The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody's fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.
He was clearly related to Declan: same nose, same dark eyebrows, same phenomenal teeth. But there was a carefully cultivated sense of danger to this Lynch brother. This was not a rattlesnake hidden in the grass, but a deadly coral snake striped with warning colors. Everything about him was a warning: If this snake bit you, you had no one to blame but yourself.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2))
The mind I love most must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.
Katherine Mansfield (Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: Complete Edition)
Snakes hide in grass, people behind their lies.
I loved him in that moment, loved him more than I'd ever loved anyone, and I wanted to to tell them all that I was the snake in the grass, the monster in the lake. I wasn't worthy of this sacrifice; I was a liar, a cheat, a thief. And I would have told, except that a part of me was glad. Glad that this would all be over with soon. Baba would dismiss them, there would be some pain, but life would move on. I wanted that, to move on, to forget, to start with a clean slate. I wanted to be able to breathe again.
Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)
If we go that way, it seems less like we’ll be shot for trespassing. We can’t be low profile because of your shirt.”
“Aquamarine is a wonderful color, and I won’t be made to feel bad for wearing it,” Gansey said. But his voice was a bit thin, and he glanced back at the church again. Just then he looked younger than she’d ever seen him, his eyes narrowed, hair messed up, features unstudied. Young and, strangely enough, afraid.
Blue thought: I can’t tell him. I can never tell him. I have to just try to stop it from happening.
Then Gansey, suddenly charming again, flipped a hand in the direct of her purple tunic dress. “Lead the way, Eggplant.”
She found a stick to poke at the ground for snakes before they set off through the grass. The wind smelled like rain, and the ground rumbled with thunder, but the weather held. The machine in Gansey’s hands blinked red constantly, only flickering to orange when they stepped too far away from the invisible line.
“Thanks for coming, Jane,” Gansey said.
Blue shot him a dirty look. “You’re welcome, Dick.”
He looked pained. “Please don’t.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
There's a snake hidden in the grass. Virgil. Ecologues,no. 3.1.1o8
You meet many wolves in sheep’s clothing;
you are prey until they find out
you have the heart of a lion.
You meet many snakes in the grass;
you are in danger until you burn
the plain in which they hide.
Worse than a hostile enemy
is an accomplished, secret one.
Worse than a foolish superior
is an impenitent, arrogant one.
Worse than a sage's rebuke
is life's chastisement.
Deep in the meadow, under the willow A bed of grass, a soft green pillow Lay down your head, and close your sleepy eyes And when again they open, the sun will rise. Here it’s safe, here it’s warm Here the daisies guard you from every harm Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true Here is the place where I love you.
Suzanne Collins (The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0))
Thanks for the good times. Thank you for being so generous with what you have withheld. Thank you for being the snake in my grass, the thorn in my side, the pain in my ass, the knife in my back, the wrench in my works, the fly in my ointment. My Achilles’ heart. Caught in a whirlpool without an anchor, relaxing into it, calmly going under for one of many last times.
Carrie Fisher (The Princess Diarist)
She's gone. Been gone for ages. They split up right after you left. That's why the grass out front started growing again."
"He's got a new girlfriend?" she said quietly. "Thank god. You must be happy."
"Yeah. He does. It's a relief. She's a lot nicer. But then, your average angry snake is nicer than Fiona. I'm sure she's happier wherever she is now, burning orphans or whatever she does with her time.
Maureen Johnson (The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope, #2))
I shall have to go. But-" and here Frodo looked hard at Sam- "if you really care about me, you will have to keep that DEAD secret. See? If you don't, if you even breathe a word of what you've heard here, then I hope Gandalf will turn you into a spotted toad and fill the garden full of grass snakes."
Sam fell on his knees, trembling. "Get up, Sam!" Said Gandalf. "I have thought of something better than that. Something to keep you quiet, and punish you properly for listening. You shall go away with Mr. Frodo!"
"Me, sir!" cried Sam, springing up like a dog invited for a walk. "Me go and see Elves and all! Hooray!" he shouted, and then burst into tears.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1))
....The mind I love must have wild places:
a tangled orchard where damsons drop in heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, a chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody has fathomed the depths of and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.
Alexandra Fuller (Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness)
Adam’s father just stood there, looking. And they sat there, looking back. Ronan was coiled and simmering, one hand resting on his door.
“Don’t,” said Adam.
But Ronan merely hit the window button. The tinted glass hissed down. Ronan hooked his elbow on the edge of the door and continued gazing out the window. Adam knew that Ronan was fully aware of how malevolent he could appear, and he did not soften himself as he stared across the patchy dark grass at Robert Parrish. Ronan Lynch’s stare was a snake on the pavement where you wanted to walk. It was a match left on your pillow. It was pressing your lips together and tasting your own blood.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4))
There is one thing I like about the Poles—their language. Polish, when it is spoken by intelligent people, puts me in ecstasy. The sound of the language evokes strange images in which there is always a greensward of fine spiked grass in which hornets and snakes play a great part. I remember days long back when Stanley would invite me to visit his relatives; he used to make me carry a roll of music because he wanted to show me off to these rich relatives. I remember this atmosphere well because in the presence of these smooth−tongued, overly polite, pretentious and thoroughly false Poles I always felt miserably uncomfortable. But when they spoke to one another, sometimes in French, sometimes in Polish, I sat back and watched them fascinatedly. They made strange Polish grimaces, altogether unlike our relatives who were stupid barbarians at bottom. The Poles were like standing snakes fitted up with collars of hornets. I never knew what they were talking about but it always seemed to me as if they were politely assassinating some one. They were all fitted up with sabres and broad−swords which they held in their teeth or brandished fiercely in a thundering charge. They never swerved from the path but rode rough−shod over women and children, spiking them with long pikes beribboned with blood−red pennants. All this, of course, in the drawing−room over a glass of strong tea, the men in butter−colored gloves, the women dangling their silly lorgnettes. The women were always ravishingly beautiful, the blonde houri type garnered centuries ago during the Crusades. They hissed their long polychromatic words through tiny, sensual mouths whose lips were soft as geraniums. These furious sorties with adders and rose petals made an intoxicating sort of music, a steel−stringed zithery slipper−gibber which could also register anomalous sounds like sobs and falling jets of water.
Henry Miller (Sexus (The Rosy Crucifixion, #1))
You were camouflaged like a snake-in-the-grass.
Charlena E. Jackson (The Stars Choose Our Lovers)
...."The mind I love must have wild places:
a tangled orchard where damsons drop in heavy grass,
an overgrown little wood,
a chance of a snake or two,
a pool that nobody has fathomed the depths of...
and paths threaeded with flowers planted by the mind."
Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulnes
GEOLOGY, n. The science of the earth's crust --to which, doubtless, will be added that of its interior whenever a man shall come up garrulous out of a well. The geological formations of the globe already noted are catalogued thus: The Primary, or lower one, consists of rocks, bones or mired mules, gas-pipes, miners' tools, antique statues minus the nose, Spanish doubloons and ancestors. The Secondary is largely made up of red worms and moles. The Tertiary comprises railway tracks, patent pavements, grass, snakes, mouldy boots, beer bottles, tomato cans, intoxicated citizens, garbage, anarchists, snap-dogs and fools.
Old Man River!
That seems far too austere a name
For something made of mirth and rage.
O, roiling red-blood river vein,
If chief among your traits is age,
You're a wily, convoluted sage.
Is "old" the thing to call what rings
The vernal heart of wester-lore;
What brings us brassy-myth made kings
(And preponderance of bug-type things)
To challenge titans come before?
Demiurge to a try at Avalon-once-more!
And what august vitality
In your wide aorta stream
You must have had to oversee
Alchemic change of timber beam
To iron, brick and engine steam.
Your umber whiskey waters lance
The prideful sober sovereignty
Of faulty-haloed Temperance
And wilt her self-sure countenance;
Yes, righteousness is vanity,
But your sport's for imps, not elderly.
If there's a name for migrant mass
Of veteran frivolity
That snakes through seas of prairie grass
And groves of summer sassafras,
A name that flows as roguishly
As gypsy waters, fast and free,
It's your real name, Mississippi.
Tracy J. Butler (Lackadaisy: Volume #1 (Lackadaisy, #1))
Snake in the grass, peekaboo I see you...through you I see....you cannot hide from me.
You were camouflaged snakes-in-the-grass.
Charlena E. Jackson (The Stars Choose Our Lovers)
No matter how high your grass, a snake will always show themselves. Don't wait until your bitten to pay attention to their venom.
At the dune line, just before the whispering stands of sea oats and dune grass began, the sand was as damp and cold as the skin of a snake under my feet.
Anne Rivers Siddons (Downtown)
A snake in the grass is deadlier than a lion in a tree.
I'm telling you - guys like Gavin, they're real snakes in the grass.
Heather Demetrios (Bad Romance)
Rix stroked the Glove. "There was a garden and a tree grew there with golden apples and if you ate one of them, you knew everything. And then Sapphique climbed over the fense and killed the many-headed monster and picked the apple, because he wanted to know, you see. He wanted to know how to Escape."
"Right." She had wriggled back. She was close to his pocked face.
"And a snake came out of the grass and it said, 'Oh go on, eat the apple. I dare you.' And he stopped then with it to his mouth because he knew the snake was Incarceron."
Keiro groaned. "Let me..."
"Put the Glove away, Rix. Or give it to me."
His fingers caressed its dark scales. "And because if he ate it he would know how small he was. How much of a nothing he was. He would see himself as a speck in the vastness of the Prison."
"So he didn't eat it, right?
Catherine Fisher (Sapphique (Incarceron, #2))
Is the soul solid, like iron? Or is it tender and breakable, like the wings of a moth in the beak of the owl? Who has it, and who doesn’t? I keep looking around me. The face of the moose is as sad as the face of Jesus. The swan opens her white wings slowly. In the fall, the black bear carries leaves into the darkness. One question leads to another. Does it have a shape? Like an iceberg? Like the eye of a hummingbird? Does it have one lung, like the snake and the scallop? Why should I have it, and not the anteater who loves her children? Why should I have it, and not the camel? Come to think of it, what about the maple trees? What about the blue iris? What about all the little stones, sitting alone in the moonlight? What about roses, and lemons, and their shining leaves? What about the grass? —Mary Oliver, “Some Questions You Might Ask
Stephen Harrod Buhner (The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicines to Life on Earth)
This morning it was, on the pavement,
When that smell hit me again
And set the houses reeling.
People passed like rain:
(The way rain moves and advances over the hills)
And it was hot, hot and dank,
The smell like animals, strong, but sweet too.
What was it?
Something I had forgotten.
I tried to remember, standing there,
Sniffing the air on the pavement.
Somehow I thought of flowers.
Flowers! That bad smell!
I looked: down lanes, past houses--
There, behind a hoarding,
A rubbish-heap, soft and wet and rotten.
Then I remembered:
After the rain, on the farm,
The vlei that was dry and paler than a stone
Suddenly turned wet and green and warm.
The green was a clash of music.
Dry Africa became a swamp
And swamp-birds with long beaks
Went humming and flashing over the reeds
And cicadas shrilling like a train.
I took off my clothes and waded into the water.
Under my feet first grass, then mud,
Then all squelch and water to my waist.
A faint iridescence of decay,
The heat swimming over the creeks
Where the lilies grew that I wanted:
Great lilies, white, with pink streaks
That stood to their necks in the water.
Armfuls I gathered, working there all day.
With the green scum closing round my waist,
The little frogs about my legs,
And jelly-trails of frog-spawn round the stems.
Once I saw a snake, drowsing on a stone,
Letting his coils trail into the water.
I expect he was glad of rain too
After nine moinths of being dry as bark.
I don't know why I picked those lilies,
Piling them on the grass in heaps,
For after an hour they blackened, stank.
When I left at dark,
Red and sore and stupid from the heat,
Happy as if I'd built a town,
All over the grass were rank
Soft, decaying heaps of lilies
And the flies over them like black flies on meat...
Doris Lessing (Going Home)
one small snake lay, looped and
in the high grass, it
swirled to look, didn’t
like what it saw
and was gone
in two pulses
forward and with no sound at all, only
two taps, in disarray, from
that other shy one,
Mary Oliver (A Thousand Mornings: Poems)
We return you to the Vice President, who is now addressing the National Sword Swallowers Association."
"-the psychotics, the sob sisters, the skin merchants, the saboteurs, the self-styled Sapphos, the self-styled Swinburners, the swine, the satyrs, the schizos, the sodomists, the sissies, the screamers, the screwy, the scum, the self-congratulatory self-congratulators, the sensationalists, the snakes in the grass, the sex fiends, the shiftless, the shines, the shaggy, the sickly, the syphilitic-
Philip Roth (Our Gang)
Old-time ranchers planted cheatgrass because it would green up fast in the spring and provide early forage for grazing cattle,” Oyster says, nodding his head at the world outside.
This first patch of cheatgrass was in southern British Columbia, Canada, in 1889. But fire spreads it. Every year, it dries to gunpowder, and now land that used to burn every ten years, it burns every year. And the cheatgrass recovers fast. Cheatgrass loves fire. But the native plants, the sagebrush and desert phlox, they don’t. And every year it burns, there’s more cheatgrass and less anything else. And the deer and antelope that depended on those other plants are gone now. So are the rabbits. So are the hawks and owls that ate the rabbits. The mice starve, so the snakes that ate the mice starve.
Today, cheatgrass dominates the inland deserts from Canada to Nevada, covering an area over twice the size of the state of Nebraska and spreading by thousands of acres per year.
