Struck Heart Quotes

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His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
I have outlasted all desire, My dreams and I have grown apart; My grief alone is left entire, The gleamings of an empty heart. The storms of ruthless dispensation Have struck my flowery garland numb, I live in lonely desolation And wonder when my end will come. Thus on a naked tree-limb, blasted By tardy winter's whistling chill, A single leaf which has outlasted Its season will be trembling still.
Alexander Pushkin
I will love you as a thief loves a gallery and as a crow loves a murder, as a cloud loves bats and as a range loves braes. I will love you as misfortune loves orphans, as fire loves innocence and as justice loves to sit and watch while everything goes wrong. I will love you as a battlefield loves young men and as peppermints love your allergies, and I will love you as the banana peel loves the shoe of a man who was just struck by a shingle falling off a house. I will love you as a volunteer fire department loves rushing into burning buildings and as burning buildings love to chase them back out, and as a parachute loves to leave a blimp and as a blimp operator loves to chase after it. I will love you as a dagger loves a certain person’s back, and as a certain person loves to wear dagger proof tunics, and as a dagger proof tunic loves to go to a certain dry cleaning facility, and how a certain employee of a dry cleaning facility loves to stay up late with a pair of binoculars, watching a dagger factory for hours in the hopes of catching a burglar, and as a burglar loves sneaking up behind people with binoculars, suddenly realizing that she has left her dagger at home. I will love you as a drawer loves a secret compartment, and as a secret compartment loves a secret, and as a secret loves to make a person gasp, and as a gasping person loves a glass of brandy to calm their nerves, and as a glass of brandy loves to shatter on the floor, and as the noise of glass shattering loves to make someone else gasp, and as someone else gasping loves a nearby desk to lean against, even if leaning against it presses a lever that loves to open a drawer and reveal a secret compartment. I will love you until all such compartments are discovered and opened, and until all the secrets have gone gasping into the world. I will love you until all the codes and hearts have been broken and until every anagram and egg has been unscrambled. I will love you until every fire is extinguised and until every home is rebuilt from the handsomest and most susceptible of woods, and until every criminal is handcuffed by the laziest of policemen. I will love until M. hates snakes and J. hates grammar, and I will love you until C. realizes S. is not worthy of his love and N. realizes he is not worthy of the V. I will love you until the bird hates a nest and the worm hates an apple, and until the apple hates a tree and the tree hates a nest, and until a bird hates a tree and an apple hates a nest, although honestly I cannot imagine that last occurrence no matter how hard I try. I will love you as we grow older, which has just happened, and has happened again, and happened several days ago, continuously, and then several years before that, and will continue to happen as the spinning hands of every clock and the flipping pages of every calendar mark the passage of time, except for the clocks that people have forgotten to wind and the calendars that people have forgotten to place in a highly visible area. I will love you as we find ourselves farther and farther from one another, where we once we were so close that we could slip the curved straw, and the long, slender spoon, between our lips and fingers respectively. I will love you until the chances of us running into one another slip from slim to zero, and until your face is fogged by distant memory, and your memory faced by distant fog, and your fog memorized by a distant face, and your distance distanced by the memorized memory of a foggy fog. I will love you no matter where you go and who you see, no matter where you avoid and who you don’t see, and no matter who sees you avoiding where you go. I will love you no matter what happens to you, and no matter how I discover what happens to you, and no matter what happens to me as I discover this, and now matter how I am discovered after what happens to me as I am discovering this.
Lemony Snicket
Once in a while i am struck all over again... by just how blue the sky appears .. on wind-played autumn mornings, blue enough to bruise a heart.
Sanober Khan
I've lived to bury my desires and see my dreams corrode with rust now all that's left are fruitless fires that burn my empty heart to dust. Struck by the clouds of cruel fate My crown of Summer bloom is sere Alone and sad, I watch and wait And wonder if the end is near. As conquered by the last cold air When Winter whistles in the wind Alone upon a branch that's bare A trembling leaf is left behind.
Alexander Pushkin
As she was putting her boots on Daisy threw a barb over her shoulder that struck Connie right in the middle of her chest. ‘Grow up, Connie! This place is not for faint-hearted romantics!
Sheena Billett (From Manchester to the Arctic: Nurse Sanders embarks on an adventure that will change her life)
That was the change in her from ten years ago; that, indeed, was her reward, this haunting, magical sadness which spoke straight to the heart and struck silence; it was the completion of her beauty.
Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisited)
You’re a talking unicorn,” I said. “Sometimes when you poop, it comes out as rainbows and smells like cookies. There is nothing subtle about you.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
You know what they say, once you go dragon, all the rest is just laggin’.” “No one says that,” I said. “Absolutely no one.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
She knew her nature. She would recognize it if she came face-to-face with it. It would be a blue-eyed green-eyed monster, wolflike and snarling. A vicious beast that struck out at friends in uncontrollable anger, a killer that offered itself as a vessel of the king's fury. But then it was a strange monster, for beneath its exterior it was frightened and sickened by its own violence. It chastised itself for its savagery. And sometimes it had no heart for violence and rebelled against it utterly. A monster that refused, sometimes, to behave like a monster. When a monster stopped behaving like a monster , did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else? Perhaps she wouldn't recognize her own nature after all.
Kristin Cashore (Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1))
I’m sorry, Olivia, for hurting you,” he said hoarsely and my heart heaved in my chest. Why was his voice so gentle? Why wasn’t he screaming at me? I was the one who did the hurting. It was me. My fault. My sin. My mess. “You will never see me again after today.” He paused and his next words struck me so deeply I would never recover from them. “I will love again, Olivia, you will hurt forever. What you’ve done is…You are worthless because you make yourself that way. You will remember me every day for the rest of your life because I was the one and you threw me away.” And then he left.
Tarryn Fisher (The Opportunist (Love Me with Lies, #1))
He looked at her, and the clarity of his dark eyes struck her heart with a sensation of a wound touched.
Shannon Hale (The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern, #1))
Because you love me,” I said, sounding smug. “More like you grew on me,” he said. “Like fungus.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
I don’t have time for all the relations and courting and wooing bullshit,” I said. “I’m a wizard. I have quests.” “Uh, you’re an apprentice,” Gary said. “And you’re sent on errands.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
Vlad's heart sank into his stomach, then squeezed its way down his leg and popped out of the hole in his shoe, where it struck the floor and broke.
Heather Brewer (Eighth Grade Bites (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, #1))
And it struck her how intimate words could be, how they could be spoken only once, for only one person, and they would never be heard again, they would disappear like a moment, gone almost as soon as you realized they were there.
Stephanie Garber (The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart, #2))
Please let it be known that from this day forward my working title for the business is now 'Queen of the Fuck Palace!
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
Love-struck' means being hit in your heart by the emotion of love.
Zoe Sugg
You okay, Sam?” “Ha-ha, why wouldn’t I be? Everything is peachy! I’m okay. I’m better than okay.” “Okay. I only ask because you haven’t stopped staring at me for the last four hours.” “You lie with all your lies!
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
The color of your dress really brings out the extraordinary paleness of your skin tone. Are you unwell? Dying, perhaps?
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
Horse?” Gary snarled. The pretty unicorn act dropped immediately. Red sparks shot from his nose. “Did you just call me a horse? Listen here, you two-legged bag of shit. I’m not a motherfucking horse. I am a unicorn, and I am magic and a beautiful creature made of fucking sunshine and rainbows and good feelings.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
I wish I could find that one person made for me so that way I can show them why I was made for them.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
I’m a dragon, and maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll be dragon my balls across your face later.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
It had struck me that the world was full of holes, holes which you could fall into, never to be seen again. I couldn't understand the difference between disappearance and death. Both seemed the same to me, both left holes. Holes in your heart holes in your life.
