Coloured Earth Quotes

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We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same. We are united by the reality that all colours and all cultures are distinct & individual. We are harmonious in the reality that we are all held to this earth by the same gravity. We don't share blood, but we share the air that keeps us alive. I will not blind myself and say that my black brother is not different from me. I will not blind myself and say that my brown sister is not different from me. But my black brother is he as much as I am me. But my brown sister is she as much as I am me.
C. JoyBell C.
Evolution could so easily be disproved if just a single fossil turned up in the wrong date order. Evolution has passed this test with flying colours.
Richard Dawkins (The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution)
He's of the colour of the nutmeg. And of the heat of the ginger.... he is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him, but only in patient stillness while his rider mounts him; he is indeed a horse, and all other jades you may call beasts.
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
Colors shone with exceptional clarity in the rain. The ground was a deep black, the pine branches a brilliant green, the people wrapped in yellow looking like special spirits that were allowed to wander over the earth on rainy mornings only.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
exhilaration fizzed through Clarke’s body. Before she realised what she was doing, she had thrown her arms around Bellamy. He joined in her laughter as he staggered backward, and wrapped his arms around her waist, lifting her up and spinning her through the air. The colours of the clearing swirled, green and gold and blue all blurring until there was nothing in the world but Bellamy’s smile, lighting up his eyes. Finally he set her down gently on the ground. Be he didn’t loosen his grip. Instead he pulled her even closer, and before Clarke had time to catch her breath, his lips were on hers. A voice in her brain told her stop, but it was overpowered by the smell of his skin and the pressure of his touch. Clarke felt like she was melting into his arms, losing herself in the kiss. He tasted like joy, and joy tasted better on Earth.
Kass Morgan (The 100 (The 100, #1))
It seemed to him that he had stepped through a high window that looked on a vanished world. A light was upon it for which his language had no name. All that he saw was shapely, but the shapes seemed at once clear cut, as if they had been first conceived and drawn at the uncovering of his eyes, and ancient as if they had endured for ever. He saw no colour but those he knew, gold and white and blue and green, but they were fresh and poignant, as if he had at that moment first perceived them and made names for them new and wonderful. In winter here no heart could mourn for summer or for spring. No blemish or sickness or deformity could be seen in anything that grew upon the earth. On the land of Lorien there was no stain.
J.R.R. Tolkien
To speak of these things and to try to understand their nature and, having understood it, to try slowly and humbly and constantly to express, to press out again, from the gross earth or what it brings forth, from sound and shape and colour which are the prison gates of our soul, an image of the beauty we have come to understand—that is art.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
The others cast themselves down upon the fragrant grass, but Frodo stood awhile still lost in wonder. It seemed to him that he had stepped through a high window that looked on a vanished world. A light was upon it for which his language had no name. All that he saw was shapely, but the shapes seemed at once clear cut, as if they had been first conceived and drawn at the uncovering of his eyes, and ancient as if they had endured for ever. He saw no colour but those he knew, gold and white and blue and green, but they were fresh and poignant, as if he had at that moment first perceived them and made for them names new and wonderful. In winter here no heart could mourn for summer or for spring. No blemish or sickness or deformity could be seen in anything that grew upon the earth. On the land of Lórien, there was no stain.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1))
Illusions are to the soul what atmosphere is to the earth. Roll up that tender air and the plant dies, the colour fades. The earth we walk on is a parched cinder. It is marl we tread and fiery cobbles scorch our feet. By the truth we are undone. Life is a dream. ‘Tis waking that kills us.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando)
The world is a wide place where we stumble like children learning to walk. The world is a bright mosaic where we learn like children to see, where our little blurry eyes strive greedily to take in as much light and love and colour and detail as they can. The world is a coaxing whisper when the wind lips the trees, when the sea licks the shore, when animals burrow into earth and people look up at the sympathetic stars. The world is an admonishing roar when gales chase rainclouds over the plains and whip up ocean waves, when people crowd into cities or intrude into dazzling jungles. What right have we to carry our desperate mouths up mountains or into deserts? Do we want to taste rock and sand or do we expect to make impossible poems from space and silence? The vastness at least reminds us how tiny we are, and how much we don't yet understand. We are mere babes in the universe, all brothers and sisters in the nursery together. We had better learn to play nicely before we're allowed out..... And we want to go out, don't we? ..... Into the distant humming welcoming darkness.
Jay Woodman (SPAN)
The One remains, the many change and pass; Heaven’s light forever shines, Earth’s shadows fly; Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass, Stains the white radiance of Eternity, Until Death tramples it to fragments.—Die, If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek! Follow where all is fled!—Rome’s azure sky, Flowers, ruins, statues, music, words are weak The glory they transfuse with fitting truth to speak.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (Adonais)
How then does light return to the world after the eclipse of the sun? Miraculously. Frailly. In thin stripes. It hangs like a glass cage. It is a hoop to be fractured by a tiny jar. There is a spark there. Next moment a flush of dun. Then a vapour as if earth were breathing in and out, once, twice, for the first time. Then under the dullness someone walks with a green light. Then off twists a white wraith. The woods throb blue and green, and gradually the fields drink in red, gold, brown. Suddenly a river snatches a blue light. The earth absorbs colour like a sponge slowly drinking water. It puts on weight; rounds itself; hangs pendent; settles and swings beneath our feet.
Virginia Woolf (The Waves)
And all the names of the tribes, the nomads of faith who walked in the monotone of the desert and saw brightness and faith and colour. The way a stone or found metal box or bone can become loved and turn eternal in a prayer. Such glory of this country she enters now and becomes a part of. We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all of this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography—to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience. All I desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps.
Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient)
On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I'd seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam; I saw convex equatorial deserts and each one of their grains of sand; I saw a woman in Inverness whom I shall never forget; I saw her tangled hair, her tall figure, I saw the cancer in her breast; I saw a ring of baked mud in a sidewalk, where before there had been a tree; I saw a summer house in Adrogué and a copy of the first English translation of Pliny -- Philemon Holland's -- and all at the same time saw each letter on each page (as a boy, I used to marvel that the letters in a closed book did not get scrambled and lost overnight); I saw a sunset in Querétaro that seemed to reflect the colour of a rose in Bengal; I saw my empty bedroom; I saw in a closet in Alkmaar a terrestrial globe between two mirrors that multiplied it endlessly; I saw horses with flowing manes on a shore of the Caspian Sea at dawn; I saw the delicate bone structure of a hand; I saw the survivors of a battle sending out picture postcards; I saw in a showcase in Mirzapur a pack of Spanish playing cards; I saw the slanting shadows of ferns on a greenhouse floor; I saw tigers, pistons, bison, tides, and armies; I saw all the ants on the planet; I saw a Persian astrolabe; I saw in the drawer of a writing table (and the handwriting made me tremble) unbelievable, obscene, detailed letters, which Beatriz had written to Carlos Argentino; I saw a monument I worshipped in the Chacarita cemetery; I saw the rotted dust and bones that had once deliciously been Beatriz Viterbo; I saw the circulation of my own dark blood; I saw the coupling of love and the modification of death; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph and in the Aleph the earth; I saw my own face and my own bowels; I saw your face; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon -- the unimaginable universe. I felt infinite wonder, infinite pity.
Jorge Luis Borges
For if it is rash to walk into a lion’s den unarmed, rash to navigate the Atlantic in a rowing boat, rash to stand on one foot on top of St. Paul’s, it is still more rash to go home alone with a poet. A poet is Atlantic and lion in one. While one drowns us the other gnaws us. If we survive the teeth, we succumb to the waves. A man who can destroy illusions is both beast and flood. Illusions are to the soul what atmosphere is to the earth. Roll up that tender air and the plant dies, the colour fades. The earth we walk on is a parched cinder. It is marl we tread and fiery cobbles scorch our feet. By the truth we are undone. Life is a dream. ‘Tis waking that kills us. He who robs us of our dreams robs us of our life—(and so on for six pages if you will, but the style is tedious and may well be dropped).
Virginia Woolf (Orlando)
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
It is the main earthly business of a human being to make his home, and the immediate surroundings of his home, as symbolic and significant to his own imagination as he can.
G.K. Chesterton (The Coloured Lands: A Whimsical Gathering Of Drawings, Stories, And Poems)
Humans tell their children to paint the earth in one colour alone. They imagine the sky in blue, the grass in green, the sun in yellow, and the earth entirely in brown. If only they knew they have rainbows under their feet.
Elif Shafak (The Island of Missing Trees)
Happiness, do not leave me. I know you, a capricious monarch perching on the fortunate flowers you see. Hear me: I am too attached to this royalty now. Can I make you rest here somehow? I will offer you the nectar of every flower in blossom, the honey of every fruit in harvest. I will make the Earth a garden, the entire universe a forest. I beg of you not to flutter by. I beg of you not to leave me, butter-coloured fly. Nest here and for you, I will create a home.
Kamand Kojouri
Already the new men are dotted here and there all over the earth. Some, as I have admitted, are still hardly recognisable: but others can be recognised. Every now and then one meets them. Their very voices and faces are different from ours: stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant. They begin where most of us leave off. They are, I say, recognisable; but you must know what to look for. They will not be very like the idea of ‘religious people’ which you have formed from your general reading. They do not draw attention to themselves. You tend to think that you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than other men do, but they need you less. (We must get over wanting to be NEEDED: in some goodish people, specially women, that is the hardest of all temptations to resist.) They will usually seem to have a lot of time: you will wonder where it comes from. When you have recognised one of them, you will recognise the next one much more easily. And I strongly suspect (but how should I know?) that they recognise one another immediately and infallibly, across every barrier of colour, sex, class, age, and even of creeds. In that way, to become holy is rather like joining a secret society. To put it at the very lowest, it must be great fun
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
I felt the full breadth and depth of the ocean around the sphere of the Earth, back billions of years to the beginning of life, across all the passing lives and deaths, the endless waves of swimming joy and quiet losses of exquisite creatures with fins and fronds, tentacles and wings, colourful and transparent, tiny and huge, coming and going. There is nothing the ocean has not seen
Sally Andrew (The Fire Dogs of Climate Change: An Inspirational Call to Action)
If human beings are the most intelligent creatures on earth, why is it that the other less intelligent creatures realise themselves in their group of spieces that they are the same despite the difference in colour or condition, while humam beings don't
Nathanael Kanyinga
The nights did not come gently but seemed to slam down angrily upon the Earth, and starlight transformed the golden brown of the wheat to the colour of polished silver.