The big irony is, even cattle hate cheatgrass, Oyster says. So the cows, they eat the rare native bunch grasses. What’s left of them...
“When you think about it from a native plant perspective,” Oyster says, “Johnny Appleseed was a fucking biological terrorist.”
Johnny Appleseed, he says, might as well be handing out smallpox.
Chuck Palahniuk (Lullaby)
We'd never seen anything as green as these rice paddies. It was not just the paddies themselves: the surrounding vegetation - foliage so dense the trees lost track of whose leaves were whose - was a rainbow coalition of one colour: green. There was an infinity of greens, rendered all the greener by splashes of red hibiscus and the herons floating past, so white and big it seemed as if sheets hung out to dry had suddenly taken wing. All other colours - even purple and black - were shades of green. Light and shade were degrees of green. Greenness, here, was less a colour than a colonising impulse. Everything was either already green - like a snake, bright as a blade of grass, sidling across the footpath - or in the process of becoming so. Statues of the Buddha were mossy, furred with green.
Geoff Dyer (Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered to Do It)
The great philosophical question goes: if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear, does it make a sound? But this is a troubling question, exalting one kind of being above all others. What then of the ears of snakes, or wood frogs, or mice, or bugs? Do they not count? What then of grass, of stone, of earth? Does their witness not matter? If a man flies in Jamaica, and only the poor will admit to seeing it, has he still flown? (...) Always - always - there are witnesses.
Kei Miller (Augustown)
He (Lafcadio) was sitting all alone in a compartment of the train which was carrying him away from Rome, & contemplating–not without satisfaction–his hands in their grey doeskin gloves, as they lay on the rich fawn-colored plaid, which, in spite of the heat, he had spread negligently over his knees. Through the soft woolen material of his traveling-suit he breathed ease and comfort at every pore; his neck was unconfined in its collar which without being low was unstarched, & from beneath which the narrow line of a bronze silk necktie ran, slender as a grass snake, over his pleated shirt. He was at ease in his skin, at ease in his shoes, which were cut out of the same doeskin as his gloves; his foot in its elastic prison could stretch, could bend, could feel itself alive. His beaver hat was pulled down over his eyes & kept out the landscape; he was smoking dried juniper, after the Algerian fashion, in a little clay pipe & letting his thoughts wander at their will …
I sat down in the middle of the garden, where snakes could scarcely approach unseen, and leaned my back against a warm yellow pumpkin. There were some ground-cherry bushes growing along the furrows, full of fruit. I turned back the papery triangular sheaths that protected the berries and ate a few. All about me giant grasshoppers, twice as big as any I had ever seen, were doing acrobatic feats among the dried vines. The gophers scurried up and down the ploughed ground. There in the sheltered draw-bottom the wind did not blow very hard, but I could hear it singing its humming tune up on the level, and I could see the tall grasses wave. The earth was warm under me, and warm as I crumbled it through my fingers. Queer little red bugs came out and moved in slow squadrons around me. Their backs were polished vermilion, with black spots. I kept as still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.
Meditation is not words, a mantram, or self hypnosis, the drug of illusions. It must happen without your volition. It must take place in the quiet stillness of the night, when you are suddenly awake and see that the brain is quiet and there is a peculiar quality of meditation going on. It must take place as silently as a snake among the tall grass, green in the fresh morning light. It must take place in the deep recesses of the brain. Meditation is not an achievement. There is no method, system or practice. Meditation begins with the ending of comparison, the ending of the becoming or not becoming. As the bee whispers among the leaves so the whispering of meditation is action.
J. Krishnamurti (Krishnamurti to Himself: His Last Journal)
Some species of snakes have small pits on their heads that pick up infrared rays from tasty warm-blooded prey, readily revealed at night against the rapidly cooling surroundings
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military)
The knee-high grass looked like something snakes would enjoy.
Kenn Amdahl (The Land of Debris and the Home of Alfredo)
If there is a snake in the grass, you have to set the field on fire to draw it out.
I dreamed I stood upon a little hill,
And at my feet there lay a ground, that seemed
Like a waste garden, flowering at its will
With buds and blossoms. There were pools that dreamed
Black and unruffled; there were white lilies
A few, and crocuses, and violets
Purple or pale, snake-like fritillaries
Scarce seen for the rank grass, and through green nets
Blue eyes of shy peryenche winked in the sun.
And there were curious flowers, before unknown,
Flowers that were stained with moonlight, or with shades
Of Nature's willful moods; and here a one
That had drunk in the transitory tone
Of one brief moment in a sunset; blades
Of grass that in an hundred springs had been
Slowly but exquisitely nurtured by the stars,
And watered with the scented dew long cupped
In lilies, that for rays of sun had seen
Only God's glory, for never a sunrise mars
The luminous air of Heaven. Beyond, abrupt,
A grey stone wall. o'ergrown with velvet moss
Uprose; and gazing I stood long, all mazed
To see a place so strange, so sweet, so fair.
And as I stood and marvelled, lo! across
The garden came a youth; one hand he raised
To shield him from the sun, his wind-tossed hair
Was twined with flowers, and in his hand he bore
A purple bunch of bursting grapes, his eyes
Were clear as crystal, naked all was he,
White as the snow on pathless mountains frore,
Red were his lips as red wine-spilith that dyes
A marble floor, his brow chalcedony.
And he came near me, with his lips uncurled
And kind, and caught my hand and kissed my mouth,
And gave me grapes to eat, and said, 'Sweet friend,
Come I will show thee shadows of the world
And images of life. See from the South
Comes the pale pageant that hath never an end.'
And lo! within the garden of my dream
I saw two walking on a shining plain
Of golden light. The one did joyous seem
And fair and blooming, and a sweet refrain
Came from his lips; he sang of pretty maids
And joyous love of comely girl and boy,
His eyes were bright, and 'mid the dancing blades
Of golden grass his feet did trip for joy;
And in his hand he held an ivory lute
With strings of gold that were as maidens' hair,
And sang with voice as tuneful as a flute,
And round his neck three chains of roses were.
But he that was his comrade walked aside;
He was full sad and sweet, and his large eyes
Were strange with wondrous brightness, staring wide
With gazing; and he sighed with many sighs
That moved me, and his cheeks were wan and white
Like pallid lilies, and his lips were red
Like poppies, and his hands he clenched tight,
And yet again unclenched, and his head
Was wreathed with moon-flowers pale as lips of death.
A purple robe he wore, o'erwrought in gold
With the device of a great snake, whose breath
Was fiery flame: which when I did behold
I fell a-weeping, and I cried, 'Sweet youth,
Tell me why, sad and sighing, thou dost rove
These pleasent realms? I pray thee speak me sooth
What is thy name?' He said, 'My name is Love.'
Then straight the first did turn himself to me
And cried, 'He lieth, for his name is Shame,
But I am Love, and I was wont to be
Alone in this fair garden, till he came
Unasked by night; I am true Love, I fill
The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame.'
Then sighing, said the other, 'Have thy will,
I am the love that dare not speak its name.
Alfred Bruce Douglas
It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall,
The dark threw its patches down upon me also,
The best I had done seem’d to me blank and suspicious,
My great thoughts as I supposed them, were they not in reality meagre?
Nor is it you alone who know what it is to be evil,
I am he who knew what it was to be evil,
I too knitted the old knot of contrariety,
Blabb’d, blush’d, resented, lied, stole, grudg’d,
Had guile, anger, lust, hot wishes I dared not speak,
Was wayward, vain, greedy, shallow, sly, cowardly, malignant,
The wolf, the snake, the hog, not wanting in me,
The cheating look, the frivolous word, the adulterous wish, not wanting,
Refusals, hates, postponements, meanness, laziness, none of these wanting,
Was one with the rest, the days and haps of the rest,
Was call’d by my nighest name by clear loud voices of young men as they saw me approaching or passing,
Felt their arms on my neck as I stood, or the negligent leaning of their flesh against me as I sat,
Saw many I loved in the street or ferry-boat or public assembly, yet never told them a word,
Lived the same life with the rest, the same old laughing, gnawing, sleeping,
Play’d the part that still looks back on the actor or actress,
The same old role, the role that is what we make it, as great as we like,
Or as small as we like, or both great and small."
-from "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
Max gripped Zena’s hand and they ran for their lives. Their only hope was a nearby swamp. They could hide in the mud and slime, with the snakes and the snapping turtles and the razor-sharp grass. But
Lauren Tarshis (The Nazi Invasion, 1944 (I Survived, #9))
Darwin, with his Origin of Species, his theories about Natural Selection, the Survival of the Fittest, and the influence of environment, shed a flood of light upon the great problems of plant and animal life.
These things had been guessed, prophesied, asserted, hinted by many others, but Darwin, with infinite patience, with perfect care and candor, found the facts, fulfilled the prophecies, and demonstrated the truth of the guesses, hints and assertions. He was, in my judgment, the keenest observer, the best judge of the meaning and value of a fact, the greatest Naturalist the world has produced.
The theological view began to look small and mean.
Spencer gave his theory of evolution and sustained it by countless facts. He stood at a great height, and with the eyes of a philosopher, a profound thinker, surveyed the world. He has influenced the thought of the wisest.
Theology looked more absurd than ever.
Huxley entered the lists for Darwin. No man ever had a sharper sword -- a better shield. He challenged the world. The great theologians and the small scientists -- those who had more courage than sense, accepted the challenge. Their poor bodies were carried away by their friends.
Huxley had intelligence, industry, genius, and the courage to express his thought. He was absolutely loyal to what he thought was truth. Without prejudice and without fear, he followed the footsteps of life from the lowest to the highest forms.
Theology looked smaller still.
Haeckel began at the simplest cell, went from change to change -- from form to form -- followed the line of development, the path of life, until he reached the human race. It was all natural. There had been no interference from without.
I read the works of these great men -- of many others – and became convinced that they were right, and that all the theologians -- all the believers in "special creation" were absolutely wrong.
The Garden of Eden faded away, Adam and Eve fell back to dust, the snake crawled into the grass, and Jehovah became a miserable myth.
Robert G. Ingersoll
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.
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.
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.
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.
Last Night’s Moon,"
“When will we next walk together
under last night’s moon?”
- Tu Fu
March aspens, mist
forest. Green rain pins down
the sea, early evening
cyanotype. Silver saltlines, weedy
toques of low tide, pillow lava’s
black spill indelible
in the sand. Unbroken
Rain sharpens marsh-hair
birth-green of the spring firs.
In the bog where the dead never disappear,
where river birch drown, the surface
strewn with reflection. This is the acid-soaked
moss that eats bones, keeps flesh;
the fermented ground where time stops and
doesn’t; dissolves the skull, preserves
the brain, wrinkled pearl in black mud.
In the autumn that made love
necessary, we stood in rubber boots
on the sphagnum raft and learned
love is soil–stronger than peat or sea–
melting what it holds.
is not our own. Mole’s ribbon of earth,
soaked sponge. It rises,
keloids of rain on wood; spreads,
milkweed galaxy, broken pod
scattering the debris of attention.
Where you are
while your body is here, remembering
in the cold spring afternoon.
is a long bone.
Time is like the painter’s lie, no line
around apple or along thigh, though the apple
aches to its sweet edge, strains
to its skin, the seam of density. Invisible line
closest to touch. Lines of wet grass
on my arm, your tongue’s
wet line across my back.
All the history in the bone-embedded hills
of your body. Everything your mouth
remembers. Your hands manipullate
in the darkness, silver bromide
of desire darkening skin with light.
Disoriented at great depths,
confused by the noise of shipping routes,
whales hover, small eyes squinting as they consult
the magnetic map of the ocean floor. They strain,
a thousand miles through cold channels;
clicking thrums of distant loneliness
bounce off seamounts and abyssal plains. They look up
from perpetual dusk to rods of sunlight,
a solar forest at the surface.
Transfixed in the dark summer
kitchen: feet bare on humid
linoleum, cilia listening. Feral
as the infrared aura of the snake’s prey, the bees’
pointillism, the infrasonic
hum of the desert heard by the birds.
The nighthawk spans the ceiling;
swoops. Hot kitchen air
vibrates. I look up
to the pattern of stars under its wings.
Beyond that row was a double row of trees. Sam headed in that direction, Dad on her heels.
"Be careful of snakes."
That stopped her in her tracks. She could deal with a snarling dog. A hissing cat. Even a spitting ferret like her cousin Chris had, but she had the biggest fear if snakes. It didn't matter if it was a grass snake or a supposedly good snake that ate the poisonous snakes. In Sam's opinion, the only good snake was a dead snake. Dead and chopped up into little, itty, bitty pieces.
~From "Samantha Sanderson On the Scene
He did all the right things: flew aeroplanes, shot, fished for salmon, hunted; and even better, all the wrong things: kept grass snakes in his room, rode his horse up the school steps on match days, and best of all, published racy novels under the pseudonym James Aston.
Helen Macdonald (H is for Hawk)
You once told me you wanted to forget the past," I said. "That you wanted to file it away and pretend that it never happened."
"But we don't get that, do we?" she said. "Even if we forget it, it's still there, like a snake in the grass, ready to strike you if you stumble too close to it.
Ed Tarkington (Only Love Can Break Your Heart)
BOWLS OF FOOD
Moon and evening star do their
slow tambourine dance to praise
this universe. The purpose of
every gathering is discovered:
to recognize beauty and love
what’s beautiful. “Once it was
like that, now it’s like this,”
the saying goes around town, and
serious consequences too. Men
and women turn their faces to the
wall in grief. They lose appetite.
