Dead Tree Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Dead Tree. Here they are! All 200 of them:

my beerdrunk soul is sadder than all the dead christmas trees of the world.
Charles Bukowski
A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic.
Carl Sagan
What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." [Cosmos, Part 11: The Persistence of Memory (1980)]
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
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 this to be marked on by 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.
Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient)
At that time, I often thought that if I had had to live in the trunk of a dead tree, with nothing to do but look up at the sky flowing overhead, little by little I would have gotten used to it.
Albert Camus (The Stranger)
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, And the dry stone no sound of water. Only There is shadow under this red rock, (Come in under the shadow of this red rock), And I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
T.S. Eliot (The Waste Land)
Plants are more courageous than almost all human beings: an orange tree would rather die than produce lemons, whereas instead of dying the average person would rather be someone they are not.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith! Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge!
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Works Of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. Iii (In 12 Volumes))
Stuff your eyes with wonder," he said, "live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that," he said, "shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.
Ray Bradbury
Do you see that tree? It is dead but it still sways in the wind with the others. I think it would be like that with me. That if I died I would still be part of life in one way or another.
Anton Chekhov (The Three Sisters)
Stuff your eyes with wonder. Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that . Shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
When I Am Dead, My Dearest When I am dead, my dearest, Sing no sad songs for me; Plant thou no roses at my head, Nor shady cypress-tree: Be the green grass above me With showers and dewdrops wet; And if thou wilt, remember, And if thou wilt, forget. I shall not see the shadows, I shall not feel the rain; I shall not hear the nightingale Sing on, as if in pain: And dreaming through the twilight That doth not rise nor set, Haply I may remember, And haply may forget.
Christina Rossetti (Complete Poems)
Sometimes we just have to cut off the dead branches in our life. Sometimes that's the only way we can keep the tree alive. It's hard and it hurts, but it's what's best.
Nicole Williams (Lost & Found (Lost & Found, #1))
The tree is more than first a seed, then a stem, then a living trunk, and then dead timber. The tree is a slow, enduring force straining to win the sky.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Wisdom of the Sands (Citadelle))
Sometimes she'd go a whole day without thinking of him or missing him. Why not? She had quite a full life, and really, he'd often been hard to deal with and hard to live with. A project, the Yankee oldtimers like her very own Dad might have said. And then sometimes a day would come, a gray one (or a sunny one) when she missed him so fiercely she felt empty, not a woman at all anymore but just a dead tree filled with cold November blow. She felt like that now, felt like hollering his name and hollering him home, and her heart turned sick with the thought of the years ahead and she wondered what good love was if it came to this, to even ten seconds of feeling like this.
Stephen King (Lisey's Story)
Remember?" he asks. "This is where you kissed me." So the heavy dose of morphling administered after the whipping wasn't enough to erase that from his consciousness. "I didn't think you'd remember that," I say. "Have to be dead to forget. Maybe even not then," he tells me. "Maybe I'll be like that man in 'The Hanging Tree'. Still waiting for an answer." Gale, who I have never seen cry, has tears in his eyes. To keep them from spilling over, I reach forward and press my lips against his. We taste of heat, ashes, and misery. It's a surprising flavour for such a gentle kiss. He pulls away first and gives me a wry smile. "I knew you'd kiss me." "How?" I say. Because I didn't know myself. "Because I'm in pain," he says. "That's the only way I get your attention." He picks up the box. "Don't worry, Katniss. It'll pass." He leaves me before I can answer.
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
When I am dead, and over me bright April Shakes out her rain drenched hair, Tho you should lean above me broken hearted, I shall not care. For I shall have peace. As leafey trees are peaceful When rain bends down the bough. And I shall be more silent and cold hearted Than you are now
Sara Teasdale
Oh, Will," she said, "What can we do? Whatever can we do? I want to live with you forever. I want to kiss you and lie down with you and wake up with you every day of my life till I die, years and years and years away. I don't want a memory, just a memory..." "No," he said. "Memory's a poor thing to have. It's your own real hair and mouth and arms and eyes and hands I want. I didn't know I could ever love anything so much. Oh, Lyra, I wish this night would never end! If only we could stay here like this, and the world could stop turning, and everyone else could fall into a sleep..." "Everyone except us! And you and I could live here forever and just love each other." "I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I'll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again..." "I'll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you...We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pin trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams...And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight..." They lay side by side, hand in hand, looking at the sky.
Philip Pullman (The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3))
A little kid asks my dad why that man is chopping down the tree. Dad: He's not chopping it down. He's saving it. Those branches were long dead from disease. All plants are like that. By cutting off the damage you make it possible for the tree to grow again. You watch - by the end of summer, this tree will be the strongest on the block.
Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak)
The stone is strong. Bran told himself, the roots of the trees go deep, and under the ground the Kings of Winter sit their thrones. So long as those remained, Winterfell remained. It was not dead, just broken. Like me, he thought. I'm not dead either.
George R.R. Martin (A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2))
If you come as softly As wind within the trees You may hear what I hear See what sorrow sees. If you come as lightly As threading dew I will take you gladly Nor ask more of you. You may sit beside me Silent as a breath Only those who stay dead Shall remember death. And if you come I will be silent Nor speak harsh words to you. I will not ask you why, now. Or how, or what you do. We shall sit here, softly Beneath two different years And the rich earth between us Shall drink our tears.
Audre Lorde
He kissed back, all the pages spread out around us like riddles waiting to be solved. Let them wait. Let my genes unravel, my hinges come loose. If my fate rests in the hands of a madman, let death come and bring its worse. I'll take the ruined craters of laboratories, the dead trees, this city with ashes in the oxygen, if it means freedom. I'd sooner die here than live a hundred years with wires in my veins.
Lauren DeStefano (Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2))
In a world where thrushes sing and willow trees are golden in the spring, boredom should have been included among the seven deadly sins.
Elizabeth Goudge (The Rosemary Tree)
I don't know about you, but I'm kind of fed up with realism. After all, there's enough reality already; why make more of it? Why not leave realism for the memoirs of drug addicts, the histories of salt, the biographies of porn stars? Why must we continue to read about the travails of divorced people or mildly depressed Canadians when we could be contemplating the shopping habits of zombies, or the difficulties that ensue when living and dead people marry each other? We should be demanding more stories about faery handbags and pyjamas inscribed with the diaries of strange women. We should not rest until someone writes about a television show that features the Free People's World-Tree Library, with its elaborate waterfalls and Forbidden Books and Pirate-Magicians. We should be pining for a house haunted by rabbits. (from the review of Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners in The Guardian)
Audrey Niffenegger
I will not say that your mulberry trees are dead; but I am afraid they're not alive.
Jane Austen (Jane Austen's Letters)
I am the twentieth century. I am the ragtime and the tango; sans-serif, clean geometry. I am the virgin's-hair whip and the cunningly detailed shackles of decadent passion. I am every lonely railway station in every capital of Europe. I am the Street, the fanciless buildings of government. the cafe-dansant, the clockwork figure, the jazz saxophone, the tourist-lady's hairpiece, the fairy's rubber breasts, the travelling clock which always tells the wrong time and chimes in different keys. I am the dead palm tree, the Negro's dancing pumps, the dried fountain after tourist season. I am all the appurtenances of night.
Thomas Pynchon (V.)
The first thing I did was run. Okay, actually the first thing I did was scream, lose my balance, flail my arms in the air like some kind of uncoordinated bird, then slide down the side of the tree and land on my butt. Then I ran.
Gemma Halliday (Social Suicide (Deadly Cool, #2))
A number of years ago, when I was a freshly-appointed instructor, I met, for the first time, a certain eminent historian of science. At the time I could only regard him with tolerant condescension. I was sorry of the man who, it seemed to me, was forced to hover about the edges of science. He was compelled to shiver endlessly in the outskirts, getting only feeble warmth from the distant sun of science- in-progress; while I, just beginning my research, was bathed in the heady liquid heat up at the very center of the glow. In a lifetime of being wrong at many a point, I was never more wrong. It was I, not he, who was wandering in the periphery. It was he, not I, who lived in the blaze. I had fallen victim to the fallacy of the 'growing edge;' the belief that only the very frontier of scientific advance counted; that everything that had been left behind by that advance was faded and dead. But is that true? Because a tree in spring buds and comes greenly into leaf, are those leaves therefore the tree? If the newborn twigs and their leaves were all that existed, they would form a vague halo of green suspended in mid-air, but surely that is not the tree. The leaves, by themselves, are no more than trivial fluttering decoration. It is the trunk and limbs that give the tree its grandeur and the leaves themselves their meaning. There is not a discovery in science, however revolutionary, however sparkling with insight, that does not arise out of what went before. 'If I have seen further than other men,' said Isaac Newton, 'it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.
Isaac Asimov (Adding a Dimension: Seventeen Essays on the History of Science)
I’ll tell you another secret, this one for your own good. You may think the past has something to tell you. You may think that you should listen, should strain to make out its whispers, should bend over backward, stoop down low to hear its voice breathed up from the ground, from the dead places. You may think there’s something in it for you, something to understand or make sense of. But I know the truth: I know from the nights of Coldness. I know the past will drag you backward and down, have you snatching at whispers of wind and the gibberish of trees rubbing together, trying to decipher some code, trying to piece together what was broken. It’s hopeless. The past is nothing but a weight. It will build inside of you like a stone. Take it from me: If you hear the past speaking to you, feel it tugging at your back and running its fingers up your spine, the best thing to do—the only thing—is run.
Lauren Oliver (Delirium (Delirium, #1))
They’re in trouble, Kaz had thought. Or you were dead wrong about Matthias, and you’re about to pay for all of those talking tree jokes.
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
I sat on the bed. I looked at the Rorschach blot. I tried to make it look like a spreading tree, shadows pooled beneath it, but it didn't. It looked more like a dead cat I once found, the fat, glistening grubs writhing blindly, squirming over each other, frantically tunneling away from the light. But even that isn't the real horror. The horror is this: in the end, it is simply a picture of empty meaningless blackness.
Alan Moore (Watchmen)
Symmetry is only a property of dead things. Did you ever see a tree or a mountain that was symmetrical? It’s fine for buildings, but if you ever see a symmetrical human face, you will have the impression that you ought to think it beautiful, but that in fact you find it cold. The human heart likes a little disorder in its geometry, Kyria Pelagia. Look at your face in a mirror, Signorina, and you will see that one eyebrow is a little higher than the other, that the set of the lid of your left eye is such that the eye is a fraction more open that the other. It is these things that make you both attractive and beautiful, whereas…otherwise you would be a statue. Symmetry is for God, not for us.
Louis de Bernières (Corelli's Mandolin)
Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.
Henry David Thoreau
We'll act as if all this were a bad dream." A bad dream. To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream. A bad dream. I remembered everything. I remembered the cadavers and Doreen and the story of the fig tree and Marco's diamond and the sailor on the Common and Doctor Gordon's wall-eyed nurse and the broken thermometers and the Negro with his two kinds of beans and the twenty pounds I gained on insulin and the rock that bulged between sky and sea like a gray skull. Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind snow, would numb and cover them. But they were part of me. They were my landscape.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
They were trying to run, trying to hide. But the rock would not hide them; the dead tree gave no shelter.
Stephen King (Carrie)
Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter's deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world's oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white silence of winter.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
At some point, as Richard keeps telling me, you gotta let go and sit still and allow contentment to come to you. Letting go, of course, is a scary enterprise for those of us who believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on the top of it which we personally turn, and that if we were to drop this handle for even a moment, well – that would be the end of the universe. But try dropping it….Sit quietly for now and cease your relentless participation. Watch what happens. The birds do not crash dead out of the sky in mid-flight, after all. The trees do not wither and die, the rivers do not run red with blood. Life continues to go on…. Why are you so sure that your micromanagement of every moment in this whole world is so essential? Why don’t you let it be?
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia)
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 this to be marked on my body when I am dead.
Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient)
On the day of the dead, when the year too dies, Must the youngest open the oldest hills Through the door of the birds, where the breeze breaks. There fire shall fly from the raven boy, And the silver eyes that see the wind, And the light shall have the harp of gold. By the pleasant lake the Sleepers lie, On Cadfan’s Way where the kestrels call; Though grim from the Grey King shadows fall, Yet singing the golden harp shall guide To break their sleep and bid them ride. When light from the lost land shall return, Six Sleepers shall ride, six Signs shall burn, And where the midsummer tree grows tall By Pendragon’s sword the Dark shall fall. Y maent yr mynyddoedd yn canu, ac y mae’r arglwyddes yn dod.
Susan Cooper (The Dark Is Rising Sequence (The Dark is Rising, #1-5))
Cal says that humans are made from the nuclear ash of dead stars. He says that when I die, I'll return to dust, glitter,rain. If thats true, I want to be buried right here under this tree. Its roots will reach into the soft mess of my body and suck me dry. I'll be re-formed as apple blossom. I'll drift down in the spring like confetti and cling to my family's shoes. They'll carry me in their pockets to help them sleep. What dreams will they have then?
Jenny Downham (Before I Die)
Mr Freeman: "Art without emotion is like chocolate cake without sugar. It makes you gag." He sticks his finger down his throat. "The next time you work on your trees, don't think about trees. Think about love, or hate, or joy, or pain- whatever makes you feel something, makes your palms sweat, or your toes curl. Focus on that feeling. When people don't express themselves, they die on piece at a time. You'd be shocked at how many adults are really dead inside- walking through their days with no idea who they are, just waiting for a heart attack or cancer or a mack truck to come along and finish the job. It's the saddest thing I know.
Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak)
Mickey Cray had been out of work ever since a dead iguana fell from a palm tree and hit him on the head.
Carl Hiaasen (Chomp)
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, You cannot say, or guess, for you know only A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, And the dry stone no sound of water. Only There is shadow under this red rock, (Come in under the shadow of this red rock), And I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
T.S. Eliot (The Waste Land and Other Poems)
I must say this now about that first fire. It was magic. Out of dead tinder and grass and sticks came a live warm light. It cracked and snapped and smoked and filled the woods with brightness. It lighted the trees and made them warm and friendly. It stood tall and bright and held back the night.
Jean Craighead George (My Side of the Mountain (Mountain, #1))
Not to know one's true identity is to be a mad, disensouled thing — a golem. And, indeed, this image, sick-eningly Orwellian, applies to the mass of human beings now living in the high-tech industrial democracies. Their authenticity lies in their ability to obey and follow mass style changes that are conveyed through the media. Immersed in junk food, trash media, and cryp-tofascist politics, they are condemned to toxic lives of low awareness. Sedated by the prescripted daily television fix, they are a living dead, lost to all but the act of consuming.
Terence McKenna (Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge)
i was momentarily sidetracked by the vision of Eric herding a cow into a trailer and driving it to the shoulder of the the interstate and shooing it into the trees.
Charlaine Harris (Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse, #2))
A dead hydrangea is as intricate and lovely as one in bloom. Bleak sky is as seductive as sunshine, miniature orange trees without blossom or fruit are not defective; they are that.
Toni Morrison (Tar Baby)
Friendship plants itself as a small unobtrusive seed; over time, it grows thick roots that wrap around your heart. When a love affair ends, the tree is torn out quickly, the operation painful but clean. Friendship withers quietly, there is always hope of revival. Only after time has passed do you recognise that it is dead, and you are left, for years afterwards, pulling dry brown fibres from your chest.
Anna Lyndsey (Girl in the Dark)
Wind in my hair, I feel part of everywhere Underneath my being is a road that disappeared Late at night I hear the trees, they're singing with the dead Overhead...
Eddie Vedder
I imagine what it must be like to stay hidden, disappear in the dusky nothing and stay still in the night. It’s not sadness, though it may sound like it. I’m thinking about people and trees and how I wish I could be silent more, be more tree than anything else, less clumsy and loud, less crow, more cool white pine, and how it’s hard not to always want something else, not just to let the savage grass grow.
Ada Limon (Bright Dead Things)
Christmas tree stands are the work of the devil and they want you dead.
Bill Bryson (I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away)
Franz Kafka is Dead He died in a tree from which he wouldn't come down. "Come down!" they cried to him. "Come down! Come down!" Silence filled the night, and the night filled the silence, while they waited for Kafka to speak. "I can't," he finally said, with a note of wistfulness. "Why?" they cried. Stars spilled across the black sky. "Because then you'll stop asking for me." The people whispered and nodded among themselves. They put their arms around each other, and touched their children's hair. They took off their hats and raised them to the small, sickly man with the ears of a strange animal, sitting in his black velvet suit in the dark tree. Then they turned and started for home under the canopy of leaves. Children were carried on their fathers' shoulders, sleepy from having been taken to see who wrote his books on pieces of bark he tore off the tree from which he refused to come down. In his delicate, beautiful, illegible handwriting. And they admired those books, and they admired his will and stamina. After all: who doesn't wish to make a spectacle of his loneliness? One by one families broke off with a good night and a squeeze of the hands, suddenly grateful for the company of neighbors. Doors closed to warm houses. Candles were lit in windows. Far off, in his perch in the trees , Kafka listened to it all: the rustle of the clothes being dropped to the floor, or lips fluttering along naked shoulders, beds creaking along the weight of tenderness. It all caught in the delicate pointed shells of his ears and rolled like pinballs through the great hall of his mind. That night a freezing wind blew in. When the children woke up, they went to the window and found the world encased in ice. One child, the smallest, shrieked out in delight and her cry tore through the silence and exploded the ice of a giant oak tree. The world shone. They found him frozen on the ground like a bird. It's said that when they put their ears to the shell of his ears, they could hear themselves.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight…
Philip Pullman (The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3))
Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. "Beware the Jabberwock, my son The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!" He took his vorpal sword in hand; Long time the manxome foe he sought— So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought. And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came! One, two! One, two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back. "And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? Come to my arms, my beamish boy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" He chortled in his joy. 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.