Rick Yancey (The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave, #2))
He is not admiring the colours of the earth and sky, the marks of the wind on the sea, the gilded clouds of twilight; they are the objects of his meditation.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Wind, Sand and Stars)
It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on Earth has ever produced the expression "as pretty as an airport". Airports are ugly. Some are very ugly. Some attain a degree of ugliness that can only be the result of a special effort. This ugliness arises because airports are full of people who are tired, cross, and have just discovered that their luggage has landed in Murmansk (...) and the architects have on the whole tried to reflect this in their designs. They have sought to highlight the tiredness and crossness motif with brutal shapes and nerve jangling colours, to make effortless the business of separating the traveller from his or her luggage or loved ones, to confuse the traveller with arrows that appear to point at the windows, distant tie racks, or the current position of the Ursa Minor in the night sky, and wherever possible to expose the plumbing on the grounds that it is functional, and conceal the location of the departure gates, presumably on the grounds that they are not".
Douglas Adams (The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (Dirk Gently, #2))
The cattle crouched round them in soft shadowy clumps, placidly munching, and dreaming with wide-open eyes. The narrow zone of colour created by the firelight was like the planet Earth - a little freak of brightness in a universe of impenetrable shadows
Hope Mirrlees (Lud-in-the-Mist)
Quietude Nothing visits me; my heart is quiet. It was Sunday’s roofed school paths, - everyone gone to the meadow. The floorboards have a cold shine, small birds are singing in the garden. The half-shut tap’s droplet blinks! The earth is rose-coloured, larks in the sky; the sky is a beautiful April. Nothing visits me; my heart is quiet.
Chūya Nakahara (The Poems of Nakahara Chuya)
You asked me if you could see colours again, Salama. If we deserve to see them. I think we do. I think you can. There's too little of it in death. In pain. But that's not the only thing in the world. That's not all that Syria has. Syria was once the center of the world. Inventions and discoveries were made here; they built the world. Our history is in the Al-Zahrawi Palace, in our mosques, in our earth
Zoulfa Katouh (As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow)
She yawned. If the Lords of Entropy were to manifest themselves on Earth again as they had in the legendary past she felt she might welcome them as a relief, at least, to her boredom. Not, of course, that she believed in those terrible prehistoric fables, though sometimes she could not help wishing that they had really existed and that she had lived in them, for they must surely have been more colourful and stimulating than this present age, where dull Reason drove bright Romance away: granite scattering mercury.
Michael Moorcock (Gloriana)
August says to Lily," You know some things don't matter that much Lily. Like the colour of the house. How big is that in overall scheme of life? But lifiting person's heart- now that matters. The whole problem with people is – they know what matters but they don't choose it. The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters
Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees)
You could see her thoughts swimming around in her eyes, like fish - some bright, some dark, some fast, quick, some slow and easy, and sometimes, like when she looked up where Earth was, being nothing but colour and nothing else.
Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles)
The lucidity, the clarity of light that afternoon was sufficient to itself; perfect transparency must be impenetrable, these vertical bars of brass-coloured distillation of light coming down from sulphur-yellow interstices in a sky hunkered with grey clouds that bulge with more rain. It struck the wood with nicotine-stained fingers, the leaves glittered. A cold day of late October, when the withered blackberries dangled like their own dour spooks on the discoloured brambles. There were crisp husks of beechmast and cast acorn cups underfoot in the russet slime of the dead bracken where the rains of the equinox had so soaked the earth that the cold oozed up through the soles of the shoes, lancinating cold of the approaching winter that grips hold of your belly and squeezed it tight. Now the stark elders have an anorexic look; there is not much in the autumn wood to make you smile but it is not yet, not quite yet, the saddest time of the year. Only, there is a haunting sense of the imminent cessation of being; the year, in turning, turns in on itself. Introspective weather, a sickroom hush.
Angela Carter (Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories)
The dawn came - not the flaming sky that promises storm, but a golden dawn of infinite promise. The birds came flying up out of the east in wedge-shaped formation, and the mist lifted in soft wreaths of sun-shot silver. Colour came back to the world. The grass glowed with a green so vivid that it seemed pulsing, like flame, from some hidden fire in the earth, the distant woods took on all the amazing deep crimsons and purples of their winter colouring, the banks were studded with their jewels of lichens and bright moss, and above the wet hedges shone with sun-shot orbs of light.
Elizabeth Goudge (Pilgrim's Inn (Eliots of Damerosehay, #2))
I've always thought a body would have to be sick and dying before they saw the Lord. And I imagined that when He came it would be like looking at the Baptist window: pretty as coloured glass with the sun pouring through, such a shine you don't know it's getting dark. And it's been a spooky feeling. But I'll wager it never happens. I'll wager at the very end a body realizes the Lord has already shown Himself. That things as they are' - her hand circles in a gesture that gathers clouds and kites and grass and Queenie pawing earth over her bone - 'just what they've always senn, was seeing Him. As for me, I could leave the world with today in my eyes.
Truman Capote (A Christmas Memory)
They wept for humanity, those two, not for themselves. They could not bear that this should be the end. Ere silence was completed their hearts were opened, and they knew what had been important on the earth. Man, the flower of all flesh, the noblest of all creatures visible, man who had once made god in his image, and had mirrored his strength on the constellations, beautiful naked man was dying, strangled in the garments that he had woven. Century after century had he toiled, and here was his reward. Truly the garment had seemed heavenly at first, shot with colours of culture, sewn with the threads of self-denial. And heavenly it had been so long as man could shed it at will and live by the essence that is his soul, and the essence, equally divine, that is his body. The sin against the body - it was for that they wept in chief; the centuries of wrong against the muscles and the nerves, and those five portals by which we can alone apprehend - glozing it over with talk of evolution, until the body was white pap, the home of ideas as colourless, last sloshy stirrings of a spirit that had grasped the stars.
E.M. Forster
Life below the surface is neither simple nor monotonous. The subterranean, contrary to what most people think, is bustling with activity. As you tunnel deep down, you might be surprised to see the soil take on unexpected shades. Rusty red, soft peach, warm mustard, lime green, rich turquoise … Humans teach their children to paint the earth in one colour alone. They imagine the sky in blue, the grass in green, the sun in yellow and the earth entirely in brown.
Elif Shafak (The Island of Missing Trees)
The One remains, the many change and pass; Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly; Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass, Stains the white radiance of Eternity, Until Death tramples it to fragments---Die, If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Yes it sometimes happens and will sometimes happen again that I forget who I am and strut before my eyes, like a stranger. Then I see the sky different from what it is and the earth too takes on false colours. It looks like rest, it is not, I vanish happy in that alien light, which must have once been mine, I am willing to believe it, then the anguish of return, I won’t say where, I can’t, to absence perhaps, you must return, that’s all I know, it’s misery to stay, misery to go.
Samuel Beckett (Molloy / Malone Dies / The Unnamable)
I believe I have already suggested that colour is the most obvious bridge between emotion and perception, that is, between subjective experience of the psyche and quality objective in nature. Both light up only between the extremes of light and darkness, and in their reciprocal interplay. Thus, outward the rainbow--or, if you prefer it, the spectrum--is the bridge between dark and light, but inwardly the rainbow is, what the soul itself is, the bridge between body and spirit, between earth and heaven.
Owen Barfield
...he raised his eyes above the black shapes of the trees and saw a small moon, the colour of a lemon, dragged by clouds across the sky. Moons, he thought, were so that men like himself would know they lived here on earth.
Beryl Bainbridge (Another Part of the Wood)
A UN passport is the most beautiful thing that humanity has ever conceived. No colour, no affiliation, no religion, one planet, one world...In the document, only my name, date of birth and job appeared. Nothing else. Not the colour of my hair, or my country of origin. From now on my country was called Earth. I was a citizen of the world.
Marc Vachon (Rebel Without Borders: Frontline Missions in Africa and the Gulf)
Illusions are to the soul what atmosphere is to the earth. Roll up that tender air and the plant dies, the colour fades. The earth we walk on is a parched cinder. It is smarl we tread and fiery cobbles scorch our feet. By the truth we are undone. Life is a dream. 'Tis waking that kills us. He who robs us of our dreams robs us of our life...
Virginia Woolf
Meltwater (from the book Blue Bridge) Up here. A face Loses its lines I look to see The colour of your eyes … They have turned To water. I lean forward To catch The scent of your hair – All I smell is heather. I touch your hand And all I feel is earth and stones. There is nothing left But the hillside’s breast Your flesh and bones Have vanished.
Jay Woodman
Roses, wild roses, everywhere! So plentiful were they, they were not only perfumed the air, they seemed to dye it a faint rose-hue. The colour floated abroad with the scent, and clomb, and spread, until the whole wesr blushed and glowed with the gathered incense of roses. And my heart fainted with longing in my bosom. Could I but see the spirit of the Earth, as I saw once the in dwelling woman of the beech-tree, and my beauty of the pale marble, I should be content. Content! -Oh, how gladly would I die of the light of her eyes! Yea, I would cease to be, if that would bring me one word of love from the one mouth. The twilight sand around, and infolded me with sleep. I slept as I had not slept for months. I did not awake till late in the morning; when, refreshed in body and mind I rose as from the death that wipes out the sadness of life, and then dies itself in the new morrow.
George MacDonald (Phantastes)
It looked like a colour, but also... like a bruise or a secretion, like an oozing-and something else, an odour, for example, it melted into the odour of wet earth, warm, moist wood, into a black odour that spread like varnish over this sensitive wood, in a flavour of chewed, sweet fibre. I did not simply see this black: sight is an abstract invention, a simplified idea, one of man's ideas. That black, amorphous, weakly presence, far surpassed sight, smell and taste. But this richness was lost in confusion and finally was no more because it was too much.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Nausea)
Dandelion spoke first; elaborately, fluently, colourfully and volubly, embellishing his tale with ornaments so beautiful and fanciful they almost obscured the fibs and confabulations. Then the Witcher spoke. He spoke the same truth, and spoke so dryly, boringly and flatly that Dandelion couldn’t bare it and kept butting in, for which the dwarves reprimanded him. And then the story was over and a lengthy silence fell. 'To the archer Milva!' Zoltan Chivay cleared his throat, saluting with his cup. 'To the Nilfgaardian. To Regis the herbalist who entertained the travellers in his cottage with moonshine and mandrake. And to Angoulême, whom I never knew. May the earth lie lightly on them all. May they have in the beyond plenty of whatever they were short of on earth. And may their names live forever in songs and tales. Let’s drink to them.