Then they start eating the fire of
pleasure, as camels chew pungent
grass for the sake of their souls.
Winter blocks the road. Flowers
are taken prisoner underground.
Then green justice tenders a spear.
Go outside to the orchard. These
visitors came a long way, past all
the houses of the zodiac, learning
Something new at each stop. And
they’re here for such a short time,
sitting at these tables set on the
prow of the wind. Bowls of food
are brought out as answers, but
still no one knows the answer.
Food for the soul stays secret.
Body food gets put out in the open
like us. Those who work at a bakery
don’t know the taste of bread like
the hungry beggars do. Because the
beloved wants to know, unseen things
become manifest. Hiding is the
hidden purpose of creation: bury
your seed and wait. After you die,
All the thoughts you had will throng
around like children. The heart
is the secret inside the secret.
Call the secret language, and never
be sure what you conceal. It’s
unsure people who get the blessing.
Climbing cypress, opening rose,
Nightingale song, fruit, these are
inside the chill November wind.
They are its secret. We climb and
fall so often. Plants have an inner
Being, and separate ways of talking
and feeling. An ear of corn bends
in thought. Tulip, so embarrassed.
Pink rose deciding to open a
competing store. A bunch of grapes
sits with its feet stuck out.
Narcissus gossiping about iris.
Willow, what do you learn from running
water? Humility. Red apple, what has
the Friend taught you? To be sour.
Peach tree, why so low? To let you
reach. Look at the poplar, tall but
without fruit or flower. Yes, if
I had those, I’d be self-absorbed
like you. I gave up self to watch
the enlightened ones. Pomegranate
questions quince, Why so pale? For
the pearl you hid inside me. How did
you discover my secret? Your laugh.
The core of the seen and unseen
universes smiles, but remember,
smiles come best from those who weep.
Lightning, then the rain-laughter.
Dark earth receives that clear and
grows a trunk. Melon and cucumber
come dragging along on pilgrimage.
You have to be to be blessed!
Pumpkin begins climbing a rope!
Where did he learn that? Grass,
thorns, a hundred thousand ants and
snakes, everything is looking for
food. Don’t you hear the noise?
Every herb cures some illness.
Camels delight to eat thorns. We
prefer the inside of a walnut, not
the shell. The inside of an egg,
the outside of a date. What about
your inside and outside? The same
way a branch draws water up many
feet, God is pulling your soul
along. Wind carries pollen from
blossom to ground. Wings and
Arabian stallions gallop toward
the warmth of spring. They visit;
they sing and tell what they think
they know: so-and-so will travel
to such-and-such. The hoopoe
carries a letter to Solomon. The
wise stork says lek-lek. Please
translate. It’s time to go to
the high plain, to leave the winter
house. Be your own watchman as
birds are. Let the remembering
beads encircle you. I make promises
to myself and break them. Words are
coins: the vein of ore and the
mine shaft, what they speak of. Now
consider the sun. It’s neither
oriental nor occidental. Only the
soul knows what love is. This
moment in time and space is an
eggshell with an embryo crumpled
inside, soaked in belief-yolk,
under the wing of grace, until it
breaks free of mind to become the
song of an actual bird, and God.
Rumi (The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems)
We bound into the prairie through ages of Winter grass, taking the path Ina took. Her name long gone, though her roads linger. The ground will not forget. or Longing to be sprayed (the green snake writhing in his master’s hand), back and forth into that stream – jump, rinse: coat slick with soap.
André Alexis (Fifteen Dogs (Quincunx, #2))
These bears were reimagined in place through a collective belief and need. I do not know why they were sculpted into being, but their power is palpable. I may be blind to what has been buried here or held inside these effigy mounds for thousands of years, but I can read the landscape like Braille through the tips of my fingers translating the script of grasses into a narrative I can understand. The bears and birds and snakes written on the body of the Earth through the hands of humans who dwelled here in the Upper Mississippi River Valley are a reminder that we form the future by being caretakers of our past.
Terry Tempest Williams (The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks)
It's a child's world, full of separate places. Give me a paper and pencil now and ask me to draw a map of the fields I roamed when I was small, and I cannot do it. But change the question, and ask me to list what was there and I can fill pages. The wood ant's nest. The newt pond. The oak covered in marble galls. The birches by the motorway fence with fly agarics at their feet. These things were the waypoints of my world. And other places became magic through happenstance. When I found a huge red underwing moth behind the electricity junction box at the end of my road, that box became a magic place. I needed to check behind it every time I walked past, though nothing was ever there. I'd run to check the place where once I'd caught a grass snake, look up at the tree that one afternoon had held a roosting owl. These places had a magical importance, a pull on me that other places did not, however devoid of life they were in all the visits since.
Helen Macdonald (H is for Hawk)
Please Call Me By My True Names
Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow— even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: every second I am arriving to be a bud on a Spring branch, to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings, learning to sing in my new nest, to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, to fear and to hope. The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive.
I am a mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river. And I am the bird that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.
I am a frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond. And I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks. And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am also the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands. And I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.
My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth. My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up and the door of my heart could be left open, the door of compassion.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Why could Tolkien not be more like Sir Thomas Malory, asked [Edwin] Muir, in the third Observer review of those cited above, and give us heroes and heroines like Lancelot and Guinevere, who ' knew temptation, were sometimes unfaithful to their vows,' were engagingly marked by adulterous passion? But T.H. White had already considered that paradigm, was indeed rewriting it at the same time as Tolkien in The Once and Future King; and he had seen the core of Malory's work not in romantic vice but in the human urge to murder. In White the poisonous adder that provokes the last disastrous battle is no adder but a harmless grass-snake, and the flash of the sword which brings on the two armies is not natural self-defense but natural blood-lust, creating a continuum from cruelty to animals to world wars and holocausts. Malory has to be rewritten to encompass a new view of evil.
Tom Shippey (J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century)
I took another road, past the old sugar works and the water wheel that had not turned for years. I went to parts of Coulibri that I had not seen, where there was no road, no path, no track. And if the razor grass cut my legs and arms I would think 'It's better than people.' Black ants or red ones, tall nests swarming with white ants, rain that soaked me to the skin - once I saw a snake. All better than people.
Better, better, better than people.
Jean Rhys (Wide Sargasso Sea)
Grey as a mouse,
Big as a house,
Nose like a snake,
I make the earth shake,
As I tramp through the grass;
Trees crack as I pass.
With horns in my mouth
I walk in the South,
Flapping big ears.
Beyond count of years
I stump round and round,
Never lie on the ground,
Not even to die.
Oliphaunt am I,
Biggest of all,
Huge, old, and tall.
If ever you'd met me
You wouldn't forget me.
If you never do,
You won't think I'm true;
But old Oliphaunt am I,
And I never lie.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings)
Years back here we were children
and at the stage of running
in gangs about the meadows--
here to this one, there to that one.
Where we picked up violets
on lucky days,
you can now see cattle gadding about.
I still remember hunching
ankle deep in violets,
squabbling over which bunches were fairest.
Our childishness was obvious--
we ran dancing rounds,
we wore new green wreaths.
So time passes.
Here we ran swilling strawberries from oak to pine
through hedges, through turnstiles--
as long as day was burning down.
Once a gardener
rushed from an arbor:
"O.K. now, children, run home."
We came out in spots
those yesterdays, when we stuffed on strawberries;
it was just a childish game to us.
Often we heard
hooing and warning us:
"Children, the woods are alive with snakes."
And one of the children breaking
through the sharp grass, grew white
and shouted, "Children, a snake
ran in there. He got our pony.
She'll never get well.
I wish that snake
would go to hell!"
"Well then, get out of the woods!
If you don't hurry away quickly,
I'll tell you what will happen--
if you don't leave the forest behind you by daylight,
you'll lose yourselves;
your pleasure will end in bawling."
Do you know how five virgins
dawdled in the meadow,
till the king slammed his dining-room door?
Their shouting and shame were outrageous:
their jailor tore everything off them,
down to their skins
they stood like milk cows without any clothes.
It was good to emerge from this silent semi-darkness into a bright glade. Suddenly everything was different: the earth was warm; the air was in movement; you could smell the junipers in the sun; there were large, wilting bluebells which looked as though they had been cast from mauve-coloured metal, and wild carnations on sticky, resinous stems. You felt suddenly carefree; the glade was like one happy day in a life of poverty. The lemon-coloured butterflies, the polished, blue-black beetles, the ants, the grass-snake rustling through the grass, seemed to be joining together in a common task. Birch-twigs, sprinkled with fine leaves, brushed against his face; a grasshopper jumped up and landed on him as though he were a tree-trunk; it clung to his belt, calmly tensing its green haunches as it sat there with its round, leathery eyes and sheep-like face. The last flowers of the wild strawberries. The heat of the sun on his metal buttons and belt-clasp . . . No U-88 or night-flying Heinkel could ever have flown over this glade.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate (Stalingrad, #2))
Olo, Remi, Kwuga, Nur, Anajama, Rhoden. Only Olo and Remi were in my group. Everyone else I met in the dining area or the learning room where various lectures were held by professors onboard the ship. They were all girls who grew up in sprawling houses, who’d never walked through the desert, who’d never stepped on a snake in the dry grass. They were girls who could not stand the rays of Earth’s sun unless it was shining through a tinted window.
Yet they were girls who knew what I meant when I spoke of “treeing.” We sat in my room (because, having so few travel items, mine was the emptiest) and challenged each other to look out at the stars and imagine the most complex equation and then split it in half and then in half again and again. When you do math fractals long enough, you kick yourself into treeing just enough to get lost in the shallows of the mathematical sea. None of us would have made it into the university if we couldn’t tree, but it’s not easy. We were the best and we pushed each other to get closer to “God.
Nnedi Okorafor (Binti (Binti, #1))
One night, as I cooked dinner in our home on the zoo grounds, I brooded over my troubles. I didn’t want to spend the evening feeling sorry for myself, so I thought about Steve out in the back, fire-gazing. He was a very lucky man, because for Steve, fire-gazing literally meant getting to build a roaring fire and sitting beside it, to contemplate life.
Suddenly I heard him come thundering up the front stairs. He burst wild-eyed into the kitchen. He’s been nailed by a snake, I thought immediately. I didn’t know what was going on.
“I know what we have to do!” he said, extremely excited.
He pulled me into the living room, sat me down, and took my hands in his. Looking intensely into my eyes, he said, “Babe, we’ve got to have children.”
Wow, I thought, that must have been some fire.
“Ok-aaay,” I said.
“You don’t understand, you don’t understand!” he said, trying to catch me up to his thoughts. “Everything we’ve been working for, the zoo that we’ve been building up, all of our efforts to protect wildlife, it will all stop with us!”
As with every good idea that came into his head, Steve wanted to act on it immediately. Just take it in stride, I said to myself. But he was so sincere. We’d talked about having children before, but for some reason it hit him that the time was now.
“We have got to have children,” he said. “I know that if we have kids, they will carry on when we’re gone.”
“Great,” I said. “Let’s get right on that.”
Steve kept pacing around the living room, talking about all the advantages of having kids--how I’d been so passionate about carrying on with the family business back in Oregon, and how he felt the same way about the zoo. He just knew our kids would feel the same too.
I said, “You know, there’s no guarantee that we won’t have a son who grows up to be a shoe salesman in Malaysia.”
“Come off the grass,” Steve said. “Any kid of ours is going to be a wildlife warrior.”
I thought of the whale calves following their mamas below the cliffs of the Great Australian Bight and prepared myself for a new adventure with Steve, maybe the greatest adventure of all.
Terri Irwin (Steve & Me)
From the waist up, she was a humanoid female with snakes for hair. (If that sounds familiar, it’s because the hairdo really caught on with other monsters later.) From the waist down, she was a four-legged dragon. Thousands of vipers sprouted from her legs like grass skirts. Her waist was ringed with the heads of fifty hideous beasts—bears, boars, wombats, you name it—always snapping and snarling and trying to eat Kampê’s shirt. Large, dark reptilian wings grew from her shoulder blades. Her scorpionlike tail swished back and forth, dripping venom. Basically, Kampê didn’t get invited on many dates.
Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson's Greek Gods)
The name itself is trouble. “Slough” means, literally, muddy field. A snake sloughs, or sheds, its dead skin. John Bunyan wrote of the “slough of despond” in Pilgrim’s Progress. In the 1930s, John Betjeman wrote this poem about Slough: Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough! It isn’t fit for humans now, There isn’t grass to graze a cow, Swarm over, Death! Then he got nasty. To this day, the residents of Slough rankle when anyone mentions the poem. The town’s reputation as a showpiece of quiet desperation was cemented when the producers of the TV series The Office decided to set the show in Slough.
Eric Weiner (The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World)
A snake doesn't need feet in grass.
A seed doesn't need eyes in soil.
A bird doesn't need a parachute in air.
A fish doesn't need a suit in water.
A bee doesn't need sugar in a hive.
A spider doesn't need thread in a bush.
A flower doesn't need perfume in a garden.
A bat doesn't need binoculars in a cave.
A giraffe doesn't need a ladder in the woods.
A cricket doesn't need a violin in nature.
A camel doesn't need wheels in a desert.
A wolf doesn't need a knife in a forest.
A lion doesn't need a spear in a jungle.
If you throw a bird off a cliff, you are helping it find its wings.
If you throw a fish into water, you are helping it find its fins.
If you throw a seed into soil, you are helping it find its roots.
If you throw a bat into the dark, you are helping it find its eyes.