Sally Gardner (Maggot Moon)
He was struck by the details of the moment. This was something he needed to remember, when he dreamt. This feeling right here: heart thudding, pollen sticky on his fingertips, July pricking sweat at his breastbone, the smell of gasoline and someone else's charcoal grill.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2))
Look. This has been… fun.” Lie. This had been nerve-racking and I needed to go masturbate. “But I have to go. I’ve got stuff to do before I head out again.” Masturbate. “Wizard stuff. Like… secret wizard stuff.” Masturbate.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
One of the greatest gifts we receive from dogs is the tenderness they evoke in us. The disappointments of life, the injustices, the battering events that are beyond our control, and the betrayals we endure, from those we befriended and loved, can make us cynical and turn our hearts into flint – on which only the matches of anger and bitterness can be struck into flame. By their delight in being with us, the reliable sunniness of their disposition, the joy they bring to playtime, the curiosity with which they embrace each new experience, dogs can melt cynicism,and sweeten the bitter heart.
Dean Koontz (A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog)
I’m sorry I made an oath. I did it because I thought it was the right thing to do. And I’m sorry that I can’t break it. But you have to believe me that it’s always been you. I promise. I promise." His voice cracked and my hands shook. "I promise, because when I look upon these stars, there is nothing I wish for more than you.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
If Sam were a tree, you know what kind of tree he’d be?” “What kind?” “A pine. Because of all the pining.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
Good-bye, self-esteem and fuzzy feelings. It was so nice to make your acquaintance.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
My hopes were all dead --- struck with a subtle doom, such as, in one night, fell on all the first-born in the land of Egypt. I looked on my cherished wishes, yesterday so blooming and glowing; they lay stark, chill, livid corpses that could never revive. I looked at my love: that feeling which had been my master's --- which he had created; it shivered in my heart, like a suffering child in a cold cradle; sickness and anguish had seized it; it could not seek Mr Rochester's arms --- it could not derive warmth from his breast. Oh, never more could it turn to him; for faith was blighted -- confidence destroyed!
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
You just have to believe,” I said as I flexed. “I believe you should work out more if you’re going to keep doing that,” Gary said. “Because it’s making me feel sad for you.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
I am a strong, independent unicorn, and I will not take your shit.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
It's you," I said, not able to look away. "It's how I feel when I'm with you. How I think I've always felt. You're my lightning-struck heart. It doesn't matter about the cornerstone. It doesn't matter about who I am or who you are. Not to me. I think it would have always been this way for me. Even if we had never escaped the slums. Ever since the beginning. Ever since I've known you, you've struck my heart, and now I have to let you go because you're not mine to keep. I need someone that I can be strong for. But I need someone who can also be strong for me.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
Or not,” I said as I ground my teeth. “I like to masticate by myself.” “And you’re so good at it,” Gary said. “The up and down motions of your… jaw. And then, upon completion, you swallow. Right, Sam? You swallow, don’t you?” “Of course I do,” I said, confused. What the hell were we talking about now? “I always swallow when I finish. What am I supposed to do? Spit it back out?
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
I am not good at noticing when I'm happy, except in retrospect. My gift, or fatal flaw, is for nostalgia. I have sometimes been accused of demanding perfection, of rejecting heart's desires as soon as I get close enough that the mysterious impressionistic gloss disperses into plain solid dots, but the truth is less simplistic than that. I know very well that perfection is made up of frayed, off-struck mundanities. I suppose you could say my real weakness is a kind of long-sightedness: usually it is only at a distance, and much too late, that I can see the pattern.
Tana French (In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1))
No cursing,” I scolded him. “You’re a knight. You don’t get to do that. You gave up that right when you swore your oath to the King. You have to lead by example now. So say stuff like ‘fudge toast’ and ‘mothercrackers’ instead of ‘shit whore’ and ‘fuck storm.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
We went into the Dark Woods and I almost had to get gay fairy married again and now I feel really bad and Ryan got bad-touched by trees and Fairy King Dimitri was cryptic and annoying and apparently has a size kink.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
I hit my parabatai in the face once.” “You did what?” “As I said.” Jem seemed to enjoy her astonishment. “I struck my parabatai—I loved him more than anyone else in the world I’ve ever loved save Tessa, and I struck him in the face because my heart was breaking. I can hardly judge anyone else.
Cassandra Clare (Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3))
Pfft,” I scoffed. “Feelings. I don’t have feelings.” I had so many feelings. None of them were good.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
Hi, Sam!" "Hi, Tiggy." "You okay?" "Yes, Tiggy." "Tiggy smash something for Sam?" "No, Tiggy." "Tiggy smash something for Sam." He smashed one of the wooden sparring dummies. "Thank you, Tiggy." "Tiggy smash!" he bellowed and then proceeded to smash three more.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
How is that weird?” Dark the First asked incredulously. “Literally everyone does it. Literally.” “I really wish you’d stop saying literally,” Dark the Second said. “I literally don’t think you understand what that word means.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalks really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees—he could climb to it, if he climbed alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder. His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete. Through all he said, even through his appalling sentimentality, I was reminded of something—an elusive rhythm, a fragment of lost words, that I had heard somewhere a long time ago. For a moment a phrase tried to take shape in my mouth and my lips parted like a dumb man’s, as though there was more struggling upon them than a wisp of startled air. But they made no sound, and what I had almost remembered was uncommunicable forever.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
Sebastian, who had begun to laugh, seemed struck by that last comment. “Ahhh,” he said softly. “That explains it.” He was silent for a moment, lost in some distant, pleasurable memory. “Dangerous creatures, wallflowers. Approach them with the utmost caution. They sit quietly in corners, appearing abandoned and forlorn, when in truth they’re sirens who lure men to their downfall. You won’t even notice the moment she steals the heart right out of your body—and then it’s hers for good. A wallflower never gives your heart back.” “Are you finished amusing yourself?” Gabriel asked, impatient with his father’s flight of fancy.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
I like your shoes,” I said. Because I did. They were pink and pointed, and I wanted a pair like that so bad. My mom and dad groaned. Morgan looked at me and cocked his head. “Thank you, little one. I made them out of the tears of a succubus and a lightning-struck tree stump I found under the Winter Moon. I like your face.” I grinned. “Thank you, big one. My parents made it when they got married. I was a honeymoon baby, whatever that means.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
I’m going to have to work out even more now tomorrow to make up for all the potatoes and bread. Okay. I feel bad. That was a lie. I’m not going to work out at all. That sounds just awful.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
Gary, why Sam sweating?” “Well you see, my dear Tiggy. When a boy loves another boy very much, it makes him awkward and have feelings in his penis and mmmphh!” “Sam, why you use magic and glue Gary’s mouth shut?” “Is that what that was? Gosh! I just thought I was singing to myself!” “MMMMPH!
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
Hi, my name is Ryan Foxheart. Oh no! There’s danger afoot! Let me pull out my sword and pose.” I mimed pulling a sword from my side and cocked an eyebrow. “Notice how dashing I am. And immaculate. And today, my hair is parted on the right. Wink.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
Gary snorted. When he did, little pink and purple sparkles shot out his nose. Being a unicorn is awesome like that.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
I squawked attractively. Okay. That was a lie. There is no way to squawk attractively. It was rather unattractive. Arms flailing, legs kicking. It was just awful.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
I winked at myself in the mirror and then realized that’s what douchebags did, so I vowed to never do it again. I
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
The first time I met him, I accidentally turned his nose into a penis. I was young and thought about dick a lot.” Ryan almost fell down. For no apparent reason. He wasn’t even walking. I arched an eyebrow at him. “You okay?” “I just…,” Ryan started. “I don’t….Sam.” “That pretty much sums up how we all feel about Sam,” Gary said. “Fond with strong overtures of horror.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
I like you,” Gary finally said in a low voice. “Thank you? I thought you already did.” “No. Like, I really like you. Before, I was just pretending. I actually think I almost despised you. But now I don’t.” “You almost despised me.” “Almost.” “And now you don’t.” “Now I don’t.” “Because….” Gary breathed more on his face, nostrils flaring. Then (finally), “Unicorns are fickle creatures. I don’t need a reason to change my mind. It’s been done and you should just accept it and be thankful I no longer plot to murder you in your sleep.” “Testify,” Tiggy said. “So now you have affection for me,” Ryan said, “and you—” “I didn’t say affection. I said I liked you, not that I’m ready to pick out curtains. Gods. Calm the fuck down. You’re engaged to be married. I will not be your dirty little secret. I am a strong, independent unicorn, and I will not take your shit.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
[There is a] kind of all-embracing universality evident in Mother Teresa’s prayer: “May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.” Not just fellow nuns, Catholics, Calcuttans, Indians. The whole world. It gives me pause to realize that, were such a prayer said by me and answered by God, I would afterward possess a heart so open that even hate-driven zealots would fall inside... [My] sense of the world as a gift, my sense of a grace operative in this world despite its terrors, propels me to allow the world to open my heart still wider, even if the openness comes by breaking—for I have seen the whole world fall into a few hearts, and nothing has ever struck me as more beautiful.