Andrzej Sapkowski (Pani Jeziora (Saga o Wiedźminie, #5))
My feelings, my race, my smiles in my face Are craving the same Allure, spark and aim To love and be loved. While freedom’s rhymes write Life stories in spite Of all our roots, colours, and shapes. We all own the grace From our mom earth, Amazingly embraced In a powerful togetherness.
Simona Prilogan (Love is Young: Poems)
But you will be back, and you will always be here. Don’t think that in death you go far from the earth; you remain down here with everything—the part of you that loved, which is the most important part. That part of you will patiently be here as the earth changes colour, exhausts itself, breathes in fresh life again, and revives. That part of you will be here all along, through that whole entire time, while the slugs make their sluggish art, beautiful little swirls in the mud, and whatever will populate the sea, and the greatest beasts that will ever be; slippery with green gills and lots of scales, feathers and fur. Even the swimming creatures will have their own ways of moving which will be radically new. And you will be here for that, too! Why am I so stuck in the art of the past? Because you are stuck in this situation, thinking it is the only one. There will be a second draft, and the part of you that loves, which is the best part of you, and the most eternal part, will be in the bears, the lizards, the mammoths, and the birds, there in the second draft of life.
Sheila Heti (Pure Colour)
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))
Miles Away I want you and you are not here. I pause in this garden, breathing the colour thought is before language into still air. Even your name is a pale ghost and, though I exhale it again and again, it will not stay with me. Tonight I make you up, imagine you, your movements clearer than the words I have you say you said before. Wherever you are now, inside my head you fix me with a look, standing here whilst cool late light dissolves into the earth. I have got your mouth wrong, but still it smiles. I hold you closer, miles away, inventing love, until the calls of nightjars interrupt and turn what was to come, was certain, into memory. The stars are filming us for no one.
Carol Ann Duffy
Teach your children this from a very early age: "Everybody in this world is different, you're going to meet people who don't look like you, think like you, or even feel like you. This world is filled with so many different colours and shapes, so many different thoughts and feelings. You should never expect anyone else to be the same as you and you should never expect yourself to be the same as anybody else. But everyone can have so much fun learning about each other and celebrating one another" and when you are all able to do this, the world will begin to change for the better.
C. JoyBell C.
Yes it sometimes happens and will sometimes happen again that I forget who I am and strut before my eyes, like a stranger. Then I see the sky different from what it is and the earth too takes on false colours. It looks like rest, it is not, I vanish happy in that alien light, which must have once been mine, I am willing to believe it, then the anguish of return, I won’t say where, I can’t, to absence perhaps, you must return, that’s all I know, it’s misery to stay, misery to go. The
Samuel Beckett (Three Novels: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable)
WHERE ONCE THE WATERS ON YOUR FACE Where once the waters of your face Spun to my screws, your dry ghost blows, The dead turns up its eye; Where once the mermen through your ice Pushed up their hair, the dry wind steers Through salt and root and roe. Where once your green knots sank their splice Into the tided cord, there goes The green unraveller, His scissors oiled, his knife hung loose To cut the channels at their source And lay the wet fruits low. Invisible, your clocking tides Break on the lovebeds of the weeds; The weed of love’s left dry; There round about your stones the shades Of children go who, from their voids, Cry to the dolphined sea. Dry as a tomb, your coloured lids Shall not be latched while magic glides Sage on the earth and sky; There shall be corals in your beds, There shall be serpents in your tides, Till all our sea-faiths die.
Dylan Thomas (The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas: The Original Edition)
When he walked in her dreams moths rose from the earth where his paws touched the ground, as if born from his footfall. They followed him, a cloud of moths of all colours. And the music of moth wings followed him. And the dancing lights of the northern sky hung in his breath. In his eyes, a world of wild. On his coat, the colours of snow. In his voice, the wisdom of untamed things.
Jackie Morris (The Unwinding)
Siddhartha gave his garments to a poor Brahman in the street. He wore nothing more than the loincloth and the earth-coloured, unsown cloak. He ate only once a day, and never something cooked. He fasted for fifteen days. He fasted for twenty-eight days. The flesh waned from his thighs and cheeks. Feverish dreams flickered from his enlarged eyes, long nails grew slowly on his parched fingers and a dry, shaggy beard grew on his chin. His glance turned to icy when he encountered women; his mouth twitched with contempt, when he walked through a city of nicely dressed people. He saw merchants trading, princes hunting, mourners wailing for their dead, whores offering themselves, physicians trying to help the sick, priests determining the most suitable day for seeding, lovers loving, mothers nursing their children--and all of this was not worthy of one look from his eye, it all lied, it all stank, it all stank of lies, it all pretended to be meaningful and joyful and beautiful, and it all was just concealed putrefaction. The world tasted bitter. Life was torture. A goal stood before Siddhartha, a single goal: to become empty, empty of thirst, empty of wishing, empty of dreams, empty of joy and sorrow. Dead to himself, not to be a self any more, to find tranquility with an emptied heard, to be open to miracles in unselfish thoughts, that was his goal. Once all of my self was overcome and had died, once every desire and every urge was silent in the heart, then the ultimate part of me had to awake, the innermost of my being, which is no longer my self, the great secret.
Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha)
Through her, in microcosm, the wide earth sobbed. The starglobe sank in her; the colours faded. The death-dew rose and the wild birds in her breast climbed to her throat and gathered songless, hovering, all tumult, wing to wing, so ardent for those climes where all things end.
Mervyn Peake (Titus Groan (Gormenghast, #1))
The best I can suggest is that when the Absolute manifested itself in the world evil was the natural correlation of good. You could never have had the stupendous beauty of the Himalayas without the unimaginable horror of a convulsion of the earth's crust. The Chinese craftsman who makes a vase in what they call eggshell porcelain can give it a lovely shape, ornament it with a beautiful design, stain it a ravishing colour and give it a perfect glaze, but from its very nature he can't make it anything but fragile. If you drop in on the floor it will break into a dozen fragments. Isn't possible in the same way that the values we cherish in the world can only exist in combination with evil?
W. Somerset Maugham (The Razor’s Edge)
The sun is touching every door and making wonder of the wheat. The first wine is pink in colour, is sweet with the sweetness of a child, the second wine is able-bodied, strong like the voice of a sailor, the third wine is a topaz, is a poppy and a fire in one. My house has both the sea and the earth, my woman has great eyes the colour of wild hazelnut, when night comes down, the sea puts on a dress of white and green...
Pablo Neruda (On the Blue Shore of Silence: Poemas frente al mar (Bilingual))
And, once again, the bears showed us. There they were, God help us, the Ledgers of the Earth, written in clouds and glaciers and sediments, tallied in the colours of the sun and the moon as light passed through the millennial sap of every living thing, and we looked upon it all with dread. Ours was not the only fiscal system in the world, it turned out. And worse, our debt was severe beyond reckoning. And worse than worse, all the capital we had accrued throughout history was a collective figment of the human imagination: every asset, stock and dollar. We owned nothing. The bears asked us to relinquish our hold on all that never belonged to us in the first place. Well, this we simply could not do. So we shot the bears.
Shaun Tan (Tales from the Inner City)
Recently I've been working very hard and quickly; in this way I try to express the desperately fast passage of things in modern life. Yesterday, in the rain, I painted a large landscape with fields as far as the eye can see, viewed from a height, different kinds of greenery, a dark green field of potatoes, the rich purple earth between the regular rows of plants, to one side a field of peas white with bloom, a field of clover with pink flowers and the little figure of a mower, a field of tall, ripe, fawn-coloured grass, then some wheat, some poplars, on the horizon a last line of blue hills at the foot of which a train is passing, leaving an immense trail of white smoke over the greenery. A white road crosses the canvas, on the road a little carriage and some white houses with bright red roofs alongside a road. Fine drizzle streaks the whole with blue or grey lines.
Vincent van Gogh (The Letters of Vincent van Gogh)
In the beginning of the year 1665 I found the Method of approximating series & the Rule for reducing any dignity of any Binomial into such a series. The same year in May I found the method of Tangents of Gregory & Slusius, & in November had the direct method of fluxions & the next year in January had the Theory of Colours & in May following I had entrance into ye inverse method of fluxions. And the same year I began to think of gravity extending to ye orb of the Moon & (having found out how to estimate the force with wch [a] globe revolving within a sphere presses the surface of the sphere) from Kepler's rule of the periodic times of the Planets being in sesquialterate proportion of their distances from the center of their Orbs, I deduced that the forces wch keep the Planets in their Orbs must [be] reciprocally as the squares of their distances from the centers about wch they revolve: & thereby compared the force requisite to keep the Moon in her Orb with the force of gravity at the surface of the earth, & found them answer pretty nearly. All this was in the two plague years of 1665-1666. For in those days I was in the prime of my age for invention & minded Mathematicks & Philosophy more then than at any time since.
Isaac Newton
When I bring to you coloured toys, my child, I understand why there is such a play of colours on clouds, on water, and why flowers are painted in tints---when I give coloured toys to you, my child. When I sing to make you dance I truly now why there is music in leaves, and why waves send their chorus of voices to the heart of the listening earth---when I sing to make you dance. When I bring sweet things to your greedy hands I know why there is honey in the cup of the flowers and why fruits are secretly filled with sweet juice---when I bring sweet things to your greedy hands. When I kiss your face to make you smile, my darling, I surely understand what pleasure streams from the sky in morning light, and what delight that is that is which the summer breeze brings to my body---when I kiss you to make you smile.
Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali)
The Native Americans, whose wisdom Thoreau admired, regarded the Earth itself as a sacred source of energy. To stretch out on it brought repose, to sit on the ground ensured greater wisdom in councils, to walk in contact with its gravity gave strength and endurance. The Earth was an inexhaustible well of strength: because it was the original Mother, the feeder, but also because it enclosed in its bosom all the dead ancestors. It was the element in which transmission took place. Thus, instead of stretching their hands skyward to implore the mercy of celestial divinities, American Indians preferred to walk barefoot on the Earth: The Lakota was a true Naturist – a lover of Nature. He loved the earth and all things of the earth, the attachment growing with age. The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth. Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth. The birds that flew in the air came to rest on the earth and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing. That is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life-giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly; he can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him. Walking, by virtue of having the earth’s support, feeling its gravity, resting on it with every step, is very like a continuous breathing in of energy. But the earth’s force is not transmitted only in the manner of a radiation climbing through the legs. It is also through the coincidence of circulations: walking is movement, the heart beats more strongly, with a more ample beat, the blood circulates faster and more powerfully than when the body is at rest. And the earth’s rhythms draw that along, they echo and respond to each other. A last source of energy, after the heart and the Earth, is landscapes. They summon the walker and make him at home: the hills, the colours, the trees all confirm it. The charm of a twisting path among hills, the beauty of vine fields in autumn, like purple and gold scarves, the silvery glitter of olive leaves against a defining summer sky, the immensity of perfectly sliced glaciers … all these things support, transport and nourish us.