If you throw a flower into dirt, you are helping it find its petals.
If you throw a cub into the jungle, you are helping it find its fight.
If you throw a camel into the desert, you are helping it find its stride.
If you throw a scorpion into nature, you are helping it find its sting.
If you throw a serpent into grass, you are helping it find its fangs.
If you throw a wolf into the jungle, you are helping it find its bite.
The thin child knew enough fairy stories to know that a prohibition in a story is only there to be broken. The first humans were fated to eat the apple. The dice were loaded against them. The grandfather was pleased with himself. The thin child found no one in this story with whom to sympathise. Except maybe the snake, which had no asked to be made use of as a temper.
The snake wanted simply to coil about in the branches.
What was there in the beginning in the Asgard stories?
In the first age there was nothing. Nor sand, nor the sea, nor cold waves; there was no earth, no sky on high. The gulf galped and grass grew nowhere.
The fact is, that people cannot come to heartily like Florida till they accept certain deficiencies as the necessary shadow to certain excellences. If you want to live in an orange-orchard, you must give up wanting to live surrounded by green grass. When we get to the new heaven and the new earth, then we shall have it all right. There we shall have a climate at once cool and bracing, yet hot enough to mature oranges and pine-apples. Our trees of life shall bear twelve manner of fruit, and yield a new one every month. Out of juicy meadows green as emerald, enamelled with every kind of flower, shall grow our golden orange-trees, blossoming and fruiting together as now they do. There shall be no mosquitoes, or gnats, or black-flies, or snakes; and, best of all, there shall be no fretful people. Everybody shall be like a well-tuned instrument, all sounding in accord, and never a semitone out of the way. Meanwhile, we caution everybody coming to Florida, Don't hope for too much. Because you hear that roses and callas blossom in the open air all winter, and flowers abound in the woods, don't expect to find an eternal summer. Prepare yourself to see a great deal that looks rough and desolate and coarse; prepare yourself for some chilly days and nights; and, whatever else you neglect to bring with you, bring the resolution, strong and solid, always to make the best of things.
Harriet Beecher Stowe (Palmetto-Leaves)
And I came to a hill that I never saw before. I was in a dismal thicket full of black twisted boughs that tore me as I went through them, and I cried out because I was smarting all over, and then I found that I was climbing, and I went up and up a long way, till at last the thicket stopped and I came out crying just under the top of a big bare place, where there were ugly grey stones lying all about on the grass, and here and there a little, twisted stunted tree came out from under a stone, like a snake. And I went up, right to the top, a long way. I never saw such big ugly stones before; they came out of the earth some of them, and some looked as if they had been rolled to where they were, and they went on and on as far as I could see, a long, long way. I looked out from them and saw the country, but it was strange. It was winter time, and there were black terrible woods hanging from the hills all round; it was like seeing a large room hung with black curtains, and the shape of the trees seemed quite different from any I had ever seen before. I was afraid. Then beyond the woods there were other hills round in a great ring, but I had never seen any of them; it all looked black, and everything had a voor over it. It was all so still and silent, and the sky was heavy and grey and sad, like a wicked voorish dome in Deep Dendo. I went on into the dreadful rocks. There were hundreds and hundreds of them. Some were like horrid-grinning men; I could see their faces as if they would jump at me out of the stone, and catch hold of me, and drag me with them back into the rock, so that I should always be there. And there were other rocks that were like animals, creeping horrible animals, putting out their tongues, and others were like words I could not say, and others were like dead people lying on the grass. I went on among them, though they frightened me, and my heart was full of wicked songs that they put into it; and I wanted to make faces and twist myself about in the way they did, and I went on and on a long way till at last I liked the rocks, and they didn't frighten me any more. I sang the songs I thought of; songs full of words that must not be spoken or written down. Then I made faces like the faces on the rocks, and I twisted myself about like the twisted ones, and I lay down flat on the ground like the dead ones, and I went up to one that was grinning, and put my arms round him and hugged him.
Arthur Machen (The Great God Pan and Other Horror Stories)
There is a deep stillness in the Fakahatchee, but there is not a moment of physical peace. Something is always brushing against you or lapping at you or snagging at you or tangling in your legs, and the sun is always pummeling your skin, and the wetness in the air makes your hair coil like a phone cord. You never smell plain air in a swamp - you smell the tang of mud and the sourness of rotting leaves and the cool musk of new leaves and the perfumes of a million different flowers floating by, each distinct but transparent, like soap bubbles. The biggest number in the universe would not be big enough to count the things your eyes see. Every inch of land holds up a thatch of tall grass or a bush or a tree, and every bush or tree is girdled with another plant’s roots, and every root is topped with a flower or a fern or a swollen bulb, and every one of those flowers and ferns is the pivot around which a world of bees and gnats and spiders and dragonflies revolve. The sounds you hear are twigs cracking underfoot and branches whistling past you and leaves murmuring and leaves slopping over the trunks of old dead trees and every imaginable and unimaginable insect noise and every kind of bird peep and screech and tootle, and then all those unclaimed sounds of something moving in a hurry, something low to the ground and heavy, maybe the size of a horse in the shape of a lizard, or maybe the size, shape and essential character of a snake. In the swamp you feel as if someone had plugged all of your senses into a light socket. A swamp is logy and slow-moving about at the same time highly overstimulating. Even in the dim, sultry places deep within it, it is easy to stay awake.
Susan Orlean (The Orchid Thief)
She stood on the willow bank. It was bright as mid-afternoon in the openness of the water, quiet and peaceful. She took off her clothes and let herself into the river. She saw her waist disappear into reflection less water; it was like walking into sky, some impurity of skies. All seemed one weight, one matter -- until she put down her head and closed her eyes and the light slipped under her lids, she felt this matter a translucent one, the river, herself, the sky all vessels which the sun filled. She began to swim in the river, forcing it gently, as she would wish for gentleness to her body. Her breasts around which she felt the water curving were as sensitive at that moment as the tips of wings must feel to birds, or antennae to insects. She felt the sand, grains intricate as little cogged wheels, minute shells of old seas, and the many dark ribbons of grass and mud touch her and leave her, like suggestions and withdrawals of some bondage that might have been dear, now dismembering and losing itself. She moved but like a cloud in skies, aware but only of the nebulous edges of her feeling and the vanishing opacity of her will, the carelessness for the water of the river through which her body had already passed as well as for what was ahead. The bank was all one, where out of the faded September world the little ripening plums started. Memory dappled her like no more than a paler light, which in slight agitations came through leaves, not darkening her for more than an instant. the iron taste of the old river was sweet to her, though. If she opened her eyes she looked at blue bottles, the skating waterbugs. If she trembled, it was at the smoothness of a fish or a snake that crossed her knees. In the middle of the river, whose downstream or upstream could not be told by a current, she lay on her stretched arm, not breathing, floating. Virgie had reached the point where in the next moment she might turn into something without feeling it shock her. She hung suspended in the Big Black River as she would know how to hang suspended in felicity. Far to the west, a cloud running fingerlike over the sun made her splash the water. She stood, walked along the soft mud of the bottom, and pulled herself out of the water by a willow branch, which like a warm rain brushed her back with its leaves. The moon, while she looked into the high sky, took its own light between one moment and the next. A wood thrush, which had begun to sing, hushed its long moment and began again. Virgie put her clothes back on. She would have given much for a cigarette, always wishing for a little more of what had just been.
(from the short story The Wanderers)
I am not a Goddess. I am the face of them All, the embodiment of many. I will burn your village to the ground wearing pants. Nourish your soil and scatter new seeds in a skirt that lifts in the breeze. Strike like lightening and change everything you thought you knew. Scorch you and replenish your reservoir. Sing until you weep with joy. I will leave you poetry on your pillow beside a bottle of hemlock. Feed you til' your belly is full. Devour your ego and spit out your falsities in front of you. Steal your favourite things. I will lead you into temptation. Be the ugliest hag you ever did see. Awaken you from your slumber. Hand you a poisoned apple. Light a candle in your darkness. Weave you a dream. Bow at your feet and kiss the ground you walk upon. I will love you like you've never felt love before. Take your breath away with my beauty. Call your demons into the Light and watch them bury you. Make you tremble in ecstasy. I'll answer your prayers. Shake you til' you scream. Retrieve you from the deep. Carry your manifestations inside of me and birth them into Being. Be the wind in your sails. The blood on your sheets. The wish granted from the wild dandelion wheel. The snake in the grass. Tufts of idle time. I will disappear suddenly, wait until you ache for me, and reemerge as if I had never gone.
I am not a Goddess.
I am the face of them All, the embodiment of many.
Cheray Crown Woman
I worked and worked, and before I knew it, my collage was finished. Still damp from Elmer’s glue, the masterpiece included images of horses--courtesy, coincidentally, of Marlboro cigarette ads--and footballs. There were pictures of Ford pickups and green grass--anything I could find in my old magazines that even remotely hinted at country life. There was a rattlesnake: Marlboro Man hated snakes. And a photo of a dark, starry night: Marlboro Man was afraid of the dark as a child. There were Dr Pepper cans, a chocolate cake, and John Wayne, whose likeness did me a great favor by appearing in some ad in Golf Digest in the early 1980s.
My collage would have to do, even though it was missing any images depicting the less tangible things--the real things--I knew about Marlboro Man. That he missed his brother Todd every day of his life. That he was shy in social settings. That he knew off-the-beaten-path Bible stories--not the typical Samson-and-Delilah and David-and-Goliath tales, but obscure, lesser-known stories that I, in a lifetime of skimming, would never have hoped to read. That he hid in an empty trash barrel during a game of hide-and-seek at the Fairgrounds when he was seven…and that he’d gotten stuck and had to be extricated by firefighters. That he hated long pasta noodles because they were too difficult to eat. That he was sweet. Caring. Serious. Strong. The collage was incomplete--sorely lacking vital information.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
The Sailor-boy’s Gossip You say, dear mamma, it is good to be talking
With those who will kindly endeavour to teach.
And I think I have learnt something while I was walking
Along with the sailor-boy down on the beach.
He told me of lands where he soon will be going,
Where humming-birds scarcely are bigger than bees,
Where the mace and the nutmeg together are growing,
And cinnamon formeth the bark of some trees.
He told me that islands far out in the ocean
Are mountains of coral that insects have made,
And I freely confess I had hardly a notion
That insects could world in the way that he said.
He spoke of wide deserts where the sand-clouds are flying.
No shade for the brow, and no grass for the feet;
Where camels and travelers often lie dying,
Gasping for water and scorching with heat.
He told me of places away in the East,
Where topaz, and ruby, and sapphires are found:
Where you never are safe from the snake and the beast,
For the serpent and tiger and jackal abound.
I thought our own Thames was a very great stream,
With its waters so fresh and its currents so strong;
But how tiny our largest of rivers must seem
To those he had sailed on, three thousand miles long.
He speaks, dear mamma, of so many strange places,
With people who neither have cities nor kings.
Who wear skins on their shoulders, paint on their faces,
And live on the spoils which their hunting-field brings.
Oh! I long, dear mamma, to learn more of these stories,
From books that are written to please and to teach,
And I wish I could see half the curious glories
The sailor-boy told me of down on the beach.
Charlotte M. Mason (Elementary Geography: Full Illustrations & Study Guides!)
The blacksmith's boy went out with a rifle
and a black dog running behind.
Cobwebs snatched at his feet,
rivers hindered him,
thorn branches caught at his eyes to make him blind
and the sky turned into an unlucky opal,
but he didn't mind.
I can break branches, I can swim rivers, I can stare out
any spider I meet,
said he to his dog and his rifle.
The blacksmith's boy went over the paddocks
with his old black hat on his head.
Mountains jumped in his way,
rocks rolled down on him,
and the old crow cried, You'll soon be dead.
And the rain came down like mattocks.
But he only said,
I can climb mountains, I can dodge rocks, I can shoot an old crow any day,
and he went on over the paddocks.
When he came to the end of the day, the sun began falling,
Up came the night ready to swallow him,
like the barrel of a gun,
like an old black hat,
like a black dog hungry to follow him.
Then the pigeon, the magpie and the dove began wailing
and the grass lay down to pillow him.
His rifle broke, his hat blew away and his dog was gone and the sun was falling.
But in front of the night, the rainbow stood on the mountain,
just as his heart foretold.
He ran like a hare,
he climbed like a fox;
he caught it in his hands, the colours and the cold -
like a bar of ice, like the column of a fountain,
like a ring of gold.
The pigeon, the magpie and the dove flew up to stare,
and the grass stood up again on the mountain.
The blacksmith's boy hung the rainbow on his shoulder
instead of his broken gun.
Lizards ran out to see, snakes made way for him,
and the rainbow shone as brightly as the sun.
All the world said, Nobody is braver, nobody is bolder,
nobody else has done
anything equal to it. He went home as easy as could be
with the swinging rainbow on his shoulder.