David James Duncan
The unicorn stared at him. Then, “Gary.” “Your name is Gary,” Sam said. “Yes.” “Ah. That’s… not very unicorn-like.” Gary scowled. “And what is unicorn-like?” Sam shrugged. “I don’t know. Like Princess Moon Cloud or Ethereal Tear or Star Shine.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
And the purple parted before it, snapping back like skin after a slash, and what it let out wasn't blood but light: amazing orange light that filled her heart and mind with a terrible mixture of joy, terror, and sorrow. No wonder she had repressed this memory all these years. It was too much. Far too much. The light seemed to give the fading air of evening a silken texture, and the cry of a bird struck her ear like a pebble made of glass. A cap of breeze filled her nostrils with a hundred exotic perfumes: frangipani, bougainvillea, dusty roses, and oh dear God, night-blooming cereus... And rising above one horizon came the orange mansion of the moon, bloated and burning cold, while the sun sank below the other, boiling in a crimson house of fire. She thought that mixture of furious light would kill her with its beauty.
Stephen King (Lisey's Story)
Are they speaking in code?” Mom asked Dad, trying to be quiet but failing miserably. “I don’t know,” Dad said. “I don’t speak wizard.” “Neither do I. I feel like we’ve failed as parents.” “Nah,” Dad said easily. “Look at him. He’s adorable and knows how to put on his own pants. We did good.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
Then I noticed that my shadow was crying too, shedding clear, sharp shadow tears. Have you ever seen the shadows of tears, Mr. Wind-Up Bird? They’re nothing like ordinary shadows. Nothing at all. They come here from some other, distant world, especially for our hearts. Or maybe not. It struck me then that the tears my shadow was shedding might be the real thing, and the tears that I was shedding were just shadows. You don’t get it, I’m sure, Mr. Wind-Up Bird. When a naked seventeen-year-old girl is shedding tears in the moonlight, anything can happen. It’s true.
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
She has enough men fawning over her," I said. "They come and go like . . ." I strained to think of an analogy and failed. "I’d rather be her friend." "You would rather be close to her heart," Wilem said without any particular inflection. "You would rather be joyfully held in the circle of her arms. But you fear she will reject you. You fear she would laugh and you would look the fool." Wilem shrugged easily. "You are hardly the first to feel this way. There is no shame in it." That struck uncomfortably close to the mark, and for a long moment I couldn’t think of anything to say in reply. "I hope," I admitted quietly. "But I don’t want to assume. I’ve seen what happens to the men that assume too much and cling to her.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2))
Nothing but the sight of blood upon his dark face would ease the pain in her heart. She lunged for him, swift as a cat, but with a light startled movement, he sidestepped, throwing up his arm to ward her off. She was standing on the edge of the freshly waxed top step, and as her arm with the whole weight of her body behind it, struck his out-thrust arm, she lost her balance. She made a wild clutch for the newel post and missed it. She went down the stairs backwards, feeling a sickening dart of pain in her ribs as she landed. And, too dazed to catch herself she rolled over and over to the bottom of the flight.
Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind)
It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie--I found that out. So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write the letter--and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote: Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send. HUCK FINN. I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking--thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he's got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper. It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: "All right, then, I'll GO to hell"--and tore it up.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
With the passage of days in this godly isolation [desert], my heart grew calm. It seemed to fill with answers. I did not ask questions any more; I was certain. Everything - where we came from, where we are going, what our purpose is on earth - struck me as extremely sure and simple in this God-trodden isolation. Little by little my blood took on the godly rhythm. Matins, Divine Liturgy, vespers, psalmodies, the sun rising in the morning and setting in the evening, the constellations suspended like chandeliers each night over the monastery: all came and went, came and went in obedience to eternal laws, and drew the blood of man into the same placid rhythm. I saw the world as a tree, a gigantic poplar, and myself as a green leaf clinging to a branch with my slender stalk. When God's wind blew, I hopped and danced, together with the entire tree.
Nikos Kazantzakis
The Church is in the world, it is part of the suffering in the world, and though Christ condemned the disciple who struck off the ear of the high priest's servant, our hearts go out in sympathy to all who are moved to violence by the suffering of others. The Church condemns violence, but it condemns indifference more harshly. Violence can be the expression of love, indifference never. One is an imperfection of charity, the other the perfection of egoism.
Graham Greene (The Comedians)
Once upon a time there was a king who had three beautiful daughters. No, no, wait. Once upon a time there were three bears who lived in a wee house in the woods. Once upon a time there were three soldiers, tramping together down the road after the war. Once upon a time there were three little pigs. Once upon a time there were three brothers. No, this is it. This is the variation I want. Once upon a time there were three Beautiful children, two boys and a girl. When each baby was born, the parents rejoiced, the heavens rejoiced, even the fairies rejoiced. The fairies came to christening parties and gave the babies magical gifts. Bounce, effort, and snark. Contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. Sugar, curiosity, and rain. And yet, there was a witch. There's always a witch. This which was the same age as the beautiful children, and as she and they grew, she was jealous of the girl, and jealous of the boys, too. They were blessed with all these fairy gifts, gifts the witch had been denied at her own christening. The eldest boy was strong and fast, capable and handsome. Though it's true, he was exceptionally short. The next boy was studious and open hearted. Though it's true, he was an outsider. And the girl was witty, Generous, and ethical. Though it's true, she felt powerless. The witch, she was none of these things, for her parents had angered the fairies. No gifts were ever bestowed upon her. She was lonely. Her only strength was her dark and ugly magic. She confuse being spartan with being charitable, and gave away her possessions without truly doing good with them. She confuse being sick with being brave, and suffered agonies while imagining she merited praise for it. She confused wit with intelligence, and made people laugh rather than lightening their hearts are making them think. Hey magic was all she had, and she used it to destroy what she most admired. She visited each young person in turn in their tenth birthday, but did not harm them out right. The protection of some kind fairy - the lilac fairy, perhaps - prevented her from doing so. What she did instead was cursed them. "When you are sixteen," proclaimed the witch in a rage of jealousy, "you shall prick your finger on a spindle - no, you shall strike a match - yes, you will strike a match and did in its flame." The parents of the beautiful children were frightened of the curse, and tried, as people will do, to avoid it. They moved themselves and the children far away, to a castle on a windswept Island. A castle where there were no matches. There, surely, they would be safe. There, Surely, the witch would never find them. But find them she did. And when they were fifteen, these beautiful children, just before their sixteenth birthdays and when they're nervous parents not yet expecting it, the jealous which toxic, hateful self into their lives in the shape of a blonde meeting. The maiden befriended the beautiful children. She kissed him and took them on the boat rides and brought them fudge and told them stories. Then she gave them a box of matches. The children were entranced, for nearly sixteen they have never seen fire. Go on, strike, said the witch, smiling. Fire is beautiful. Nothing bad will happen. Go on, she said, the flames will cleanse your souls. Go on, she said, for you are independent thinkers. Go on, she said. What is this life we lead, if you did not take action? And they listened. They took the matches from her and they struck them. The witch watched their beauty burn, Their bounce, Their intelligence, Their wit, Their open hearts, Their charm, Their dreams for the future. She watched it all disappear in smoke.