Frédéric Gros (A Philosophy of Walking)
I consider a tree. I can look on it as a picture: stiff column in a shock of light, or splash of green shot with the delicate blue and silver of the background. I can perceive it as movement: flowing veins on clinging, pressing pith, suck of the roots, breathing of the leaves, ceaseless commerce with earth and air—and the obscure growth itself. I can classify it in a species and study it as a type in its structure and mode of life. I can subdue its actual presence and form so sternly that I recognise it only as an expression of law — of the laws in accordance with which a constant opposition of forces is continually adjusted, or of those in accordance with which the component substances mingle and separate. I can dissipate it and perpetuate it in number, in pure numerical relation. In all this the tree remains my object, occupies space and time, and has its nature and constitution. It can, however, also come about, if I have both will and grace, that in considering the tree I become bound up in relation to it. The tree is now no longer It. I have been seized by the power of exclusiveness. To effect this it is not necessary for me to give up any of the ways in which I consider the tree. There is nothing from which I would have to turn my eyes away in order to see, and no knowledge that I would have to forget. Rather is everything, picture and movement, species and type, law and number, indivisibly united in this event. Everything belonging to the tree is in this: its form and structure, its colours and chemical composition, its intercourse with the elements and with the stars, are all present in a single whole. The tree is no impression, no play of my imagination, no value depending on my mood; but it is bodied over against me and has to do with me, as I with it — only in a different way. Let no attempt be made to sap the strength from the meaning of the relation: relation is mutual.
Martin Buber (I and Thou)
I get it. Having had Satoru take me in as his cat, I think I felt as lucky as he did. Strays, by definition, have been abandoned or left behind, but Satoru rescued me when I broke my leg. He made me the happiest cat on earth. I'll always remember those five years we had together. And I'll forever go by the name Nana, the name that - let's face it - is pretty unusual for a male cat. The town where Satoru grew up, too, I would remember that. And the green seedlings swaying in the fields. The sea, with its frighteningly loud roar. Mount Fuji, looming over us. How cosy it felt on top of that boxy TV. That wonderful lady cat, Momo. That nervy but earnest hound, Toramaru. That huge white ferry, which swallowed up cars into its stomach. The dogs in the pet holding area, wagging their tails at Satoru. That foul-mouthed chinchilla telling me Guddo rakku! The land in Hokkaido stretching out forever. Those vibrant purple and yellow flowers by the side of the road. The field of pampas grass like an ocean. The horses chomping on grass. The bright-red berries on the mountain-ash trees. The shades of red on the mountain ash that Satoru taught me. The stands of slender white birch. The graveyard, with its wide-open vista. The bouquet of flowers in rainbow colours. The white heart-shaped bottom of the deer. That huge, huge, huge double rainbow growing out of the ground. I would remember these for the rest of my life. And Kosuke, and Yoshimine, and Sugi and Chikako. And above all, the one who brought up Satoru and made it possible for us to meet - Noriko. Could anyone be happier than this?
Hiro Arikawa (Nana Du Ký)
Gradually and mistily it became apparent that the Most Ancient One was holding something—some object clutched in the outflung folds of his robe as if for the sight, or what answered for sight, of the cloaked Companions. It was a large sphere or apparent sphere of some obscurely iridescent metal, and as the Guide put it forward a low, pervasive half-impression of sound began to rise and fall in intervals which seemed to be rhythmic even though they followed no rhythm of earth. There was a suggestion of chanting—or what human imagination might interpret as chanting. Presently the quasi-sphere began to grow luminous, and as it gleamed up into a cold, pulsating light of unassignable colour Carter saw that its flickerings conformed to the alien rhythm of the chant. Then all the mitred, sceptre-bearing Shapes on the pedestals commenced a slight, curious swaying in the same inexplicable rhythm, while nimbuses of unclassifiable light—resembling that of the quasi-sphere—played round their shrouded heads
H.P. Lovecraft (Through the Gates of the Silver Key)
This soul of ours hath love, and cannot but love some fair one. And oh what a fair One, what an only One, what an excellent, lovely ravishing One is Jesus! Put the beauty of ten thousand thousand worlds of paradises, like the garden of Eden in one, put all trees, all flowers, all smells, all colours, all tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness, in one: oh, what a fair and excellent thing would that be! And yet it would be less to that fair and dearest Well-beloved Christ, than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths. Oh, but Christ is heaven's wonder and earth's wonder!
Samuel Rutherford
XXIV. And more than that - a furlong on - why, there! What bad use was that engine for, that wheel, Or brake, not wheel - that harrow fit to reel Men's bodies out like silk? With all the air Of Tophet's tool, on earth left unaware Or brought to sharpen its rusty teeth of steel. XXV. Then came a bit of stubbed ground, once a wood, Next a marsh it would seem, and now mere earth Desperate and done with; (so a fool finds mirth, Makes a thing and then mars it, till his mood Changes and off he goes!) within a rood - Bog, clay and rubble, sand, and stark black dearth. XXVI. Now blotches rankling, coloured gay and grim, Now patches where some leanness of the soil's Broke into moss, or substances like boils; Then came some palsied oak, a cleft in him Like a distorted mouth that splits its rim Gaping at death, and dies while it recoils. XXVII. And just as far as ever from the end! Naught in the distance but the evening, naught To point my footstep further! At the thought, A great black bird, Apollyon's bosom friend, Sailed past, not best his wide wing dragon-penned That brushed my cap - perchance the guide I sought. XXVIII. For, looking up, aware I somehow grew, Spite of the dusk, the plain had given place All round to mountains - with such name to grace Mere ugly heights and heaps now stolen in view. How thus they had surprised me - solve it, you! How to get from them was no clearer case. XXIX. Yet half I seemed to recognise some trick Of mischief happened to me, God knows when - In a bad dream perhaps. Here ended, then Progress this way. When, in the very nick Of giving up, one time more, came a click As when a trap shuts - you're inside the den. XXX. Burningly it came on me all at once, This was the place! those two hills on the right, Crouched like two bulls locked horn in horn in fight; While to the left a tall scalped mountain ... Dunce, Dotard, a-dozing at the very nonce, After a life spent training for the sight! XXXI. What in the midst lay but the Tower itself? The round squat turret, blind as the fool's heart, Built of brown stone, without a counterpart In the whole world. The tempest's mocking elf Points to the shipman thus the unseen shelf He strikes on, only when the timbers start. XXXII. Not see? because of night perhaps? - why day Came back again for that! before it left The dying sunset kindled through a cleft: The hills, like giants at a hunting, lay, Chin upon hand, to see the game at bay, - Now stab and end the creature - to the heft!' XXXIII. Not hear? When noise was everywhere! it tolled Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears Of all the lost adventurers, my peers - How such a one was strong, and such was bold, And such was fortunate, yet each of old Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years. XXXIV. There they stood, ranged along the hillsides, met To view the last of me, a living frame For one more picture! In a sheet of flame I saw them and I knew them all. And yet Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set, And blew. 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.
Robert Browning
When there is this simple, clear watching and listening, then there is an awareness - awareness of the colour of those flowers, red, yellow, white, of the spring leaves, the stems, so tender, so delicate, awareness of the heavens, the earth and those people who are passing by. They have been chattering along that long road, never looking at the trees, at the flowers, at the skies and the marvellous hills. They are not even aware of what is going on around them. They talk a great deal about the environment, how we must protect nature and so on, but it seems they are not aware of the beauty and the silence of the hills and the dignity of a marvellous old tree. They are not even aware of their own thoughts, their own reactions, nor are they aware of the way they walk, of their clothes. It does not mean that they are to be selfcentred in their watching, in their awareness, but just be aware.
J. Krishnamurti (Krishnamurti to Himself: His Last Journal)
To make a good man, God has to use all of his skill. Some of the goodness of God himself goes into such a man. And when the man is ready to take his place on the earth, God must feel the pride that I feel when I look at the rug I am weaving, at the strands that bind closely together and knot and make a pattern, and at the beauty of the colours. Such a long day's work to make a good man! And yet, one bullet that takes a second to speed through the air and strike a man will kill him in an instant. How can God forgive such a thing? And yet He can, so it is said, for His heart is great and His forgiveness infinite, if the sinner repents. But I am not God and I cannot forgive the man who killed my brother.
Najaf Mazari (The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif)
Objects and Objectives To contemplate LEGO. Many colours. Many shapes. Many inventive and useful shapes. Plastic. A versatile and practical substance. Symbolic of the resourcefulness of man. Oil taken from the depths of the very earth. Distillation of said raw material. Chemical processes. Pollution. Creating a product providing hours of constructive play. For children all over the world. Teaching our young. Through enjoyment. Preparing them for further resourcefulness. The progress of our kind. A book. Many books. Proud liners of walls. Fingered. Taken out with great care. Held open. Gazed upon / into with something like awe. A medium for the recording of and communication of knowledge. From the many to the many. Down the ages. And of art. And of love. But do you hear the trees outside whispering? Do their voices haunt you? No wonder. They are calling for their brothers. Pulped. Pressed. Coated. Printed. Bound. And for their other brothers which made the shelves to hold them. And for the roof over them as well. From the very beginning - everything at cost. A cave man, to get food, had to deal with the killing. And the bones from one death proved very useful for implementing the death of another.
Jay Woodman (SPAN)
As soon as he had left the room and walked into the air, he knew that he would never return and for the first time his fears lifted. It was a spring morning, and when he walked into Severndale Park he felt the breeze bringing back memories of a much earlier life, and he was at peace. He sat beneath a tree and looked up at its leaves in amazement - where once he might have gazed at them and sensed there only the confusion of his own thoughts, now each leaf was so clear and distinct that he could see the lightly coloured veins which carried moisture and life. And he looked down at his own hand, which seemed translucent beside the bright grass. His head no longer ached, and as he lay upon the earth he could feel its warmth beneath him.