Lewis Carroll
It was a lone tree burning on the desert. A heraldic tree that the passing storm had left afire. The solitary pilgrim drawn up before it had traveled far to be here and he knelt in the hot sand and held his numbed hands out while all about in that circle attended companies of lesser auxiliaries routed forth into the inordinate day, small owls that crouched silently and stood from foot to foot and tarantulas and solpugas and vinegarroons and the vicious mygale spiders and beaded lizards with mouths black as a chowdog's, deadly to man, and the little desert basilisks that jet blood from their eyes and the small sandvipers like seemly gods, silent and the same, in Jeda, in Babylon. A constellation of ignited eyes that edged the ring of light all bound in a precarious truce before this torch whose brightness had set back the stars in their sockets.
Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West)
Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop.
Rumi
Blessed tree and blessed birds, that were to be neither saved nor damned.
Anthony Burgess (A Dead Man in Deptford)
Ach, Tchekov! Why are you dead? Why can’t I talk to you in a big darkish room at late evening—where the light is green from the waving trees outside? I’d like to write a series of Heavens: that would be one.
Katherine Mansfield (Journal of Katherine Mansfield)
Tragedy was foresworn, in ritual denial of the ripe knowledge that we are drawing away from one another, that we share only one thing, share the fear of belonging to another, or to others, or to God; love or money, tender equated in advertising and the world, where only money is currency, and under dead trees and brittle ornaments prehensile hands exchange forgeries of what the heart dare not surrender.
William Gaddis (The Recognitions)
To-day I think Only with scents, - scents dead leaves yield, And bracken, and wild carrot's seed, And the square mustard field; Odours that rise When the spade wounds the root of tree, Rose, currant, raspberry, or goutweed, Rhubarb or celery; The smoke's smell, too, Flowing from where a bonfire burns The dead, the waste, the dangerous, And all to sweetness turns. It is enough To smell, to crumble the dark earth, While the robin sings over again Sad songs of Autumn mirth." - A poem called DIGGING.
Edward Thomas (Collected Poems)
At that time, I often thought that if I had had to live in the trunk of a dead tree, with nothing to do but look up at the sky flowing overhead, little by little I would have gotten used to it. I would have waited for the birds to fly by or the clouds to mingle, just as here I waited to see my lawyer's ties and just as, in another world, I used to wait patiently until Saturday to hold Marie's body in my arms. Now, as I think back on it, I wasn't in a hollow tree trunk. There were others worse off than me. Anyway, it was one of Maman's ideas and she often repeated it, that after awhile you could get used to anything.
Albert Camus
I told you in the course of this paper that Shakespeare had a sister; but do not look for her in Sir Sidney Lee’s life of the poet. She died young—alas, she never wrote a word. She lies buried where the omnibuses now stop, opposite the Elephant and Castle. Now my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word and was buried at the cross–roads still lives. She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here to–night, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives; for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh. This opportunity, as I think, it is now coming within your power to give her. For my belief is that if we live another century or so—I am talking of the common life which is the real life and not of the little separate lives which we live as individuals—and have five hundred a year each of us and rooms of our own; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think; if we escape a little from the common sitting–room and see human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality; and the sky. too, and the trees or whatever it may be in themselves; if we look past Milton’s bogey, for no human being should shut out the view; if we face the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women, then the opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare’s sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down. Drawing her life from the lives of the unknown who were her forerunners, as her brother did before her, she will be born. As for her coming without that preparation, without that effort on our part, without that determination that when she is born again she shall find it possible to live and write her poetry, that we cannot expect, for that would he impossible. But I maintain that she would come if we worked for her, and that so to work, even in poverty and obscurity, is worth while.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own)
Where's your boyfriend, District 12? Still hanging on?" She asks. Well, as long as we're talking I'm alive. "He's out there now. Hunting Cato," I snarl at her. Then I scream at the top of my lungs. "Peeta!" Clove jams her fist into my windpipe, very effectively cutting off my voice. But her head's whipping from side to side, and I know for a moment she's at least considering I'm telling the truth. Since no Peeta appears to save me, she turns back to me. "Liar," she says with a grin. "He's nearly dead. Cato knows where he cut him. You've probably got him strapped up in some tree while you try to keep his heart going. What's in the pretty little backpack? That medicine for Lover Boy? Too bad he'll never get it.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
Pride! In English it is a Deadly Sin. But in Urdu it is fakhr and nazish - both names that you can find more than once on our family tree.
Kamila Shamsie (Salt and Saffron)
Then they grow away from the earth then they grow away from the sun then they grow away from the plants and the animals. They see no life. When they look they see only objects. The world is a dead thing for them the trees and the rivers are not alive. the mountains and stones are not alive. The deer and bear are objects. They see no life. They fear. They fear the world. They destroy what they fear. They fear themselves.
Leslie Marmon Silko
There's always hand-to-hand combat. All you need is to come up with a knife, and you'll at least stand a chance. If I get jumped, I'm dead!" I can hear my voice rising in anger. "But you won't! You'll be living up in some tree eating raw squirrels and picking off people with arrows.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
Art should look like art, trees and flowers and people, not weird shapes and splotches of color all smeared together.
Jennifer Estep (Deadly Sting (Elemental Assassin, #8))
The first seven years of the Joshua tree's life, it's just a vertical stem. No branches," she told me while we were hiking. "It takes years before it blossoms. And every branching stem stops growing after it blossoms, so you've got this complex system of dead areas and new growth." I used to think about that, sometimes, when I wondered what parts of her might still be alive.
Karen M. McManus (One of Us Is Lying (One of Us is Lying, #1))
A girl is like a tree? Yeah, and a guy is about as smart as a piece of dead wood infested with termites
Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante, #1))
I swear, I’ll try harder not to miss as much: the tree, or how your fingers under still sleep-stunned sheets coaxed all my colors back.
Ada Limon (Bright Dead Things: Poems)
I KNOW THE WAY YOU CAN GET I know the way you can get When you have not had a drink of Love: Your face hardens, Your sweet muscles cramp. Children become concerned About a strange look that appears in your eyes Which even begins to worry your own mirror And nose. Squirrels and birds sense your sadness And call an important conference in a tall tree. They decide which secret code to chant To help your mind and soul. Even angels fear that brand of madness That arrays itself against the world And throws sharp stones and spears into The innocent And into one's self. O I know the way you can get If you have not been drinking Love: You might rip apart Every sentence your friends and teachers say, Looking for hidden clauses. You might weigh every word on a scale Like a dead fish. You might pull out a ruler to measure From every angle in your darkness The beautiful dimensions of a heart you once Trusted. I know the way you can get If you have not had a drink from Love's Hands. That is why all the Great Ones speak of The vital need To keep remembering God, So you will come to know and see Him As being so Playful And Wanting, Just Wanting to help. That is why Hafiz says: Bring your cup near me. For all I care about Is quenching your thirst for freedom! All a Sane man can ever care about Is giving Love!
null
I got out of the elevator and confronted Mr. Wexler. “Killing is wrong.” “We kill chickens,” Mr. Wexler said. “We kill cows. We kill trees. So big deal, we kill some drug dealers.” It was hard to argue with that kind of logic because I like cows and chickens and trees much better than drug dealers.
Janet Evanovich (Three to Get Deadly (Stephanie Plum, #3))
And then the rains came. They came down from the hills and up from the sound. And it rained a sickness. And it rained a fear. And it rained an odor. And it rained a murder. And it rained dangers and pale eggs of the beast. Rain poured for days, unceasing. Flooding occurred. The wells filled with reptiles. The basements filled with fossils. Mossy-haired lunatics roamed the dripping peninsulas. Moisture gleamed on the beak of the raven. Ancient Shaman's rained from their homes in dead tree trunks, clacked their clamshell teeth in the drowned doorways of forests. Rain hissed on the freeway. It hissed at the prows of fishing boats. It ate the old warpaths, spilled the huckleberries, ran into the ditches. Soaking. Spreading. Penetrating. And it rained an omen. And it rained a poison. And it rained a pigment. And it rained a seizure.
Tom Robbins (Another Roadside Attraction)
You ain’t dead yet, so you ain’t done.
Karen White (The Beach Trees)
But suppose the endlessly dead were to wake in us some emblem: they might point to the catkins hanging from the empty hazel trees, or direct us to the rain descending on black earth in early spring. --- And we, who always think of happiness rising, would feel the emotion that almost baffles us when a happy thing falls.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Duino Elegies)
Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I And hailed the earth with such a cry As is not heard save from a man Who has been dead, and lives again. About the trees my arms I wound; Like one gone mad I hugged the ground; I raised my quivering arms on high; I laughed and laughed into the sky...
Edna St. Vincent Millay (Renascence And Other Poems)
The trees are coming into leaf Like something almost being said; The recent buds relax and spread, Their greenness is a kind of grief. Is it that they are born again And we grow old? No, they die too. Their yearly trick of looking new Is written down in rings of grain. Yet still the unresting castles thresh In fullgrown thickness every May. Last year is dead, they seem to say, Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.
Philip Larkin
The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds - the cemeteries - and they're a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here. Going by, you try to be as quiet as possible, better to let them sleep. Greek, Roman, sepulchres- palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay - ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who've died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn't pass away so quickly here. You could be dead for a long time. The ghosts race towards the light, you can almost hear the heavy breathing spirits, all determined to get somewhere. New Orleans, unlike a lot of those places you go back to and that don't have the magic anymore, still has got it. Night can swallow you up, yet none of it touches you. Around any corner, there's a promise of something daring and ideal and things are just getting going. There's something obscenely joyful behind every door, either that or somebody crying with their head in their hands. A lazy rhythm looms in the dreamy air and the atmosphere pulsates with bygone duels, past-life romance, comrades requesting comrades to aid them in some way. You can't see it, but you know it's here. Somebody is always sinking. Everyone seems to be from some very old Southern families. Either that or a foreigner. I like the way it is. There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better. There's a thousand different angles at any moment. At any time you could run into a ritual honoring some vaguely known queen. Bluebloods, titled persons like crazy drunks, lean weakly against the walls and drag themselves through the gutter. Even they seem to have insights you might want to listen to. No action seems inappropriate here. The city is one very long poem. Gardens full of pansies, pink petunias, opiates. Flower-bedecked shrines, white myrtles, bougainvillea and purple oleander stimulate your senses, make you feel cool and clear inside. Everything in New Orleans is a good idea. Bijou temple-type cottages and lyric cathedrals side by side. Houses and mansions, structures of wild grace. Italianate, Gothic, Romanesque, Greek Revival standing in a long line in the rain. Roman Catholic art. Sweeping front porches, turrets, cast-iron balconies, colonnades- 30-foot columns, gloriously beautiful- double pitched roofs, all the architecture of the whole wide world and it doesn't move. All that and a town square where public executions took place. In New Orleans you could almost see other dimensions. There's only one day at a time here, then it's tonight and then tomorrow will be today again. Chronic melancholia hanging from the trees. You never get tired of it. After a while you start to feel like a ghost from one of the tombs, like you're in a wax museum below crimson clouds. Spirit empire. Wealthy empire. One of Napoleon's generals, Lallemaud, was said to have come here to check it out, looking for a place for his commander to seek refuge after Waterloo. He scouted around and left, said that here the devil is damned, just like everybody else, only worse. The devil comes here and sighs. New Orleans. Exquisite, old-fashioned. A great place to live vicariously. Nothing makes any difference and you never feel hurt, a great place to really hit on things. Somebody puts something in front of you here and you might as well drink it. Great place to be intimate or do nothing. A place to come and hope you'll get smart - to feed pigeons looking for handouts
Bob Dylan (Chronicles: Volume One)
We all need small sparks, small accomplishments in our lives to fuel the big ones. Think of your small accomplishments as kindling. When you want a bonfire, you don’t start by lighting a big log. You collect some witch’s hair—a small pile of hay or some dry, dead grass. You light that, and then add small sticks and bigger sticks before you feed your tree stump into the blaze. Because it’s the small sparks, which start small fires, that eventually build enough heat to burn the whole fucking forest down.
David Goggins (Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds)
No name. No memory today of yesterday’s name; of today’s name, tomorrow. If the name is the thing; if a name in us is the concept of every thing placed outside of us; and without a name you don’t have the concept, and the thing remains in us as if blind, indistinct and undefined: well then, let each carve this name that I bore among men, a funeral epigraph, on the brow of that image in which I appeared to him, and then leave it in peace, and let there be no more talk about it. It is fitting for the dead. For those who have concluded. I am alive and I do not conclude. Life does not conclude. And life knows nothing of names. This tree, tremulous pulse of new leaves. I am this tree. Tree, cloud; tomorrow book or wind: the book I read, the wind I drink. All outside, wandering.
Luigi Pirandello (One, No One and One Hundred Thousand)
...when he walks, he sounds like a tree still full of dead leaves holding on.
Zachary Schomburg (The Man Suit)
My family tree has many branches, both living and dead... but all equally important. I cherish the memories that make its roots run deep.
Lynda I Fisher
But why should we have to be useful and for what reason? Who divided the world into useless and useful, and by what right? Does a thistle have no right to life, or a Mouse that eats the grain in a warehouse? What about Bees and Drones, weeds and roses? Whose intellect can have had the audacity to judge who is better, and who worse? A large tree, crooked and full of holes, survives for centuries without being cut down, because nothing could possibly be made out of it. This example should raise the spirits of people like us. Everyone knows the profit to be reaped from the useful, but nobody knows the benefit to be gained from the useless.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
The Good Lord Bird don't run in a flock. He Flies alone. You know why? He's searching. Looking for the right tree. And when he sees that tree, that dead tree that's taking all the nutrition and good things from the forest floor. He goes out and he gnaws at it, and he gnaws at it till the thing gets tired and it falls down. And the dirt from it raises other trees. It gives them good things to eat. It makes 'em strong. Gives 'em life. And the circle goes 'round.
James McBride (The Good Lord Bird)
[..]Although personally, I think cyberspace means the end of our species." Yes? Why is that?" Because it means the end of innovation," Malcolm said. "This idea that the whole world is wired together is mass death. Every biologist knows that small groups in isolation evolve fastest. You put a thousand birds on an ocean island and they'll evolve very fast. You put ten thousand on a big continent, and their evolution slows down. Now, for our own species, evolution occurs mostly through our behaviour. We innovate new behaviour to adapt. And everybody on earth knows that innovation only occurs in small groups. Put three people on a committee and they may get something done. Ten people, and it gets harder. Thirty people, and nothing happens. Thirty million, it becomes impossible. That's the effect of mass media - it keeps anything from happening. Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there's a McDonald's on one corner, a Benetton on another, a Gap across the street. Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. In a mass-media world, there's less of everything except the top ten books, records, movies, ideas. People worry about losing species diversity in the rain forest. But what about intellectual diversity - our most necessary resource? That's disappearing faster than trees. But we haven't figured that out, so now we're planning to put five billion people together in cyberspace. And it'll freeze the entire species. Everything will stop dead in its tracks. Everyone will think the same thing at the same time. Global uniformity. [..]
Michael Crichton (The Lost World (Jurassic Park #2))
But mankind is a dead tree, covered with fine brilliant galls of people.[..]And if it is so, why is it? she asked, hostile.They were rousing each other to a fine passion of opposition. Why, why are people all balls of bitter dust?Because they won't fall off the tree when they're ripe.They hang on to their old positions when the position is over-past, till they become infested with little worms and dry-rot.
D.H. Lawrence (Women in Love)
When compared to the fact that he might very well be dead by this time tomorrow, whether he was courageous or not today was pointless, empty. When compared to the fact that he might be dead tomorrow, everything was pointless. It just didn't make any difference. It was pointless to the tree, it was pointless to every man in his outfit, pointless to everybody in the whole world. Who cared? It was not pointless only to him; and when he was dead, when he ceased to exist, it would be pointless to him too. More important: Not only would it be pointless, it would have been pointless all along. This was an obscure and rather difficult point to grasp. Understanding of it kept slipping in and out on the edges of his mind. It flickered, changing its time sense and tenses. At those moments when he understood it, it left him with a very hollow feeling.
James Jones (The Thin Red Line)
My belief is that if we live another century or so — I am talking of the common life which is the real life and not of the little separate lives which we live as individuals — and have five hundred a year each of us and rooms of our own; if we have the habit of freedom and the courage to write exactly what we think; if we escape a little from the common sitting-room and see human beings not always in their relation to each other but in relation to reality; and the sky, too, and the trees or whatever it may be in themselves; if we look past Milton's bogey, for no human being should shut out the view; if we face the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone and that our relation is to the world of reality and not only to the world of men and women, then the opportunity will come and the dead poet who was Shakespeare's sister will put on the body which she has so often laid down.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own)
February is a suitable month for dying. Everything around is dead, the trees black and frozen so that the appearance of green shoots two months hence seems preposterous, the ground hard and cold, the snow dirty, the winter hateful, hanging on too long.
