the clouds and carrying them into the light-drunk horizon and I am seeing this and I know I am seeing this the girl who kissed me as a boy in the dairy aisle of meijer while our parents shopped and the older boy on the basketball team who taught me how to make a good fist and swing it into the jaw of a bully and the friends who crawled to my porch in the summer of any year I have been alive they were all there I saw their faces and it was like I was given the eyes of a newborn again and once you know what it is to be lonely it is hard to unsee that which serves as a reminder that you were not always empty and I am gasping into the now-dark air and I pull my shirt up to wipe whatever tears are left and I see the man walking in the other direction and I chase him down and tap his arm and I say did you see it did you see it like I did and he turns and leans into the glow of a streetlamp and he is anchored by a single shadow now and he sneers and he says have we met and he scoffs and pushes his cart off into the night and I can hear the glass rattling even as I watch him become small and vanish and I look down at my phone and the sky on the screen is still blood red.
Hanif Abdurraqib
What frightens you? What makes the hair on your arms rise, your palms sweat, the breath catch in your chest like a wild thing caged? Is it the dark? A fleeting memory of a bedtime story, ghosts and goblins and witches hiding in the shadows? Is it the way the wind picks up just before a storm, the hint of wet in the air that makes you want to scurry home to the safety of your fire? Or is it something deeper, something much more frightening, a monster deep inside that you've glimpsed only in pieces, the vast unknown of your own soul where secrets gather with a terrible power, the dark inside? If you will listen I will tell you a story-one whose ghost cannot be banished by the comfort of a roaring fire, I will tell you the story of how we found ourselves in a realm where dreams are formed, destiny is chosen, and magic is as real as your handprint in the snow. I will tell you how we unlocked the Pandora's box of ourselves, tasted freedom, stained our souls with blood and choice, and unleashed a horror on the world that destroyed its dearest Order. These pages are a confession of all that has led to this cold, gray dawn. What will be now, I cannot say. Is your heart beating faster? Do the clouds seem to be gathering on the horizons? Does the skin on your neck feel stretched tight, waiting for a kiss you both fear and need? Will you be scared? Will you know the truth? Mary Dowd, April 7, 1871
Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1))
The Devil's Rose You would never take a rose from a beast. If his callous hand were to hold out a scarlet flower, his grip unaffected by pricking thorns, you would shrink from the gift and refuse it. I know that is what you would do. But the cunning beast will have his beauty. He hunts not in hopeless pursuit, for fear would have you sprint all the day long. Thus, he turns toward the shadows and clutches the rosebud, crunching and twisting until every delicate petal is detached. One falls not far from your feet, and you notice the red spot in the snow. The color sparkles in the sunlight, catching your curious eye. No beast stands in sight; there is nothing to fear, so you dare retrieve the lone petal. The touch of temptation is velvet against your thumb. It carries a scent you bring to your nose, and both eyes close to float on a cloud of perfume. As your lashes lift, another scarlet drop stains the snow at a near distance. A glance around perceives no danger, and so your footprints scar the snowflakes to retrieve another rosy leaflet as soft and sweet as the first. Your eyes shine with flecks of golden greed at the discovery of more discarded petals, and you blame the wind for scattering them mere footprints apart. All you want is a few, so you step and snatch, step and snatch, step and snatch. Soon, there is enough velvet to rub against your cheek like a silken kerchief. Your collection of one-plus-one-more reeks of floral essence. Distracted, you jump at the sight of the beast in your path. He stands before his lair, grinning without love. His callous hands grip at thorns on a single naked stem, and you look down at your own hands that now cup his rose. But how can it be? You would never take a rose from a beast. You would shrink from the gift and refuse it. He knows that is what you would do.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
Hush!’ said the Cabby. They all listened. In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it… ‘Gawd!’ said the Cabby. ‘Ain’t it lovely?’ Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but far higher up the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out – single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world. There were no clouds. The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time. If you had seen and heard it , as Digory did, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves who were singing, and that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing. ‘Glory be!’ said the Cabby. ‘I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this.’ …Far away, and down near the horizon, the sky began to turn grey. A light wind, very fresh, began to stir. The sky, in that one place, grew slowly and steadily paler. You could see shapes of hills standing up dark against it. All the time the Voice went on singing…The eastern sky changed from white to pink and from pink to gold. The Voice rose and rose, till all the air was shaking with it. And just as it swelled to the mightiest and most glorious sound it had yet produced, the sun arose. Digory had never seen such a sun…You could imagine that it laughed for joy as it came up. And as its beams shot across the land the travellers could see for the first time what sort of place they were in. It was a valley through which a broad, swift river wound its way, flowing eastward towards the sun. Southward there were mountains, northward there were lower hills. But it was a valley of mere earth, rock and water; there was not a tree, not a bush, not a blade of grass to be seen. The earth was of many colours: they were fresh, hot and vivid. They made you feel excited; until you saw the Singer himself, and then you forgot everything else. It was a Lion. Huge, shaggy, and bright it stood facing the risen sun. Its mouth was wide open in song and it was about three hundred yards away.