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
My dearest friend Abigail, These probably could be the last words I write to you and I may not live long enough to see your response but I truly have lived long enough to live forever in the hearts of my friends. I thought a lot about what I should write to you. I thought of giving you blessings and wishes for things of great value to happen to you in future; I thought of appreciating you for being the way you are; I thought to give sweet and lovely compliments for everything about you; I thought to write something in praise of your poems and prose; and I thought of extending my gratitude for being one of the very few sincerest friends I have ever had. But that is what all friends do and they only qualify to remain as a part of the bunch of our loosely connected memories and that's not what I can choose to be, I cannot choose to be lost somewhere in your memories. So I thought of something through which I hope you will remember me for a very long time. I decided to share some part of my story, of what led me here, the part we both have had in common. A past, which changed us and our perception of the world. A past, which shaped our future into an unknown yet exciting opportunity to revisit the lost thoughts and to break free from the libido of our lost dreams. A past, which questioned our whole past. My dear, when the moment of my past struck me, in its highest demonised form, I felt dead, like a dead-man walking in flesh without a soul, who had no reason to live any more. I no longer saw any meaning of life but then I saw no reason to die as well. I travelled to far away lands, running away from friends, family and everyone else and I confined myself to my thoughts, to my feelings and to myself. Hours, days, weeks and months passed and I waited for a moment of magic to happen, a turn of destiny, but nothing happened, nothing ever happens. I waited and I counted each moment of it, thinking about every moment of my life, the good and the bad ones. I then saw how powerful yet weak, bright yet dark, beautiful yet ugly, joyous yet grievous; is a one single moment. One moment makes the difference. Just a one moment. Such appears to be the extreme and undisputed power of a single moment. We live in a world of appearance, Abigail, where the reality lies beyond the appearances, and this is also only what appears to be such powerful when in actuality it is not. I realised that the power of the moment is not in the moment itself. The power, actually, is in us. Every single one of us has the power to make and shape our own moments. It is us who by feeling joyful, celebrate for a moment of success; and it is also us who by feeling saddened, cry and mourn over our losses. I, with all my heart and mind, now embrace this power which lies within us. I wish life offers you more time to make use of this power. Remember, we are our own griefs, my dear, we are our own happinesses and we are our own remedies. Take care! Love, Francis. Title: Letter to Abigail Scene: "Death-bed" Chapter: The Road To Awe
Huseyn Raza
The zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is simply the Dharma gate of repose and bliss, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the manifestation of ultimate reality. Traps and snares can never reach it. Once its heart is grasped, you are like the dragon when he gains the water, like the tiger when she enters the mountain. For you must know that just there (in zazen) the right Dharma is manifesting itself and that, from the first, dullness and distraction are struck aside.
Dōgen
found out I really hated dancing with strangers who were trying to get up in my business, so I filled in the silence with vivid descriptions of how we’d have at least ten kids and that I knew a spell that would allow us to get pregnant so we could take turns just popping out the ass babies. I’m pretty sure a couple of them all but ran by the time we’d finished. I waved after them.
T.J. Klune (The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania, #1))
For fairness and loyalty, however important to the head, were issues that could seldom be squared in the human heart, at the deepest depths of which lay the mystery of affection, of love, which you either felt or you didn't, pure as instinct, which seized you, not the other way around, making a mockery of words like "should" and "ought". The human heart, where compromise could not be struck, not ever. Where transgressions exacted a terrible price. Where tangled black limbs fell. Where the boom got lowered.
Richard Russo (Nobody's Fool (Sully #1))
And then it arose and struck Vimes that, in her own special category, she was quite beautiful; this was the category of all the women, in his entire life, who had ever thought he was worth smiling at. She couldn’t do worse, but then, he couldn’t do better. So maybe it balanced out. She wasn’t getting any younger but then, who was? And she had style and money and common-sense and self-assurance and all the things that he didn’t, and she had opened her heart, and if you let her she could engulf you; the woman was a city.
Terry Pratchett (Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch, #1))
You're safe with me, Mira. And I'm safe with you." He kissed her again to prove it. And when the clock struck one - that lone, ominous tone hovering in the dark - they were still kissing. Her razor blade had snagged his shirt and nicked his chest, and they'd ended up lying in the grass, hidden inside a shadow, ignoring their names whenever someone called them. He traced her mouth again and again, like he still couldn't believe it was real. There would always be a part of him she couldn't know. A secret place where his heartbreak was stored, where lost innocence and regret filled the air like smoke. She had no desire to open that door ... but she didn't know if that would change one day. If the key would tempt her, if a fairy would manipulate her or she would just be curious. But she had to believe she could be strong enough to resist. That what she wanted - what they both wanted - mattered more than the path that had been laid out for them. She let her hand slip under his shirt to touch the heart mark on his back, and he brought her other hand to his lips, and kissed every finger he'd entrusted with the key. He was so much more than his curse, and she was so much more than the girl who could betray him. Together ... they could be anything.
Sarah Cross (Kill Me Softly (Beau Rivage, #1))
Promises are meant to be broken, that’s what people always say, but what if I want to keep mine? To this day, I’d sooner break my bones than go back on any of the words I said so dearly to you. We’re so young, God, we’re so young. Only sixteen with a pocketful of big dreams. The world is in our hands, that’s what people always say, but what if I’m afraid to carry it? What if I don’t want to be Atlas? You, my dear, are unshakeable. You hold your cards close to your chest. Courage finds a home in the space between your ribs. I’m too young to understand, that’s what people always say, but I am old enough to see. There’s a forest fire in your eyes that sets me alight. A bravery in your heart that beats in tune to mine. My darling, you’re something out of a story. Poetry doesn’t begin to do your soul justice. Change is inevitable, that’s what people always say, but what if that change is good? There’s a lightness to my steps there wasn’t before. There’s a brightness in my heart there wasn’t before. If you held me up to a candle, my silhouette would be covered in your name. Before you, I used to care what people always say your lovely heart led me astray in unexpected ways. Sometimes I think I’m going to burst into flames. From the spark you struck inside my chest. I wonder, how do you keep from setting yourself afire? But then comes the startling yet undeniable understanding. You are fireproof, lionheart and now I am, too.
Tashie Bhuiyan (Counting Down with You)
Someday, emerging at last from the violent insight, let me sing out jubilation and praise to assenting angels. Let not even one of the clearly-struck hammers of my heart fail to sound because of a slack, a doubtful, or a broken string. Let my joyfully streaming face make me more radiant; let my hidden weeping arise and blossom. How dear you will be to me then, you nights of anguish. Why didn't I kneel more deeply to accept you, inconsolable sisters, and surrendering, lose myself in your loosened hair. How we squander our hours of pain. How we gaze beyond them into the bitter duration to see if they have an end. Though they are really our winter-enduring foliage, our dark evergreen, our season in our inner year--, not only a season in time--, but are place and settlement, foundation and soil and home.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Duino Elegies and The Sonnets to Orpheus)
In the Lakota/Sioux tradition, a person who is grieving is considered most wakan, most holy. There's a sense that when someone is struck by the sudden lightning of loss, he or she stands on the threshold of the spirit world. The prayers of those who grieve are considered especially strong, and it is proper to ask them for their help. You might recall what it's like to be with someone who has grieved deeply. The person has no layer of protection, nothing left to defend. The mystery is looking out through that person's eyes. For the time being, he or she has accepted the reality of loss and has stopped clinging to the past or grasping at the future. In the groundless openness of sorrow, there is a wholeness of presence and a deep natural wisdom.