Peter Ackroyd (Hawksmoor)
— If love wants you; if you’ve been melted down to stars, you will love with lungs and gills, with warm blood and cold. With feathers and scales. Under the hot gloom of the forest canopy you’ll want to breathe with the spiral calls of birds, while your lashing tail still gropes for the waes. You’ll try to haul your weight from simple sea to gravity of land. Caught by the tide, in the snail-slip of your own path, for moments suffocating in both water and air. If love wants you, suddently your past is obsolete science. Old maps, disproved theories, a diorama. The moment our bodies are set to spring open. The immanence that reassembles matter passes through us then disperses into time and place: the spasm of fur stroked upright; shocked electrons. The mother who hears her child crying upstairs and suddenly feels her dress wet with milk. Among black branches, oyster-coloured fog tongues every corner of loneliness we never knew before we were loved there, the places left fallow when we’re born, waiting for experience to find its way into us. The night crossing, on deck in the dark car. On the beach wehre night reshaped your face. In the lava fields, carbon turned to carpet, moss like velvet spread over splintered forms. The instant spray freezes in air above the falls, a gasp of ice. We rise, hearing our names called home through salmon-blue dusk, the royal moon an escutcheon on the shield of sky. The current that passes through us, radio waves, electric lick. The billions of photons that pass through film emulsion every second, the single submicroscopic crystal struck that becomes the phograph. We look and suddenly the world looks back. A jagged tube of ions pins us to the sky. — But if, like starlings, we continue to navigate by the rear-view mirror of the moon; if we continue to reach both for salt and for the sweet white nibs of grass growing closest to earth; if, in the autumn bog red with sedge we’re also driving through the canyon at night, all around us the hidden glow of limestone erased by darkness; if still we sish we’d waited for morning, we will know ourselves nowhere. Not in the mirrors of waves or in the corrading stream, not in the wavering glass of an apartment building, not in the looming light of night lobbies or on the rainy deck. Not in the autumn kitchen or in the motel where we watched meteors from our bed while your slow film, the shutter open, turned stars to rain. We will become indigestible. Afraid of choking on fur and armour, animals will refuse the divided longings in our foreing blue flesh. — In your hands, all you’ve lost, all you’ve touched. In the angle of your head, every vow and broken vow. In your skin, every time you were disregarded, every time you were received. Sundered, drowsed. A seeded field, mossy cleft, tidal pool, milky stem. The branch that’s released when the bird lifts or lands. In a summer kitchen. On a white winter morning, sunlight across the bed.
Anne Michaels
Before the swallow, before the daffodil, and not much later than the snowdrop, the common toad salutes the coming of spring after his own fashion, which is to emerge from a hole in the ground, where he has lain buried since the previous autumn, and crawl as rapidly as possible towards the nearest suitable patch of water. Something – some kind of shudder in the earth, or perhaps merely a rise of a few degrees in the temperature – has told him it is time to wake up ... At this period, after his long fast, the toad has a very spiritual look, like a strict Anglo-Catholic towards the end of Lent. His movements are languid but purposeful, his body is shrunken, and by contrast his eyes look abnormally large. This allows one to notice, what one might not at any other time, that a toad has about the most beautiful eye of any living creature. It is like gold, or more exactly it is like the golden-coloured semi-precious stone which one sometimes sees in signet rings, and which I think is called a chrysoberyl.
George Orwell (Some Thoughts on the Common Toad)
Thy sunbeam comes upon this earth of mine with arms outstretched and stands at my door the livelong day to carry back to thy feet clouds made of my tears and sighs and songs. With fond delight thou wrappest about thy starry breast that mantle of misty cloud, turning it into numberless shapes and folds and colouring it with hues everchanging. It is so light and so fleeting, tender and tearful and dark, that is why thou lovest it, O thou spotless and serene. And that is why it may cover thy awful white light with its pathetic shadows.
Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali)
Fawcett also shared with me a passion for words and we would trawl the dictionary together and simply howl and wriggle with delight at the existence of such splendours as ‘strobile’ and ‘magniloquent’, daring and double-daring each other to use them to masters in lessons without giggling. ‘Strobile’ was a tricky one to insert naturally into conversation, since it means a kind of fir-cone, but magniloquent I did manage. I, being I, went always that little bit too far of course. There was one master who had berated me in a lesson for some tautology or other. He, as what human being wouldn’t when confronted with a lippy verbal show-off like me, delighted in seizing on opportunities to put me down. He was not, however, an English teacher, nor was he necessarily the brightest man in the world. ‘So, Fry. “A lemon yellow colour” is precipitated in your test tube is it? I think you will find, Fry, that we all know that lemons are yellow and that yellow is a colour. Try not to use thee words where one will do. Hm?’ I smarted under this, but got my revenge a week or so later. ‘Well, Fry? It’s a simple enough question. What is titration?’ ‘Well, sir…, it’s a process whereby…’ ‘Come on, come on. Either you know or you don’t.’ ‘Sorry sir, I am anxious to avoid pleonasm, but I think…’ ‘Anxious to avoid what?’ ‘Pleonasm, sir.’ ‘And what do you mean by that?’ ‘I’m sorry, sir. I meant that I had no wish to be sesquipedalian.’ ‘What?’ ‘Sesquipedalian, sir.’ ‘What are you talking about?’ I allowed a note of confusion and bewilderment to enter my voice. ‘I didn’t want to be sesquipedalian, sir! You know, pleonastic.’ ‘Look, if you’ve got something to say to me, say it. What is this pleonastic nonsense?’ ‘It means sir, using more words in a sentence than are necessary. I was anxious to avoid being tautologous, repetitive or superfluous.’ ‘Well why on earth didn’t you say so?’ ‘I’m sorry, sir. I’ll remember in future, sir.’ I stood up and turned round to face the whole form, my hand on my heart. ‘I solemnly promise in future to help sir out by using seven words where one will do. I solemnly promise to be as pleonastic, prolix and sesquipedalian as he could possibly wish.’ It is a mark of the man’s fundamental good nature that he didn’t whip out a knife there and then, slit my throat from ear to ear and trample on my body in hobnailed boots. The look he gave me showed that he came damned close to considering the idea.
Stephen Fry (Moab Is My Washpot (Memoir, #1))
The Reverie of Poor Susan AT the corner of Wood Street, when daylight appears, Hangs a Thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three years: Poor Susan has pass’d by the spot, and has heard In the silence of morning the song of the bird. ’Tis a note of enchantment; what ails her? She sees A mountain ascending, a vision of trees; Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide, And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside. Green pastures she views in the midst of the dale Down which she so often has tripp’d with her pail; And a single small cottage, a nest like a dove’s, The one only dwelling on earth that she loves. She looks, and her heart is in heaven: but they fade, The mist and the river, the hill and the shade; The stream will not flow, and the hill will not rise, And the colours have all pass’d away from her eyes!
William Wordsworth
Live blindly and upon the hour. The Lord, Who was the Future, died full long ago. Knowledge which is the Past is folly. Go, Poor, child, and be not to thyself abhorred. Around thine earth sun-winged winds do blow And planets roll; a meteor draws his sword; The rainbow breaks his seven-coloured chord And the long strips of river-silver flow: Awake! Give thyself to the lovely hours. Drinking their lips, catch thou the dream in flight About their fragile hairs' aerial gold. Thou art divine, thou livest,—as of old Apollo springing naked to the light, And all his island shivered into flowers.
Trumbull Stickney
Where are you now? What roads are you treading? We have so many new roads now, right across the steppe all the way to the Altai and Siberia. Many brave souls are toiling there. Perhaps you're among them? You left, my Jamilia, across the wide steppe without a backward glance. Perhaps you are weary, perhaps you have lost faith in your self? Just lean on Daniyar's shoulder. Have him sing to you his song of love, of life, of the earth. May the steppe come alive and blossom in all its glory. May you recall that August night. Keep on, Jamilia, have no regrets; you've found your hard-sought happiness. When I gaze at them long enough I can hear Daniyar's voice. He is calling to me, too, to take the highroad, which means it is time for me to get ready. I shall cross the steppe back to my village and find fresh colours there. May Daniyar's song resound and may Jamilia's heart beat with every stroke of my brush.
Chingiz Aitmatov (Jamilia)
Thou art the sky and thou art the nest as well. O thou beautiful, there in the nest is thy love that encloses the soul with colours and sounds and odours. There comes the morning with the golden basket in her right hand bearing the wreath of beauty, silently to crown the earth. And there comes the evening over the lonely meadows deserted by herds, through trackless paths, carrying cool draughts of peace in her golden pitcher from the western ocean of rest. But there, where spreads the infinite sky for the soul to take her flight in, reigns the stainless white radiance. There is no day nor night, nor form nor colour, and never, never a word.
Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali)
It is a tedious cliché (and, unlike many clichés, it isn't even true) that science concerns itself with how questions, but only theology is equipped to answer why questions. What on Earth is a why question? Not every English sentence beginning with the word 'why' is a legitimate question. Why are unicorns hollow? Some questions simply do not deserve an answer. What is the colour of abstraction? What is the smell of hope? The fact that a question can be phrased in a grammatically correct English sentence doesn't make it meaningful, or entitle it to our serious attention. Nor, even if the question is a real one, does the fact that science cannot answer it imply that religion can.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
Hands cling to hands and eyes linger on eyes: thus begins the record of our hearts. It is the moonlit night of March; the sweet smell of henna is in the air; my flute lies on the earth neglected and your garland of flowers in unfinished. This love between you and me is simple as a song. Your veil of the saffron colour makes my eyes drunk. The jasmine wreath that you wove me thrills to my heart like praise. It is a game of giving and withholding, revealing and screening again; some smiles and some little shyness, and some sweet useless struggles. This love between you and me is simple as a song. No mystery beyond the present; no striving for the impossible; no shadow behind the charm; no groping in the depth of the dark. This love between you and me is simple as a song. We do not stray out of all words into the ever silent; we do not raise our hands to the void for things beyond hope. It is enough what we give and we get. We have not crushed the joy to the utmost to wring from it the wine of pain. This love between you and me is simple as a song.