Judith A. Wright
Thich Nhat Hanh shares this Mahayana philosophy of non-dualism. This is clearly demonstrated in one of his most famous poems, “Call Me By My True Names:”1 Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow– even today I am still arriving. Look deeply: every second I am arriving to be a bud on a spring branch, to be a tiny bird, with still fragile wings, learning to sing in my new nest, to be a caterpillar in the heart of flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone. I am still arriving, in order to laugh and to cry, in order to fear and to hope, the rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of every living creature. I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river. And I am the bird, that swoops down to swallow the mayfly. I am the frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond, and I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog. I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks. And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda. I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate. And I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving. I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hands, and I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people, dying slowly in a forced-labor camp. My joy is like spring, so warm that it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth. My pain is like a river of tears, so vast that it fills up all four oceans. Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one. Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up and open the door of my heart, the door of compassion. (Nhat Hanh,  1999, pp. 72–3) We
Darrell J. Fasching (Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach to Global Ethics)
I feel something on my chest. Ivy's resting her head on me. In fact, she's pulled herself so close that we're touching everywhere. My heart picks up speed again, but I'm surprisingly calm, seeing her beautiful face close to mine, her eyes closed in an expression of content bliss, and—the best part—feeling her own heart pound in time with mine. She's feeling what I'm feeling.
That is when I know for sure.
"Ivy?" I know what I have to do.
"Mm?" Her songbird voice is a calm purr.
"I think...no. I really, really like you."
Like moving through molasses, Ivy raises her head. Her eyes are enormous with bewilderment. But there's no fright, no dislike, no anything that discourages me, With that in mind, I don't hesitate as I move my face and my lips to her lips.
Ivy's lips are cool like water but delicate and velvety and smooth like round pebbles. She smells like wildflowers, wet earth, and freshly cut grass, which only makes me want her more. I press my lips harder against hers, and a shiver of delight snakes through me when I feel her press back. Daring myself, I open my mouth. So does she, and the kiss deepens. My hand slides upward to caress her satin cheek, and the back of my neck tingles as her fingers play with my hair.
This is it. Ivy's and my first kiss. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Unhurriedly we pull our faces away, though we leave our foreheads touching.
"Ivy?" I peer into her eyes. She doesn't look upset, but more calm and curious.
She meets my eyes and asks, "What was that?"
"A kiss. You do it with people you like."
To my amazement Ivy leans forward and kisses me again. It's incredible as the first time.
"That is my feeling towards you," she tells me as she leans back. She meets my eyes, her face flushed but determined. "I...am...really liking you, too."
I smile and pull her to me, and we grasp each other like we never want to let go.
She likes me. I like her.
This can't get any better.
Colleen Boyd (Swamp Angel)
Our fatalism goes beyond, even if it springs from, the Hindu acceptance of the world as it is ordained to be. I must tell you a little story – a marvellous fable from our Puranas that illustrates both our resilience and our self-absorption in the face of circumstance.’ I sat up against my bolsters and assumed the knowingly expectant attitude of those who are about to tell stories or perform card tricks. ‘A man, someone very like you, Arjun – a symbol, shall we say, of the people of India - is pursued by a tiger. He runs fast, but his panting heart tells him he cannot run much longer. He sees a tree. Relief! He accelerates and gets to it in one last despairing stride. He climbs the tree. The tiger snarls below him, but he feels that he has at last escaped its snapping jaws. But no – what’s this? The branch on which he is sitting is weak, and bends dangerously. That is not all: wood-mice are gnawing away at it; before long they will eat through it and it will snap and fall. The branch sags down over a well. Aha! Escape? Perhaps our hero can swim? But the well is dry, and there are snakes writhing and hissing on its bed. What is our hero to do? As the branch bends lower, he perceives a solitary blade of grass growing on the wall of the well. On the top of the blade of grass gleams a drop of honey. What action does our Puranic man, our quintessential Indian, take in this situation? He bends with the branch, and licks up the honey.’
I laughed at the strain, and the anxiety, on Arjun’s face. ‘What did you expect? Some neat solution to his problem? The tiger changes its mind and goes away? Amitabh Bachhan leaps to the rescue? Don’t be silly, Arjun. One strength of the Indian mind is that it knows some problems cannot be resolved, and it learns to make the best of them. That is the Indian answer to the insuperable difficulty. One does not fight against that by which one is certain to be overwhelmed; but one finds the best way, for oneself, to live with it. This is our national aesthetic. Without it, Arjun, India as we know it could not survive.
Shashi Tharoor (The Great Indian Novel)
Our team’s vision for the facility was a cross between a shooting range and a country club for special forces personnel. Clients would be able to schedule all manner of training courses in advance, and the gear and support personnel would be waiting when they arrived. There’d be seven shooting ranges with high gravel berms to cut down noise and absorb bullets, and we’d carve a grass airstrip, and have a special driving track to practice high-speed chases and real “defensive driving”—the stuff that happens when your convoy is ambushed. There would be a bunkhouse to sleep seventy. And nearby, the main headquarters would have the feel of a hunting lodge, with timber framing and high stone walls, with a large central fireplace where people could gather after a day on the ranges. This was the community I enjoyed; we never intended to send anyone oversees. This chunk of the Tar Heel State was my “Field of Dreams.” I bought thirty-one hundred acres—roughly five square miles of land, plenty of territory to catch even the most wayward bullets—for $900,000. We broke ground in June 1997, and immediately began learning about do-it-yourself entrepreneurship. That land was ugly: Logging the previous year had left a moonscape of tree stumps and tangled roots lorded over by mosquitoes and poisonous creatures. I killed a snake the first twelve times I went to the property. The heat was miserable. While a local construction company carved the shooting ranges and the lake, our small team installed the culverts and forged new roads and planted the Southern pine utility poles to support the electrical wiring. The basic site work was done in about ninety days—and then we had to figure out what to call the place. The leading contender, “Hampton Roads Tactical Shooting Center,” was professional, but pretty uptight. “Tidewater Institute for Tactical Shooting” had legs, but the acronym wouldn’t have helped us much. But then, as we slogged across the property and excavated ditches, an incessant charcoal mud covered our boots and machinery, and we watched as each new hole was swallowed by that relentless peat-stained black water. Blackwater, we agreed, was a name. Meanwhile, within days of being installed, the Southern pine poles had been slashed by massive black bears marking their territory, as the animals had done there since long before the Europeans settled the New World. We were part of this land now, and from that heritage we took our original logo: a bear paw surrounded by the stylized crosshairs of a rifle scope.
Are you ready, Tiana? One last deal."
His willingness to sacrifice some innocent person's soul alleviated the last prickle of conscience she felt over what she was about to do. This snake in the grass deserved everything that was coming to him.
"Okay," Tiana said. "I'll sign it."
She followed him to a wooden desk that held a lamp, and grabbed hold of the fountain pen he held out to her. Tiana bent over the contract, turning her back slightly as she scribbled across the bottom of the scroll.
"Okay, it's done," she said. She turned and held the vial out to him. "Now, you drink half, and I'll drink half."
His eyes were bright with triumph as he snatched the vial from her free hand, wrenched the cork out of it, and gulped down the entire contents.
He threw his head back and let out a peal of laughter.
But his laughter quickly died as he clutched at his throat and staggered several steps back.
Tiana held out the contract to him, the words Goodbye, Shadow Man scrawled on the signature line.
Farrah Rochon (Almost There (Twisted Tales))
power is amoral, but it is never neutral. Power cannot exist without influencing everything near it. People will want it, fear it, steal it, destroy it, or whatever else their morals, friends, gods, or desires tell them to do. But no matter how they decide to act on it, they
Nathan Gregg (Snakes in the Grass (Remedial Magic #2))
She pays him an obscene amount of money for his exclusive services, his loyalty, his secrecy, his cunning, and, most of all, his disdain of humanity. He thrives in the underworld of technology, a snake in cyber grass, and doesn’t
Lisa Barr (Woman on Fire)
This one’s as pretty as a grass snake, but much more dangerous.
Nicola Griffith (Hild (The Light of the World Trilogy, #1))
I would be the same old brash, impulsive Grace. That part of me first attracted him to me, but for our relationship to work, I had to give a little. No, I had to give it all to him. It wasn’t a surrender to his will or power, but a realization that it would become our will and our power.
Kimbra Swain (Snake in the Grass (Fairy Tales of a Trailer Park Queen, #3))
In July 2010, the Civil Partnership Bill finally faced a vote in both the Dáil and the Seanad. In the Dáil, the bill passed without a vote, given that it was a government bill supported by all parties.
GERARD HOWLIN: That’s not a healthy thing by the way. That was not a healthy thing. Because the fact is that there are significant numbers of people in this country who do not agree and they’re entitled to their opinion in a democracy and you can’t have suffocating majoritarianism replacing another and claiming it’s progress.
CIARÁN CUFFE: There are snakes in the long grass who know when to have a fight and when to retreat.
Una Mullally (In the Name of Love: The Movement for Marriage Equality in Ireland. An Oral History)
If we bring it down to earth, infinity is a series of rolling hills. A countryside in Ohio where all the tall-grass snakes know how angels lose their wings.
Tiffany McDaniel (Betty)
And now at this moment, when hope was dead, Tom Sawyer came forward with nine yellow tickets, nine red tickets, and ten blue ones, and demanded a Bible. This was a thunderbolt out of a clear sky. Walters was not expecting an application from this source for the next ten years. But there was no getting around it—here were the certified checks, and they were good for their face. Tom was therefore elevated to a place with the Judge and the other elect, and the great news was announced from headquarters. It was the most stunning surprise of the decade, and so profound was the sensation that it lifted the new hero up to the judicial one’s altitude, and the school had two marvels to gaze upon in place of one. The boys were all eaten up with envy—but those that suffered the bitterest pangs were those who perceived too late that they themselves had contributed to this hated splendor by trading tickets to Tom for the wealth he had amassed in selling whitewashing privileges. These despised themselves, as being the dupes of a wily fraud, a guileful snake in the grass.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)
They were all girls who grew up in sprawling houses, who'd never walked through the desert, who'd never stepped on a snake in the dry grass. They were girls who could not stand the rays of the Earth's sun unless it was shining through a tinted window.
Nnedi Okorafor (Binti (Binti, #1))
Lu’s voice drops to a silken whisper, like the noise of a snake through the grass. “It’s
Lauren Oliver (Requiem (Delirium, #3))
Over the years, I have grown to see people in need of a savior so bad that they would eat grass, drink petrol, and be fed rats and snakes all in the name of finding a messiah. I’ve seen people attempt to deal with the loss of their jobs or school or other livelihood forms or desperately attempt to scramble out of poverty by believing in the most laughable of saviors and ‘miracle workers’.
I’ve witnessed women battered, scorned and stripped of their poise and essence because they could not walk away from scoundrels they’d previously deemed their ‘saviors’. Such relationships lead to a savior-martyr relationship. In other words – a certified disaster-in-waiting.
Martyr complex is a collateral product of blame. You blame someone for your current misfortunes therefore you go looking for someone else to save you. You blame yourself for your shortcomings and therefore there must be someone out there who can redeem your broken self.
Thabo Katlholo (Blame Less: A Grim Journey Into Life of a Chronic Blamer)
... if we can only speak to slander our betters, let us hold our tongues.
Anne Brontë (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall)
Not only resemblances exist in things whose analogy is obvious, as when we detect the type of the human hand in the flipper of the fossil saurus, but also in objects wherein there is great superficial unlikeness. Thus architecture is called "frozen music," by De Stael and Goethe. Vitruvius thought an architect should be a musician. "A Gothic church," said Coleridge, "is a petrified religion." Michael Angelo maintained, that, to an architect, a knowledge of anatomy is essential. In Haydn's oratorios, the notes present to the imagination not only motions, as, of the snake, the stag, and the elephant, but colors also; as the green grass. The law of harmonic sounds reappears in the harmonic colors. The granite is differenced in its laws only by the more or less of heat, from the river that wears it away. The river, as it flows, resembles the air that flows over it; the air resembles the light which traverses it with more subtile currents; the light resembles the heat which rides with it through Space. Each creature is only a modification of the other; the likeness in them is more than the difference, and their radical law is one and the same.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Emerson: The Ultimate Collection)
Mr Bennet sighed. ‘You are a dear child, Jane, but you are also a gullible fool. Miss Bingley is a lying snake in the grass, who does not wish her brother
Sydney Salier (Consequence & Consequences: "Ooops" A Regency Romance inspired by P&P)
If you are heading through the grass to your precious target like a snake without being seen by anyone, then you are very clever because the most intelligent way to deal with things that might hinder reaching an important target is to move unobtrusively, quietly, calmly!
Mehmet Murat ildan
If all ministers said: Bear the evils of this life; your Father in heaven counts your tears; the time will come when pain and death and grief will be forgotten words; I should have listened with the rest. What else does the minister say to the poor people who have answered the chimes of your bell? He says: "The smallest sin deserves eternal pain." "A vast majority of men are doomed to suffer the wrath of God forever." He fills the present with fear and the future with fire. He has heaven for the few, hell for the many. He describes a little grass-grown path that leads to heaven, where travelers are "few and far between," and a great highway worn with countless feet that leads to everlasting death. Such Sabbaths are immoral. Such ministers are the real savages. Gladly would I abolish such a Sabbath. Gladly would I turn it into a holiday, a day of rest and peace, a day to get acquainted with your wife and children, a day to exchange civilities with your neighbors; and gladly would I see the church in which such sermons are preached changed to a place of entertainment. Gladly would I have the echoes of orthodox sermons—the owls and bats among the rafters, the snakes in crevices and corners—driven out by the glorious music of Wagner and Beethoven. Gladly would I see the Sunday school where the doctrine of eternal fire is taught, changed to a happy dance upon the village green. Music refines. The doctrine of eternal punishment degrades. Science civilizes. Superstition looks longingly back to savagery.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Essential Works of Robert G. Ingersoll)
Papa don’t look me in the eye when he sees me. I know he got Ben to jump the broom with Lucy. When I think of Benny’s lips on her, I want to stomp that girl’s head. She’s just some ugly thing up from the quarters! One night I go down to Ben’s place, just to know for sure. I hear them together, and they’re sounding like animals, but I stay to listen ’cause I can’t move, my feet won’t take me. My heart’s banging so hard I sit right down in the high grass, never mind the snakes. I stay till Benny’s snoring, then I go back to my house. I can’t see for crying. Next day Ben’s working here in my kitchen when Will Stephens comes with a letter. I talk to Will like he’s one fine man. Ben’s eyes are spittin’ fire when he runs out of here! Makes me feel good
Kathleen Grissom (The Kitchen House)
Creatures from the damp earth emerged from their homes in the ground, slithering
away on the damp overgrown grass, onto the stairs, the patio and squirming their way into the house. Survival, it was, risking
being squashed underfoot over being drowned in their homes.