C.S. Lewis (The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #6))
A KING WHO PLACED MIRRORS IN HIS PALACE There lived a king; his comeliness was such The world could not acclaim his charm too much. The world's wealth seemed a portion of his grace; It was a miracle to view his face. If he had rivals,then I know of none; The earth resounded with this paragon. When riding through his streets he did not fail To hide his features with a scarlet veil. Whoever scanned the veil would lose his head; Whoever spoke his name was left for dead, The tongue ripped from his mouth; whoever thrilled With passion for this king was quickly killed. A thousand for his love expired each day, And those who saw his face, in blank dismay Would rave and grieve and mourn their lives away- To die for love of that bewitching sight Was worth a hundred lives without his light. None could survive his absence patiently, None could endure this king's proximity- How strange it was that man could neither brook The presence nor the absence of his look! Since few could bear his sight, they were content To hear the king in sober argument, But while they listened they endure such pain As made them long to see their king again. The king commanded mirrors to be placed About the palace walls, and when he faced Their polished surfaces his image shone With mitigated splendour to the throne. If you would glimpse the beauty we revere Look in your heart-its image will appear. Make of your heart a looking-glass and see Reflected there the Friend's nobility; Your sovereign's glory will illuminate The palace where he reigns in proper state. Search for this king within your heart; His soul Reveals itself in atoms of the Whole. The multitude of forms that masquerade Throughout the world spring from the Simorgh's shade. If you catch sight of His magnificence It is His shadow that beguiles your glance; The Simorgh's shadow and Himself are one; Seek them together, twinned in unison. But you are lost in vague uncertainty... Pass beyond shadows to Reality. How can you reach the Simorgh's splendid court? First find its gateway, and the sun, long-sought, Erupts through clouds; when victory is won, Your sight knows nothing but the blinding sun.
Attar of Nishapur
There were days so clear and skies so brilliant blue, with white clouds scudding across them like ships under full sail, and she felt she could lift right off the ground. One moment she was ambling down a path, and the next thing she knew, the wind would take hold of her, like a hand pushing against her back. Her feet would start running without her even willing it, even knowing it. And she would run faster and faster across the prairie, until her heart jumped like a rabbit and her breath came in deep gasps and her feet barely skimmed the ground. It felt good to spend herself this way. The air tasted fresh and delicious; it smelled like damp earth, grass, and flowers. And her body felt strong, supple, and hungry for more of everything life could serve up. She ran and felt like one of the animals, as though her feet were growing up out of the earth. And she knew what they knew, that sometimes you ran just because you could, because of the way the rush of air felt on your face and how your legs reached out, eating up longer and longer patches of ground. She ran until the blood pounded in her ears, so loud that she couldn't hear the voices that said, You're not good enough, You're not old enough, You're not beautiful or smart or loveable, and you will always be alone. She ran because there were ghosts chasing her, shadows that pursued her, heartaches she was leaving behind. She was running for her life, and those phantoms couldn't catch her, not here, not anywhere. She would outrun fear and sadness and worry and shame and all those losses that had lined up against her like a column of soldiers with their guns shouldered and ready to fire. If she had to, she would outrun death itself. She would keep on running until she dropped, exhausted. Then she would roll over onto her back and breathe in the endless sky above her, sun glinting off her face. To be an animal, to have a body like this that could taste, see hear, and fly through space, to lie down and smell the earth and feel the heat of the sun on your face was enough for her. She did not need anything else but this: just to be alive, cool air caressing her skin, dreaming of Ivy and what might be ahead.