Rabindranath Tagore (The Gardener)
When I cry the hills laugh; When I humble myself the flowers rejoice; When I bow, all things are elated. The field and the cloud are lovers And between them I am a messenger of mercy. I quench the thirst of one; I cure the ailment of the other. The voice of thunder declares my arrival; The rainbow announces my departure. I am like earthly life, Which begins at the feet of the mad elements And ends under the upraised wings of death. I emerge from the heard of the sea Soar with the breeze. When I see a field in need, I descend and embrace the flowers and the trees in a million little ways. I touch gently at the windows with my soft fingers, And my announcement is a welcome song all can hear But only the sensitive can understand. The heat in the air gives birth to me, But in turn I kill it, As woman overcomes man with the strength she takes from him. I am the sigh of the sea; The laughter of the field; The tears of heaven. So with love— Sighs from the deep sea of affection; Laughter from the colourful field of the spirit; Tears from the endless heaven of memories.
Kahlil Gibran (The Khalil Gibran Megapack: 43 Classic Works)
It may be that there is no solution or it may be that I'm not clever enough to find it. Ramakrishna looked upon the world as the sport of God. "It is like a game," he said. "In this game there are joy and sorrow, virtue and vice, knowledge and ignorance, good and evil., The game cannot continue if sin and suffering are altogether eliminated from the creation." I would reject that with all my strength. The best I can suggest is that when the Absolute manifested itself in the world evil was the natural correlation of good. You could never have had the stupendous beauty of the Himalayas without the unimaginable horror of a convulsion of the earth's crust. The Chinese craftsman who makes a vase in what they call eggshell porcelain can give it a lovely shape, ornament it with a beautiful design, stain it a ravishing colour, and give it a perfect glaze, but from its very nature he can't make it anything but fragile. If you drop it on the floor it will break into a dozen fragments. Isn't it possible in the same way that the values we cherish in the world can only exist in combination with evil?
W. Somerset Maugham
Traces of historical associations can long outlast actual contact. In the dense, subtropical forests from India across to the South China Sea, venomous snakes are common, and there is always an advantage in pretending to be something dangerous. The slow loris, a weird, nocturnal primate, has a number of unusual features that, taken together, seem to be mimicking spectacled cobras. They move in a sinuous, serpentine way through the branches, always smooth and slow. When threatened, they raise their arms up behind their head, shiver and hiss, their wide, round eyes closely resembling the markings on the inside of the spectacled cobra’s hood. Even more remarkably, when in this position, the loris has access to glands in its armpit which, when combined with saliva, can produce a venom capable of causing anaphylactic shock in humans. In behaviour, colour and even bite, the primate has come to resemble the snake, a sheep in wolf’s clothing. Today, the ranges of the loris and cobras do not overlap, but climate reconstructions reaching back tens of thousands of years suggest that once they would have been similar. It is possible that the loris is an outdated imitation artist, stuck in an evolutionary rut, compelled by instinct to act out an impression of something neither it nor its audience has ever seen.
Thomas Halliday (Otherlands: Journeys in Earth's Extinct Ecosystems)
Composers do not remember this lost fatherland, but each of them remains all his life unconsciously attuned to it; he is delirious with joy when he sings in harmony with his native land, betrays it at times with his thirst for fame, but then, in seeking fame, turns his back on it, and it is only by scorning fame that he finds it when he breaks out into that distinctive strain the sameness of which—for whatever its subject it remains identical with itself—proves the permanence of the elements that compose his soul. But in that case is it not true that those elements—all the residuum of reality which we are obliged to keep to ourselves, which cannot be transmitted in talk, even from friend to friend, from master to disciple, from lover to mistress, that ineffable something which differentiates qualitatively what each of us has felt and what he is obliged to leave behind at the threshold of the phrases in which he can communicate with others only by limiting himself to externals, common to all and of no interest—are brought out by art, the art of a Vinteuil like that of an Elstir, which exteriorises in the colours of the spectrum the intimate composition of those worlds which we call individuals and which, but for art, we should never know? A pair of wings, a different respiratory system, which enabled us to travel through space, would in no way help us, for if we visited Mars or Venus while keeping the same senses, they would clothe everything we could see in the same aspect as the things of Earth. The only true voyage, the only bath in the Fountain of Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to see the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to see the hundred universes that each of them sees, that each of them is; and this we can do with an Elstir, with a Vinteuil; with men like these we do really fly from star to star.
Marcel Proust (The Captive / The Fugitive (In Search of Lost Time, #5-6))
Your short understanding, your clipped mind, your hollow heart, will make more of mankind than it has the power to become. Make of a man what you will, yet he cannot be more than this I say to you, with the leave of all pure women: a human is conceived in sin, nourished with impure, unspeakable feculence in the maternal body, born naked and smeared like a beehive; a mass of refuse, a churn of filth, a dish for worms, a stinkhouse, a repulsive washtub, a rancid carcass, a mildewed crate, a bottomless sack, a perforated pocket, a bellows, a rapacious maw, a reeking flagon of urine, a malodorous pail, a deceptive marionette-show, a loamy robber’s den, an insatiably slaking trough, a painted delusion. Let recognise who will: every human created to completion has nine holes in his body; out of all these there flows such repellent filth that nothing could be more impure. You would never see human beauty, if you had the eyes of a lynx, and your gaze could penetrate to the innards; you would shudder at the sight. Strip the dressmaker’s colouring from the loveliest of ladies, and you will see a shameful puppet, a hastily withering flower, a sparkle of little durance and a soon decomposing clod of earth! Show me a handful of beauty of all the belles who lived a hundred years ago, excluding those painted on the wall, and you shall have the Kaiser’s crown! Let love flow away, let grief flow away! Let the Rhine run its course like other waters, you wise lad from Assville!
Johannes von Saaz (Death and the Ploughman)
A Palestinian village whose feudal owner sold it for a kiss through a pane of glass..." Nothing remained of Sireen after the auction apart from you, little prayer rug, because a mother slyly stole you and wrapped up her son who'd been sentenced to cold and weaning - and later to sorrow and longing. It's said there was a village, a very small village, on the border between sun's gate and earth. It's said that the village was twice sold - once for a measure of oil and once for a kiss through a pane of glass. The buyers and sellers rejoiced at its sale, the year the submarine was sunk, in our twentieth century. And in Sireen - the buyers went over the contract - were white-washed houses, lovers, and trees, folk poets, peasants, and children. (But there was no school - and neither tanks nor prisons.) The threshing floors, the colour of golden wine, and the graveyard were a vault meant for life and death, and the vault was sold! People say that there was a village, but Sireen became an earthquake, imprisoned by an amulet as it turned into a banquet - in which the virgins' infants were cooked in their mothers' milk so soldiers and ministers might eat along with civilisation! "And the axe is laid at the root of the tree..." And once again at the root of the tree, as one dear brother denies another and existence. Officer of the orbits... attend, O knight of death, but don't give in - death is behind us and also before us. Knight of death, attend, there is no time to retreat - darkness crowds us and now has turned into a rancid butter, and the forest too is full, the serpents of blood have slithered away and the beaker of our ablution has been sold to a tourist from California! There is no time now for ablution. People say there was a village, but Sireen became an earthquake, imprisoned by an amulet as it turned into a banquet - in which the virgins' infants were cooked in their mothers' milk so soldiers and ministers might eat, along with civilisation!
Samih Al-Qasim (Sadder than Water: New and Selected Poems)
It was good to emerge from this silent semi-darkness into a bright glade. Suddenly everything was different: the earth was warm; the air was in movement; you could smell the junipers in the sun; there were large, wilting bluebells which looked as though they had been cast from mauve-coloured metal, and wild carnations on sticky, resinous stems. You felt suddenly carefree; the glade was like one happy day in a life of poverty. The lemon-coloured butterflies, the polished, blue-black beetles, the ants, the grass-snake rustling through the grass, seemed to be joining together in a common task. Birch-twigs, sprinkled with fine leaves, brushed against his face; a grasshopper jumped up and landed on him as though he were a tree-trunk; it clung to his belt, calmly tensing its green haunches as it sat there with its round, leathery eyes and sheep-like face. The last flowers of the wild strawberries. The heat of the sun on his metal buttons and belt-clasp . . . No U-88 or night-flying Heinkel could ever have flown over this glade.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate (Stalingrad, #2))
But the greatest human problems are not social problems, but decisions that the individual has to make alone. The most important feelings of which man is capable emphasise his separateness from other people, not his kinship with them. The feelings of a mountaineer towards a mountain emphasise his kinship with the mountain rather than with the rest of mankind. The same goes for the leap of the heart experienced by a sailor when he smells the sea, or for the astronomer’s feeling about the stars, or for the archaeologist’s love of the past. My feeling of love for my fellowmen makes me aware of my humanness; but my feeling about a mountain gives me an oddly nonhuman sensation. It would be incorrect, perhaps, to call it ‘superhuman’; but it nevertheless gives me a sense of transcending my everyday humanity. Maslow’s importance is that he has placed these experiences of ‘transcendence’ at the centre of his psychology. He sees them as the compass by which man gains a sense of the magnetic north of his existence. They bring a glimpse of ‘the source of power, meaning and purpose’ inside himself. This can be seen with great clarity in the matter of the cure of alcoholics. Alcoholism arises from what I have called ‘generalised hypertension’, a feeling of strain or anxiety about practically everything. It might be described as a ‘passively negative’ attitude towards existence. The negativity prevents proper relaxation; there is a perpetual excess of adrenalin in the bloodstream. Alcohol may produce the necessary relaxation, switch off the anxiety, allow one to feel like a real human being instead of a bundle of over-tense nerves. Recurrence of the hypertension makes the alcoholic remedy a habit, but the disadvantages soon begin to outweigh the advantage: hangovers, headaches, fatigue, guilt, general inefficiency. And, above all, passivity. The alcoholics are given mescalin or LSD, and then peak experiences are induced by means of music or poetry or colours blending on a screen. They are suddenly gripped and shaken by a sense of meaning, of just how incredibly interesting life can be for the undefeated. They also become aware of the vicious circle involved in alcoholism: misery and passivity leading to a general running-down of the vital powers, and to the lower levels of perception that are the outcome of fatigue. ‘The spirit world shuts not its gates, Your heart is dead, your senses sleep,’ says the Earth Spirit to Faust. And the senses sleep when there is not enough energy to run them efficiently. On the other hand, when the level of will and determination is high, the senses wake up. (Maslow was not particularly literary, or he might have been amused to think that Faust is suffering from exactly the same problem as the girl in the chewing gum factory (described earlier), and that he had, incidentally, solved a problem that had troubled European culture for nearly two centuries). Peak experiences are a by-product of this higher energy-drive. The alcoholic drinks because he is seeking peak experiences; (the same, of course, goes for all addicts, whether of drugs or tobacco.) In fact, he is moving away from them, like a lost traveller walking away from the inn in which he hopes to spend the night. The moment he sees with clarity what he needs to do to regain the peak experience, he does an about-face and ceases to be an alcoholic.