Anna Quindlen
Trouble follows you like a shadow, Gillian. You're prone to injuries. I swear to God, if a tree decided to fall right now, it would find your head to land on." "Oh, for heaven's sake," she muttered. "I'll admit that I have had a run of bad fortune, but—" He wouldn't let her continue. "A run of bad fortune? Since I've known you, you've been beaten, stabbed and now shot with an arrow. If this keeps up, you'll be dead in another month
Julie Garwood (Ransom (Highlands' Lairds, #2))
Before birth; yes, what time was it then? A time like now, and when they were dead, it would be still like now: these trees, that sky, this earth, those acorn seeds, sun and wind, all the same, while they, with dust-turned hearts, change only.
Truman Capote (Other Voices, Other Rooms)
A Second Childhood.” When all my days are ending And I have no song to sing, I think that I shall not be too old To stare at everything; As I stared once at a nursery door Or a tall tree and a swing. Wherein God’s ponderous mercy hangs On all my sins and me, Because He does not take away The terror from the tree And stones still shine along the road That are and cannot be. Men grow too old for love, my love, Men grow too old for wine, But I shall not grow too old to see Unearthly daylight shine, Changing my chamber’s dust to snow Till I doubt if it be mine. Behold, the crowning mercies melt, The first surprises stay; And in my dross is dropped a gift For which I dare not pray: That a man grow used to grief and joy But not to night and day. Men grow too old for love, my love, Men grow too old for lies; But I shall not grow too old to see Enormous night arise, A cloud that is larger than the world And a monster made of eyes. Nor am I worthy to unloose The latchet of my shoe; Or shake the dust from off my feet Or the staff that bears me through On ground that is too good to last, Too solid to be true. Men grow too old to woo, my love, Men grow too old to wed; But I shall not grow too old to see Hung crazily overhead Incredible rafters when I wake And I find that I am not dead. A thrill of thunder in my hair: Though blackening clouds be plain, Still I am stung and startled By the first drop of the rain: Romance and pride and passion pass And these are what remain. Strange crawling carpets of the grass, Wide windows of the sky; So in this perilous grace of God With all my sins go I: And things grow new though I grow old, Though I grow old and die.
G.K. Chesterton (The Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton)
The tree was so old, and stood there so alone, that his childish heart had been filled with compassion; if no one else on the farm gave it a thought, he would at least do his best to, even though he suspected that his child's words and child's deeds didn't make much difference. It had stood there before he was born, and would be standing there after he was dead, but perhaps, even so, it was pleased that he stroked its bark every time he passed, and sometimes, when he was sure he wasn't observed, even pressed his cheek against it.
Karl Ove Knausgård (A Time for Everything)
It was Lisa, aged five, whose mother asked her to thank my wife for the peas we had sent them from our garden. 'I thought the peas were awful, I wish you and Mrs. Thurber were dead, and I hate trees,' said Lisa.
James Thurber
But unlike Mama, I would not go to heaven. My secrets padlocked the gates. I'd be a torn kite stuck in the dead branches of a tree, unable to fly.
Ruta Sepetys (Salt to the Sea)
Cut off the dead wood before it kills the tree.' If you have friends who backstab you, get rid of them now before they hurt you.
Scott Monk (Boyz 'R' Us)
The movie’s not over till everybody’s dead.
Denis Johnson (Tree of Smoke)
Fireheart tensed, waiting for whatever had hunted down these apprentices to emerge from the trees and attack, but nothing stirred. Feeling as if his legs hardly belonged to him, he sprang down and stumbled across to Swiftpaw. The apprentice lay on his side, his legs splayed out. His black-and-white fur was torn, and his body was covered with dreadful wounds, ripped by teeth far bigger than any cat's. His jaws still snarled and his eyes glared. He was dead, and Fireheart could see that he had died fighting.
Erin Hunter (A Dangerous Path (Warriors, #5))
To generalize about war is like generalizing about peace. Almost everything is true. Almost nothing is true. At its core, perhaps, war is just another name for death, and yet any soldier will tell you, if he tells the truth, that proximity to death brings with it a corresponding proximity to life. After a firefight, there is always the immense pleasure of aliveness. The trees are alive. The grass, the soil—everything. All around you things are purely living, and you among them, and the aliveness makes you tremble. You feel an intense, out-of-the-skin awareness of your living self—your truest self, the human being you want to be and then become by the force of wanting it. In the midst of evil you want to be a good man. You want decency. You want justice and courtesy and human concord, things you never knew you wanted. There is a kind of largeness to it, a kind of godliness. Though it’s odd, you’re never more alive than when you’re almost dead. You recognize what’s valuable. Freshly, as if for the first time, you love what’s best in yourself and in the world, all that might be lost. At the hour of dusk you sit at your foxhole and look out on a wide river turning pinkish red, and at the mountains beyond, and although in the morning you must cross the river and go into the mountains and do terrible things and maybe die, even so, you find yourself studying the fine colors on the river, you feel wonder and awe at the setting of the sun, and you are filled with a hard, aching love for how the world could be and always should be, but now is not.
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
I KNEW IT WAS OVER when tonight you couldn't make the phone ring when you used to make the sun rise when trees used to throw themselves in front of you to be paper for love letters that was how i knew i had to do it swaddle the kids we never had against january's cold slice bundle them in winter clothes they never needed so i could drop them off at my mom's even though she lives on the other side of the country and at this late west coast hour is assuredly east coast sleeping peacefully her house was lit like a candle the way homes should be warm and golden and home and the kids ran in and jumped at the bichon frise named lucky that she never had they hugged the dog it wriggled and the kids were happy yours and mine the ones we never had and my mom was grand maternal, which is to say, with style that only comes when you've seen enough to know grace like when to pretend it's christmas or a birthday so she lit her voice with tiny lights and pretended she didn't see me crying as i drove away to the hotel connected to the bar where i ordered the cheapest whisky they had just because it shares your first name because they don't make a whisky called baby and i only thought what i got was what i ordered i toasted the hangover inevitable as sun that used to rise in your name i toasted the carnivals we never went to and the things you never won for me the ferris wheels we never kissed on and all the dreams between us that sat there like balloons on a carney's board waiting to explode with passion but slowly deflated hung slave under the pin- prick of a tack hung heads down like lovers when it doesn't work, like me at last call after too many cheap too many sweet too much whisky makes me sick, like the smell of cheap, like the smell of the dead like the cheap, dead flowers you never sent that i never threw out of the window of a car i never really owned
Daphne Gottlieb (Final Girl)
When one’s dead, one’s dead… This squirrel will become earth all in his time. And still later on, there’ll grow new trees from him, with new squirrels skipping about in them. Do you think that’s so very sad?
Tove Jansson (Moominland Midwinter (The Moomins, #6))
It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state. There wasn't so much wilderness around you couldn't see the town. But on the other hand there wasn't so much town you couldn't see and feel and touch and smell the wilderness. The town was full of trees. And dry grass and dead flowers now that autumn was here. And full of fences to walk on and sidewalks to skate on and a large ravine to tumble in and yell across. And the town was full of... Boys. And it was the afternoon of Halloween. And all the houses shut against a cool wind. And the town was full of cold sunlight. But suddenly, the day was gone. Night came out from under each tree and spread.
Ray Bradbury (The Halloween Tree)
Well! I had the most fantastic dream! Trees crying blood. Horrible dead elves going around and killing people! Raistlin wearing black robes! It was the most incredible thing! And you were there, Sturm. Laurana and Flint. And everyone died! Well, almost everyone. Raistlin didn't. And there was a green dragon-' Tasslehoff stopped. What was wrong with his friends? Their faces were pale, their eyes wide.
Margaret Weis (Dragons of Autumn Twilight (Dragonlance: Chronicles, #1))
In the same way that the picturesque designers were always careful to include some reminder of our mortality in their gardens -- a ruin, sometimes even a dead tree -- the act of leaving parts of the garden untended, and calling attention to its margins, seems to undermine any pretense to perfect power or wisdom on the part of the gardener. The margins of our gardens can be tropes too, but figures of irony rather than transcendence -- antidotes, in fact, to our hubris. It may be in the margins of our gardens that we can discover fresh ways to bring our aesthetics and our ethics about the land into some meaningful alignment.
Michael Pollan (Second Nature: A Gardener's Education)
Live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that, shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ASS.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
Are you, are you Coming to the tree They strung up a man They say who murdered three. Strange things did happen here No stranger would it be If we met at midnight In the hanging tree. Are you, are you Coming to the tree Where the dead man called out For his love to flee. Strange things did happen here No stranger would it be If we met at midnight In the hanging tree. Are you, are you Coming to the tree Where I told you to run, So we'd both be free. Strange things did happen here No stranger would it be If we met at midnight In the hanging tree. Are you, are you Coming to the tree Wear a necklace of rope, Side by side with me. Strange things did happen here No stranger would it be If we met at midnight In the hanging tree.
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
Surely until all of us own and honor one another's dead, until we have admitted to our murders and forgiven one another and ourselves for what we have done, there can be no truce, no dignity and no peace.
Alexandra Fuller (Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness)
He said, “I know somebody you could kiss.” “Who?” She realized his eyes were amused. “Oh, wait.” He shrugged. He was maybe the only person Blue knew who could preserve the integrity of a shrug while lying down. “It’s not like you’re going to kill me. I mean, if you were curious.” She hadn’t thought she was curious. It hadn’t been an option, after all. Not being able to kiss someone was a lot like being poor. She tried not to dwell on the things she couldn’t have. But now— “Okay,” she said. “What?” “I said okay.” He blushed. Or rather, because he was dead, he became normal colored. “Uh.” He propped himself on an elbow. “Well.” She unburied her face from the pillow. “Just, like—” He leaned toward her. Blue felt a thrill for a half a second. No, more like a quarter second. Because after that she felt the too-firm pucker of his tense lips. His mouth mashed her lips until it met teeth. The entire thing was at once slimy and ticklish and hilarious. They both gasped an embarrassed laugh. Noah said, “Bah!” Blue considered wiping her mouth, but felt that would be rude. It was all fairly underwhelming. She said, “Well.” “Wait,” Noah replied, “waitwaitwait.” He pulled one of Blue’s hairs out of his mouth. “I wasn’t ready.” He shook out his hands as if Blue’s lips were a sporting event and cramping was a very real possibility. “Go,” Blue said. This time they only got within a breath of each other’s lips when they both began to laugh. She closed the distance and was rewarded with another kiss that felt a lot like kissing a dishwasher. “I’m doing something wrong?” she suggested. “Sometimes it’s better with tongue,” he replied dubiously. They regarded each other. Blue squinted, “Are you sure you’ve done this before?” “Hey!” he protested. “It’s weird for me, ‘cause it’s you.” “Well, it’s weird for me because it’s you.” “We can stop.” “Maybe we should.” Noah pushed himself up farther on his elbow and gazed at the ceiling vaguely. Finally, he dropped his eyes back to her. “You’ve seen, like, movies. Of kisses, right? Your lips need to be, like, wanting to be kissed.” Blue touched her mouth. “What are they doing now?” “Like, bracing themselves.” She pursed and unpursed her lips. She saw his point. “So imagine one of those,” Noah suggested. She sighed and sifted through her memories until she found one that would do. It wasn’t a movie kiss, however. It was the kiss the dreaming tree had showed her in Cabeswater. Her first and only kiss with Gansey, right before he died. She thought about his nice mouth when he smiled. About his pleasant eyes when he laughed. She closed her eyes. Placing an elbow on the other side of her head, Noah leaned close and kissed her once more. This time, it was more of a thought than a feeling, a soft heat that began at her mouth and unfurled through the rest of her. One of his cold hands slid behind her neck and he kissed her again, lips parted. It was not just a touch, an action. It was a simplification of both of them: They were no longer Noah Czerny and Blue Sargent. They were now just him and her. Not even that. They were only the time that they held between them.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2))
How many happy, satisfied people there are, after all, I said to myself. What an overwhelming force! Just consider this life--the insolence and idleness of the strong, the ignorance and bestiality of the weak, all around intolerable poverty, cramped dwellings, degeneracy, drunkenness, hypocrisy, lying...and yet peace and order apparently prevail in all those homes and in the streets. Of the fifty thousand inhabitants of a town, not one will be found to cry out, to proclaim his indignation aloud. We see those who go to the market to buy food, who eat in the daytime and sleep at night, who prattle away, marry, grow old, carry their dead to the cemeteries. But we neither hear nor see those who suffer, and the terrible things in life are played out behind the scenes. All is calm and quiet, and statistics, which are dumb, protest: so many have gone mad, so many barrels of drink have been consumed, so many children died of malnutrition...and apparently this is as it should be. Apparently those who are happy can only enjoy themselves because the unhappy bear their burdens in silence, and but for this silence happiness would be impossible. It is a kind of universal hypnosis. There ought to be a man with a hammer behind the door of every happy man, to remind him by his constant knocks that there are unhappy people, and that happy as he himself may be, life will sooner or later show him its claws, catastrophe will overtake him--sickness, poverty, loss--and nobody will see it, just as he now neither sees nor hears the misfortunes of others. But there is no man with a hammer, the happy man goes on living and the petty vicissitudes of life touch him lightly, like the wind in an aspen-tree, and all is well.
Anton Chekhov
The tribe is whatever we believe it is. If we say the tribe is all the Little Ones in the forest, and all the trees, then that is what the tribe is. Even though some of the oldest trees here came from warriors of two different tribes, fallen in battle. We become one tribe because we say we're one tribe." Ender marveled at his mind, this small raman [member of another sentient species]. How few humans were able to grasp this idea, or let it extend beyond the narrow confines of their tribe, their family, their nation.
Orson Scott Card (Speaker for the Dead (Ender's Saga, #2))
He had let Aunt Peg live in his house and married her, so clearly he had a thing for flaky American types who liked to sneak off in the dead of night. That was, as Ginny remembered it, how America won the Revolution in the first place. The English walked around in bright red coats in straight lines and took breaks for tea, and the Americans snuck around dressed in rags and hid in trees and stole their horses. Or something. Whatever. She had to do this-it was her birthright. It was what George Washington would have wanted.
Maureen Johnson (The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope, #2))
There was a sharp crack from somewhere on the mountain. Then another. It's just a tree falling, he said. It's okay. The boy was looking at the dead roadside trees. It's okay, the man said. All the trees in the world are going to fall sooner or later. But not on us.
Cormac McCarthy (The Road)
Love again: wanking at ten past three (Surely he's taken her home by now?), The bedroom hot as a bakery, The drink gone dead, without showing how To meet tomorrow, and afterwards, And the usual pain, like dysentery. Someone else feeling her breasts and cunt, Someone else drowned in that lash-wide stare, And me supposed to be ignorant, Or find it funny, or not to care, Even ... but why put it into words? Isolate rather this element That spreads through other lives like a tree And sways them on in a sort of sense And say why it never worked for me. Something to do with violence A long way back, and wrong rewards, And arrogant eternity.
Philip Larkin
I looked at all the trees and didn’t know what to do. A box made out of leaves. What else was in the woods? A heart, closing. Nevertheless. Everyone needs a place. It shouldn’t be inside of someone else. I kept my mind on the moon. Cold moon, long nights moon. From the landscape: a sense of scale. From the dead: a sense of scale. I turned my back on the story. A sense of superiority. Everything casts a shadow. Your body told me in a dream it’s never been afraid of anything.
Richard Siken
Perhaps the House had heard Harvey wishing for a full moon, because when he and Wendell traipsed upstairs and looked out the landing window, there--hanging between the bare branches of the trees--was a moon as wide and as white as a dead man's smile.
Clive Barker (The Thief of Always)
When warm weather came, Baby Suggs, holy, followed by every black man, woman, and child who could make it through, took her great heart to the Clearing--a wide-open place cut deep in the woods nobody knew for what at the end of the path known only to deer and whoever cleared the land in the first place. In the heat of every Saturday afternoon, she sat in the clearing while the people waited among the trees. After situating herself on a huge flat-sided rock, Baby Suggs bowed her head and prayed silently. The company watched her from the trees. They knew she was ready when she put her stick down. Then she shouted, 'Let the children come!' and they ran from the trees toward her. Let your mothers hear you laugh,' she told them, and the woods rang. The adults looked on and could not help smiling. Then 'Let the grown men come,' she shouted. They stepped out one by one from among the ringing trees. Let your wives and your children see you dance,' she told them, and groundlife shuddered under their feet. Finally she called the women to her. 'Cry,' she told them. 'For the living and the dead. Just cry.' And without covering their eyes the women let loose. It started that way: laughing children, dancing men, crying women and then it got mixed up. Women stopped crying and danced; men sat down and cried; children danced, women laughed, children cried until, exhausted and riven, all and each lay about the Clearing damp and gasping for breath. In the silence that followed, Baby Suggs, holy, offered up to them her great big heart. She did not tell them to clean up their lives or go and sin no more. She did not tell them they were the blessed of the earth, its inheriting meek or its glorybound pure. She told them that the only grace they could have was the grace they could imagine. That if they could not see it, they would not have it. Here,' she said, 'in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard...
Toni Morrison (Beloved)
LUCIUS. Art thou not sorry for these heinous deeds? AARON. Ay, that I had not done a thousand more. Even now I curse the day- and yet, I think, Few come within the compass of my curse- Wherein I did not some notorious ill; As kill a man, or else devise his death; Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it; Accuse some innocent, and forswear myself; Set deadly enmity between two friends; Make poor men's cattle break their necks; Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night, And bid the owners quench them with their tears. Oft have I digg'd up dead men from their graves, And set them upright at their dear friends' door Even when their sorrows almost was forgot, And on their skins, as on the bark of trees, Have with my knife carved in Roman letters 'Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.' Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things As willingly as one would kill a fly; And nothing grieves me heartily indeed But that I cannot do ten thousand more.