Pamela Todd (The Blind Faith Hotel)
A Tear And A Smile - I would not exchange the sorrows of my heart For the joys of the multitude. And I would not have the tears that sadness makes To flow from my every part turn into laughter. I would that my life remain a tear and a smile. A tear to purify my heart and give me understanding Of life's secrets and hidden things. A smile to draw me nigh to the sons of my kind and To be a symbol of my glorification of the gods. A tear to unite me with those of broken heart; A smile to be a sign of my joy in existence. I would rather that I died in yearning and longing than that I live Weary and despairing. I want the hunger for love and beauty to be in the Depths of my spirit,for I have seen those who are Satisfied the most wretched of people. I have heard the sigh of those in yearning and Longing, and it is sweeter than the sweetest melody. With evening's coming the flower folds her petals And sleeps, embracingher longing. At morning's approach she opens her lips to meet The sun's kiss. The life of a flower is longing and fulfilment. A tear and a smile. The waters of the sea become vapor and rise and come Together and area cloud. And the cloud floats above the hills and valleys Until it meets the gentle breeze, then falls weeping To the fields and joins with brooks and rivers to Return to the sea, its home. The life of clouds is a parting and a meeting. A tear and a smile. And so does the spirit become separated from The greater spirit to move in the world of matter And pass as a cloud over the mountain of sorrow And the plains of joy to meet the breeze of death And return whence it came. To the ocean of Love and Beauty----to God.
Kahlil Gibran (A Tear and a Smile)
There is always a man eager to explain my mental illness to me. They all do it so confidently, motioning to their Hemingway and Bukowski bookshelf as they compare my depression to their late-night loneliness. There is always someone that rejected them that they equate their sadness to and a bottle of gin (or a song playing, or a movie) close by that they refer to as their cure. Somehow, every soft confession of my Crazy that I hand to them turns into them pulling out pieces of themselves to prove how it really is in my head. So many dudes I’ve dated have faces like doctors ready to institutionalize and love my crazy (but only on Friday nights.) They tell their friends about my impulsive decision making and how I “get them” more than anyone they’ve ever met but leave out my staring off in silence for hours and the self-inflicted bruises on my cheeks. None of them want to acknowledge a crazy they can’t cure. They want a crazy that fits well into a trope and gives them a chance to play Hero. And they always love a Crazy that provides them material to write about. Truth is they love me best as a cigarette cloud of impossibility, with my lipstick applied perfectly and my Crazy only being pulled out when their life needs a little spice. They don’t want me dirty, having not left my bed for days. Not diseased. Not real. So they invite me over when they’re going through writer’s block but don’t answer my calls during breakdowns. They tell me I look beautiful when I’m crying then stick their hands in-between my thighs. They mistake my silence for listening to them attentively and say my quiet mouth understands them like no one else has. These men love my good dead hollowness. Because it means less of a fighting personality for them to force out. And is so much easier to fill someone who has already given up with themselves.