Earthworms, snails, small snakes, insects. Life survived seasons and inundations, and poured itself out onto higher ground.
Kiran Manral (More Things in Heaven and Earth)
May shook her head. “Don’t imagine you can change a man unless he’s wearing a diaper.
Denise Swanson (Murder Of A Snake In The Grass (Scumble River Mystery #4))
by Maisie Aletha Smikle
In the garden Eden
Streams of tranquility glide
Flowers magnificently bloom
Adam, Eve and animals freely roam
Earth and Heaven were once in sync
Absent was the sting of sin
There were no frost
To bite the grass
Causing trees to freeze
There were no fierce heat
To kindle a blaze
There were no winds
That were unkind
There were no raindrops
That weren't welcome
All were in perfect peace
All were in harmony so sweet
The garden Eden
Was the home of the people
Handmade by the Father
Precious were they Adam and Eve
God's first human masterpieces
They were loved
God gave them a home
And grew for them a lovely garden
God gave them pets of all species
He gave them glorious healing spas and herbs
God gave them fruits and food of every kind
Everything Adam and Eve had to their hearts desire
An envious snake
Probably a BOA
Saw joy peace love and happiness
And hated joy peace love and happiness
BOA vowed to destroy love peace joy and happiness
BOA wanted to create distrust and enmity instead
BOA conspired against love peace joy and happiness
And conspired to have Adam and Eve thrown out of their home
BOA snatched love joy peace and happiness
BOA caused the first family Adam and Eve
To be thrown out of their home naked
A home that was God's unencumbered gift
BOA was happy when happiness left
When joy love and peace took flight and went
And distrust and enmity remain
Where BOA can hiss and strike it's venom of loathe
Until people are down
Naked and have no home
BOA is truly a disgrace
Indeed BOA is a scrooge
Maisie Aletha Smikle
That cursed ball! All the world thinks I am worth millions. Yet Lourdois had a look that was not natural; there’s a snake in the grass somewhere.
Honoré de Balzac (Works of Honore de Balzac)
Valley of the Damned. Valkyrie Kari tells of the great warrior Crazy Horse (abridged)
’Twas written of those of long ago,
That honor should be “as long as grass shall grow.”
In battle honor is a fearsome beast, none can contain, In the strength of heart, it brings only shame.
A mighty warrior of the plains was he,
Crazy Horse of Sioux battle creed.
Given to the ravages of noble, savage war,
Against his enemies, he vaulted fore.
Peering down from lofty mountain hold,
The Horse in dream; the warrior was of olde.
The promises they were broken one by one,
Until only war unbridled could be hardtily done.
Understanding and honor was not for those weak,
Only the evil Long-knives now he eagerly did seek.
The Knives came to steal, to plunder their land,
To kill sacred mother with marauding, guilty hands.
They had no regard for their own swelling words,
With lust in their eyes, their greed greatly stirred.
From southern lands came noise that Longhair did kill, Black Kettle’s camp, their blood he had spilled.
Longhair destroyed all; dastard agent of evil strife,
Deprived them of children and their bountiful life.
Yet this lone, brave holy man stood in Longhair’s way, Crazy Horse, vision man, his plans were well framed.
His command rode north hard to that destined battle, To meet wicked Longhair—to dash him from the saddle.
Fate led him on to Little Bighorn,
Where warriors of the sun met with sacred horn.
A hellish dry place of calamitous battle,
Found many a soul hearing death’s final rattle.
The Long-snakes scouted for the great camp,
That morn’ they set their fateful, forked-tongue attack.
They raised their sabers, waved them strong,
Entered eternity, their deaths foresaw.
A sea of pilfered blue engulfed in crimson red,
Amidst swirls of feathers sacred of the motherland.
Through carnage, The Horse did lead his men,
Beyond the battle, to the place where legend began.
Up hill rode the bold Crazy Horse,
With a thousand others to show determined force.
To engage Long-knives at their last stand,
Striking them down until dead was every man.
Great Gall and Crazy Horse led that righteous attack,
Against forceful Custer, whose plans did not lack, For ’twas he himself who boasted, wantonly said, “I will become a great chief, if my enemies I fill with lead.”
With righteous honor as their sacred ally,
Holy arrows that day swiftly let fly.
Horse met Longhair in battle forever stayed,
Defeated mighty Custer; his corpse on the field in state.
Upon that fateful day, on sage choked sandy plain,
Spirits clashed with spirits, for the sacred domain.
Unconquerable, indomitable this sacred warrior heart,
Leads many against the evil now, for this righteous court.
Thus, Horse brought the valiants into stark raved battle,
Battle scarred by holy wounds delivered by blue devils.
Yet he would not relent, this honorable man of gifted vision, But peace came through the lie; his life ended by steel incision.
Breathing his last, quiet honor came his way,
“Bring my heart home, the Great Spirit will find my way.”
Thus ˊtis with all whose understanding shows what may, Honor leads righteousness to death, ask they of that claim.
War spirit vigilant with mighty spear and bow in hand,
Leads Great Plains spirits, under his gallant command.
His spirit never conquered lives it to this good day,
Among the heroic mighty, let us his spirit proclaim.
In the hour of travail, honor can be finely seen,
Leading multitudes unto battle, their hearts boundlessly free.
Cowards can never know the freedom of the plains and wind,
Or how she musters a soul and the courage found within.
Born in deep commune of Earth and Great Spirit above,
Understanding and honor flow from hearts of great love.
One without understanding is a fool at best,
One without honor is a spirit that ne’er rests.
O’ majestic One of the relentless plain,
The mountains ring joyous with thy name.
Hassan knew He knew I’d seen everything in that alley, that I’d stood there and done
nothing. He knew I had betrayed him and yet he was rescuing me once again, maybe
for the last time. I loved him in that moment, loved him more than I’d ever loved
anyone, and I wanted to tell them all that I was the snake in the grass, the monster in
Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)
Hassan knew He knew I’d seen everything in that alley, that I’d stood there and done nothing. He knew I had betrayed him and yet he was rescuing me once again, maybe for the last time. I loved him in that moment, loved him more than I’d ever loved anyone, and I wanted to tell them all that I was the snake in the grass, the monster in the lake.
Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)
There are always snakes in the grass lurking, waiting for the right opportunity to take you down.
Mercedes Taylor (Thug Misses)
Fire seemed about ready to shoot out of her eyes. “Yeah, he’s changed all right. He used to be a snake in the grass, and now he’s slitherin’ out in the open.
Denise Grover Swank (Thirty-Five and a Half Conspiracies (Rose Gardner Mystery, #8))
Wisconsin,'" Twiss said. "That's my word."
"The word or the state?" Milly said.
"Both," Twiss said.
Twiss knew every dip and rise on their land, every anthill and every snake hole. She knew what kind of grass grew where. You could blindfold her and she'd be able to tell you what kind of bark belonged to what kind of tree. Pines were her favorite; she liked how they looked so different from the other trees n the woods, yet relied on the same underground springs to stay alive. Instead of a cotton-filled pillow like the rest of the family slept on, Twiss slept on a pillow stuffed with pine needles. She envied the birds that lived in the actual trees.
Rebecca Rasmussen (The Bird Sisters)
He knew Viper well. True to his name, the assassin was as slippery as a snake in the grass.
T.L. Shreffler (Sora's Quest (The Cat's Eye Chronicles, #1))
Glorious day. I awoke to shafts of sunlight across my face and after a good stretch and a couple of cups of tea, I headed down to the pond for a swim. I slid in off the platform and as always was shocked by the icy-cool, spring-fed water. I had been treading water for a couple of minutes when a shape caught my attention. Turning towards it, I had the strange sensation of observing a grass snake swimming past me, just a couple of feet away and right in my line of sight. Its agility in the water was impressive and it made quickly for the far bank, disappearing amongst some flag iris. Swimming
Ben Law (Woodsman: Living in a Wood in the 21st Century)
She’d never seen fire as an enemy, not until it crept like a snake along the grass to where she lay bleeding, not until it struck.
Sarah Fine (The Cursed Queen (The Impostor Queen, #2))
A dress where it fell, where you snaked from it.
The slab of the bedsheet, marbled with creases.
These pillows washed up
along the strand-line. Plunder. Salvage?
The end of the world beyond its edge.
The path of grass where took down the tent.
A gift-- the gift-wrap disturbed,
the present taken.
The guilt rolled back,
the wave not broken, always breaking.
The book left open, the page you were reading.
In her imagination she was somewhere dry and sunbaked, with a drink in her hand and the smell of cut flowers close by, filling her with happiness and tranquility. The dream faded as a blade of saw grass sliced her forearm just aft of her glove, bringing her back to the reality that she was wading through a god-awful-smelling canal full of snakes, leeches, and vermin. She’d spent almost an hour up to her neck in the slimy ditch, pushing a large clump of water hyacinth along with her to break up the outline of a human head. Her body felt like it would never dry out once she climbed out of this dank water, and even if it did, she was convinced she’d never be able to wash the smell of rotten vegetation off her skin
Mark Greaney (Gunmetal Gray (Gray Man, #6))
So shines, renew’d in youth, the crested snake, Who slept the winter in a thorny brake, And, casting off his slough when spring returns, Now looks aloft, and with new glory burns; Restor’d with pois’nous herbs, his ardent sides Reflect the sun; and rais’d on spires he rides; High o’er the grass, hissing he rolls along, And brandishes by fits his forky tongue. Proud Periphas, and fierce Automedon,
Charles Eliot (The Harvard Classics in a Year: A Liberal Education in 365 Days)
I knew the Tam were already a success by the greeting I got. The women in their canoes in the middle of the lake called out loud hellos that I heard over my engine, and a few men and children came down to the beach and gave me big floppy Tam waves. A noticeable shift from the chary welcome we’d received six weeks earlier. I cut the engine and several men came and pulled the boat to shore, and without my having to say a word two swaybacked young lads with something that looked like red berries woven in their curled hair led me up a path and down a road, past a spirit house with an enormous carved face over the entryway—a lean and angry fellow with three thick bones through his nose and a wide open mouth with many sharp teeth and a snake’s head for a tongue. It was much more skilled than the Kiona’s rudimentary depictions, the lines cleaner, the colors—red, black, green, and white—far more vivid and glossy, as if the paint were still wet. We passed several of these ceremonial houses and from the doorways men called down to my guides and they called back. They took me in one direction then, as if I wouldn’t notice, turned me around and doubled back down the same road past the same houses, the lake once again in full view. Just when I thought their only plan was to parade me round town all day, they turned a corner and stopped before a large house, freshly built, with a sort of portico in front and blue-and-white cloth curtains hanging in the windows and doorway. I laughed out loud at this English tea shop encircled by pampas grass in the middle of the Territories. A few pigs were digging around the base of the ladder. From below I heard footsteps creaking the new floor. The cloth at the windows and doors puffed in and out from the movement within. ‘Hallo the house!’ I’d heard this in an American frontier film once. I waited for someone to emerge but no one did, so I climbed up and stood on the narrow porch and knocked on one of the posts. The sound was absorbed by the voices inside, quiet, nearly whispery, but insistent, like the drone of a circling aeroplane. I stepped closer and pulled the curtain aside a few inches. I was struck first by the heat, then the smell. There were at least thirty Tam in the front room, on the floor or perched oddly on chairs, in little groups or even alone, everyone with a project in front of them. Many were children and adolescents, but
Lily King (Euphoria)
Let's smuggle cider into the garden of Eden? Adam's apples are shite. Eve's cool. She calls it a SCAM. Smuggling Cocaine, Alcohol and Marijuana. But is the snake a grass?
With all the snakes in my grass, it was time to pull out the lawn mower.
Lucinda John (Married to a Boss 2)
When deep summer comes and the dog star raises with the morning sun, the land can scab up and a man watch his spring crop wrinkle brown like something on fire. It's the season snakes go blind. Their eyeballs coat over like pearls and they get mean. A rattlesnake allows no warning and a milk snake that would have cut the dust to the tall grass in June quiles up and strikes at anything that steps its way. It's a time when foxes and dogs go mad. They'll come shackling toward you, their lips snarly and chins white with slobber. You'll raise your gun and they'll come on like they just want to get it done with.
Ron Rash (One Foot in Eden)
This diatribe was not mere youthful exuberance. In one of his last tracts, written when he was fifty-four, he described his opponent as a "snake-in-the-grass" and then specified what kind, a rattlesnake."
Edmund S. Morgan (American Heroes: Profiles of Men and Women Who Shaped Early America)
I want him,” she said. Perhaps she didn’t understand the concept that Dylan was my fiancé. A language barrier or cultural barrier. I wasn’t sure. “Want him how?” I said. “He must make me a baby,” she said. “The fuck he will,” I said loudly.