William Shakespeare (Titus Andronicus)
And Will knew what it was to see his dæmon. As she flew down to the sand, he felt his heart tighten and release in a way he never forgot. Sixty years and more would go by, and as an old man he would still feel some sensations as bright and fresh as ever: Lyra's fingers putting the fruit between his lips under the gold-and-silver trees; her warm mouth pressing against his; his dæmon being torn from his unsuspecting breast as they entered the world of the dead; and the sweet rightfulness of her coming back to him at the edge of the moonlight dunes.
Philip Pullman (The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3))
I’ll tell you another secret, this one for your own good. You may think the past has something to tell you. You may think that you should listen, should strain to make out its whispers, should bend over backward, stoop down low to hear its voice breathed up from the ground, from the dead places. You may think there’s something in it for you, something to understand or make sense of. But I know the truth: I know from the nights of Coldness. I know the past will drag you backward and down, have you snatching at whispers of wind and the gibberish of trees rubbing together, trying to decipher some code, trying to piece together what was broken. It’s hopeless. The past is nothing but a weight. It will build inside of you like a stone. Take it from me: If you hear the past speaking to you, feel it tugging at your back and running its fingers up your spine, the best thing to do—the only thing— is run.
Lauren Oliver (Delirium (Delirium, #1))
Pip looked back, over her shoulder, through the trees. Ravi was on his knees in the leaves, face hidden, bawling into his hands. It hurt more than anything, to see him that way, and her chest opened up, reaching out to him, trying to drive her back. Hold him, take the hurt away and let him take hers.
Holly Jackson (As Good As Dead (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #3))
The old oak, utterly transformed, draped in a tent of sappy dark green, basked faintly, undulating in the rays of the evening sun. Of the knotted fingers, the gnarled excrecenses, the aged grief and mistrust- nothing was to be seen. Through the rough, century-old bark, where there were no twigs, leaves had burst out so sappy, so young, that is was hard to believe that the aged creature had borne them. "Yes, that is the same tree," thought Prince Andrey, and all at once there came upon him an irrational, spring feeling of joy and renewal. All the best moments of his life rose to his memory at once. Austerlitz, with that lofty sky, and the dead, reproachful face of his wife, and Pierre on the ferry, and the girl, thrilled by the beauty of the night, and that night and that moon- it all rushed at once into his mind.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
Cities have often been compared to language: you can read a city, it’s said, as you read a book. But the metaphor can be inverted. The journeys we make during the reading of a book trace out, in some way, the private spaces we inhabit. There are texts that will always be our dead-end streets; fragments that will be bridges; words that will be like the scaffolding that protects fragile constructions. T.S. Eliot: a plant growing in the debris of a ruined building; Salvador Novo: a tree-lined street transformed into an expressway; Tomas Segovia: a boulevard, a breath of air; Roberto Bolano: a rooftop terrace; Isabel Allende: a (magically real) shopping mall; Gilles Deleuze: a summit; and Jacques Derrida: a pothole. Robert Walser: a chink in the wall, for looking through to the other side; Charles Baudelaire: a waiting room; Hannah Arendt: a tower, an Archimedean point; Martin Heidegger: a cul-de-sac; Walter Benjamin: a one-way street walked down against the flow.
Valeria Luiselli
The hoopoe said: 'Your heart's congealed like ice; When will you free yourself from cowardice? Since you have such a short time to live here, What difference does it make? What should you fear? The world is filth and sin, and homeless men Must enter it and homeless leave again. They die, as worms, in squalid pain; if we Must perish in this quest, that, certainly, Is better than a life of filth and grief. If this great search is vain, if my belief Is groundless, it is right that I should die. So many errors throng the world - then why Should we not risk this quest? To suffer blame For love is better than a life of shame. No one has reached this goal, so why appeal To those whose blindness claims it is unreal? I'd rather die deceived by dreams than give My heart to home and trade and never live. We've been and heard so much - what have we learned? Not for one moment has the self been spurned; Fools gather round and hinder our release. When will their stale, insistent whining cease? We have no freedom to achieve our goal Until from Self and fools we free the soul. To be admitted past the veil you must Be dead to all the crowd considers just. Once past the veil you understand the Way From which the crowd's glib courtiers blindly stray. If you have any will, leave women's stories, And even if this search for hidden glories Proves blasphemy at last, be sure our quest Is not mere talk but an exacting test. The fruit of love's great tree is poverty; Whoever knows this knows humility. When love has pitched his tent in someone's breast, That man despairs of life and knows no rest. Love's pain will murder him and blandly ask A surgeon's fee for managing the task - The water that he drinks brings pain, his bread Is turned to blood immediately shed; Though he is weak, faint, feebler than an ant, Love forces him to be her combatant; He cannot take one mouthful unaware That he is floundering in a sea of care.
Attar of Nishapur
I thought about how the past can become so small. An entire day, 24 separate, heavy hours, becomes the size of a tiny brown leaf falling from a tree. Before you know it, a whole year is just a pile of dead leaves on the ground. The year or so I’d spent in love with Chad was starting to feel so long ago, swept away by the wind. I knew that this year would soon feel far away too.
Kimberly Novosel (Loved)
What shall I give? and which are my miracles? 2. Realism is mine--my miracles--Take freely, Take without end--I offer them to you wherever your feet can carry you or your eyes reach. 3. Why! who makes much of a miracle? As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles, Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan, Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky, Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the water, Or stand under trees in the woods, Or talk by day with any one I love--or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love, Or sit at the table at dinner with my mother, Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car, Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon, Or animals feeding in the fields, Or birds--or the wonderfulness of insects in the air, Or the wonderfulness of the sundown--or of stars shining so quiet and bright, Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring; Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best--mechanics, boatmen, farmers, Or among the savans--or to the _soiree_--or to the opera. Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery, Or behold children at their sports, Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old woman, Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial, Or my own eyes and figure in the glass; These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles, The whole referring--yet each distinct and in its place. 4. To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, Every inch of space is a miracle, Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same, Every cubic foot of the interior swarms with the same; Every spear of grass--the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them, All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles. To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?
Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
Generous tears filled Gabriel's eyes. He had never felt like that himself towards any woman, but he knew that such a feeling must be love. The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree. Other forms were near. His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself, which these dead had one time reared and lived in, was dissolving and dwindling.
James Joyce (Dubliners)
And that's why I don't get to cry, I guess. Because they do. Because we're older but we're not the grown-ups who seem too far away to understand. I tuck that thought inside me, warm and small like balled hands inside hoodie pockets. Beneath the beech trees and sugar maples, feet crunching against dead leaves, I hope for strength. Because as much as I want to be the one crying, I want to be the kind of person someone can hold onto.
Emery Lord (The Names They Gave Us)
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)
Are you, are you Coming to the tree Where they strung up a man they say murdered three Where the dead man called out for his love to flee Where I told you to run, so we'd both be free Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me Strange things did happen here No stranger would it be If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
Ask and it shall be given you,'" I began. "'Seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.' We have the same message in the Book of Saint John," I said, sounding for all the world like a preacher...." Well, but how could I just stop there? Those words were worse than nothing if I didn't tell what they meant to Grandpa. Looking at the long rough box, I spoke timid, in a mumbled voice. Not preachified at all. "Grandpa didn't think Jesus meant, by that, that we should ast God for things, or for special favors. He said we could trust that in the nature of things, without astin', we'll get lots of blessin's and happy surprises and maybe a miracle or two. When Jesus said ast and you'll get it, He meant things of the spirit, not the flesh. Right now for instance, I could ast, 'Lord please raise Grandpa from the dead,' but it wouldn't happen. But I can say, 'Please, God, comfort me,' and I'll get heart's ease. Grandpa said Jesus meant us to ast for hope, forgiveness, and all that. Ast, 'Hep us not be scared, hep us not be greedy, give us courage to try." I was really carried away. "Ast any such and God will give it to you. But don't ast Him not to let fire burn, or say spare me from death. At least, uh, that's what Grandpa said.
Olive Ann Burns (Cold Sassy Tree)
This life is a hospital in which each patient is possessed by the desire to change beds. One wants to suffer in front of the stove and another believes that he will get well near the window. It always seems to me that I will be better off there where I am not, and this question of moving about is one that I discuss endlessly with my soul "Tell me, my soul, my poor chilled soul, what would you think about going to live in Lisbon? It must be warm there, and you'll be able to soak up the sun like a lizard there. That city is on the shore; they say that it is built all out of marble, and that the people there have such a hatred of the vegetable, that they tear down all the trees. There's a country after your own heart -- a landscape made out of light and mineral, and liquid to reflect them!" My soul does not reply. "Because you love rest so much, combined with the spectacle of movement, do you want to come and live in Holland, that beatifying land? Perhaps you will be entertained in that country whose image you have so often admired in museums. What do you think of Rotterdam, you who love forests of masts and ships anchored at the foot of houses?" My soul remains mute. "Does Batavia please you more, perhaps? There we would find, after all, the European spirit married to tropical beauty." Not a word. -- Is my soul dead? Have you then reached such a degree of torpor that you are only happy with your illness? If that's the case, let us flee toward lands that are the analogies of Death. -- I've got it, poor soul! We'll pack our bags for Torneo. Let's go even further, to the far end of the Baltic. Even further from life if that is possible: let's go live at the pole. There the sun only grazes the earth obliquely, and the slow alternation of light and darkness suppresses variety and augments monotony, that half of nothingness. There we could take long baths in the shadows, while, to entertain us, the aurora borealis send us from time to time its pink sheaf of sparkling light, like the reflection of fireworks in Hell!" Finally, my soul explodes, and wisely she shrieks at me: "It doesn't matter where! It doesn't matter where! As long as it's out of this world!
Charles Baudelaire (Paris Spleen)
There is no dead matter,” he taught us, “lifelessness is only a disguise” his voice sank pressed against the wall, “We have lived for too long. We wish. We wish; we want, we want we want We are not,” he said, “long-term beings. not heroes of romances in many volumes. for one gesture, for one word alone, we shall make the effort. We openly admit: our creations will be temporary.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Tree of Codes)
The truth is, Colonel, that there's no divine spark, bless you. There's many a man alive no more value than a dead dog. Believe me, when you've seen them hang each other...Equality? Christ in Heaven. What I'm fighting for is the right to prove I'm a better man than many. Where have you seen this divine spark in operation, Colonel? Where have you noted this magnificent equality? The Great White Joker in the Sky dooms us all to stupidity or poverty from birth. no two things on earth are equal or have an equal chance, not a leaf nor a tree. There's many a man worse than me, and some better, but I don't think race or country matters a damn. What matters is justice. 'Tis why I'm here. I'll be treated as I deserve, not as my father deserved. I'm Kilrain, and I God damn all gentlemen. I don't know who me father was and I don't give a damn. There's only one aristocracy, and that's right here - " he tapped his white skull with a thick finger - "and YOU, Colonel laddie, are a member of it and don't even know it. You are damned good at everything I've seen you do, a lovely soldier, an honest man, and you got a good heart on you too, which is rare in clever men. Strange thing. I'm not a clever man meself, but I know it when I run across it. The strange and marvelous thing about you, Colonel darlin', is that you believe in mankind, even preachers, whereas when you've got my great experience of the world you will have learned that good men are rare, much rarer than you think.
Michael Shaara (The Killer Angels (The Civil War Trilogy, #2))
So Janie waited a bloom time, and a green time and an orange time. But when the pollen again gilded the sun and sifted down on the world she began to stand around the gate and expect things. What things? She didn't know exactly. Her breath was gusty and short. She knew things that nobody had ever told her. For instance, the words of the trees and the wind. She often spoke to falling seeds and said, 'Ah hope you fall on soft ground,' because she had heard seeds saying that to each other as they passed. She knew the world was a stallion rolling in the blue pasture of ether. She knew that God tore down the old world every evening and built a new one by sun-up. It was wonderful to see it take form with the sun and emerge from the gray dust of its making. The familiar people and things had failed her so she hung over the gate and looked up the road towards way off. She knew now that marriage did not make love. Janie's first dream was dead, so she became a woman.
Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God)
One morning, in cool blood, I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree; — hung it with the tears streaming from my eyes, and with the bitterest remorse at my heart; — hung it because I knew that it had loved me, and because I felt it had given me no reason of offence; — hung it because I knew that in so doing I was committing a sin — a deadly sin that would so jeopardize my immortal soul as to place it — if such a thing were possible — even beyond the reach of the infinite mercy of the Most Merciful and Most Terrible God.
Edgar Allan Poe (The Black Cat - an Edgar Allan Poe Short Story)
I lay awake listening to the rain, and at first it was as pleasant to my ear and my mind as it had long been desired; but before I fell asleep it had become a majestic and finally a terrible thing, instead of a sweet sound and symbol. It was accusing and trying me and passing judgment. Long I lay still under the sentence, listening to the rain, and then at last listening to words which seemed to be spoken by a ghostly double beside me. He was muttering: The all-night rain puts out summer like a torch. In the heavy, black rain falling straight from invisible, dark sky to invisible, dark earth the heat of summer is annihilated, the splendour is dead, the summer is gone. The midnight rain buries it away where it has buried all sound but its own. I am alone in the dark still night, and my ear listens to the rain piping in the gutters and roaring softly in the trees of the world. Even so will the rain fall darkly upon the grass over the grave when my ears can hear it no more… The summer is gone, and never can it return. There will never be any summer any more, and I am weary of everything… I am alone. The truth is that the rain falls for ever and I am melting into it. Black and monotonously sounding is the midnight and solitude of the rain. In a little while or in an age – for it is all one – I shall know the full truth of the words I used to love, I knew not why, in my days of nature, in the days before the rain: ‘Blessed are the dead that the rain rains on.
Edward Thomas
Ay, that I had not done a thousand more. Even now I curse the day—and yet, I think, Few come within the compass of my curse,— Wherein I did not some notorious ill, As kill a man, or else devise his death, Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it, Accuse some innocent and forswear myself, Set deadly enmity between two friends, Make poor men's cattle break their necks; Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night, And bid the owners quench them with their tears. Oft have I digg'd up dead men from their graves, And set them upright at their dear friends' doors, Even when their sorrows almost were forgot; And on their skins, as on the bark of trees, Have with my knife carved in Roman letters, 'Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.' Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things As willingly as one would kill a fly, And nothing grieves me heartily indeed But that I cannot do ten thousand more.
William Shakespeare (Titus Andronicus)
Tell me this," I said. "My world. It's not like the one I read about in the oldest books. When they talk about magic, about ghosts, it's as if they are fairy-tales to frighten children. And yet I have seen the dead walk, seen a boy bring fire with just a thought." Fexler frowned as if considering how to explain. "Think of reality as a ship whose course is set, whose wheel is locked in place by universal constants. Our greatest achievement, and downfall, was to turn that wheel, just a fraction. The role of the observer was always important—we discovered that. If a tree falls in the wood and no one hears it, then it is both standing and not standing. The cat is both alive and dead." "Who mentioned a fecking cat?
Mark Lawrence (King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2))
And all at once the heavy night Fell from my eyes and I could see, -- A drenched and dripping apple-tree, A last long line of silver rain, A sky grown clear and blue again. And as I looked a quickening gust Of wind blew up to me and thrust Into my face a miracle Of orchard-breath, and with the smell, -- I know not how such things can be! -- I breathed my soul back into me. Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I And hailed the earth with such a cry As is not heard save from a man Who has been dead, and lives again. About the trees my arms I wound; Like one gone mad I hugged the ground; I raised my quivering arms on high; I laughed and laughed into the sky
Edna St. Vincent Millay (Collected Poems)
To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream. A bad dream. I remembered everything. I remembered the cadavers and Doreen and the story of the fig tree and Marco's diamond and the sailor on the Common and Doctor Gordon's wall-eyed nurse and the broken thermometer and the Negro with his two kinds of beans and the twenty pounds I gained on insulin and the rock that bulged between sky and sea like a gray skull. Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind snow, should numb and cover them. But they were a part of me. They were my landscape.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
I will love you for ever, whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead I'll drift about for ever, all my atoms, till I find you again... I'll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you... We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams... And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight...
Philip Pullman (The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3))
We live in a modern society. Husbands and wives don't grow on trees, like in the old days. So where does one find love? When you're sixteen it's easy, like being unleashed with a credit card in a department store of kisses. There's the first kiss. The sloppy kiss. The peck. The sympathy kiss. The backseat smooch. The we shouldn't be doing this kiss. The but your lips taste so good kiss. The bury me in an avalanche of tingles kiss. The I wish you'd quit smoking kiss. The I accept your apology, but you make me really mad sometimes kiss. The I know your tongue like the back of my hand kiss. As you get older, kisses become scarce. You'll be driving home and see a damaged kiss on the side of the road, with its purple thumb out. If you were younger, you'd pull over, slide open the mouth's red door just to see how it fits. Oh where does one find love? If you rub two glances, you get a smile. Rub two smiles, you get a warm feeling. Rub two warm feelings and presto-you have a kiss. Now what? Don't invite the kiss over and answer the door in your underwear. It'll get suspicious and stare at your toes. Don't water the kiss with whiskey. It'll turn bright pink and explode into a thousand luscious splinters, but in the morning it'll be ashamed and sneak out of your body without saying good-bye, and you'll remember that kiss forever by all the little cuts it left on the inside of your mouth. You must nurture the kiss. Turn out the lights. Notice how it illuminates the room. Hold it to your chest and wonder if the sand inside hourglasses comes from a special beach. Place it on the tongue's pillow, then look up the first recorded kiss in an encyclopedia: beneath a Babylonian olive tree in 1200 B.C. But one kiss levitates above all the others. The intersection of function and desire. The I do kiss. The I'll love you through a brick wall kiss. Even when I'm dead, I'll swim through the Earth, like a mermaid of the soil, just to be next to your bones.