Lora Mathis
This afternoon I walked through the city, making for a café where I was to meet Raphael. It was about half-past two on a day that had never really got light. It began to snow. The low clouds made a grey ceiling for the city; the snow muffled the noise of the cars until it became almost rhythmical; a steady, shushing noise, like the sound of tides beating endlessly on marble walls. I closed my eyes. I felt calm. There was a park. I entered it and followed a path through an avenue of tall, ancient trees with wide, dusky, grassy spaces on either side of them. The pale snow sifted down through bare winter branches. The lights of the cars on the distant road sparkled through the trees: red, yellow, white. It was very quiet. Though it was not yet twilight the streetlights shed a faint light. People were walking up and down on the path. An old man passed me. He looked sad and tired. He had broken veins on his cheeks and a bristly white beard. As he screwed up his eyes against the falling snow, I realised I knew him. He is depicted on the northern wall of the forty-eighth western hall. He is shown as a king with a little model of a walled city in one hand while the other hand he raises in blessing. I wanted to seize hold of him and say to him: In another world you are a king, noble and good! I have seen it! But I hesitated a moment too long and he disappeared into the crowd. A woman passed me with two children. One of the children had a wooden recorder in his hands. I knew them too. They are depicted in the twenty-seventh southern hall: a statue of two children laughing, one of them holding a flute. I came out of the park. The city streets rose up around me. There was a hotel with a courtyard with metal tables and chairs for people to sit in more clement weather. Today they were snow-strewn and forlorn. A lattice of wire was strung across the courtyard. Paper lanterns were hanging from the wires, spheres of vivid orange that blew and trembled in the snow and the thin wind; the sea-grey clouds raced across the sky and the orange lanterns shivered against them. The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.
Susanna Clarke (Piranesi)
My Dearest, I miss you, my darling, as I always do, but today is especially hard because the ocean has been singing to me, and the song is that of our life together. I can almost feel you beside me as I write this letter, and I can smell the scent of wildflowers that always reminds me of you. But at this moment, these things give me no pleasure. Your visits have been coming less often, and I feel sometimes as if the greatest part of who I am is slowly slipping away. I am trying, though. At night when I am alone, I call for you, and whenever my ache seems to be the greatest, you still seem to find a way to return to me. Last night, in my dreams, I saw you on the pier near Wrightsville Beach. The wind was blowing through your hair, and your eyes held the fading sunlight. I am struck as I see you leaning against the rail. You are beautiful, I think as I see you, a vision that I can never find in anyone else. I slowly begin to walk toward you, and when you finally turn to me, I notice that others have been watching you as well. “Do you know her?” they ask me in jealous whispers, and as you smile at me, I simply answer with the truth. “Better than my own heart.” I stop when I reach you and take you in my arms. I long for this moment more than any other. It is what I live for, and when you return my embrace, I give myself over to this moment, at peace once again. I raise my hand and gently touch your cheek and you tilt your head and close your eyes. My hands are hard and your skin is soft, and I wonder for a moment if you’ll pull back, but of course you don’t. You never have, and it is at times like this that I know what my purpose is in life. I am here to love you, to hold you in my arms, to protect you. I am here to learn from you and to receive your love in return. I am here because there is no other place to be. But then, as always, the mist starts to form as we stand close to one another. It is a distant fog that rises from the horizon, and I find that I grow fearful as it approaches. It slowly creeps in, enveloping the world around us, fencing us in as if to prevent escape. Like a rolling cloud, it blankets everything, closing, until there is nothing left but the two of us. I feel my throat begin to close and my eyes well up with tears because I know it is time for you to go. The look you give me at that moment haunts me. I feel your sadness and my own loneliness, and the ache in my heart that had been silent for only a short time grows stronger as you release me. And then you spread your arms and step back into the fog because it is your place and not mine. I long to go with you, but your only response is to shake your head because we both know that is impossible. And I watch with breaking heart as you slowly fade away. I find myself straining to remember everything about this moment, everything about you. But soon, always too soon, your image vanishes and the fog rolls back to its faraway place and I am alone on the pier and I do not care what others think as I bow my head and cry and cry and cry.
Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle)
A Swedish minister having assembled the chiefs of the Susquehanna Indians, made a sermon to them, acquainting them with the principal historical facts on which our religion is founded — such as the fall of our first parents by eating an apple, the coming of Christ to repair the mischief, his miracles and suffering, etc. When he had finished an Indian orator stood up to thank him. ‘What you have told us,’ says he, ‘is all very good. It is indeed bad to eat apples. It is better to make them all into cider. We are much obliged by your kindness in coming so far to tell us those things which you have heard from your mothers. In return, I will tell you some of those we have heard from ours. ‘In the beginning, our fathers had only the flesh of animals to subsist on, and if their hunting was unsuccessful they were starving. Two of our young hunters, having killed a deer, made a fire in the woods to boil some parts of it. When they were about to satisfy their hunger, they beheld a beautiful young woman descend from the clouds and seat herself on that hill which you see yonder among the Blue Mountains. ‘They said to each other, “It is a spirit that perhaps has smelt our broiling venison and wishes to eat of it; let us offer some to her.” They presented her with the tongue; she was pleased with the taste of it and said: “Your kindness shall be rewarded; come to this place after thirteen moons, and you will find something that will be of great benefit in nourishing you and your children to the latest generations.” They did so, and to their surprise found plants they had never seen before, but which from that ancient time have been constantly cultivated among us to our great advantage. Where her right hand had touched the ground they found maize; where her left had touched it they found kidney-beans; and where her backside had sat on it they found tobacco.’ The good missionary, disgusted with this idle tale, said: ‘What I delivered to you were sacred truths; but what you tell me is mere fable, fiction, and falsehood.’ The Indian, offended, replied: ‘My brother, it seems your friends have not done you justice in your education; they have not well instructed you in the rules of common civility. You saw that we, who understand and practise those rules, believed all your stories; why do you refuse to believe ours?
Benjamin Franklin (Remarks Concerning the Savages)
As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race, I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place. Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all. We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn: But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind, So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind. We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace, Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place, But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome. With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch, They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch; They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings; So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things. When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace. They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease. But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know." On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife) Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death." In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all, By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul; But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy, And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die." Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more. As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man There are only four things certain since Social Progress began. That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire; And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins, As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn, The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
Rudyard Kipling
Questions of Travel There are too many waterfalls here; the crowded streams hurry too rapidly down to the sea, and the pressure of so many clouds on the mountaintops makes them spill over the sides in soft slow-motion, turning to waterfalls under our very eyes. —For if those streaks, those mile-long, shiny, tearstains, aren't waterfalls yet, in a quick age or so, as ages go here, they probably will be. But if the streams and clouds keep travelling, travelling, the mountains look like the hulls of capsized ships, slime-hung and barnacled. Think of the long trip home. Should we have stayed at home and thought of here? Where should we be today? Is it right to be watching strangers in a play in this strangest of theatres? What childishness is it that while there's a breath of life in our bodies, we are determined to rush to see the sun the other way around? The tiniest green hummingbird in the world? To stare at some inexplicable old stonework, inexplicable and impenetrable, at any view, instantly seen and always, always delightful? Oh, must we dream our dreams and have them, too? And have we room for one more folded sunset, still quite warm? But surely it would have been a pity not to have seen the trees along this road, really exaggerated in their beauty, not to have seen them gesturing like noble pantomimists, robed in pink. —Not to have had to stop for gas and heard the sad, two-noted, wooden tune of disparate wooden clogs carelessly clacking over a grease-stained filling-station floor. (In another country the clogs would all be tested. Each pair there would have identical pitch.) —A pity not to have heard the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird who sings above the broken gasoline pump in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque: three towers, five silver crosses. —Yes, a pity not to have pondered, blurredly and inconclusively, on what connection can exist for centuries between the crudest wooden footwear and, careful and finicky, the whittled fantasies of wooden cages. —Never to have studied history in the weak calligraphy of songbirds' cages. —And never to have had to listen to rain so much like politicians' speeches: two hour of unrelenting oratory and then a sudden golden silence in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes: "Is it lack of imagination that makes us come to imagined places, not just stay at home? Or could Pascal have been entirely right about just sitting quietly in one's room? Continent, city, country, society: the choice is never wide and never free. And here, or there...No. Should we have stayed at home, wherever that may be?