Kimbra Swain (Snake in the Grass (Fairy Tales of a Trailer Park Queen, #3))
If you don’t want snakes, don’t let the grass grow long
Grey as a mouse, Big as a house, Nose like a snake, I make the earth shake, As I tramp through the grass; Trees crack as I pass. With horns in my mouth I walk in the South, Flapping big ears. Beyond count of years I stump round and round, Never lie on the ground, Not even to die. Oliphaunt am I, Biggest of all, Huge, old, and tall. If ever you’d met me You wouldn’t forget me. If you never do, You won’t think I’m true; But old Oliphaunt am I, And I never lie.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3))
He thinks he will leave. School life is unreal. All this is unreal. He has had enough. He can’t bear his colleagues. He can’t bear the boys any more either; en masse, he thinks, they’re horrible, like haddocks. He has to get out. He’ll live on his writing. His last book did well. He’ll write more. He’ll take a cottage in Scotland and spend his days fishing for salmon. Perhaps he’ll take the barmaid with him as his wife, the dark-eyed beauty he’s been courting for months, though he’s only in love with her emotionally, so far, and he hasn’t got anywhere, really, and those long hours sitting at the bar reduce him too often to hopeless drunkenness. He drinks too much. He has drunk too much, and he has been unhappy for a long time. But things are certain to change.
The notebook he writes in is grey. He’s stuck a photograph of one of his grass snakes on the cover, and written ETC above it in ink. The snake is suitable because this is his dream diary, though there are other things in it too: scraps of writing, lesson plans, line drawings of sphinxes and clawed dragons rampant, and the occasional stab at self-analysis:
1) Necessity of excelling in order to be loved.1
2) Failure to excel.
3) Why did I fail to excel? (Wrong attitude to what I was doing?)
Helen Macdonald (H is for Hawk)
The small town of Kasane stands on the high veld plains of the northern horn of Botswana, a tourist haven shouldering the economy of the small but rich country.
The town is located some one thousand kilometers north-east of the Capital City, Gaborone, with its hard blue skies and river-clear air, Kasane is a piece of paradise in this desert region; a shit-hole for the natives apparently as I was to learn, but still the place is a slice of heaven for tourists coming from outside.
At the center of the small town resides an underrated true wonder of nature. A place called Plateau from which one can observe a pack of lions stalking a herd of Zebras; wildebeests crowded together like bees; a fish eagle splashing against the slow moving river and come out bearing a fighting catfish; herds of elephants and Buffaloes grazing and browsing the green mass of flora that escorts what seems like a coiling dark green phantom.
The entire place below Plateau to the north is a wide array of interconnected channels, caressed on the sides by tall evergreen grass. The true wonder that is the exemplar of the Chobe District.
The gravel to the height of ‘Plateau’ snakes through tall, fat baobab trees rising and falling, offering breathtaking views of the dense ridges, then dipping into creeks filled with clusters of dilapidated shacks and mobile homes with junk cars and abandoned road construction machinery scattered about. It clings to more defined creeks with shallow rapids and water clear enough to drink.
Everything you needed to play baseball was in the Garden of Eden. You had the grass. You had the dirt. You had a branch from a tree to make a bat. There had to be a cow somewhere to give you the ball and the glove. I was telling this story once and some wise guy said: ‘Yeah, they even had a snake for the media.
Charles Fountain (Under the March Sun: The Story of Spring Training)
I swear, if that overdressed snake in the grass has burned off my chest hair, I’ll kill
Suzanne Wood (STARGATE SG-1: The Barque of Heaven)
A fish is smarter than you in water.
A bird is cleverer than you in air.
A lion is nimbler than you on land.
An owl is wiser than you at night.
A fox is shrewder than you in the day.
A rooster is savvier than you in the morning.
A worm is wylier than you in soil.
A snake is subtler than you in grass.
A monkey is slicker than you in trees.
A bat is sharper than you at dusk.
A hyena is craftier than you at dawn.
A dove is keener than you at midday.
A seed is adepter than you in earth.
A wolf is slyer than you in forests.
A tiger is deadlier than you in jungles.
Hot Sauce Shrine"
I used to be a high priestess of tail-feather feel-good
mumbo jumbo, naysayer extraordinaire
cobbling together some crazy quilt catechism
to cling to as I tangled in the world's thorns,
frantic, fearing the chill soon to come.
I haven't turned holy roller or handler of snakes,
but things changed slowly, or all at once.
Maybe it was when I drove through a dust devil
and inhaled its grit of cut grass and cigarette butts.
I've taken to praying since the whirlwind
shook me loose, or anyway I dip my head
at stoplights until I get distracted by scenery,
or birds, and the prayers come out confused.
I'm clueless—my angel of place smokes blunts
and speaks to me in bug bite braille. I know
to visit Saint Roch and turn his statue to the wall,
but I hunger for alone time on an island
with an organ that plays itself, or to whisper
all my secrets to the hot sauce shrine.
I read that the world is a dream of God,
and now I don't know what to do with my hands.
The world is God's dream and I am a sparrow
passing through song and the brass glow of fire,
or maybe that is wrong, and I'm trapped inside,
stunned against the glass or down the chimney,
terrified of kind hands that sweep me to the door.
When I wake I'm walking the moonlit labyrinth
with wet feet, and the birds are quiet because
I have terrified them with the thunder
of my stumbling. Oh God of everything that creeps,
I light a candle and ask my question:
Is it pilgrimage enough if I spend my life
remembering the few seconds I was a bird?
Alison Pelegrin (Waterlines: Poems)
Over the past few millennia, we’ve co-opted brain circuits already in use to scan the world for food or danger, in a sense fooling ourselves into paying attention to the inert little symbols on the page. Brain scans have shown that areas once used exclusively for scanning the horizon—for recognizing animal tracks, ripe berries, and snakes in trees—became the region that allowed us to quickly recognize letters and words. We’ve trained our brain to read by modifying the structures we once used to sense danger and movement and odd shapes in the grass. Dehaene and other researchers have found that most of our letter shapes are actually transpositions of key shapes from nature to which we’ve learned pay attention: a “Y” resembles the crook of tree branches, a “T” (on its side) the shape formed whenever one object masks another—imagine a telephone pole breaking the line of the horizon. “T-detector” neurons help us determine which object is in front, Dehaene wrote. “We did not invent most of our letter shapes: they lay dormant in our brain for millions of years, and were merely rediscovered when our species invented writing and the alphabet.
Greg Toppo (The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter)
Benno recalled how Lucy had sighed when Tom had said—well, Benno couldn’t actually remember what he had said, that’s how incredibly not funny his comment was, but he remembered clearly how she gazed admiringly at the person Benno now realized was a snake in the grass, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a—
He looked up to see Tom, the person he now hated more than anyone in the world, waving cheerfully at him from the sidelines. Benno picked up the ball and trotted over, trying to look casual and elegant, like the best players on the Italian national team. This effect was ruined when he stepped on a small rut in the field, tripped, and dropped the ball.
“Ciao, Tom,” he called out. “Come stai?”
As usual, Tom was flummoxed by this most basic Italian greeting. Benno imagined that he could actually hear the wheels in Tom’s brain turning as he tried to remember the correct response.
Suzanne Harper (The Juliet Club)
In the middle of a battle on Candentis Academy, a silver snake slithered toward a crumpled form. No one saw its winding progress through the grass. Secrecy was the reason Princewell transformed: to travel unnoticed to his target. However, given the serpent’s almost glowing silver, anyone who did see him would probably realize it wasn’t just a snake but a man who had morphed. Not that it would have mattered anyway. Princewell was one of the few persons in the Triskai who could wield magic while in his animal form. Any unfortunate person who challenged him would make that fatal discovery when it was too late.
But Princewell didn’t like to kill, not in the usual sense anyway. Killing blows, spells, and curses—he found all these methods too bland, unimaginative, and sacrilegious for his own taste. Death should be the climax of a long and complex symphony, and even then, it should not be the end. He had the ability to steal whatever afterlife his target was entitled to. He liked to entice human vices, pitting men one against the other. He enjoyed watching them destroying themselves within his binds of silver magic—his web of trickery. So confident was he in his abilities, that he would soon attempt to swindle an old god in his quest to achieve a status never before seen in history.
Asher Sharol (Binds of Silver Magic (Blood Quintet #2))
The bees came out of the junipers, two small swarms
The size of melons; and golden, too, like melons,
They hung next to each other, at the height of a deer’s breast
Above the wet black compost. And because
The light was very bright it was hard to see them,
And harder still to see what hung between them.
A snake hung between them. The bees held up a snake,
Lifting each side of his narrow neck, just below
The pointed head, and in this way, very slowly
They carried the snake through the garden,
The snake’s long body hanging down, its tail dragging
The ground, as if the creature were a criminal
Being escorted to execution or a child king
To the throne. I kept thinking the snake
Might be a hose, held by two ghostly hands,
But the snake was a snake, his body green as the grass
His tail divided, his skin oiled, the way the male member
Is oiled by the female’s juices, the greenness overbright,
The bees gold, the winged serpent moving silently
Through the air. There was something deadly in it,
Or already dead. Something beyond the report
Of beauty. I laid my face against my arm, and there
It stayed for the length of time it takes two swarms
Of bees to carry a snake through a wide garden,
Past a sleeping swan, past the dead roses nailed
To the wall, past the small pond. And when
I looked up the bees and the snake were gone,
But the garden smelled of broken fruit, and across
The grass a shadow lay for which there was no source,
A narrow plinth dividing the garden, and the air
Was like the air after a fire, or before a storm,
Ungodly still, but full of dark shapes turning.
Brigit Pegeen Kelly (The Orchard)
Everything overlaps in this city,” Ma said. “Do you see that? Everything merges together.” I did see it. Concrete pavements over grass, flats over hawker centres, Malay food over Indian food over Chinese food over McDonald’s. Leaves pointing towards the sky in every possible shade of green—jade; emerald; a deep sea green; a sickly yellowish-green. Beneath them, spotted branches spread in crooked lines across the sky. Behind them, buildings. Underneath those, the MRT snaked across the city. A city; an island; a state; a country. Everything overlapping.
Balli Kaur Jaswal (Sugarbread)
Indra has everything, yet he lives in fear of losing it all. Swarga may be paradise, but it is no heaven.’ ‘What is heaven then?’ ‘Heaven is a place where there is no hunger.’ ‘Does such a place exist?’ ‘Under the Pole Star sits Shiva on a mountain of stone covered with snow. No grass grows there, but his bull, Nandi, does not complain. Nandi does not fear being eaten by Shakti’s tiger either. The snake around Shiva’s neck does not fear being eaten by Kartikeya’s peacock and it does not seek to eat Ganesha’s rat. Clearly, that is a place where there is no hunger. In Swarga there is prosperity, but no peace. I seek peace, I seek Kailas. That must be heaven.
Devdutt Pattanaik (Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana)
hidden from the pedestrians who wandered across to buy discount Viagra; it was deeper into the town, the disorder, the ruinous buildings, the litter, the donkeys cropping grass by the roadside. Reynosa was not its plaza, but rather another hot, dense border town of hard-up Mexicans who spent their lives peering across the frontier, easily able to see—through the slats in the fence, beyond the river—better houses, brighter stores, newer cars, cleaner streets, and no donkeys. At the first stoplight at the intersection of a potholed road of Reynosa, a fat, middle-aged man in shorts and wearing clown makeup—whitened face, red bulb nose, lipsticked mouth—began to juggle three blue balls as the light turned red, and a small girl in a tattered dress, obviously his daughter, passed him a teapot which he balanced on his chin. The small girl hurried to the waiting cars, soliciting pesos. At the next light, a man in sandals and rags juggled three bananas and flexed his muscles while making lunatic faces. A woman hurried from car to car with a basket, offering tamales. Farther on was a fire-eater, a skinny man in pink pajamas gulping smoky flames from a torch.
Paul Theroux (On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey)
Scales on this Green Mamba help it hide in the grass. Snakes have scales that come in many colors. The scales on the snake's stomach help it move. The different colored scales on top of the snake help it hide.
John Yost (Snakes: A Kids Book Of Cool Images And Amazing Facts About Snakes)
And there, as promised, was the grizzly bear habitat, dozens of the brown and black bears ambling along grass and tree below. Yet, from my position above, I did not fear—as I might have a snake—the large animals, or concern myself with the notion of a gondola-gone wrong and accidentally tumbling into their home like dinner falling into place on a well-set table. It was as if we were viewing a dozen worlds in a single instant, partaking in the thrill of it all.