Jeffrey McDaniel
It is no disparagement to the garden to say it will not fence and weed itself, nor prune its own fruit trees, nor roll and cut its own lawns...It will remain a garden only if someone does all these things to it...If you want to see the difference between [the garden's] contribution and the gardener's, put the commonest weed it grows side by side with his hoes rakes, shears, and a packet of weed killer; you have put beauty, energy, and fecundity beside dead, steril things. Just so, our 'decency and common sense' show grey and deathlike beside the geniality of love.
C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
Terrifying things happen in even ordinary houses, with ordinary families. Terrifying things come in very small pieces, slowly seeping in. I took a walk down the driveway on our land, just to feel the trees reach for me in the dark. I touched their leaves. Those trees whispered, You are a conduit. That’s what they said! To me. And I understood--I was between mother and child, between the natural world and the concrete overtaking us, between the living and the dead, and I could hear history talking to me, showing me its stories in code. It sounded crazy, but not as crazy as pretending our lives were new, and separate from all the people who had come and died before.
Monica Drake (The Folly of Loving Life)
And they beat. The women for having known them and no more, no more; the children for having been them but never again. They killed a boss so often and so completely they had to bring him back to life to pulp him one more time. Tasting hot mealcake among pine trees, they beat it away. Singing love songs to Mr. Death, they smashed his head. More than the rest, they killed the flirt whom folks called Life for leading them on. Making them think the next sunrise would be worth it; that another stroke of time would do it at last. Only when she was dead would they be safe. The successful ones--the ones who had been there enough years to have maimed, mutilated, maybe even buried her--kept watch over the others who were still in her cock-teasing hug, caring and looking forward; remembering and looking back.
Toni Morrison (Beloved)
The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from its nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm. 'You cannot pass,' he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. 'I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.' The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly onto the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm. From out of the shadow a red sword leaped flaming. Glamdring glittered white in answer. There was a ringing clash and a stab of white fire. The Balrog fell back and its sword flew up in molten fragments. The wizard swayed on the bridge, stepped back a pace, and then again stood still. 'You cannot pass!' he said. With a bound the Balrog leaped full upon the bridge. Its whip whirled and hissed. 'He cannot stand alone!' cried Aragorn suddenly and ran back along the bridge. 'Elendil!' he shouted. 'I am with you, Gandalf!' 'Gondor!' cried Boromir and leaped after him. At that moment Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke asunder and fell from his hand. A blinding sheet of white flame sprang up. The bridge cracked. Right at the Balrog's feet it broke, and the stone upon which it stood crashed into the gulf, while the rest remained, poised, quivering like a tongue of rock thrust out into emptiness. With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard's knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. 'Fly, you fools!' he cried, and was gone.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1))
The living dead had taken more from us than land and loved ones. They'd robbed us of our confidence as the planet's dominant life form. We were a shaken, broken species, driven to the edge of extinction and grateful only for tomorrow with perhaps a little less suffering than today. Was this the legacy we would leave our children, a level of anxiety and self-doubt not seen since our simian ancestors cowered in the tallest trees? What kind of world would they rebuild? Would they rebuild at all? Could they continue to progress, knowing that they would be powerless to reclaim their future? And what if that future saw another rise of the living dead? Would our descendants rise to meet them in battle, or simply crumple in meek surrender and accept what they believe to be their inevitable extinction? For this alone, we had to reclaim our planet. We had to prove to ourselves that we could do it, and leave that proof as this war's greatest monument. The long, hard road back to humanity, or the regressive ennui of Earth's once-proud primates. That was the choice, and it had to be made now.
Max Brooks (World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War)
Being older, I began to understand the lyrics. At the beginning, it sounds like a guy is trying to get his girlfriend to secretly meet up with him at midnight. But it’s an odd place for a tryst, a hanging tree, where a man was hung for murder. The murderer’s lover must have had something to do with the killing, or maybe they were just going to punish her anyway, because his corpse called out for her to flee. That’s weird obviously, the talking-corpse bit, but it’s not until the third verse that “The Hanging Tree” begins to get unnerving. You realize the singer of the song is the dead murderer. He’s still in the hanging tree. And even though he told his lover to flee, he keeps asking if she’s coming to meet him. The phrase Where I told you to run, so we’d both be free is the most troubling because at first you think he’s talking about when he told her to flee, presumably to safety. But then you wonder if he meant for her to run to him. To death. In the final stanza, it’s clear that that’s what he was waiting for. His lover, with her rope necklace, hanging dead next to him in the tree. I used to think the murderer was the creepiest guy imaginable. Now, with a couple of trips to the Hunger Games under my belt, I decide not to judge him without knowing more details. Maybe his lover was already sentenced to death and he was trying to make it easier. To let her know he’d be waiting. Or maybe he thought the place he was leaving her was really worse than death. Didn’t I want to kill Peeta with that syringe to save him from the Capitol? Was that really my only option? Probably not, but I couldn’t think of another at the time.
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
Men must not cut down trees. There is a God. (He noted such revelations on the backs of envelopes.) Change the world. No one kills from hatred. Make it known (he wrote it down). He waited. He listened. A sparrow perched on the railing opposite chirped Septimus, Septimus, four or five times over and went on, drawing its notes out, to sing freshly and piercingly in Greek words how there is no crime and, joined by another sparrow, they sang in voices prolonged and piercing in Greek words, from trees in the meadow of life beyond a river where the dead walk, how there is no death.
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
I am beginning to be sorry that I ever undertook to write this book. Not that it bores me; I have nothing else to do; indeed, it is a welcome distraction from eternity. But the book is tedious, it smells of the tomb, it has a rigor mortis about it; a serious fault, and yet a relatively small one, for the great defect of this book is you, reader. You want to live fast, to get to the end, and the book ambles along slowly; you like straight, solid narrative and a smooth style, but this book and my style are like a pair of drunks; they stagger to the right and to the left, they start and they stop, they mutter, they roar, they guffaw, they threaten the sky, they slip and fall... And fall! Unhappy leaves of my cypress tree, you had to fall, like everything else that is lovely and beautiful; if I had eyes, I would shed a tear of remembrance for you. And this is the great advantage in being dead, that if you have no mouth with which to laugh, neither have you eyes with which to cry.
Machado de Assis (Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas)
A bad dream. To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream. A bad dream. I remembered everything. I remembered the cadavers and Doreen and the story of the fig-tree and Marco's diamond and the sailor on the Common and Doctor Gordon's wall-eyed nurse and the broken thermometers and the negro with his two kinds of beans and the twenty pounds I gained on insulin and the rock that bulged between sky and sea like a grey skull. Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind snow, should numb and cover them. But they were part of me. They were my landscape
Sylvia Plath
He says that woman speaks with nature. That she hears voices from under the earth. That wind blows in her ears and trees whisper to her. That the dead sing through her mouth and the cries of infants are clear to her. But for him this dialogue is over. He says he is not part of this world, that he was set on this world as a stranger. He sets himself apart from woman and nature. And so it is Goldilocks who goes to the home of the three bears, Little Red Riding Hood who converses with the wolf, Dorothy who befriends a lion, Snow White who talks to the birds, Cinderella with mice as her allies, the Mermaid who is half fish, Thumbelina courted by a mole. (And when we hear in the Navaho chant of the mountain that a grown man sits and smokes with bears and follows directions given to him by squirrels, we are surprised. We had thought only little girls spoke with animals.) We are the bird's eggs. Bird's eggs, flowers, butterflies, rabbits, cows, sheep; we are caterpillars; we are leaves of ivy and sprigs of wallflower. We are women. We rise from the wave. We are gazelle and doe, elephant and whale, lilies and roses and peach, we are air, we are flame, we are oyster and pearl, we are girls. We are woman and nature. And he says he cannot hear us speak. But we hear.
Susan Griffin (Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her)
There are psychologists who think that consciousness accompanies brain processes and is determined by them but doesn't itself exert any influence on them. Something like the reflection of a tree in water; it couldn't exist without the tree, but it doesn't in any way affect he tree. I think it's all stuff and nonsense to say that there can be love without passion; when people say love can endure after passion is dead they're talking of something else, affection, kindliness, community of taste and interest, and habit . . . Of course there can be desire without love. Desire isn't passion. Desire is the natural consequence of the sexual instinct . . . That's why women are foolish to make a song and dance if their husbands have an occasional flutter when the time and place are propitious . . . what is sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose . . . Unless love is passion, it's not love, but something else; and passion thrives not on satisfaction but impediment . . . When passion seizes the heart it invents reasons that seem not only plausible but conclusive to prove that the world is well lost for love. It convinces you that honor is well sacrificed and that shame is a cheap price to pay. Passion is destructive . . . and if it doesn't destroy it dies. It may be then that one is faced with the desolation of knowing that one has wasted the years of one's life, that one's brought disgrace upon oneself, endured the frightful pang of jealousy, swallowed every bitter mortification, that one's expended all one's tenderness, poured out all the riches of one's soul on a poor drab, a fool, a peg on which one hung one's dreams, who wasn't worth a stick of chewing gum.
W. Somerset Maugham (The Razor's Edge)
I do believe you think what now you speak, but what we do determine oft we break. Purpose is but the slave to memory, of violent birth, but poor validity, which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree, but fall, unshaken, when they mellow be. Most unnecessary 'tis that we forget to pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt. What to ourselves in passion we propose, the passion ending, doth the purpose lose. The violence of either grief or joy their own enactures with themselves destroy. Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament. Grief joys, joy grieves on slender accident. This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange that even our loves should with our fortunes change. For 'tis a question left us yet to prove, whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love. The great man down, you mark his favorite flies. The poor advanced makes friends of enemies. And hitherto doth love on fortune tend, for who not needs shall never lack a friend, and who in want a hollow friend doth try, directly seasons him his enemy. But, orderly to end where I begun, our wills and fates do so contrary run that our devices still are overthrown. Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own. So think thou wilt no second husband wed, but die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead.
William Shakespeare (Hamlet)
I begin to realize that my memory is a great catacomb, and that below my actual standing-ground there is layer after layer of historical ashes. Is the life of mind something like that of great trees of immemorial growth? Is the living layer of consciousness super-imposed upon hundreds of dead layers? Dead? No doubt this is too much to say, but still, when memory is slack the past becomes almost as though it had never been. To remember that we did know once is not a sign of possession but a sign of loss; it is like the number of an engraving which is no longer on its nail, the title of a volume no longer to be found on its shelf. My mind is the empty frame of a thousand vanished images.
Henri-Frédéric Amiel (Amiel's Journal, Vol 1: The Journal Intime of Henri-Frederic Amiel)
But a smell shivered him awake. It was a scent as old as the world. It was a hundred aromas of a thousand places. It was the tang of pine needles. It was the musk of sex. It was the muscular rot of mushrooms. It was the spice of oak. Meaty and redolent of soil and bark and herb. It was bats and husks and burrows and moss. It was solid and alive - so alive! And it was close. The vapors invaded Nicholas' nostrils and his hair rose to their roots. His eyes were as heavy as manhole covers, but he opened them. Through the dying calm inside him snaked a tremble of fear. The trees themselves seemed tense, waiting. The moonlight was a hard shell, sharp and ready to ready be struck and to ring like steel. A shadow moved. It poured like oil from between the tall trees and flowed across dark sandy dirt, lengthening into the middle of the ring. Trees seem to bend toward it, spellbound. A long, long shadow...
Stephen M. Irwin (The Dead Path)
Under the trees several pheasants lay about, their rich plumage dabbled with blood; some were dead, some feebly twitching a wing, some staring up at the sky, some pulsating quickly, some contorted, some stretched out—all of them writhing in agony except the fortunate ones whose tortures had ended during the night by the inability of nature to bear more. With the impulse of a soul who could feel for kindred sufferers as much as for herself, Tess’s first thought was to put the still living birds out of their torture, and to this end with her own hands she broke the necks of as many as she could find, leaving them to lie where she had found them till the gamekeepers should come, as they probably would come, to look for them a second time. “Poor darlings—to suppose myself the most miserable being on earth in the sight o’ such misery as yours!” she exclaimed, her tears running down as she killed the birds tenderly.
Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D'Urbervilles)
Vasco lived in Mangrove Heights, on a bluff overlooking the river. The first time Jed saw the house, he couldn't help thinking of the Empire of Junk. Towers jostled with gables, beams with columns. Gargoyles leered from the eaves, tongues sharp as the heads of arrows, eyes like shelled eggs. The front garden had been planted with all kinds of trees, so the house seemed to skulk. The path to the front door crackled with dead leaves. He could smell plaster, the inside of birds' nests, river sewage. 'I should have been born in a place like this,' Jed said, but Vasco was opening the door and didn't hear.
Rupert Thomson (The Five Gates of Hell)
Ivy shook her head with a look of disgust. "So you got caught. Big freaking deal. They knew who Rachel was, and you don't see her whining over it." Actually, I had thrown my tantrum on the way home, which might have accounted for the odd noise Francis's car was making when I left it in the mall parking lot in the shade of a tree. Jenks darted to hover three inches before Ivy's nose. His wings were red in anger. "You have a gardener trap you in a glass ball and see if it doesn't give you a new outlook on life, Little Miss Merry Sunshine." My bad mood slipped away as I watched a four-inch pixy confront a vamp.
Kim Harrison (Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, #1))
But, stop and think. What does the word ‘witch’ truly mean?” “Why—” said Tom, and was stymied. “Wits,” said Moundshroud. “Intelligence. That’s all it means. Knowledge. So any man, or woman, with half a brain and with inclinations toward learning had his wits about him, eh? And so, anyone too smart, who didn’t watch out, was called—” “A witch!” said everyone. “And some of the smart ones, the ones with wits, pretended at magic, or dreamed themselves with ghosts and dead shufflers and ambling mummies. And if enemies dropped dead by coincidence, they took credit for it. They liked to believe they had power, but they had none, boys, none, sad and sorry, ’tis true. But
Ray Bradbury (The Halloween Tree)
I drag the body out into the snowdrifts, as far away from our shack as I can muster. I put her in a thicket of trees, where the green seems to still have a voice in the branches, and try not to think about the beasts that’ll soon be gathering. There’s no way of burying her; the ground is a solid rock of ice beneath us. I kneel beside her and want desperately to weep. My throat tightens and my head aches. Everything hurts inside. But I have no way of releasing it. I’m locked up and hard as stone. “I’m sorry, Mamma,” I whisper to the shell in front of me. I take her hand. It could belong to a glass doll. There’s no life there anymore. So I gather rocks, one by one, and set them over her, trying my best to protect her from the birds, the beasts, keep her safe as much as I can now. I pile the dark stones gently on her stomach, her arms, and over her face, until she becomes one with the mountain. I stand and study my work, feeling like the rocks are on me instead, then I leave the body for the forest and ice.
Rachel A. Marks (Winter Rose)
You know that movie, where the little boy says 'I see dead people'? The Sixth Sense. Well, I see them all the time, and I'm getting tired of it. That's what's ruined my mood. Here it is, almost Christmas, and I didn't even think about putting up a tree, because I'm still seeing the autopsy lab in my head. I'm still smelling it on my hands. I come home on a day like this, after two postmortems, and I can't think about cooking dinner. I can't even look at a piece of meat without thinking of muscle fibers. All I can deal with is a cocktail. And then I pour the drink and smell the alcohol, and suddenly there I am, back in the lab. Alcohol, formalin, they both have that same sharp smell.