Tara Brach (True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart)
Beauty was all around them. Unsuspected tintings glimmered in the dark demesnes of the woods and glowed in their alluring by-ways. The spring sunshine sifted through the young green leaves. Gay trills of song were everywhere. There were little hollows where you felt as if you were bathing in a pool of liquid gold. At every turn some fresh spring scent struck their faces: Spice ferns...fir balsam...the wholesome odour of newly ploughed fields. There was a lane curtained with wild-cherry blossoms; a grassy old field full of tiny spruce trees just starting in life and looking like elvish things that had sat down among the grasses; brooks not yet "too broad for leaping"; starflowers under the firs; sheets of curly young ferns; and a birch tree whence someone had torn away the white-skin wrapper in several places, exposing the tints of the bark below-tints ranging from purest creamy white, through exquisite golden tones, growing deeper and deeper until the inmost layer revealed the deepest, richest brown as if to tell tha all birches, so maiden-like and cool exteriorly, had yet warm-hued feelings; "the primeval fire of earth at their hearts.
L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Ingleside (Anne of Green Gables, #6))
It struck me that perhaps a lot of the people you see walking about are dead. We say that a man's dead when his heart stops and not before. It seems a bit arbitrary. After all, parts of your body don't stop working -hair goes on growing for years, for instance. Perhaps a man really dies when his brain stops, when he loses the power to take in a new idea. Old Porteous is like that. Wonderfully learned, wonderfully good taste - but he's not capable of change. Just says the same things and thinks the same thoughts over and over again. There are a lot of people like that. Dead minds, stopped inside. Just keep moving backwards and forwards on the same little track, getting fainter all the time, like ghosts.
George Orwell (Coming up for Air)
Although people call love a capricious and unaccountable emotion that arises like an illness, nonetheless it has its own laws and reasons, like everything else. If these laws have been little studied so far, that is because a person struck down by love is in no condition to observe with a scholar's eye as the impression steals into his soul and shackles his emotions like a dream, as first his eyes go blind, at which moment his pulse and then his heart begin beating harder, all of a sudden there arises as of yesterday an undying devotion, the desire to sacrifice oneself; one's I gradually vanishes and crosses over into him or her; the mind becomes wither unusually dull or unusually sharp; the will surrenders to the will of another; and the head bows, the knees shake and the tears and fever come.
Ivan Goncharov (Oblomov)
And one cried wee, wee, wee, all the way—" Jessica breaking down in a giggle as he reaches for the spot along her sweatered flank he knows she can't bear to be tickled in. She hunches, squirming, out of the way as he rolls past, bouncing off the back of the sofa but making a nice recovery, and by now she's ticklish all over, he can grab an ankle, elbow— But a rocket has suddenly struck. A terrific blast quite close beyond the village: the entire fabric of the air, the time, is changed—the casement window blown inward, rebounding with a wood squeak to slam again as all the house still shudders. Their hearts pound. Eardrums brushed taut by the overpressure ring in pain. The invisible train rushes away close over the rooftop.... They sit still as the painted dogs now, silent, oddly unable to touch. Death has come in the pantry door: stands watching them, iron and patient, with a look that says try to tickle me.
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity’s Rainbow)
Uninvited, the thought of you stayed too late in my head, so I went to bed, dreaming you hard, hard, woke with your name, like tears, soft, salt, on my lips, the sound of its bright syllables like a charm, like a spell. Falling in love is glamorous hell; the crouched, parched heart like a tiger ready to kill; a flame's fierce licks under the skin. Into my life, larger than life, beautiful, you strolled in. I hid in my ordinary days, in the long grass of routine, in my camouflage rooms. You sprawled in my gaze, staring back from anyone's face, from the shape of a cloud, from the pining, earth-struck moon which gapes at me as I open the bedroom door. The curtains stir. There you are on the bed, like a gift, like a touchable dream. "You
Carol Ann Duffy (Rapture)
Eddie saw great things and near misses. Albert Einstein as a child, not quite struck by a run-away milk-wagon as he crossed a street. A teenage boy named Albert Schweitzer getting out of a bathtub and not quite stepping on the cake of soap lying beside the pulled plug. A Nazi Oberleutnant burning a piece of paper with the date and place of the D-Day Invasion written on it. He saw a man who intended to poison the entire water supply of Denver die of a heart attack in a roadside rest-stop on I-80 in Iowa with a bag of McDonald’s French fries on his lap. He saw a terrorist wired up with explosives suddenly turn away from a crowded restaurant in a city that might have been Jerusalem. The terrorist had been transfixed by nothing more than the sky, and the thought that it arced above the just and unjust alike. He saw four men rescue a little boy from a monster whose entire head seemed to consist of a single eye. But more important than any of these was the vast, accretive weight of small things, from planes which hadn’t crashed to men and women who had come to the correct place at the perfect time and thus founded generations. He saw kisses exchanged in doorways and wallets returned and men who had come to a splitting of the way and chosen the right fork. He saw a thousand random meetings that weren’t random, ten thousand right decisions, a hundred thousand right answers, a million acts of unacknowledged kindness. He saw the old people of River Crossing and Roland kneeling in the dust for Aunt Talitha’s blessing; again heard her giving it freely and gladly. Heard her telling him to lay the cross she had given him at the foot of the Dark Tower and speak the name of Talitha Unwin at the far end of the earth. He saw the Tower itself in the burning folds of the rose and for a moment understood its purpose: how it distributed its lines of force to all the worlds that were and held them steady in time’s great helix. For every brick that landed on the ground instead of some little kid’s head, for every tornado that missed the trailer park, for every missile that didn’t fly, for every hand stayed from violence, there was the Tower. And the quiet, singing voice of the rose. The song that promised all might be well, all might be well, that all manner of things might be well.
Stephen King (Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5))
I do not believe in the government of the lash, if any one of you ever expects to whip your children again, I want you to have a photograph taken of yourself when you are in the act, with your face red with vulgar anger, and the face of the little child, with eyes swimming in tears and the little chin dimpled with fear, like a piece of water struck by a sudden cold wind. Have the picture taken. If that little child should die, I cannot think of a sweeter way to spend an autumn afternoon than to go out to the cemetery, when the maples are clad in tender gold, and little scarlet runners are coming, like poems of regret, from the sad heart of the earth—and sit down upon the grave and look at that photograph, and think of the flesh now dust that you beat. I tell you it is wrong; it is no way to raise children! Make your home happy. Be honest with them. Divide fairly with them in everything.
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Liberty Of Man, Woman And Child)
And she wanted to say not one thing, but everything. Little words that broke up the thought and dismembered it said nothing. “About life, about death; about Mrs. Ramsay”—no, she thought, one could say nothing to nobody. The urgency of the moment always missed its mark. Words fluttered sideways and struck the object inches too low. Then one gave it up; then the idea sunk back again; then one became like most middle-aged people, cautious, furtive, with wrinkles between the eyes and a look of perpetual apprehension. For how could one express in words these emotions of the body? express that emptiness there? (She was looking at the drawing-room steps; they looked extraordinarily empty.) It was one’s body feeling, not one’s mind. The physical sensations that went with the bare look of the steps had become suddenly extremely unpleasant. TO want and not to have, sent all up her body a hardness, a hollowness, a strain. And then to want and not to have—to want and want—how that wrung the heart, and wrung it again and again! Oh, Mrs. Ramsay! She called out silently, to that essence which sat by the boat, that abstract one made of her, that woman in grey, as if to abuse her for having gone, and then having gone, come back again. It seemed so safe, thinking of her. Ghost, air, nothingness, a thing you could play with easily and safely at any time of day or night, she had been that, and then suddenly she put her hand out and wrung the heart thus. Suddenly, the empty drawing-room steps, the frill of the chair inside, the puppy tumbling on the terrace, the whole wave and whisper of the garden became like curves and arabesques flourishing around a centre of complete emptiness.
Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse)
When I think of the years when I had no faith, what I am struck by, first of all, is how little this lack disrupted my conscious life. I lived not without God, nor wish his absence, but in a mild abeyance of belief, drifting through the days on a tide of tiny vanities — a publication, a flirtation, a strong case made for some weak nihilism — nights all adagios and alcohol as my mind tore luxuriously into itself. I can see now how deeply God’s absence affected my unconscious life, how under me always there was this long fall that pride and fear and self-live at once protected me from and subjected me to. Was the fall into belief or into unbelief? Both. For if grace woke me to God’s presence in the world and in my heart, it also woke me to his absence. I never truly felt the pain of unbelief until I began to believe.
Christian Wiman (My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer)
It was in America that horses first roamed. A million years before the birth of man, they grazed the vast plains of wiry grass and crossed to other continents over bridges of rock soon severed by retreating ice. They first knew man as the hunted knows the hunter, for long before he saw them as a means to killing other beasts, man killed them for their meat. Paintings on the walls of caves showed how. Lions and bears would turn and fight and that was the moment men speared them. But the horse was a creature of flight not fight and, with a simple deadly logic, the hunter used flight to destroy it. Whole herds were driven hurtling headlong to their deaths from the tops of cliffs. Deposits of their broken bones bore testimony. And though later he came pretending friendship, the alliance with man would ever be but fragile, for the fear he'd struck into their hearts was too deep to be dislodged. Since that neolithic moment when first a horse was haltered, there were those among men who understood this. They could see into the creature's soul and soothe the wounds they found there. Often they were seen as witches and perhaps they were. Some wrought their magic with the bleached bones of toads, plucked from moonlit streams. Others, it was said, could with but a glance root the hooves of a working team to the earth they plowed. There were gypsies and showmen, shamans and charlatans. And those who truly had the gift were wont to guard it wisely, for it was said that he who drove the devil out, might also drive him in. The owner of a horse you calmed might shake your hand then dance around the flames while they burned you in the village square. For secrets uttered softly into pricked and troubles ears, these men were known as Whisperers.
Nicholas Evans (The Horse Whisperer)
But drunkenly, or secretly, we swore, Disciples of that astigmatic saint, That we would never leave the island Until we had put down, in paint, in words, As palmists learn the network of a hand, All of its sunken, leaf-choked ravines, Every neglected, self-pitying inlet Muttering in brackish dialect, the ropes of mangroves From which old soldier crabs slipped Surrendering to slush, Each ochre track seeking some hilltop and Losing itself in an unfinished phrase, Under sand shipyards where the burnt-out palms Inverted the design of unrigged schooners, Entering forests, boiling with life, Goyave, corrosol, bois-canot, sapotille. Days! The sun drumming, drumming, Past the defeated pennons of the palms, Roads limp from sunstroke, Past green flutes of the grass The ocean cannonading, come! Wonder that opened like the fan Of the dividing fronds On some noon-struck sahara, Where my heart from its rib cage yelped like a pup After clouds of sanderlings rustily wheeling The world on its ancient, Invisible axis, The breakers slow-dolphining over more breakers, To swivel our easels down, as firm As conquerors who had discovered home.
Derek Walcott (Another Life: Fully Annotated)
I've been sitting here now, and do you know what I was saying to myself? If I did not believe in life, if I were to lose faith in the woman I love, if I were to lose faith in the order of things, even if I were to become convinced, on the contrary, that everything is a disorderly, damned, and perhaps devilish chaos, if I were struck even by all the horrors of human disillusionment--still I would want to live, and as long as I have bent to this cup, I will not tear myself from it until I've drunk it all. However, by the age of thirty, I will probably drop the cup, even if I haven't emptied it, and walk away...I don't know where. But until my thirtieth year, I know this for certain, my youth will overcome everything--all disillusionment, all aversion to live. I've asked myself many times: is there such despair in the world as could overcome this wild and perhaps indecent thirst for life in me, and have decided that apparently there is not--that is, once again, until my thirtieth year, after which I myself shall want no more, so it seems to me. Some snotty-nosed, consumptive moralists, poets especially, often call this thirst for life base. True, it's a feature of the Karamazovs, to some extent, this thirst for life despite all; it must be sitting in you too; but why is it base? There is still an awful lot of centripetal force on our planet, Alyosha. I want to live, and I do live, even if it be against logic. Though I do not believe in the order of things, still the sticky little leaves that come out in the spring are dear to me, the blue sky is dear to me, some people are dear to me, whom one loves sometimes, would you believe it, without even knowing why; some human deeds are dear to me, which one has perhaps long ceased believing in, but still honors with one's heart, out of old habit...I want to go to Europe, Alyosha, I'll go straight from here. Of course I know that I will only be going to a graveyard, but to the most, the most previous graveyard, that's the thing! The precious dead lie there, each stone over them speaks of such ardent past life, of such passionate faith in their deeds, their truth, their struggle, and their science, that I--this I know beforehand--will fall to the ground and kiss those stones and weep over them--being wholeheartedly convinced, at the same time, that it has all long been a graveyard and nothing more. And I will not weep from despair, but simply because I will be happy in my shed tears. I will be drunk with my own tenderness. Sticky spring leaves, the blue sky--I love them, that's all! Such things you love not with your mind, not with logic, but with your insides, your guts, you love your first young strength...
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
The first sound was the bowstrings, the snap of five thousand hemp cords being tightened by stressed yew, and that sound was like the devil’s harpstrings being plucked. Then there was the arrow sound, the sigh of air over feathers, but multiplied, so that it was like the rushing of a wind. That sound diminished as two clouds of arrows, thick as any flock of starlings, climbed into the gray sky. Hook, reaching for another broadhead, marveled at the sight of five thousand arrows in two sky-shadowing groups. The two storms seemed to hover for a heart’s beat at the height of their trajectory, and then the missiles fell. It was Saint Crispin’s Day in Picardy. For an instant there was silence. Then the arrows struck. It was the sound of steel on steel. A clatter, like Satan’s hailstorm.