Gina Marinello-Sweeney (Peter (The Veritas Chronicles, #3))
Foragers mastered not only the surrounding world of animals, plants and objects, but also the internal world of their own bodies and senses. They listened to the slightest movement in the grass to learn whether a snake might be lurking there. They carefully observed the foliage of trees in order to discover fruits, beehives and birds’ nests. They moved with a minimum of effort and noise, and knew how to sit, walk and run in the most agile and efficient manner. Varied and constant use of their bodies made them as fit as marathon runners. They had physical dexterity that people today are unable to achieve even after years of practising yoga or t’ai chi.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Our subjective awareness arises out of our dominant left hemisphere’s unrelenting quest to explain these bits and pieces that have popped into consciousness. Notice that popped is in the past tense. This is a post hoc rationalization process. The interpreter that weaves our story only weaves what makes it into consciousness. Because consciousness is a slow process, whatever has made it to consciousness has already happened. It is a fait accompli. As we saw in my story at the beginning of the chapter, I had already jumped before I realized whether I had seen a snake or if it was the wind rustling the grass. What does it mean that we build our theories about ourselves after the fact? How much of the time are we confabulating, giving a fictitious account of a past event, believing it to be true? This post hoc interpreting process has implications for and an impact on the big questions of free will and determinism
Michael S. Gazzaniga (Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain)
The imaginal penetrates this denser world in much the same way as the fragrance of perfume penetrates an entire room, subtly enlivening and harmonizing. My favorite image to begin to access this admittedly mind-bending notion still comes by way of a striking vignette in Isaak Dineson’s Out of Africa, in which she recounts coming upon a beautiful snake moving through the grass, its skin glistening with subtle, variegated colors. So taken with that snake was she that her servant killed it, skinned it, and made it up into a belt for her. But to her dismay, the once glistening skin is now merely dull and grey, because all along the beauty had lain not in the physical skin, but in the quality of the aliveness. The imaginal is that quality of aliveness moving through this realm, interpenetrating, cohering, filling things with the fragrance of implicit meaning whose lines do not converge in this world alone, but at a point beyond. As the Gospel of Thomas describes it:
I am the light shining upon all things,
I am the sum of everything, for from me
Everything has come, and toward me
Everything returns. Pick up a stone and there I am,
Split a piece of wood and you will find me there.
I am five,
Wading out into deep
Unmindful of snakes
& yellowjackets, out
To the yellow flowers
Quivering in sluggish heat.
Don't mess with me
'Cause I have my Lone Ranger
Six-shooter. I can hurt
You with questions
Like silver bullets.
The tall flowers in my dreams are
Big as the First State Bank,
& they eat all the people
Except the ones I love.
They have women's names,
With mouths like where
Babies come from. I am five.
I'll dance for you
If you close your eyes. No
Peeping through your fingers.
I don't supposed to be
This close to the tracks.
One afternoon I saw
What a train did to a cow.
Sometimes I stand so close
I can see the eyes
Of men hiding in boxcars.
Sometimes they wave
& holler for me to get back. I laugh
When trains make the dogs
Howl. Their ears hurt.
I also know bees
Can't live without flowers.
I wonder why Daddy
Calls Mama honey.
All the bees in the world
Live in little white houses
Except the ones in these flowers.
All sticky & sweet inside.
I wonder what death tastes like.
Sometimes I toss the butterflies
Back into the air.
I wish I knew why
The music in my head
Makes me scared.
But I know things
I don't supposed to know.
I could start walking
& never stop.
These yellow flowers
Go on forever.
Almost to Detroit.
Almost to the sea.
My mama says I'm a mistake.
That I made her a bad girl.
My playhouse is underneath
Our house, & I hear people
Telling each other secrets.
Patches of stained red grass. Rotting baby limbs at dusk. The sound of cicadas and laughter; picnics with madmen by the black lake at noon.
Andrew Gallacher (Snake Jaw)
Shelly looked around the jamb again as though whatever animal that had been terrorizing her had a weapon. “That doesn’t look like typical rat shit. You may be right. This needs to be handled right now. You’re a lesbian, get in there and do battle.” “What does being gay have to do with trapping a squirrel?” “Two women live together, who kills the vermin?” Shelly asked with a hand on her hip. “The pest control people, that’s who.” “Butch up and get your ass in there. I won’t tell anyone if you scream like a five-year-old girl.” “I’m a femme lesbian, which puts me in the same class as you.” Ryann pointed to her face. “Note the makeup. Besides, you were the one who always played in the dirt and rode horses.” “There weren’t any squirrels in that dirt with me! I’ll pick up a bug or a frog, I even handled a grass snake once, but I do not deal with rodents.” Ryann leaned against the doorjamb and stared into the room. “It’s most likely under the couch. Where’s Grant?” “After-school detention for piercing his and the noses of his friends with pushpins.” Ryann stared at her in horror. “What is wrong with your kids?
Robin Alexander (Next Time)
You’d better keep her tied.”
“Why?” A yawn stretched Hunter’s dark face.
“Because she’s looking skittish.”
“She’s naked.” Sheathing his knife, Hunter flopped on his back and shaded his eyes with one arm. “She won’t run. Not without clothes. I’ve never seen such a bashful female.”
“The tosi tivo truss up their females in so many clothes, it would take a whole sleep just to undress one. Then they have them wear breeches under the lot. How do they manage to have so many children? I’d be so tired by the time I found skin, I’d never get anything else done.”
“You’d think of something,” Hunter said with a chuckle.
“You know, once you fall asleep, she could go for your knife. You want to wake up with your throat slit?”
“She’s more likely to kill herself than me. You know how they are.” Hunter’s mouth lifted at the corners. “Her honor is gone. A man has seen her naked. As boisa as it sounds, that’s how they think.”
“Want some help watching her?”
Hunter threw back his head and laughed. “Just wake me when the shade leaves, you horny old man. Come anyplace close and I’ll tell Maiden of the Tall Grass. She’ll burn your dinner for a month.”
Loretta watched the other Indian leave, her heart slamming wildly with relief. It was short-lived. Hunter turned onto his side and snaked an arm under the buffalo robe, catching her around the waist. He was fully awake now, and she had no idea what to expect from him when he pulled her close. She scarcely dared breathe, she was so frightened. He snugged his hand beneath her breast and nuzzled his face against the back of her neck.
“You will sleep now, Yellow Hair,” he whispered. “I must rest. It will be a very long journey home.
Catherine Anderson (Comanche Moon (Comanche, #1))
A few watercourses still held the red rays of sunset. They glittered like fire snakes, twining through the dark opaqueness of the landscape, murmuring through funereal waving plumes of blackening grass and rushes. They had witnessed the chasing of witches to their deaths. Here, where all was now still, save for the wailing cry of the peewit, those beings ha shrieked aloud their innocence, or ,borne aloft on the maddened wings of ambitious ecstasy,had proclaimed their power to raise the quick and the dead , to curse if they could not bless, hate if they could not love-clothing themselves with sombre majesty, playing with elemental fires, rather than eat porridge humbly , bow to the squire, and tremble before the priest.
Ethel Carnie Holdsworth (Helen of Four Gates)
…I was startled out of my concentration by the sound of malicious hissing. Waddling toward me with remarkable speed were two huge white geese, their heads thrust forward, mouths open like snakes with their tongues protruding, emitting a terrifying sound. I gave a low involuntary cry and began to backtrack toward my car, afraid to take my eyes off them. They covered the ground between us at a pace that forced me into a run. I barely reached my car before they caught up with me. I wrenched the door open and slammed it again with a panic I hadn't felt in years. I locked both doors, half expecting the viperous birds to batter at my windows until they gave way. For a moment they balanced, half lifted, wings flapping, black eyes bright with ill-will, their hissing faces even with mine. And then they lost interest and waddled off, honking and hissing, pecking savagely at the grass. Until that moment, it had never even occurred to me to include crazed geese among my fears, but they had suddenly shot straight to the top of the list along with worms and water bugs.
Sue Grafton (A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone, #1))
Yes, thought Maggie, it was lonely but it was nice there. The picket fence and the crosses would be covered by snow in the winter. Then the spring sunshine beating on the hillside would melt the snow, and the snow would run off, and the crosses would stand revealed again. And in the spring the Canada geese would pass in their arrows of flight, honking, honking, high over the silent hillside. Later in the season, when the big white moon was full, coyotes would sing among the hills at night, on and on in the moonlight, stopping, and then all beginning again together. Spring flowers would come — a few — in the coarse grass. Then, in the heat of the summer, bright small snakes and beetles would slip through the grasses, and the crickets would dryly sing. Then the sumac would turn scarlet, and the skeins of wild geese would return in their swift pointed arrows of flight to the south, passing high overhead between the great hills. Their musical cry would drop down into the valley lying in silence. Then would come the snow, and the three wooden crosses would be covered again. It was indeed very nice there
Ethel Wilson (Swamp Angel)
A lone spider crawled over the tops of the blades of grass and chose the unfortunate direction of the base of the fire. Felt the heat and scuttled under the drying nose of the heifer in another poor decision, another set of carbon parts to crinkle and collapse under the heat. Like the snakes that propelled themselves through the wheat only to fall under tractor blades, and the insects that chopped across stems like calcium machines, and the worms that hooked and churned and overturned again and again in bovine guts, over and over and dead dead dead. A land that was built to consume them and to consume their descendants over and over once again. To consume him, and he pulled his hand away from the wild oat strands he held as if they were hot and then sunk his hands back in.
Rae DelBianco (Rough Animals)
The human collective knows far more today than did the ancient bands. But at the individual level, ancient foragers were the most knowledgeable and skilful people in history. There is some evidence that the size of the average Sapiens brain has actually decreased since the age of foraging.5 Survival in that era required superb mental abilities from everyone. When agriculture and industry came along people could increasingly rely on the skills of others for survival, and new ‘niches for imbeciles’ were opened up. You could survive and pass your unremarkable genes to the next generation by working as a water carrier or an assembly-line worker. Foragers mastered not only the surrounding world of animals, plants and objects, but also the internal world of their own bodies and senses. They listened to the slightest movement in the grass to learn whether a snake might be lurking there. They carefully observed the foliage of trees in order to discover fruits, beehives and bird nests. They moved with a minimum of effort and noise, and knew how to sit, walk and run in the most agile and efficient manner. Varied and constant use of their bodies made them as fit as marathon runners. They had physical dexterity that people today are unable to achieve even after years of practising yoga or t’ai chi.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
I shouted over the music, 'I don't need a keeper"' I wanted to spin and spin and spin.
'No, you don't,' Tamlin said, never once stumbling over his playing. How his bow did dance upon the strings, his fingers sturdy and strong, no sign of those claws that I had come to stop fearing... 'Dance, Feyre,' he whispered.
So I did.
I was loosened, a top whirling around and around, and I didn't know who I danced with or what they looked like, only that I had become the music and the fire and the night, and there was nothing that could slow me down.
Through it all, Tamlin and his musicians played such joyous music that I didn't think the world could contain it all. I sashayed over to him, my faerie lord, my protector and warrior, my friend, and danced before him. He grinned at me, and I didn't break my dancing as he rose from his seat and knelt before me in the grass, offering up a solo on his fiddle to me.
Music just for me- a gift. He played on, his fingers fast and hard upon the strings of his fiddle. My body slithering like a snake, I tipped my head back to the heavens and let Tamlin's music fill all of me.
There was a pressure at my waist and I was swept away in someone's arms as they whisked me back into the ring of dancing. I laughed so hard I thought I'd combust, and when I opened my eyes, I found Tamlin there, spinning me round and round.
Everything became a blur of colour and sound, and he was the only object in it, tethering me to sanity, to my body, which glowed and burned in every place he touched.
I was filled with sunshine. It was like I'd never experienced summer before, like I'd never known who was waiting to emerge from that forest of ice and snow. I didn't want it to end- I never wanted to leave this hilltop.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
Oh doors of your body
There are nine and I have opened them all
Oh doors of your body
There are nine and for me they have all closed again
At the first door
Clear Reason has died
It was do you remember? the first day in Nice
Your left eye like a snake slides
Even my heart
And let the door of your left gaze open again
At the second door
All my strength has died
It was do you remember? in a hostel in Cagnes
Your right eye was beating like my heart
Your eyelids throbbed like flowers beat in the breeze
And let the door of your right gaze open again
At the third door
Hear the aorta beat
And all my arteries swollen from your only love
And let the door of your left ear be reopened
At the fourth gate
They escort me every spring
And listening listening to the beautiful forest
Upload this song of love and nests
So sad for the soldiers who are at war
And let the door of your right ear reopen
At the fifth gate
It is my life that I bring you
It was do you remember? on the train returning from Grasse
And in the shade, very close, very short
Your mouth told me
Words of damnation so wicked and so tender
What do I ask of my wounded soul
How could I hear them without dying
Oh words so sweet so strong that when I think about it I seem to touch them
And let the door of your mouth open again
At the sixth gate
Your gestation of putrefaction oh War is aborting
Behold all the springs with their flowers
Here are the cathedrals with their incense
Here are your armpits with their divine smell
And your perfumed letters that I smell
And let the door on the left side of your nose be reopened
At the seventh gate
Oh perfumes of the past that the current of air carries away
The saline effluvia gave your lips the taste of the sea
Marine smell smell of love under our windows the sea was dying
And the smell of the orange trees enveloped you with love
While in my arms you cuddled
Still and quiet
And let the door on the right side of your nose be reopened
At the eighth gate
Two chubby angels care for the trembling roses they bear
The exquisite sky of your elastic waist
And here I am armed with a whip made of moonbeams
Hyacinth-crowned loves arrive in droves.
And let the door of your soul open again
With the ninth gate
Love itself must come out
Life of my life
I join you for eternity
And for the perfect love without anger
We will come to pure and wicked passion
According to what we want
To know everything to see everything to hear
I gave up in the deep secret of your love
Oh shady gate oh living coral gate
Between two columns of perfection
And let the door open again that your hands know how to open so well
Deep in the meadow, under the willow A bed of grass, a soft green pillow Lay down your head, and close your sleepy eyes And when again they open, the sun will rise.
Suzanne Collins (The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0))
One day Mara found a snakeskin in the grass. It was a whole skin, almost three feet long, and tied in a loose knot. As if the snake had curled through itself to shed. She thought about showing it off, but the snakeskin felt like hers alone, a secret, and she snuck it into one of the earth bags, nestled between one layer of dirt and the next. A talisman; her own contribution to the build.
Blair Braverman (Small Game)