Colin Wilson (New Pathways in Psychology: Maslow & the Post-Freudian Revolution)
We have written the equations of water flow. From experiment, we find a set of concepts and approximations to use to discuss the solution--vortex streets, turbulent wakes, boundary layers. When we have similar equations in a less familiar situation, and one for which we cannot yet experiment, we try to solve the equations in a primitive, halting, and confused way to try to determine what new qualitatitive features may come out, or what new qualitative forms are a consequence of the equations. Our equations for the sun, for example, as a ball of hydrogen gas, describe a sun without sunspots, without the rice-grain structure of the surface, without prominences, without coronas. Yet, all of these are really in the equations; we just haven't found the way to get them out. ...The test of science is its ability to predict. Had you never visited the earth, could you predict the thunderstorms, the volcanoes, the ocean waves, the auroras, and the colourful sunset? A salutary lesson it will be when we learn of all that goes on on each of those dead planets--those eight or ten balls, each agglomerated from the same dust clouds and each obeying exactly the same laws of physics. The next great era of awakening of human intellect may well produce a method of understanding the qualitative content of equations. Today we cannot. Today we cannot see that the water flow equations contain such things as the barber pole structure of turbulence that one sees between rotating cylinders. Today we cannot see whether Schrodinger's equation contains frogs, musical composers, or morality--or whether it does not. We cannot say whether something beyond it like God is needed, or not. And so we can all hold strong opinions either way.
Richard P. Feynman
them flouncing into the pool, drinking, tossing up their heads, drinking again, the water dribbling from their lips in silver threads. There was another flounce, and they came out of the pond, and turned back again towards the farm. She looked further around. Day was just dawning, and beside its cool air and colours her heated actions and resolves of the night stood out in lurid contrast. She perceived that in her lap, and clinging to her hair, were red and yellow leaves which had come down from the tree and settled silently upon her during her partial sleep. Bathsheba shook her dress to get rid of them, when multitudes of the same family lying round about her rose and fluttered away in the breeze thus created, "like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing." There was an opening towards the east, and the glow from the as yet unrisen sun attracted her eyes thither. From her feet, and between the beautiful yellowing ferns with their feathery arms, the ground sloped downwards to a hollow, in which was a species of swamp, dotted with fungi. A morning mist hung over it now—a fulsome yet magnificent silvery veil, full of light from the sun, yet semi-opaque—the hedge behind it being in some measure hidden by its hazy luminousness. Up the sides of this depression grew sheaves of the common rush, and here and there a peculiar species of flag, the blades of which glistened in the emerging sun, like scythes. But the general aspect of the swamp was malignant. From its moist and poisonous coat seemed to be exhaled the essences of evil things in the earth, and in the waters under the earth. The fungi grew in all manner of positions from rotting leaves and tree stumps, some exhibiting to her listless gaze their clammy tops, others their oozing gills. Some were marked with great splotches, red as arterial blood, others were saffron yellow, and others tall and attenuated, with stems like macaroni. Some were leathery and of richest browns. The hollow seemed a nursery of pestilences small and great, in the immediate neighbourhood of comfort and health, and Bathsheba arose with a tremor at the thought of having passed the night on the brink of so dismal a place.
Thomas Hardy (Thomas Hardy Six Pack – Far from the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, A Pair of Blue Eyes, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Jude the Obscure and Elegy ... (Illustrated) (Six Pack Classics Book 5))
Have you ever been in a place where history becomes tangible? Where you stand motionless, feeling time and importance press around you, press into you? That was how I felt the first time I stood in the astronaut garden at OCA PNW. Is it still there? Do you know it? Every OCA campus had – has, please let it be has – one: a circular enclave, walled by smooth white stone that towered up and up until it abruptly cut off, definitive as the end of an atmosphere, making room for the sky above. Stretching up from the ground, standing in neat rows and with an equally neat carpet of microclover in between, were trees, one for every person who’d taken a trip off Earth on an OCA rocket. It didn’t matter where you from, where you trained, where your spacecraft launched. When someone went up, every OCA campus planted a sapling. The trees are an awesome sight, but bear in mind: the forest above is not the garden’s entry point. You enter from underground. I remember walking through a short tunnel and into a low-lit domed chamber that possessed nothing but a spiral staircase leading upward. The walls were made of thick glass, and behind it was the dense network you find below every forest. Roots interlocking like fingers, with gossamer fungus sprawled symbiotically between, allowing for the peaceful exchange of carbon and nutrients. Worms traversed roads of their own making. Pockets of water and pebbles decorated the scene. This is what a forest is, after all. Don’t believe the lie of individual trees, each a monument to its own self-made success. A forest is an interdependent community. Resources are shared, and life in isolation is a death sentence. As I stood contemplating the roots, a hidden timer triggered, and the lights faded out. My breath went with it. The glass was etched with some kind of luminescent colourant, invisible when the lights were on, but glowing boldly in the dark. I moved closer, and I saw names – thousands upon thousands of names, printed as small as possible. I understood what I was seeing without being told. The idea behind Open Cluster Astronautics was simple: citizen-funded spaceflight. Exploration for exploration’s sake. Apolitical, international, non-profit. Donations accepted from anyone, with no kickbacks or concessions or promises of anything beyond a fervent attempt to bring astronauts back from extinction. It began in a post thread kicked off in 2052, a literal moonshot by a collective of frustrated friends from all corners – former thinkers for big names gone bankrupt, starry-eyed academics who wanted to do more than teach the past, government bureau members whose governments no longer existed. If you want to do good science with clean money and clean hands, they argued, if you want to keep the fire burning even as flags and logos came down, if you understand that space exploration is best when it’s done in the name of the people, then the people are the ones who have to make it happen.
Becky Chambers (To Be Taught, If Fortunate)
Senseless people name evil good, call good evil. As you are doing. You accuse Us of passing false judgement: you do Us injustice. We shall prove this to you. You ask who We are: We are God’s handle, Master Death, a truly effective reaper. Our scythe works its way. It cuts down white, black, red, brown, green, blue, grey, yellow, and all kinds of lustrous flowers in its path, irrespective of their splendour, their strength, their virtue. And the violet’s beautiful colour, rich perfume, and palatable sap, avail it nought. See: that is justice. Our justification was acknowledged by the Romans and the poets, for they knew Us better than you do. You ask what We are: We are nothing, and yet something. Nothing, because We have neither life, nor being, nor form, and We are no spirit, not visible, not tangible; something, because We are the end of life, the end of existence, the beginning of nullity, a cross between the two. We are a happening that fells all people. Huge giants must fall before Us; all living beings must be transformed by Us. You ask where We are: We are not ascertainable. But Our form was found in a temple in Rome*, painted on a wall, as a hoodwinked man sitting on an ox; this man wielded a hatchet in his right hand and a shovel in his left hand, with which he was beating the ox. A great crowd of all kinds of people was hitting him, fighting him, and making casts at him, each one with the tools of his trade: even the nun with her psalter was there. They struck and made casts at the man on the ox, he who signified Us; yet Death contested and buried them all. Pythagoras likens Us to a man’s form with the eyes of a basilisk: they wandered to the ends of the Earth, and every living creature had to die at their glance. You ask where We are: We are from the Earthly Paradise. God created Us there and gave Us Our true name, when he said: «The day that ye bite of this fruit, ye shall die the death.» And for that reason We call ourself: «We, Death, mighty ruler and master on Earth, in the air, and in the rivers of the sea.» You ask what good We do: you have already heard that We bring the world more advantage than harm. Now cease, rest content, and thank Us for the kindness we have done you!
Johannes von Saaz (Death and the Ploughman)
NAMING THE EARTH (a poem of light for national poetry day) And the world will be born again in circles of steaming breath and beams of light as each one of us directs our inner eye upon its name. Hear the cry of wings, the sigh of leaves and grass, smell the new sweet mist rising as the pathway is cleared at last. Stones stand ready - they have known since ages and ages ago that they were not alone. Water carries the planet's energy into skies and down to earth and bones. The cold parts steadily as we come together, bodies and hearts warm, hands tingling. We are silent but our eyes are singing. We look, we feel, we know, we trust each other's souls, we have no need to speak. Not now, but later, when the time is right, the name will ring within the iron core of each other's listening - and the very earth's being. Every creature, every plant, will hear it calling, tolling like a bell - a sound we've always felt but never dared to hope to hear reverberating - true at last, at every level of existence. The poets come together to open the intimate centre. Believe in life and air - breathe the light itself, for these are the energies and rhythms that we need to see, to touch, to reach, to identify, to say, the NAME. Colours on your skin fuse and dissolve - leave the river clean for pure space and time to enter and flow in. We all become one fluid stream of stillness and motion, of flaring thought pulses discovering weird pools and twists within where darkness hides from the flames in our eyes but will not snare us. We probe deeper still, journeying towards a unity which will be more raw and yet also more formed than anything written or spoken before. Our fragile bodies fall away - and the trees, and the roots of trees, guide us - lead us away from the faces we remember seeing each day in the mirror - into an ocean of dreams seething with warmth, love, where the beginning is real, ripe, evolving. And the world is born again in circles of steaming breath and beams of light. An ache - a signal - a trembling moment - and the time is right to say the name. We sing as one whole voice of the universal - all the words, the names of every tiny thirsting thing, and they ring out together as one sound, one energy, one sense, one vibration, one breath. And the world listens, beats, shines, glows - IS - Exists!