Tess Gerritsen (The Sinner (Rizzoli & Isles, #3))
The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts. The most obvious part was a hollow, echoing quiet, made by things that were lacking. If there had been a wind it would have sighed trough the trees, set the inn’s sign creaking on its hooks, and brushed the silence down the road like trailing autumn leaves. If there had been a crowd, even a handful of men inside the inn, they would have filled the silence with coversation and laughter, the clatter and clamour one expects from a drinking house during the dark hours of the night. If there had been music…but no, of curse there was no music. In fact there were none of these things, and so the silence remained. Inside the Waystone a pair of men huddled at one corner of the bar. they drank with quiet determination, avoiding serious discussions of troubling news. In doing these they added a small, sullen silenceto the lager, hollow one. it made an alloy of sorts, a counterpoint. The third silence was not an easy thing to notice. If you listened for an hour, you might begin to feel it in the wooden floor underfoot and in the rough, splintering barrels behind the bar. It was in the weight of the black stone heart that held the heat of a long-dead fire. It was in the slow back and forth of a white linen cloth rubbing along the grain of the bar. and it was in the hands of the man who stood there, polishing a strech of mahogany that already gleamed in the lamplight. The man had true-red hair, red as flame. his eyes was dark and distant, and he moved with the subtle certainty that comes from knowing many things. The Waystone was is, just as the third silence was his. This was appropriate, as it was the greatest silence of the three, wapping the other inside itself. It was deep and wide as autumn’s ending. It was heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
From the vast, invisible ocean of moonlight overhead fell, here and here, a slender, broken stream that seemed to plash against the intercepting branches and trickle to earth, forming small white pools among the clumps of laurel. But these leaks were few and served only to accentuate the blackness of his environment, which his imagination found it easy to people with all manner of unfamiliar shapes, menacing, uncanny, or merely grotesque. He to whom the portentous conspiracy of night and solitude and silence in the heart of a great forest is not an unknown experience needs not to be told what another world it all is - how even the most commonplace and familiar objects take on another character. The trees group themselves differently; they draw closer together, as if in fear. The very silence has another quality than the silence of the day. And it is full of half-heard whispers, whispers that startle - ghosts of sounds long dead. There are living sounds, too, such as are never heard under other conditions: notes of strange night birds, the cries of small animals in sudden encounters with stealthy foes, or in their dreams, a rustling in the dead leaves - it may be the leap of a wood rat, it may be the footstep of a panther. What caused the breaking of that twig? What the low, alarmed twittering in that bushful of birds? There are sounds without a name, forms without substance, translations in space of objects which have not been seen to move, movements wherein nothing is observed to change its place. Ah, children of the sunlight and the gaslight, how little you know of the world in which you live! ("A Tough Tussle")
Ambrose Bierce (Ghost Stories (Haunting Ghost Stories))
Sometimes during the night I'd look at my poor sleeping mother cruelly crucified there in the American night because of no-money, no-hope-of-money, no family, no nothing, just myself the stupid son of plans all of them compacted of eventual darkness. God how right Hemingway was when he said there was no remedy for life - and to think that negative little paper-shuffling prissies should write condescending obituaries about a man who told the truth, nay who drew breath in pain to tell a tale like that! ... No remedy but in my mind I raise a fist to High Heaven promising that I shall bull whip the first bastard who makes fun of human hopelessness anyway - I know it's ridiculous to pray to my father that hunk of dung in a grave yet I pray to him anyway, what else shall I do? sneer? shuffle paper on a desk and burp rationality? Ah thank God for all the Rationalists the worms and vermin got. Thank God for all the hate mongering political pamphleteers with no left or right to yell about in the Grave of Space. I say that we shall all be reborn with the Only One, and that's what makes me go on, and my mother too. She has her rosary in the bus, don't deny her that, that's her way of stating the fact. If there can't be love among men let there be love at least between men and God. Human courage is an opiate but opiates are human too. If God is an opiate so am I. Thefore eat me. Eat the night, the long desolate American between Sanford and Shlamford and Blamford and Crapford, eat the hematodes that hang parasitically from dreary southern trees, eat the blood in the ground, the dead Indians, the dead pioneers, the dead Fords and Pontiacs, the dead Mississippis, the dead arms of forlorn hopelessness washing underneath - Who are men, that they can insult men? Who are these people who wear pants and dresses and sneer? What am I talking about? I'm talking about human helplessness and unbelievable loneliness in the darkness of birth and death and asking 'What is there to laugh about in that?' 'How can you be clever in a meatgrinder?' 'Who makes fun of misery?' There's my mother a hunk of flesh that didn't ask to be born, sleeping restlessly, dreaming hopefully, beside her son who also didn't ask to be born, thinking desperately, praying hopelessly, in a bouncing earthly vehicle going from nowhere to nowhere, all in the night, worst of all for that matter all in noonday glare of bestial Gulf Coast roads - Where is the rock that will sustain us? Why are we here? What kind of crazy college would feature a seminar where people talk about hopelessness, forever?
Jack Kerouac (Desolation Angels)
Her poetry is written on the ghost of trees, whispered on the lips of lovers. As a little girl, she would drift in and out of libraries filled with dead poets and their musky scent. She held them in her hands and breathed them in -- wanting so much to be part of their world... It was on her sixteenth birthday that she first fell in love. With a boy who brought her red roses and white lies. When he broke her heart, she cried for days. Then hopeful, she sat with a pen in her hand, poised over the blank white sheet, but it refused to draw blood... She learned too late that poets are among the damned, cursed to commiserate over their loss, to reach with outstretched hands -- hands that will never know the weight of what they seek.
Lang Leav (Lullabies)
Whether we are speaking of a flower or an oak tree, of an earthworm or a beautiful bird, of an ape or a person, we will do well, I believe, to recognize that life is an active process, not a passive one. Whether the stimulus arises from within or without, whether the environment is favorable or unfavorable, the behaviors of an organism can be counted on to be in the direction of maintaining, enhancing, and reproducing itself. This is the very nature of the process we call life. This tendency is operative at all times. Indeed, only the presence or absence of this total directional process enables us to tell whether a given organism is alive or dead. The actualizing tendency can, of course, be thwarted or warped, but it cannot be destroyed without destroying the organism. I remember that in my boyhood, the bin in which we stored our winter's supply of potatoes was in the basement, several feet below a small window. The conditions were unfavorable, but the potatoes would begin to sprout—pale white sprouts, so unlike the healthy green shoots they sent up when planted in the soil in the spring. But these sad, spindly sprouts would grow 2 or 3 feet in length as they reached toward the distant light of the window. The sprouts were, in their bizarre, futile growth, a sort of desperate expression of the directional tendency I have been describing. They would never become plants, never mature, never fulfill their real potential. But under the most adverse circumstances, they were striving to become. Life would not give up, even if it could not flourish. In dealing with clients whose lives have been terribly warped, in working with men and women on the back wards of state hospitals, I often think of those potato sprouts. So unfavorable have been the conditions in which these people have developed that their lives often seem abnormal, twisted, scarcely human. Yet, the directional tendency in them can be trusted. The clue to understanding their behavior is that they are striving, in the only ways that they perceive as available to them, to move toward growth, toward becoming. To healthy persons, the results may seem bizarre and futile, but they are life's desperate attempt to become itself. This potent constructive tendency is an underlying basis of the person-centered approach.
Carl R. Rogers
And beneath Cornwall, beyond and beneath this whole realm of England, beneath the sodden marshes of Wales and the rough territory of the Scots border, there is another landscape; there is a buried empire, where he fears his commissioners cannot reach. Who will swear the hobs and boggarts who live in the hedges and hollow trees, and the wild men who hide in the woods? Who will swear the saints in their niches, and the spirits that cluster at holy wells rustling like fallen leaves, and the miscarried infants dug in to unconsecrated ground: all those unseen dead who hover in winter around forges and village hearths, trying to warm their bare bones? For they too are his countrymen: the generations of uncounted dead, breathing through the living, stealing their light from them, the bloodless ghosts of lord and knave, nun and whore, the ghosts of priest and friar who feed on living England, and suck the substance from the future.
Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1))
When I went on anyway, my body began to grow cold, and I thought I was dead. Face pale, my dead self sat down on a bench and began to turn toward my real self, who was watching this hallucination on the screen of the night. My dead self came nearer, just as if it might want to shake hands with my real self. That's when I panicked and tried to run. But my dead self pursued me and finally caught me, entered me and controlled me. I'd felt then just the way I felt now. I felt as if a hole had opened in my head from which consciousness and memory leaked out and in their place the rash crowded in, and a cold like spoiled roast chicken. But that time before, shaking and clinging to the damp bench, I'd told myself, Hey, take a good look, isn't the world still under your feet? I'm on this ground, and on this same ground are trees and grass and ants carrying sand to their nests, little girls chasing rolling balls, and puppies running.
Ryū Murakami (Almost Transparent Blue)
just got back from a beautiful eve of winter solstice snowshoeing. my heart was lost and enlivened by both the hush of the mountainous snow world and a very fun irreverence with friends. i shared a solstice quote but did not share this one. so in the spirit of the year--happy solistice! may there be ever present and growing light in your life as nature unfolds the same in the upcoming months. "sharp is the night, but stars with frost alive leap off the rim of earth across the dome. it is a night to make the heavens our home. more than the nest whereto apace we strive. lengths down our road each fir-tree seems a hive, in swarms outrushing from the golden comb. they waken waves of thoughts that burst to foam: you throb in me, the dead revive. yon mantle clothes us: there, past mortal breath, life glistens on the river of death. it folds us, flesh and dust; and have we knelt, or never knelt, or eyed as kine the springs of radiance, the radiance enrings: and this is the soul's haven to have felt." --from _winter heavens_
George Meredith
I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves. I have watched the face of many a newly wolfless mountain, and seen the south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails. I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anaemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn. Such a mountain looks as if someone had given God a new pruning shears, and forbidden Him all other exercise. In the end the starved bones of the hoped-for deer herd, dead of its own too-much, bleach with the bones of the dead sage, or molder under the high-lined junipers. I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer.
Aldo Leopold
From the earliest days of man there has endured the conviction that there is an order of existence which is entirely strange to him. It does indeed seem that the strict order of the visible world is only a semblance, one providing certain gross materials which become the basis for subtle improvisations of invisible powers. Hence, it may appear to some that a leafless tree is not a tree but a signpost to another realm; that an old house is not a house but a thing possessing a will of its own; that the dead may throw off that heavy blanket of earth to walk in their sleep, and in ours. And these are merely a few of the infinite variations on the themes of the natural order as it is usually conceived. But is there really a strange world? Of course. Are there, then, two worlds? Not at all. There is only our own world and it alone is alien to us, intrinsically so by virtue of its lack of mysteries. If only it actually were deranged by invisible powers, if only it were susceptible to real strangeness, perhaps it would seem more like a home to us, and less like an empty room filled with the echoes of this dreadful improvising. To think that we might have found comfort in a world suited to our nature, only to end up in one so resoundingly strange!
Thomas Ligotti (The Nightmare Factory)
Give yourself to me, Gemma, and you will never be alone again. You'll be worshiped. Adored. Loved. But you must give yourself to me- a willing sacrifice.' Tears slip down my face. 'Yes,' I murmur. Gemma, don't listen,' Circe says hoarsely, and for a moment, I don't see Eugenia; I see only the tree, the blood pumping beneath its pale skin, the bodies of the dead hanging from it like chimes. I gasp, and Eugenia is before me again. 'Yes, this is what you want, Gemma. Try as you might, you cannot kill this part of yourself. The solitude of the self taht waits just under the stairs of your soul. Always there, no matter how much you've tried to get rid of it. I understand. I do. Stay with me and never be lonely again.' Don't listen... to that... bitch,' Circe croaks, and the vines tighten around her neck. No, you're wrong,' I say to Eugenia as if coming out of a long sleep. 'You couldn't kill this part of yourself. And you couldn't accept it, either.' I'm sure I don't know what you mean.' she says, sounding uncertain for the first time. That's why they were able to take you. They found your fear.' And what, pray, was it?' Your pride. You couldn't believe you might have some of the same qualities as the creatures themselves.' I am not like them. I am their hope. I sustain them.' No. You tell yourself that. That's why CIrce told me to search my dark corners. So I wouldn't be caught off guard.' Circe laughts, a splintered cackle that finds a way under my skin. And what about you, Gemma?' Eugenia purrs. 'Have you "searched" yourself, as you say?' I've done things I'm not proud of. I've made mistakes,' I say, my voice growing stronger, my fingers feeling for the dagger again. 'But I've done good, too.' And yet, you're alone. All that trying and still you stand apart, watching from the other side of the grass. Afraid to have what you truly want because what if it's not enough after all? What if you get it and you still feel alone and apart? So much better to wrap yourself in the longing. The yearning. The restlessness. Poor Gemma. She doesn't quite fit, does she? Poor Gemma- all alone. It's as if she's delivered a blow to my heart. My hand falters. 'I-I...' Gemma, you're not alone,' Circe gasps, and my hand touches metal. No. I'm not. I'm like everyone else in this stupid, bloody, amazing world. I'm flawed. Impossibly so. But hopeful. I'm still me.' I've got it now. Sure and strong in my grip. 'I see through you. I see the truth.
Libba Bray (The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3))
After the torchlight red on sweaty faces After the frosty silence in the gardens After the agony in stony places The shouting and the crying Prison and palace and reverberation Of thunder of spring over distant mountains He who was living is now dead We who were living are now dying With a little patience Here is no water but only rock Rock and no water and the sandy road The road winding above among the mountains Which are mountains of rock without water If there were water we should stop and drink Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand If there were only water amongst the rock Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that cannot spit Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit There is not even silence in the mountains But dry sterile thunder without rain There is not even solitude in the mountains But red sullen faces sneer and snarl From doors of mudcracked houses If there were water And no rock If there were rock And also water And water A spring A pool among the rock If there were the sound of water only Not the cicada And dry grass singing But sound of water over a rock Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop But there is no water - The Waste Land (ll. 322-358)
T.S. Eliot
I am made to sow the thistle for wheat; the nettle for a nourishing dainty I have planted a false oath in the earth, it has brought forth a poison tree I have chosen the serpent for a councellor & the dog for a schoolmaster to my children I have blotted out from light & living the dove & the nightingale And I have caused the earthworm to beg from door to door I have taught the thief a secret path into the house of the just I have taught pale artifice to spread his nets upon the morning My heavens are brass my earth is iron my moon a clod of clay My sun a pestilence burning at noon & a vapor of death in night What is the price of Experience do men buy it for a song Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No it is bought with the price Of all that a man hath his house his wife his children Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy And in the withered field where the farmer plows for bread in vain It is an easy thing to triumph in the summers sun And in the vintage & to sing on the waggon loaded with corn It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer To listen to the hungry ravens cry in wintry season When the red blood is filled with wine & with the marrow of lambs It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements To hear a dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan To see a god on every wind & a blessing on every blast To hear the sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our enemies house To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, & the sickness that cuts off his children While our olive & vine sing & laugh round our door & our children bring fruits and flowers Then the groans & the dolor are quite forgotten & the slave grinding at the mill And the captive in chains & the poor in the prison, & the soldier in the field When the shattered bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity Thus could I sing & thus rejoice, but it is not so with me!
William Blake (The Complete Poems)
It was not without a certain wild pleasure I ran before the wind, delivering my trouble of mind to the measureless air-torrent thundering through space. Descending the laurel walk, I faced the wreck of a chestnut-tree; it stood up, black and riven: the trunk, split down the centere, gasped ghastly. The cloven halves were not broken for each other, for the firm base and strong roots kept them unsundered below; through communtiy of vitality was destroyed -- the sap could flow no more: their great boughs on each side were dead, and next winter's tempests would be sure to fell one or both to earth: as yet, however, they might be said to form one tree -- a ruin, but and entire ruin. 'You did right to hold fast to each other,' I said: as if the monster splinters were living things, and could hear me. 'I think, scathed as you look, and charred and scorched, there must be a little sense of life in you yet, rising out of that adhesion at the faithful, honest roots: you will never have green leaves more -- never more see birds making nests and singing idylls in your boughs; the time of pleasure and love is over with you; but you are not desolate: each of you has a comrade to sympathize with him in his decay.' As I looked up at them, the moon appeared momentarily in that part of the sky which filled their fissure; her disc was blood-red and half overcast; she seemed to throw on me one bewildered, dreary glance, and buried herself again instantly in the deep drift of cloud. The wind fell, for a second, round Thornfield; but far away over wood and water poured a wild, melancholy wail: it was sad to listen to, and I ran off again.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing. Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing A flowery band to bind us to the earth, Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth Of noble natures, of the gloomy days, Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkn'd ways Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all, Some shape of beauty moves away the pall From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon, Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon For simple sheep; and such are daffodils With the green world they live in; and clear rills That for themselves a cooling covert make 'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake, Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms: And such too is the grandeur of the dooms We have imagined for the mighty dead; An endless fountain of immortal drink, Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.
John Keats
The dark sky. A hundred million stars. More stars than I’ve ever seen before. My eyes let me see farther, but they don’t show me the one thing I want to see. I would trade all the stars in the universe if I could just have him back again. Wind whistles through the trees nearby. Birdsong weaves in and out of the sound. The hybrids emerge from the communication building, heads tilted to the sky. And then we see the end. Godspeed’s engine was nuclear; who knows what fueled the biological weapons. But they explode together. In space, they don’t make the familiar mushroom cloud. They don’t make the boom! of an exploding bomb. There is, against the dark sky, a brief flash of light. It is filled with colors, like a nebula or the aurora borealis, bursting like a popped bubble. Nothing else—no sound of an explosion, no tremors in the earth, no smell of smoke. Not here, on the surface of the planet. Nothing else to signify Elder’s death. Just light. And then it’s gone. And then he’s gone.
Beth Revis (Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3))
One step across the dividing line, so like the one between the living and the dead and you enter an unknown world of suffering and death. What will you find there? Who will be there? There, just just beyond the field, that tree, that sunlit roof? No one knows, and yet you want to know. You dread crossing that line, and yet you want to cross it. You know sooner or later you will have to go across and find out what is there beyond it, just as you must inevitably found out what lies beyond death. Yet here you are, fit and strong, carefree and excited, with men all around you just the same- strong, excited and full of life.' This is what all men think when they get sight of the enemy, or they feel it if they do not think it, and it is this feeling that gives a special lustre and a delicious edge to the awareness of everything that is now happening.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
I sat wondering: Why is there always this deep shade of melancholy over the fields arid river banks, the sky and the sunshine of our country? And I came to the conclusion that it is because with us Nature is obviously the more important thing. The sky is free, the fields limitless; and the sun merges them into one blazing whole. In the midst of this, man seems so trivial. He comes and goes, like the ferry-boat, from this shore to the other; the babbling hum of his talk, the fitful echo of his song, is heard; the slight movement of his pursuit of his own petty desires is seen in the world's market-places: but how feeble, how temporary, how tragically meaningless it all seems amidst the immense aloofness of the Universe! The contrast between the beautiful, broad, unalloyed peace of Nature—calm, passive, silent, unfathomable,—and our own everyday worries—paltry, sorrow-laden, strife-tormented, puts me beside myself as I keep staring at the hazy, distant, blue line of trees which fringe the fields across the river. Where Nature is ever hidden, and cowers under mist and cloud, snow and darkness, there man feels himself master; he regards his desires, his works, as permanent; he wants to perpetuate them, he looks towards posterity, he raises monuments, he writes biographies; he even goes the length of erecting tombstones over the dead. So busy is he that he has not time to consider how many monuments crumble, how often names are forgotten!