Bernard Cornwell (Agincourt)
Folding her arms and closing her eyes, Hatsumi sank back into the corner of the seat. Her small gold earrings caught the light as the taxi swayed. Her midnight blue dress seemed to have been made to match the darkness of the cab. Every now and then her thinly daubed, beautifully formed lips would quiver slightly as if she had caught herself on the verge of talking to herself. Watching her, I could see why Nagasawa had chosen her as his special companion. There were any number of women more beautiful than Hatsumi, and Nagasawa could have made any of them his. But Hatsumi had some quality that could send a tremor through your heart. It was nothing forceful. The power she exerted was a subtle thing, but it called forth deep resonances. I watched her all the way to Shibuya, and wondered, without ever finding an answer, what this emotional reverberation that I was feeling could be. It finally hit me some dozen or so years later. I had come to Santa Fe to interview a painter and was sitting in a local pizza parlor, drinking beer and eating pizza and watching a miraculously beautiful sunset. Everything was soaked in brilliant red—my hand, the plate, the table, the world—as if some special kind of fruit juice had splashed down on everything. In the midst of this overwhelming sunset, the image of Hatsumi flashed into my mind, and in that moment I understood what that tremor of the heart had been. It was a kind of childhood longing that had always remained—and would forever remain—unfulfilled. I had forgotten the existence of such innocent, all-but-seared-in longing: forgotten for years to remember what such feelings had ever existed inside of me. What Hatsumi had stirred in me was a part of my very self that had long lain dormant. And when the realization struck me, it aroused such sorrow I almost burst into tears. She had been an absolutely special woman. Someone should have done something—anything—to save her. But neither Nagasawa nor I could have managed that. As so many of those I knew had done, Hatsumi reached a certain stage in her life and decided—almost on the spur of the moment—to end it. Two years after Nagasawa left for Germany, she married, and two years after that she slashed her wrists with a razor blade. It was Nagasawa, of course, who told me what had happened. His letter from Bonn said this: “Hatsumi’s death has extinguished something. This is unbearably sad and painful, even to me.” I ripped his letter to shreds and threw it away. I never wrote to him again.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
Hi there, cutie." Ash turned his head to find an extremely attractive college student by his side. With black curly hair, she was dressed in jeans and a tight green top that displayed her curves to perfection. "Hi." "You want to go inside for a drink? It's on me." Ash paused as he saw her past, present, and future simultaneously in his mind. Her name was Tracy Phillips. A political science major, she was going to end up at Harvard Med School and then be one of the leading researchers to help isolate a mutated genome that the human race didn't even know existed yet. The discovery of that genome would save the life of her youngest daughter and cause her daughter to go on to medical school herself. That daughter, with the help and guidance of her mother, would one day lobby for medical reforms that would change the way the medical world and governments treated health care. The two of them would shape generations of doctors and save thousands of lives by allowing people to have groundbreaking medical treatments that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to afford. And right now, all Tracy could think about was how cute his ass was in leather pants, and how much she'd like to peel them off him. In a few seconds, she'd head into the coffee shop and meet a waitress named Gina Torres. Gina's dream was to go to college herself to be a doctor and save the lives of the working poor who couldn't afford health care, but because of family problems she wasn't able to take classes this year. Still Gina would tell Tracy how she planned to go next year on a scholarship. Late tonight, after most of the college students were headed off, the two of them would be chatting about Gina's plans and dreams. And a month from now, Gina would be dead from a freak car accident that Tracy would see on the news. That one tragic event combined with the happenstance meeting tonight would lead Tracy to her destiny. In one instant, she'd realize how shallow her life had been, and she'd seek to change that and be more aware of the people around her and of their needs. Her youngest daughter would be named Gina Tory in honor of the Gina who was currently busy wiping down tables while she imagined a better life for everyone. So in effect, Gina would achieve her dream. By dying she'd save thousands of lives and she'd bring health care to those who couldn't afford it... The human race was an amazing thing. So few people ever realized just how many lives they inadvertently touched. How the right or wrong word spoken casually could empower or destroy another's life. If Ash were to accept Tracy's invitation for coffee, her destiny would be changed and she would end up working as a well-paid bank officer. She'd decide that marriage wasn't for her and go on to live her life with a partner and never have children. Everything would change. All the lives that would have been saved would be lost. And knowing the nuance of every word spoken and every gesture made was the heaviest of all the burdens Ash carried. Smiling gently, he shook his head. "Thanks for asking, but I have to head off. You have a good night." She gave him a hot once-over. "Okay, but if you change your mind, I'll be in here studying for the next few hours." Ash watched as she left him and entered the shop. She set her backpack down at a table and started unpacking her books. Sighing from exhaustion, Gina grabbed a glass of water and made her way over to her... And as he observed them through the painted glass, the two women struck up a conversation and set their destined futures into motion. His heart heavy, he glanced in the direction Cael had vanished and hated the future that awaited his friend. But it was Cael's destiny. His fate... "Imora thea mi savur," Ash whispered under his breath in Atlantean. God save me from love.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dark Side of the Moon (Dark-Hunter, #9; Were-Hunter, #3))
What do you envision for your future, Anna?” His abrupt question struck a nerve in me. It was the same question I'd been asking myself for months. “I don't know,” I said. “I used to know what I wanted, but not anymore.” He considered this, watching me with curiosity. “What did you want?” I reached down and touched the water. “A family, mostly.” “And you no longer want that?” I dried my hands on my jeans, trying not to get emotional. At one time, I wanted a loving husband and a houseful of kids more than anything in the world. But I'd let go of those dreams. I couldn't even adopt a child. What would the Dukes say if they caught me playing house? “I can't have those things,” I told him, still avoiding his stare. “And I'm tired of wanting things I can't have.” His voice was low when he responded. “Perhaps children are out of the question, but you could still have a husband, in secret.” My eyes flew up to his, and my skin sizzled as his words settled over me. I opened my mouth, but couldn't speak. His light eyes played chicken with mine, not backing down from his claim. “It's too dangerous,” I said. “You are young.” He didn't state it in a condescending way, but I still bristled. “Someday you may agree that there are dangers worth facing.” I swallowed, wishing my crazy heart would stop trying to break out of my rib cage.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
Magnus had left behind a sleeping child and his worn-out love, and he opened the door on a scene of absolute chaos. For a moment it seemed as if there were a thousand people in his rooms, and then Magnus realized the real situation was far worse. Every single one of the Lightwood family was there, each one causing enough noise for ten. Robert Lightwood was there, saying something in his booming voice. Maryse Lightwood was holding a bottle and appeared to be waving it around, giving a speech. Isabelle Lightwood was standing on top of a stool for no reason in the world Magnus could see. Jace Herondale was, even more mysteriously, lying flat out on the stone floor, and apparently he'd brought Clary, who looked at Magnus as if she were puzzled by here presence here as well. Alec was standing in the middle of the room, in the middle of the human storm that was his family, holding the baby protectively to his chest. Magnus could not believe it was possible for his heart to sink further, but it somehow struck him as the greatest disaster in the world that the baby was awake.
Cassandra Clare (Born to Endless Night (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, #9))
Man,” said a thoughtless, ungodly English traveller to a North American Indian convert, “Man, what is the reason that you make so much of Christ, and talk so much about Him? What has this Christ done for you, that you should make so much ado about Him?” The converted Indian did not answer him in words. He gathered together some dry leaves and moss and made a ring with them on the ground. He picked up a live worm and put it in the middle of the ring. He struck a light and set the moss and leaves on fire. The flame soon rose and the heat scorched the worm. It writhed in agony, and after trying in vain to escape on every side, curled itself up in the middle, as if about to die in despair. At that moment the Indian reached forth his hand, took up the worm gently and placed it on his bosom. “Stranger,” he said to the Englishman, “Do you see that worm? I was that perishing creature. I was dying in my sins, hopeless, helpless, and on the brink of eternal fire. It was Jesus Christ who put forth the arm of His power. It was Jesus Christ who delivered me with the hand of His grace, and plucked me from everlasting burnings. It was Jesus Christ who placed me, a poor sinful worm, near the heart of His love. Stranger, that is the reason why I talk of Jesus Christ and make much of Him. I am not ashamed of it, because I love Him.” If
J.C. Ryle (Holiness)
Is she pleasing to the eye?" Gabriel went to an inset sideboard to pour himself a brandy. "She's bloody ravishing," he muttered. Looking more and more interested, his father asked, "What is the problem with her, then?" "She's a perfect little savage. Constitutionally incapable of guarding her tongue. Not to mention peculiar: She goes to balls but never dances, only sits in the corner. Two of the fellows I went drinking with last night said they'd asked her to waltz on previous occasions. She told one of them that a carriage horse had recently stepped on her foot, and she told the other that the butler had accidentally slammed her leg in the door." Gabriel took a swallow of brandy before finishing grimly, "No wonder she's a wallflower." Sebastian, who had begun to laugh, seemed struck by that last comment. "Ahhh," he said softly. "That explains it." He was silent for a moment, lost in some distant, pleasurable memory. "Dangerous creatures, wallflowers. Approach them with the utmost caution. They sit quietly in corners, appearing abandoned and forlorn, when in truth they're sirens who lure men to their downfall. You won't even notice the moment she steals the heart right out of your body- and then it's hers for good. A wallflower never gives your heart back." "Are you finished amusing yourself?" Gabriel asked, impatient with his father's flight of fancy. "Because I have actual problems to deal with." Still smiling, Sebastian reached for some chalk and applied it to the tip of his cue stick. "Forgive me. The word makes me a bit sentimental.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