Jay Woodman
Children, now we shall try to write a capital letter L,” I say and go to the blackboard. “Ten lines of L’s, then five lines of Lina, and five lines of Larch.” I write out the words slowly with chalk. A shuffling and rustling begins behind me. I expect to find that they are laughing at me and turn around. But it is only the notebooks being opened and the slates put in readiness. The forty heads are bent obediently over their task. —I am almost surprised. The slate pencils are squeaking, the pens scratching. I pass to and fro between the forms. On the wall hangs a crucifix, a stuffed barn owl and a map of Europe. Outside the windows the clouds drive steadily by, swift and low. The map of Germany is coloured in brown and green. I stop before it. The frontiers are hatched in red, and make a curious zigzag from top to bottom. Cologne—Aachen, there are the thin black lines marking the railways; Herbesthal, Liège, Brussels, Lille—I stand on tiptoe—Roubaix, Arras, Ostend—Where is Mount Kemmel then? It isn’t marked at all; but there is Langemarck, Ypres, Bixschoote, Staden. How small they are on the map—tiny points only, secluded, tiny points—and yet how the heavens thundered and the earth raged there on the 31st of July when the Big Offensive began and before nightfall we had lost every officer. I turn away and survey the fair and dark heads bending zealously over the words, Lina and Larch. Strange—for them those tiny points on the map will be no more than just so much stuff to be learned—a few new place names and a number of dates to be memorized by note in the history lesson—like the Seven Years’ War or some battle against the Romans. A
Erich Maria Remarque (The Road Back)
Oh I'll die I'll die I'll die My skin is in blazing furore I do not know what I'll do where I'll go oh I am sick I'll kick all Arts in the butt and go away Shubha Shubha let me go and live in your cloaked melon In the unfastened shadow of dark destroyed saffron curtain The last anchor is leaving me after I got the other anchors lifted I can't resist anymore, a million glass panes are breaking in my cortex I know, Shubha, spread out your matrix, give me peace Each vein is carrying a stream of tears up to the heart Brain's contagious flints are decomposing out of eternal sickness other why didn't you give me birth in the form of a skeleton I'd have gone two billion light years and kissed God's ass But nothing pleases me nothing sounds well I feel nauseated with more than a single kiss I've forgotten women during copulation and returned to the Muse In to the sun-coloured bladder I do not know what these happenings are but they are occurring within me I'll destroy and shatter everything draw and elevate Shubha in to my hunger Shubha will have to be given Oh Malay Kolkata seems to be a procession of wet and slippery organs today But i do not know what I'll do now with my own self My power of recollection is withering away Let me ascend alone toward death I haven't had to learn copulation and dying I haven't had to learn the responsibility of shedding the last drops after urination Haven't had to learn to go and lie beside Shubha in the darkness Have not had to learn the usage of French leather while lying on Nandita's bosom Though I wanted the healthy spirit of Aleya's fresh China-rose matrix Yet I submitted to the refuge of my brain's cataclysm I am failing to understand why I still want to live I am thinking of my debauched Sabarna-Choudhury ancestors I'll have to do something different and new Let me sleep for the last time on a bed soft as the skin of Shubha's bosom I remember now the sharp-edged radiance of the moment I was born I want to see my own death before passing away The world had nothing to do with Malay Roychoudhury Shubha let me sleep for a few moments in your violent silvery uterus Give me peace, Shubha, let me have peace Let my sin-driven skeleton be washed anew in your seasonal bloodstream Let me create myself in your womb with my own sperm Would I have been like this if I had different parents? Was Malay alias me possible from an absolutely different sperm? Would I have been Malay in the womb of other women of my father? Would I have made a professional gentleman of me like my dead brother without Shubha? Oh, answer, let somebody answer these Shubha, ah Shubha Let me see the earth through your cellophane hymen Come back on the green mattress again As cathode rays are sucked up with the warmth of a magnet's brilliance I remember the letter of the final decision of 1956 The surroundings of your clitoris were being embellished with coon at that time Fine rib-smashing roots were descending in to your bosom Stupid relationship inflated in the bypass of senseless neglect Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah I do not know whether I am going to die Squandering was roaring within heart's exhaustive impatience I'll disrupt and destroy I'll split all in to pieces for the sake of Art There isn't any other way out for Poetry except suicide Shubha Let me enter in to the immemorial incontinence of your labia majora In to the absurdity of woeless effort In the golden chlorophyll of the drunken heart Why wasn't I lost in my mother's urethra? Why wasn't I driven away in my father's urine after his self-coition? Why wasn't I mixed in the ovum -flux or in the phlegm? With her eyes shut supine beneath me I felt terribly distressed when I saw comfort seize S
Malay Roy Choudhury (Selected Poems)
From Sister by ROSAMUND LUPTON    The rain hammered down onto your coffin, pitter-patter; ‘Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, I hear raindrops’; I was five and singing it to you, just born. Your coffin reached the bottom of the monstrous hole. And a part of me went down into the muddy earth with you and lay down next to you and died with you. Then Mum stepped forwards and took a wooden spoon from her coat pocket. She loosened her fingers and it fell on top of your coffin. Your magic wand. And I threw the emails I sign ‘lol’. And the title of older sister. And the nickname Bee. Not grand or important to anyone else, I thought, this bond that we had. Small things. Tiny things. You knew that I didn’t make words out of my alphabetti spaghetti but I gave you my vowels so you could make more words out of yours. I knew that your favourite colour used to be purple but then became bright yellow; (‘Ochre’s the arty word, Bee’) and you knew mine was orange, until I discovered that taupe was more sophisticated and you teased me for that. You knew that my first whimsy china animal was a cat (you lent me 50p of your pocket money to buy it) and that I once took all my clothes out of my school trunk and hurled them around the room and that was the only time I had something close to a tantrum. I knew that when you were five you climbed into bed with me every night for a year. I threw everything we had together - the strong roots and stems and leaves and beautiful soft blossoms of sisterhood - into the earth with you. And I was left standing on the edge, so diminished by the loss, that I thought I could no longer be there. All I was allowed to keep for myself was missing you. Which is what? The tears that pricked the inside of my face, the emotion catching at the top of my throat, the cavity in my chest that was larger than I am. Was that all I had now? Nothing else from twenty-one years of loving you. Was the feeling that all is right with the world, my world, because you were its foundations, formed in childhood and with me grown into adulthood - was that to be replaced by nothing? The ghastliness of nothing. Because I was nobody’s sister now. I saw Dad had been given a handful of earth. But as he held out his hand above your coffin he couldn’t unprise his fingers. Instead, he put his hand into his pocket, letting the earth fall there and not onto you. He watched as Father Peter threw the first clod of earth instead and broke apart, splintering with the pain of it. I went to him and took his earth-stained hand in mine, the earth gritty between our soft palms. He looked at me with love. A selfish person can still love someone else, can’t they? Even when they’ve hurt them and let them down. I, of all people, should understand that. Mum was silent as they put earth over your coffin. An explosion in space makes no sound at all.
Rosamund Lupton
His ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge. Of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing. Upon my quoting Thomas Carlyle, he inquired in the naivest way who he might be and what he had done. My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to be to me such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it. “You appear to be astonished,” he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. “Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it.” “To forget it!” “You see,” he explained, “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.” “But the Solar System!” I protested. “What the deuce is it to me?” he interrupted impatiently; “you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.” I was on the point of asking him what that work might be, but something in his manner showed me that the question would be an unwelcome one. I pondered over our short conversation, however, and endeavoured to draw my deductions from it. He said that he would acquire no knowledge which did not bear upon his object. Therefore all the knowledge which he possessed was such as would be useful to him. I enumerated in my own mind all the various points upon which he had shown me that he was exceptionally well-informed. I even took a pencil and jotted them down. I could not help smiling at the document when I had completed it. It ran in this way— SHERLOCK HOLMES—his limits. 1. Knowledge of Literature.—Nil. 2. Philosophy.—Nil. 3. Astronomy.—Nil. 4. Politics.—Feeble. 5. Botany.—Variable. Well up in belladonna, opium, and poisons generally. Knows nothing of practical gardening. 6. Geology.—Practical, but limited. Tells at a glance different soils from each other. After walks has shown me splashes upon his trousers, and told me by their colour and consistence in what part of London he had received them. 7. Chemistry.—Profound. 8. Anatomy.—Accurate, but unsystematic. 9. Sensational Literature.—Immense. He appears to know every detail of every horror perpetrated in the century. 10. Plays the violin well. 11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman. 12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law.
Arthur Conan Doyle (A Study in Scarlet)
The street sprinkler went past and, as its rasping rotary broom spread water over the tarmac, half the pavement looked as if it had been painted with a dark stain. A big yellow dog had mounted a tiny white bitch who stood quite still. In the fashion of colonials the old gentleman wore a light jacket, almost white, and a straw hat. Everything held its position in space as if prepared for an apotheosis. In the sky the towers of Notre-Dame gathered about themselves a nimbus of heat, and the sparrows – minor actors almost invisible from the street – made themselves at home high up among the gargoyles. A string of barges drawn by a tug with a white and red pennant had crossed the breadth of Paris and the tug lowered its funnel, either in salute or to pass under the Pont Saint-Louis. Sunlight poured down rich and luxuriant, fluid and gilded as oil, picking out highlights on the Seine, on the pavement dampened by the sprinkler, on a dormer window, and on a tile roof on the Île Saint-Louis. A mute, overbrimming life flowed from each inanimate thing, shadows were violet as in impressionist canvases, taxis redder on the white bridge, buses greener. A faint breeze set the leaves of a chestnut tree trembling, and all down the length of the quai there rose a palpitation which drew voluptuously nearer and nearer to become a refreshing breath fluttering the engravings pinned to the booksellers’ stalls. People had come from far away, from the four corners of the earth, to live that one moment. Sightseeing cars were lined up on the parvis of Notre-Dame, and an agitated little man was talking through a megaphone. Nearer to the old gentleman, to the bookseller dressed in black, an American student contemplated the universe through the view-finder of his Leica. Paris was immense and calm, almost silent, with her sheaves of light, her expanses of shadow in just the right places, her sounds which penetrated the silence at just the right moment. The old gentleman with the light-coloured jacket had opened a portfolio filled with coloured prints and, the better to look at them, propped up the portfolio on the stone parapet. The American student wore a red checked shirt and was coatless. The bookseller on her folding chair moved her lips without looking at her customer, to whom she was speaking in a tireless stream. That was all doubtless part of the symphony. She was knitting. Red wool slipped through her fingers. The white bitch’s spine sagged beneath the weight of the big male, whose tongue was hanging out. And then when everything was in its place, when the perfection of that particular morning reached an almost frightening point, the old gentleman died without saying a word, without a cry, without a contortion while he was looking at his coloured prints, listening to the voice of the bookseller as it ran on and on, to the cheeping of the sparrows, the occasional horns of taxis. He must have died standing up, one elbow on the stone ledge, a total lack of astonishment in his blue eyes. He swayed and fell to the pavement, dragging along with him the portfolio with all its prints scattered about him. The male dog wasn’t at all frightened, never stopped. The woman let her ball of wool fall from her lap and stood up suddenly, crying out: ‘Monsieur Bouvet!
Georges Simenon