Elizabeth Bishop (Questions of Travel)
Perspective - Use It or Lose It. If you turned to this page, you're forgetting that what is going on around you is not reality. Think about that. Remember where you came from, where you're going, and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place. You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them. Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers. Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a false messiah. Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully. The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing? Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change. Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years. The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof. There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts. Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect. Then be sure of one thing: The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have. The original sin is to limit the Is. Don't. A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion....this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons. You are never given a wish without being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however. Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours. If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats. The world is your exercise-book, the pages on which you do your sums. It is not reality, although you can express reality there if you wish. You are also free to write nonsense, or lies, or to tear the pages. Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you. In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice. The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities." The truth you speak has no past and no future. It is, and that's all it needs to be. Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't. Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends. The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. You're going to die a horrible death, remember. It's all good training, and you'll enjoy it more if you keep the facts in mind. Take your dying with some seriousness, however. Laughing on the way to your execution it not generally understood by less advanced lifeforms, and they'll call you crazy. Everything above may be wrong!
Richard Bach
There was once a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings. The town lay in the midst of a checkerboard of prosperous farms, with fields of grain and hillsides of orchards where, in spring, white clouds of bloom drifted above the green fields. In autumn, oak and maple and birch set up a blaze of color that flamed and flickered across a backdrop of pines. Then foxes barked in the hills and deer silently crossed the fields, half hidden in the mists of the fall mornings. Along the roads, laurel, viburnum, and alder, great ferns and wildflowers delighted the traveler's eye through much of the year. Even in winter the roadsides were places of beauty, where countless birds came to feed on the berries and on the seed heads of the dried weeds rising above the snow. The countryside was, in fact, famous for the abundance and variety of its bird life, and when the flood of migrants was pouring through in spring and fall people traveled from great distances to observe them. Others came to fish the streams, which flowed clear and cold out of the hills and contained shady pools where trout lay. So it had been from the days many years ago when the first settlers raised their homes, sank their wells, and built their barns. Then a strange blight crept over the area and everything began to change. Some evil spell had settled on the community: mysterious maladies swept the flocks of chickens, the cattle, and sheep sickened and died. Everywhere was a shadow of death. The farmers spoke of much illness among their families. In the town the doctors had become more and more puzzled by new kinds of sickness appearing among their patients. There had been sudden and unexplained deaths, not only among adults but even among children whoe would be stricken suddently while at play and die within a few hours. There was a strange stillness. The birds, for example--where had they gone? Many people spoke of them, puzzled and disturbed. The feeding stations in the backyards were deserted. The few birds seen anywhere were moribund; they trembled violently and could not fly. It was a spring without voices. On the mornings that had once throbbed with the dawn chorus of robins, catbirds, doves, jays, wrens, and scores of other bird voices there was no sound; only silence lay over the fields and woods and marsh. On the farms the hens brooded, but no chicks hatched. The farmers complained that they were unable to raise any pigs--the litters were small and the young survived only a few days. The apple trees were coming into bloom but no bees droned among the blossoms, so there was no pollination and there would be no fruit. The roadsides, once so attractive, were now lined with browned and withered vegetation as though swept by fire. These, too, were silent, deserted by all living things. Even the streams were not lifeless. Anglers no longer visited them, for all the fish had died. In the gutters under the eaves and between the shingles of the roofs, a white granular powder still showed a few patches; some weeks before it had fallen like snow upon the roofs and the lawns, the fields and streams. No witchcraft, no enemy action had silenced the rebirth of life in this stricken world. The people had done it to themselves.
Rachel Carson