Rabindranath Tagore
The moon from any window is one part whoever’s looking. The part I can’t see is everything my sister keeps to herself. One part my dead brother’s sleepless brow, the other part the time I waste, the time I won’t have. But which is the lion killed for the sake of the honey inside him, and which the wine, stranded in a valley, unredeemed? And don’t forget the curtains. Don’t forget the wind in the trees, or my mother’s voice saying things that will take my whole life to come true. One part earnest child grown tall in his mother’s doorway, and one a last look over the shoulder before leaving. And never forget it answers to no address, but calls wave after wave to a path or thirst. Never forget the candle climbing down without glancing back. And what about the heart counting alone, out loud, in that game in which the many hide from the one? Never forget the cry completely hollowed of the dying one who cried it. Only in such pure outpouring is there room for all this night.
Li-Young Lee (Book of My Nights)
Love Letter" Not easy to state the change you made. If I'm alive now, then I was dead, Though, like a stone, unbothered by it, Staying put according to habit. You didn't just tow me an inch, no- Nor leave me to set my small bald eye Skyward again, without hope, of course, Of apprehending blueness, or stars. That wasn't it. I slept, say: a snake Masked among black rocks as a black rock In the white hiatus of winter- Like my neighbors, taking no pleasure In the million perfectly-chisled Cheeks alighting each moment to melt My cheeks of basalt. They turned to tears, Angels weeping over dull natures, But didn't convince me. Those tears froze. Each dead head had a visor of ice. And I slept on like a bent finger. The first thing I was was sheer air And the locked drops rising in dew Limpid as spirits. Many stones lay Dense and expressionless round about. I didn't know what to make of it. I shone, mice-scaled, and unfolded To pour myself out like a fluid Among bird feet and the stems of plants. I wasn't fooled. I knew you at once. Tree and stone glittered, without shadows. My finger-length grew lucent as glass. I started to bud like a March twig: An arm and a leg, and arm, a leg. From stone to cloud, so I ascended. Now I resemble a sort of god Floating through the air in my soul-shift Pure as a pane of ice. It's a gift.
Sylvia Plath (Crossing the Water)
He is a demon, Clarissa,” said Valentine, still in the same soft voice. “A demon with a man’s face. I know how deceptive such monsters can be. Remember, I spared him once myself.” “Monster?” echoed Clary. She thought of Luke, Luke pushing her on the swings when she was five years old, higher, always higher; Luke at her graduation from middle school, camera clicking away like a proud father’s; Luke sorting through each box of books as it arrived at his store, looking for anything she might like and putting it aside. Luke lifting her up to pull apples down from the trees near his farmhouse. Luke, whose place as her father this man was trying to take. “Luke isn’t a monster,” she said in a voice that matched Valentine’s, steel for steel. “Or a murderer. You are.” “Clary!” It was Jace. Clary ignored him. Her eyes were fixed on her father’s cold black ones. “You murdered your wife’s parents, not in battle but in cold blood,” she said. “And I bet you murdered Michael Wayland and his little boy, too. Threw their bones in with my grandparents’ so that my mother would think you and Jace were dead. Put your necklace around Michael Wayland’s neck before you burned him so everyone would think those bones were yours. After all your talk about the untainted blood of the Clave — you didn’t care at all about their blood or their innocence when you killed them, did you? Slaughtering old people and children in cold blood, that’s monstrous.
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
It is worse, much worse, than you think. The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says it isn’t happening at all, and comes to us bundled with several others in an anthology of comforting delusions: that global warming is an Arctic saga, unfolding remotely; that it is strictly a matter of sea level and coastlines, not an enveloping crisis sparing no place and leaving no life undeformed; that it is a crisis of the “natural” world, not the human one; that those two are distinct, and that we live today somehow outside or beyond or at the very least defended against nature, not inescapably within and literally overwhelmed by it; that wealth can be a shield against the ravages of warming; that the burning of fossil fuels is the price of continued economic growth; that growth, and the technology it produces, will allow us to engineer our way out of environmental disaster; that there is any analogue to the scale or scope of this threat, in the long span of human history, that might give us confidence in staring it down. None of this is true. But let’s begin with the speed of change. The earth has experienced five mass extinctions before the one we are living through now, each so complete a wiping of the fossil record that it functioned as an evolutionary reset, the planet’s phylogenetic tree first expanding, then collapsing, at intervals, like a lung: 86 percent of all species dead, 450 million years ago; 70 million years later, 75 percent; 125 million years later, 96 percent; 50 million years later, 80 percent; 135 million years after that, 75 percent again. Unless you are a teenager, you probably read in your high school textbooks that these extinctions were the result of asteroids. In fact, all but the one that killed the dinosaurs involved climate change produced by greenhouse gas. The most notorious was 250 million years ago; it began when carbon dioxide warmed the planet by five degrees Celsius, accelerated when that warming triggered the release of methane, another greenhouse gas, and ended with all but a sliver of life on Earth dead. We are currently adding carbon to the atmosphere at a considerably faster rate; by most estimates, at least ten times faster. The rate is one hundred times faster than at any point in human history before the beginning of industrialization. And there is already, right now, fully a third more carbon in the atmosphere than at any point in the last 800,000 years—perhaps in as long as 15 million years. There were no humans then. The oceans were more than a hundred feet higher.
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)
There is something memorable in the experience to be had by going to a fair ground that stands at the edge of a Middle Western town on a night after the annual fair has been held. The sensation is one never to be forgotten. On all sides are ghosts, not of the dead, but of living people. Here, during the day just passed, have come the people pouring in from the town and the country around. Farmers with their wives and children and all the people from the hundreds of little frame houses have gathered within these board walls. Young girls have laughed and men with beards have talked of the affairs of their lives. The place has been filled to overflowing with life. It has itched and squirmed with life and now it is night and the life has all gone away. The silence is almost terrifying. One conceals oneself standing silently beside the trunk of a tree and what there is of a reflective tendency in his nature is intensified. One shudders at the thought of the meaningless of life while at the same instant, and if the people of the town are his people, one loves life so intensely that tears come into the eyes.
Sherwood Anderson (Winesburg, Ohio)
Linger now with me, thou Beauty, On the sharp archaic shore. Surely 'tis a wastrel's duty And the gods could ask no more. If thou lingerest when I linger, If thou tread'st the stones I tread, Thou wilt stay my spirit's hunger And dispel the dreams I dread. Come thou, love, my own, my only, Through the battlements of Groan; Lingering becomes so lonely When one lingers on one's own. I have lingered in the cloisters Of the Northern Wing at night, As the sky unclasped its oysters On the midnight pearls of light; For the long remorseless shadows Chilled me with exquisite fear. I have lingered in cold meadows Through a month of rain, my dear. Come, my Love, my sweet, my Only, Through the parapets of Groan. Lingering can be very lonely When one lingers on one's own. In dark alcoves I have lingered Conscious of dead dynasties; I have lingered in blue cellars And in hollow trunks of trees. Many a traveler through moonlight Passing by a winding stair Or a cold and crumbling archway Has been shocked to see me there. I have longed for thee, my Only, Hark! the footsteps of the Groan! Lingering is so very lonely When one lingers all alone. Will thou come with me, and linger? And discourse with me of those Secret things the mystic finger Points to, but will not disclose? When I'm all alone, my glory Always fades, because I find Being lonely drives the splendour Of my vision from my mind. Come, oh, come, my own! my Only! Through the Gormenghast of Groan. Lingering has become so lonely As I linger all alone!
Mervyn Peake (Titus Groan (Gormenghast, #1))
Mister God made everything, didn’t he?” There was no point in saying I didn’t really know. I said “Yes.” “Even the dirt and the stars and the animals and the people and the trees and everything, and the pollywogs?” The pollywogs were those little creatures we had seen under the microscope. I said, “Yes, he made everything.” She nodded her agreement. “Does Mister God love us truly?” “Sure thing,” I said. “Mister God loves everything.” “Oh,” she said. “well then, why does he let things get hurt and dead?” Her voice sounded as if she felt she had betrayed a sacred trust, but the question had been thought and it had to be spoken. “I don’t know,” I replied. “There’re a great many things about Mister God, we don’t know about?” “Well then,” she continued, “if we don’t know many things about Mister God, how do we know he loves us?” I could see this was going to be one of those times, but thank goodness she didn’t expect an answer to her question, for she hurried on: “Them pollywogs, I could love them till I bust, but they wouldn’t know, would they? I’m million times bigger than they are and Mister God is million times bigger than me, so how do I know what Mister God does?” She was silent for a little while. Later I thought that at this moment she was taking her last look at babyhood. Then she went on. “Fynn, Mister God doesn’t love us.” She hesitated. “He doesn’t really, you know, only people can love. I love Bossy, but Bossy don’t love me. I love the pollywogs, but they don’t love me. I love you Fynn, and you love me, don’t you?” I tightened my arm about her. “You love me because you are people. I love Mister God truly but he don’t love me.” It sounded to me like a death knell. “Damn and blast,” I thought. “Why does this have to happen to people? Now she’s lost everything.” But I was wrong. She had got both feet planted firmly on the next stepping stone. “No,” she went on, “no, he don’t love me, not like you do, its different, its millions of times bigger.” I must have made some movement or noise, for she levered herself upright and sat on her haunches and giggled. The she launched herself at me and undid my little pang of hurt, cut from the useless spark of jealousy with the delicate sureness of a surgeon. “Fynn, you can love better than any people that ever was, and so can I, cant I? But Mister God is different. You see, Fynn, people can only love outside, and can only kiss outside, but Mister God can love you right inside, and Mister God can kiss you right inside, so its different. Mister God ain’t like us; we are a little bit like Mister God, but not much yet.” It seemed to me to reduce itself to the fact that we were like God because of the similarities, but God was not like us because of our differences. Her inner fires had refined her ideas, and like some alchemist she had turned lead into gold. Gone were all the human definitions of God, like Goodness, Mercy, Love, and Justice, for these were merely props to describe the indescribable. “You see, Fynn, Mister God is different because he can finish things and we cant. I cant finish loving you because I shall be dead millions of years before I can finish, but Mister God can finish loving you, and so its not the same kind of love, is it?
Fynn (Mister God, This is Anna)
What happened? It took Gibbon six volumes to describe the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, so I shan’t embark on that. But thinking about this almost incredible episode does tell one something about the nature of civilisation. It shows that however complex and solid it seems, it is actually quite fragile. It can be destroyed. 

What are its enemies?
 
Well, first of all fear — fear of war, fear of invasion, fear of plague and famine, that make it simply not worthwhile constructing things, or planting trees or even planning next year’s crops. And fear of the supernatural, which means that you daren’t question anything or change anything. The late antique world was full of meaningless rituals, mystery religions, that destroyed self-confidence. And then exhaustion, the feeling of hopelessness which can overtake people even with a high degree of material prosperity. 

There is a poem by the modern Greek poet, Cavafy, in which he imagines the people of an antique town like Alexandria waiting every day for the barbarians to come and sack the city. Finally the barbarians move off somewhere else and the city is saved; but the people are disappointed — it would have been better than nothing. Of course, civilisation requires a modicum of material prosperity—

What civilization needs:

confidence in the society in which one lives, belief in its philosophy, belief in its laws, and confidence in one’s own mental powers. The way in which the stones of the Pont du Gard are laid is not only a triumph of technical skill, but shows a vigorous belief in law and discipline. Vigour, energy, vitality: all the civilisations—or civilising epochs—have had a weight of energy behind them. People sometimes think that civilisation consists in fine sensibilities and good conversations and all that. These can be among the agreeable results of civilisation, but they are not what make a civilisation, and a society can have these amenities and yet be dead and rigid.
Kenneth Clark (Civilisation)
Instructions for Dad. I don't want to go into a fridge at an undertaker's. I want you to keep me at home until the funeral. Please can someone sit with me in case I got lonely? I promise not to scare you. I want to be buried in my butterfly dress, my lilac bra and knicker set and my black zip boots (all still in the suitcase that I packed for Sicily). I also want to wear the bracelet Adam gave me. Don't put make-up on me. It looks stupid on dead people. I do NOT want to be cremated. Cremations pollute the atmosphere with dioxins,k hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide. They also have those spooky curtains in crematoriums. I want a biodegradable willow coffin and a woodland burial. The people at the Natural Death Centre helped me pick a site not for from where we live, and they'll help you with all the arrangements. I want a native tree planted on or near my grave. I'd like an oak, but I don't mind a sweet chestnut or even a willow. I want a wooden plaque with my name on. I want wild plants and flowers growing on my grave. I want the service to be simple. Tell Zoey to bring Lauren (if she's born by then). Invite Philippa and her husband Andy (if he wants to come), also James from the hospital (though he might be busy). I don't want anyone who doesn't know my saying anything about me. THe Natural Death Centre people will stay with you, but should also stay out of it. I want the people I love to get up and speak about me, and even if you cry it'll be OK. I want you to say honest things. Say I was a monster if you like, say how I made you all run around after me. If you can think of anything good, say that too! Write it down first, because apparently people often forget what they mean to say at funerals. Don't under any circumstances read that poem by Auden. It's been done to death (ha, ha) and it's too sad. Get someone to read Sonnet 12 by Shakespeare. Music- "Blackbird" by the Beatles. "Plainsong" by The Cure. "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw. "All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands" by Sufian Stevens. There may not be time for all of them, but make sure you play the last one. Zoey helped me choose them and she's got them all on her iPod (it's got speakers if you need to borrow it). Afterwards, go to a pub for lunch. I've got £260 in my savings account and I really want you to use it for that. Really, I mean it-lunch is on me. Make sure you have pudding-sticky toffee, chocolate fudge cake, ice-cream sundae, something really bad for you. Get drunk too if you like (but don't scare Cal). Spend all the money. And after that, when days have gone by, keep an eye out for me. I might write on the steam in the mirror when you're having a bath, or play with the leaves on the apple tree when you're out in the garden. I might slip into a dream. Visit my grave when you can, but don't kick yourself if you can't, or if you move house and it's suddenly too far away. It looks pretty there in the summer (check out the website). You could bring a picnic and sit with me. I'd like that. OK. That's it. I love you. Tessa xxx
Jenny Downham
The perturbations, anxieties, depravations, deaths, exceptions in the physical or moral order, spirit of negation, brutishness, hallucinations fostered by the will, torments, destruction, confusion, tears, insatiabilities, servitudes, delving imaginations, novels, the unexpected, the forbidden, the chemical singularities of the mysterious vulture which lies in wait for the carrion of some dead illusion, precocious & abortive experiences, the darkness of the mailed bug, the terrible monomania of pride, the inoculation of deep stupor, funeral orations, desires, betrayals, tyrannies, impieties, irritations, acrimonies, aggressive insults, madness, temper, reasoned terrors, strange inquietudes which the reader would prefer not to experience , cants, nervous disorders, bleeding ordeals that drive logic at bay, exaggerations, the absence of sincerity, bores, platitudes, the somber, the lugubrious, childbirths worse than murders, passions, romancers at the Courts of Assize, tragedies,-odes, melodramas, extremes forever presented, reason hissed at with impunity, odor of hens steeped in water, nausea, frogs, devilfish, sharks, simoon of the deserts, that which is somnambulistic, squint-eyed, nocturnal, somniferous, noctambulistic, viscous, equivocal, consumptive, spasmodic, aphrodisiac, anemic, one-eyed, hermaphroditic, bastard, albino, pederast, phenomena of the aquarium, & the bearded woman, hours surfeited with gloomy discouragement, fantasies, acrimonies, monsters, demoralizing syllogisms, ordure, that which does not think like a child, desolation, the intellectual manchineel trees, perfumed cankers, stalks of the camellias, the guilt of a writer rolling down the slope of nothingness & scorning himself with joyous cries, that grind one in their imperceptible gearing, the serious spittles on inviolate maxims, vermin & their insinuating titillations, stupid prefaces like those of Cromwell, Mademoiselle de Maupin & Dumas fils, decaying, helplessness, blasphemies, suffocation, stifling, mania,--before these unclean charnel houses, which I blush to name, it is at last time to react against whatever disgusts us & bows us down.
Comte de Lautréamont (Chants de Maldoror)
The hills below crouched on all fours under the weight of the rainforest where liana grew and soldier ants marched in formation. Straight ahead they marched, shamelessly single-minded, for soldier ants have no time for dreaming. Almost all of them are women and there is so much to do - the work is literally endless. So many to be born and fed, then found and buried. There is no time for dreaming. The life of their world requires organization so tight and sacrifice so complete there is little need for males and they are seldom produced. When they are needed, it is deliberately done by the queen who surmises, by some four-million-year-old magic she is heiress to, that it is time. So she urges a sperm from the private womb where they were placed when she had her one, first and last copulation. Once in life, this little Amazon trembled in the air waiting for a male to mount her. And when he did, when he joined a cloud of others one evening just before a summer storm, joined colonies from all over the world gathered fro the marriage flight, he knew at last what his wings were for. Frenzied, he flied into the humming cloud to fight gravity and time in order to do, just once, the single thing he was born for. Then he drops dead, having emptied his sperm into his lady-love. Sperm which she keeps in a special place to use at her own discretion when there is need for another dark and singing cloud of ant folk mating in the air. Once the lady has collected the sperm, she too falls to the ground, but unless she breaks her back or neck or is eaten by one of a thousand things, she staggers to her legs and looks for a stone to rub on, cracking and shedding the wings she will never need again. Then she begins her journey searching for a suitable place to build her kingdom. She crawls into the hollow of a tree, examines its walls and corners. She seals herself off from all society and eats her own wing muscles until she bears her eggs. When the first larvae appear, there is nothing to feed them, so she gives them their unhatched sisters until they are old enough and strong enough to hunt and bring their prey back to the kingdom. That is all. Bearing, hunting, eating, fighting, burying. No time for dreaming, although sometimes, late in life, somewhere between the thirtieth and fortieth generation she might get wind of a summer storm one day. The scent of it will invade her palace and she will recall the rush of wind on her belly - the stretch of fresh wings, the blinding anticipation and herself, there, airborne, suspended, open, trusting, frightened, determined, vulnerable - girlish, even, for and entire second and then another and another. She may lift her head then, and point her wands toward the place where the summer storm is entering her palace and in the weariness that ruling queens alone know, she may wonder whether his death was sudden. Or did he languish? And if so, if there was a bit of time left, did he think how mean the world was, or did he fill that space of time thinking of her? But soldier ants do not have time for dreaming. They are women and have much to do. Still it would be hard. So very hard to forget the man who fucked like a star.
Toni Morrison (Tar baby)
To begin with, there is the frightful debauchery of taste that has already been effected by a century of mechanisation. This is almost too obvious and too generally admitted to need pointing out. But as a single instance, take taste in its narrowest sense - the taste for decent food. In the highly mechanical countries, thanks to tinned food, cold storage, synthetic flavouring matters, etc., the palate it almost a dead organ. As you can see by looking at any greengrocer’s shop, what the majority of English people mean by an apple is a lump of highly-coloured cotton wool from America or Australia; they will devour these things, apparently with pleasure, and let the English apples rot under the trees. It is the shiny, standardized, machine-made look of the American apple that appeals to them; the superior taste of the English apple is something they simply do not notice. Or look at the factory-made, foil wrapped cheeses and ‘blended’ butter in an grocer’s; look at the hideous rows of tins which usurp more and more of the space in any food-shop, even a dairy; look at a sixpenny Swiss roll or a twopenny ice-cream; look at the filthy chemical by-product that people will pour down their throats under the name of beer. Wherever you look you will see some slick machine-made article triumphing over the old-fashioned article that still tastes of something other than sawdust. And what applies to food applies also to furniture, houses, clothes, books, amusements and everything else that makes up our environment. These are now millions of people, and they are increasing every year, to whom the blaring of a radio is not only a more acceptable but a more normal background to their thoughts than the lowing of cattle or the song of birds. The mechanisation of the world could never proceed very far while taste, even the taste-buds of the tongue, remained uncorrupted, because in that case most of the products of the machine would be simply unwanted. In a healthy world there would be no demand for tinned food, aspirins, gramophones, gas-pipe chairs, machine guns, daily newspapers, telephones, motor-cars, etc. etc.; and on the other hand there would be a constant demand for the things the machine cannot produce. But meanwhile the machine is here, and its corrupting effects are almost irresistible. One inveighs against it, but one goes on using it. Even a bare-arse savage, given the change, will learn the vices of civilisation within a few months. Mechanisation leads to the decay of taste, the decay of taste leads to demand for machine-made articles and hence to more mechanisation, and so a vicious circle is established.
George Orwell (The Road to Wigan Pier)
Not to waste the spring I threw down everything, And ran into the open world To sing what I could sing... To dance what I could dance! And join with everyone! I wandered with a reckless heart beneath the newborn sun. First stepping through the blushing dawn, I crossed beneath a garden bower, counting every hermit thrush, counting every hour. When morning's light was ripe at last, I stumbled on with reckless feet; and found two nymphs engaged in play, approaching them stirred no retreat. With naked skin, their weaving hands, in form akin to Calliope's maids, shook winter currents from their hair to weave within them vernal braids. I grabbed the first, who seemed the stronger by her soft and dewy leg, and swore blind eyes, Lest I find I, before Diana, a hunted stag. But the nymphs they laughed, and shook their heads. and begged I drop beseeching hands. For one was no goddess, the other no huntress, merely two girls at play in the early day. "Please come to us, with unblinded eyes, and raise your ready lips. We will wash your mouth with watery sighs, weave you springtime with our fingertips." So the nymphs they spoke, we kissed and laid, by noontime's hour, our love was made, Like braided chains of crocus stems, We lay entwined, I laid with them, Our breath, one glassy, tideless sea, Our bodies draping wearily. We slept, I slept so lucidly, with hopes to stay this memory. I woke in dusty afternoon, Alone, the nymphs had left too soon, I searched where perched upon my knees Heard only larks' songs in the trees. "Be you, the larks, my far-flung maids? With lilac feet and branchlike braids... Who sing sweet odes to my elation, in your larking exaltation!" With these, my clumsy, carefree words, The birds they stirred and flew away, "Be I, poor Actaeon," I cried, "Be dead… Before they, like Hippodamia, be gone astray!" Yet these words, too late, remained unheard, By lark, that parting, morning bird. I looked upon its parting flight, and smelled the coming of the night; desirous, I gazed upon its jaunt, as Leander gazes Hellespont. Now the hour was ripe and dark, sensuous memories of sunlight past, I stood alone in garden bowers and asked the value of my hours. Time was spent or time was tossed, Life was loved and life was lost. I kissed the flesh of tender girls, I heard the songs of vernal birds. I gazed upon the blushing light, aware of day before the night. So let me ask and hear a thought: Did I live the spring I’d sought? It's true in joy, I walked along, took part in dance, and sang the song. and never tried to bind an hour to my borrowed garden bower; nor did I once entreat a day to slumber at my feet. Yet days aren't lulled by lyric song, like morning birds they pass along, o'er crests of trees, to none belong; o'er crests of trees of drying dew, their larking flight, my hands, eschew Thus I'll say it once and true… From all that I saw, and everywhere I wandered, I learned that time cannot be spent, It only can be squandered.
Roman Payne (Rooftop Soliloquy)
A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of the year For a journey, and such a long journey: The ways deep and the weather sharp, The very dead of winter. And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow. There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet. Then the camel men cursing and grumbling And running away, and wanting their liquor and women, And the night fires going out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty and charging high prices: A hard time we had of it. At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly. Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation; With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness, And three trees on the low sky, And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow. Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel, Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, And feet kicking the empty wine-skins, But there was no information, and so we continued And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory. All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down This set down This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death. We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods. I should be glad of another death.
T.S. Eliot
The affinities of all the beings of the same class have sometimes been represented by a great tree.I believe this simile largely speaks the truth. The green and budding twigs may represent existing species; and those produced during former years may represent the long succession of extinct species. At each period of growth all the growing twigs have tried to branch out on all sides, and to overtop and kill the surrounding twigs and branches, in the same manner as species and groups of species have at all times overmastered other species in the great battle for life. The limbs divided into great branches, and these into lesser and lesser branches, were themselves once, when the tree was young, budding twigs; and this connection of the former and present buds by ramifying branches may well represent the classification of all extinct and living species in groups subordinate to groups. Of the many twigs which flourished when the tree was a mere bush, only two or three, now grown into great branches, yet survive and bear the other branches; so with the species which lived during long-past geological periods, very few have left living and modified descendants. From the first growth of the tree, many a limb and branch has decayed and dropped off; and these fallen branches of various sizes may represent those whole orders, families, and genera which have now no living representatives, and which are known to us only in a fossil state. As we here and there see a thin straggling branch springing from a fork low down in a tree, and which by some chance has been favoured and is still alive on its summit, so we occasionally see an animal like the Ornithorhynchus or Lepidosiren, which in some small degree connects by its affinities two large branches of life, and which has apparently been saved from fatal competition by having inhabited a protected station. As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever-branching and beautiful ramifications.
Charles Darwin
Every tree, therefore, is valuable to the community and worth keeping around for as long as possible. And that is why even sick individuals are supported and nourished until they recover. Next time, perhaps it will be the other way round, and the supporting tree might be the one in need of assistance. When thick silver-gray beeches behave like this, they remind me of a herd of elephants. Like the herd, they, too, look after their own, and they help their sick and weak back up onto their feet. They are even reluctant to abandon their dead. Every tree is a member of this community, but there are different levels of membership. For example, most stumps rot away into humus and disappear within a couple of hundred years (which is not very long for a tree). Only a few individuals are kept alive over the centuries, like the mossy "stones" I've just described. What's the difference? Do tree societies have second-class citizens just like human societies? It seems they do, though the idea of "class" doesn't quite fit. It is rather the degree of connection-or maybe even affection-that decides how helpful a tree's colleagues will be. You can check this out for yourself simply by looking up into the forest canopy. The average tree grows its branches out until it encounters the branch tips of a neighboring tree of the same height. It doesn't grow any wider because the air and better light in this space are already taken. However, it heavily reinforces the branches it has extended, so you get the impression that there's quite a shoving match going on up there. But a pair of true friends is careful right from the outset not to grow overly thick branches in each other's direction. The trees don't want to take anything away from each other, and so they develop sturdy branches only at the outer edges of their crowns, that is to say, only in the direction of "non-friends." Such partners are often so tightly connected at the roots that sometimes they even die together.
Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees)
Wild Peaches" When the world turns completely upside down You say we’ll emigrate to the Eastern Shore Aboard a river-boat from Baltimore; We’ll live among wild peach trees, miles from town, You’ll wear a coonskin cap, and I a gown Homespun, dyed butternut’s dark gold color. Lost, like your lotus-eating ancestor, We’ll swim in milk and honey till we drown. The winter will be short, the summer long, The autumn amber-hued, sunny and hot, Tasting of cider and of scuppernong; All seasons sweet, but autumn best of all. The squirrels in their silver fur will fall Like falling leaves, like fruit, before your shot. 2 The autumn frosts will lie upon the grass Like bloom on grapes of purple-brown and gold. The misted early mornings will be cold; The little puddles will be roofed with glass. The sun, which burns from copper into brass, Melts these at noon, and makes the boys unfold Their knitted mufflers; full as they can hold Fat pockets dribble chestnuts as they pass. Peaches grow wild, and pigs can live in clover; A barrel of salted herrings lasts a year; The spring begins before the winter’s over. By February you may find the skins Of garter snakes and water moccasins Dwindled and harsh, dead-white and cloudy-clear. 3 When April pours the colors of a shell Upon the hills, when every little creek Is shot with silver from the Chesapeake In shoals new-minted by the ocean swell, When strawberries go begging, and the sleek Blue plums lie open to the blackbird’s beak, We shall live well — we shall live very well. The months between the cherries and the peaches Are brimming cornucopias which spill Fruits red and purple, sombre-bloomed and black; Then, down rich fields and frosty river beaches We’ll trample bright persimmons, while you kill Bronze partridge, speckled quail, and canvasback. 4 Down to the Puritan marrow of my bones There’s something in this richness that I hate. I love the look, austere, immaculate, Of landscapes drawn in pearly monotones. There’s something in my very blood that owns Bare hills, cold silver on a sky of slate, A thread of water, churned to milky spate Streaming through slanted pastures fenced with stones. I love those skies, thin blue or snowy gray, Those fields sparse-planted, rendering meagre sheaves; That spring, briefer than apple-blossom’s breath, Summer, so much too beautiful to stay, Swift autumn, like a bonfire of leaves, And sleepy winter, like the sleep of death.
Elinor Wylie
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)
Almondine To her, the scent and the memory of him were one. Where it lay strongest, the distant past came to her as if that morning: Taking a dead sparrow from her jaws, before she knew to hide such things. Guiding her to the floor, bending her knee until the arthritis made it stick, his palm hotsided on her ribs to measure her breaths and know where the pain began. And to comfort her. That had been the week before he went away. He was gone, she knew this, but something of him clung to the baseboards. At times the floor quivered under his footstep. She stood then and nosed into the kitchen and the bathroom and the bedroom-especially the closet-her intention to press her ruff against his hand, run it along his thigh, feel the heat of his body through the fabric. Places, times, weather-all these drew him up inside her. Rain, especially, falling past the double doors of the kennel, where he’d waited through so many storms, each drop throwing a dozen replicas into the air as it struck the waterlogged earth. And where the rising and falling water met, something like an expectation formed, a place where he might appear and pass in long strides, silent and gestureless. For she was not without her own selfish desires: to hold things motionless, to measure herself against them and find herself present, to know that she was alive precisely because he needn’t acknowledge her in casual passing; that utter constancy might prevail if she attended the world so carefully. And if not constancy, then only those changes she desired, not those that sapped her, undefined her. And so she searched. She’d watched his casket lowered into the ground, a box, man-made, no more like him than the trees that swayed under the winter wind. To assign him an identity outside the world was not in her thinking. The fence line where he walked and the bed where he slept-that was where he lived, and they remembered him. Yet he was gone. She knew it most keenly in the diminishment of her own self. In her life, she’d been nourished and sustained by certain things, him being one of them, Trudy another, and Edgar, the third and most important, but it was really the three of them together, intersecting in her, for each of them powered her heart a different way. Each of them bore different responsibilities to her and with her and required different things from her, and her day was the fulfillment of those responsibilities. She could not imagine that portion of her would never return. With her it was not hope, or wistful thoughts-it was her sense of being alive that thinned by the proportion of her spirit devoted to him. "ory of Edgar Sawtelle" As spring came on, his scent about the place began to fade. She stopped looking for him. Whole days she slept beside his chair, as the sunlight drifted from eastern-slant to western-slant, moving only to ease the weight of her bones against the floor. And Trudy and Edgar, encapsulated in mourning, somehow forgot to care for one another, let alone her. Or if they knew, their grief and heartache overwhelmed them. Anyway, there was so little they might have done, save to bring out a shirt of his to lie on, perhaps walk with her along the fence line, where fragments of time had snagged and hung. But if they noticed her grief, they hardly knew to do those things. And she without the language to ask.
David Wroblewski (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle)
The end of this short story could be a rather disturbing thing, if it came true. I hope you like it, and if you do, be sure to COMMENT and SHARE. Paradoxes of Destiny? Dani! My boy! Are you all right? Where are you? Have you hurt yourself? Are you all right? Daniiii! Why won’t you answer? It’s so cold and dark here. I can’t see a thing… It’s so silent. Dani? Can you hear me? I shouldn’t have looked at that text message while I was driving… I shouldn’t have done it! I'm so stupid sometimes! Son, are you all right?... We really wrecked the car when we rolled it! I can’t see or hear a thing… Am I in hospital? Am I dead…? Dani? Your silence is killing me… Are you all right?! I can see a glimmer of light. I feel trapped. Dani, are you there? I can’t move. It’s like I’m wrapped in this mossy green translucent plastic. I have to get out of here. The light is getting more and more intense. I think I can tear the wrapping that’s holding me in. I'm almost out. The light is blinding me. What a strange place. I've never seen anything like it. It doesn’t look like Earth. Am I dead? On another planet? Oh God, look at those hideous monsters! They’re so creepy and disgusting! They look like extraterrestrials. They’re aliens! I'm on another planet! I can’t believe it. I need to get the hell out here. Those monsters are going to devour me. I have to get away. I’m so scared. Am I floating? Am I flying? I’m going to go higher to try to escape. I can’t see the aliens anymore and the landscape looks less terrifying. I think I've made it. It’s very windy. Is that a highway? I think I can see some vehicles down there. Could they be the extraterrestrials’ transport? I’m going to go down a bit. I see people! Am I on Earth? Could this be a parallel universe? Where could Dani be? I shouldn’t have looked at that text message while I was driving. I shouldn’t… That tower down there looks a lot like the water tank in my town… It’s identical. But the water tank in my town doesn’t have that huge tower block next to it. It all looks very similar to my neighborhood, but it isn’t exactly the same: there are a lot of tower blocks here. There’s the river… and the factory. It’s definitely my neighborhood, but it looks kind of different. I must be in a parallel universe… It’s amazing that I can float. People don’t seem to notice my presence. Am I a ghost? I have to get back home and see if Dani’s there. God, I hope he’s safe and sound. Gabriela must be out of her mind with the crash. There’s my house! Home sweet home. And whose are those cars? The front of the house has been painted a different color… This is all so strange! There’s someone in the garden… Those trees I planted in the spring have really grown. Is… is that… Dani? Yes, yes! It’s Dani. But he looks so different… He looks older, he looks… like a big boy! What’s important is that he’s OK. I need to hug him tight and tell him how much I love him. Can he see me if I’m a ghost? I'll go up to him slowly so I don’t scare him. I need to hold him tight. He can’t see me, I won’t get any closer. He moved his head, I think he’s started to realize I’m here… Wow I’m so hungry all of a sudden! I can’t stop! How are you doing, son?! It’s me! Your dad! My dear boy? I can’t stop! I'm too hungry! Ahhhh, so delicious! What a pleasure! Nooo Daniii! Nooooo!.... I’m your daaaad!... Splat!... “Mum, bring the insect repellent, the garden’s full of mosquitoes,” grunted Daniel as he wiped the blood from the palm of his hand on his trousers. Gabriela was just coming out. She did an about turn and went back into her house, and shouted “Darling, bring the insect repellent, it’s on the fireplace…” Absolute cold and silence… THE END (1) This note is for those who have read EQUINOX—WHISPERS OF DESTINY. This story is a spin-off of the novel EQUINOX—WHISPERS OF DESTINY and revolves around Letus’s curious theories about the possibility of animal reincarnation.
Gonzalo Guma (Equinoccio. Susurros del destino)