She looked now at the drawing-room step. She saw, through William’s eyes, the shape of a woman, peaceful and silent, with downcast eyes. She sat musing, pondering (she was in grey that day, Lily thought). Her eyes were bent. She would never lift them. . . . [N]o, she thought, one could say nothing to nobody. The urgency of the moment always missed its mark. Words fluttered sideways and struck the object inches too low. Then one gave it up; then the idea sunk back again; then one became like most middle-aged people, cautious, furtive, with wrinkles between the eyes and a look of perpetual apprehension. For how could one express in words these emotions of the body? Express that emptiness there? (She was looking at the drawing-room steps; they looked extraordinarily empty.) It was one’s body feeling, not one’s mind. The physical sensations that went with the bare look of the steps had become suddenly extremely unpleasant. To want and not to have, sent all up her body a hardness, a hollowness, a strain. And then to want and not to have – to want and want – how that wrung the heart, and wrung again and again! Oh, Mrs. Ramsay! she called out silently, to that essence which sat by the boat, that abstract one made of her, that woman in grey, as if to abuse her for having gone, and then having gone, come back again. It had seemed so safe, thinking of her. Ghost, air, nothingness, a thing you could play with easily and safely at any time of day or night, she had been that, and then suddenly she put her hand out and wrung the heart thus. Suddenly, the empty drawing-room steps, the frill of the chair inside, the puppy tumbling on the terrace, the whole wave and whisper of the garden became like curves and arabesques flourishing round a centre of complete emptiness. . . . A curious notion came to her that he did after all hear the things she could not say. . . . She looked at her picture. That would have been his answer, presumably – how “you” and “I” and “she” pass and vanish; nothing stays; all changes; but not words, not paint. Yet it would be hung in the attics, she thought; it would be rolled up and flung under a sofa; yet even so, even of a picture like that, it was true. One might say, even of this scrawl, not of that actual picture, perhaps, but of what it attempted, that it “remained for ever,” she was going to say, or, for the words spoken sounded even to herself, too boastful, to hint, wordlessly; when, looking at the picture, she was surprised to find that she could not see it. Her eyes were full of a hot liquid (she did not think of tears at first) which, without disturbing the firmness of her lips, made the air thick, rolled down her cheeks. She had perfect control of herself – Oh, yes! – in every other way. Was she crying then for Mrs. Ramsay, without being aware of any unhappiness? She addressed old Mr. Carmichael again. What was it then? What did it mean? Could things thrust their hands up and grip one; could the blade cut; the fist grasp? Was there no safety? No learning by heart of the ways of the world? No guide, no shelter, but all was miracle, and leaping from the pinnacle of a tower into the air? Could it be, even for elderly people, that this was life? – startling, unexpected, unknown? For one moment she felt that if they both got up, here, now on the lawn, and demanded an explanation, why was it so short, why was it so inexplicable, said it with violence, as two fully equipped human beings from whom nothing should be hid might speak, then, beauty would roll itself up; the space would fill; those empty flourishes would form into shape; if they shouted loud enough Mrs. Ramsay would return. “Mrs. Ramsay!” she said aloud, “Mrs. Ramsay!” The tears ran down her face.
Virginia Woolf
I first met Winston Churchill in the early summer of 1906 at a dinner party to which I went as a very young girl. Our hostess was Lady Wemyss and I remember that Arthur Balfour, George Wyndman, Hilaire Belloc and Charles Whibley were among the guests… I found myself sitting next to this young man who seemed to me quite different from any other young man I had ever met. For a long time he seemed sunk in abstraction. Then he appeared to become suddenly aware of my existence. He turned on me a lowering gaze and asked me abruptly how old I was. I replied that I was nineteen. “And I,” he said despairingly, “am thirty-two already. Younger than anyone else who counts, though, “he added, as if to comfort himself. Then savagely: “Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is this allotted span for all we must cram into it!” And he burst forth into an eloquent diatribe on the shortness of human life, the immensity of possible human accomplishment—a theme so well exploited by the poets, prophets, and philosophers of all ages that it might seem difficult to invest it with new and startling significance. Yet for me he did so, in a torrent of magnificent language which appeared to be both effortless and inexhaustible and ended up with the words I shall always remember: “We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow worm.” By this time I was convinced of it—and my conviction remained unshaken throughout the years that followed. Later he asked me whether I thought that words had a magic and music quite independent of their meaning. I said I certainly thought so, and I quoted as a classic though familiar instance the first lines that came into my head. Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. His eyes blazed with excitement. “Say that again,” he said, “say it again—it is marvelous!” “But I objected, “You know these lines. You know the ‘Ode to a Nightengale.’ ” He had apparently never read or heard of it before (I must, however, add that next time I met him he had not learned not merely this but all of the odes to Keats by heart—and he recited them quite mercilessly from start to finish, not sparing me a syllable). Finding that he liked poetry, I quoted to him from one of my own favorite poets, Blake. He listened avidly, repeating some lines to himself with varying emphases and stresses, then added meditatively: “I never knew that old Admiral had found so much time to write such good poetry.” I was astounded that he, with his acute susceptibility to words and power of using them, should have left such tracts of English literature entirely unexplored. But however it happened he had lost nothing by it, when he approached books it was “with a hungry, empty mind and with fairly srong jaws, and what I got I *bit*.” And his ear for the beauty of language needed no tuning fork. Until the end of dinner I listened to him spellbound. I can remember thinking: This is what people mean when they talk of seeing stars. That is what I am doing now. I do not to this day know who was on my other side. Good manners, social obligation, duty—all had gone with the wind. I was transfixed, transported into a new element. I knew only that I had seen a great light. I recognized it as the light of genius… I cannot attempt to analyze, still less transmit, the light of genius. But I will try to set down, as I remember them, some of the differences which struck me between him and all the others, young and old, whom I have known. First and foremost he was incalculable. He ran true to no form. There lurked in his every thought and world the ambush of the unexpected. I felt also that the impact of life, ideas and even words upon his mind, was not only vivid and immediate, but direct. Between him and them there was no shock absorber of vicarious thought or precedent gleaned either from books or other minds. His relationship wit
Violet Bonham Carter
My Dearest, I miss you, my darling, as I always do, but today is especially hard because the ocean has been singing to me, and the song is that of our life together. I can almost feel you beside me as I write this letter, and I can smell the scent of wildflowers that always reminds me of you. But at this moment, these things give me no pleasure. Your visits have been coming less often, and I feel sometimes as if the greatest part of who I am is slowly slipping away. I am trying, though. At night when I am alone, I call for you, and whenever my ache seems to be the greatest, you still seem to find a way to return to me. Last night, in my dreams, I saw you on the pier near Wrightsville Beach. The wind was blowing through your hair, and your eyes held the fading sunlight. I am struck as I see you leaning against the rail. You are beautiful, I think as I see you, a vision that I can never find in anyone else. I slowly begin to walk toward you, and when you finally turn to me, I notice that others have been watching you as well. “Do you know her?” they ask me in jealous whispers, and as you smile at me, I simply answer with the truth. “Better than my own heart.” I stop when I reach you and take you in my arms. I long for this moment more than any other. It is what I live for, and when you return my embrace, I give myself over to this moment, at peace once again. I raise my hand and gently touch your cheek and you tilt your head and close your eyes. My hands are hard and your skin is soft, and I wonder for a moment if you’ll pull back, but of course you don’t. You never have, and it is at times like this that I know what my purpose is in life. I am here to love you, to hold you in my arms, to protect you. I am here to learn from you and to receive your love in return. I am here because there is no other place to be. But then, as always, the mist starts to form as we stand close to one another. It is a distant fog that rises from the horizon, and I find that I grow fearful as it approaches. It slowly creeps in, enveloping the world around us, fencing us in as if to prevent escape. Like a rolling cloud, it blankets everything, closing, until there is nothing left but the two of us. I feel my throat begin to close and my eyes well up with tears because I know it is time for you to go. The look you give me at that moment haunts me. I feel your sadness and my own loneliness, and the ache in my heart that had been silent for only a short time grows stronger as you release me. And then you spread your arms and step back into the fog because it is your place and not mine. I long to go with you, but your only response is to shake your head because we both know that is impossible. And I watch with breaking heart as you slowly fade away. I find myself straining to remember everything about this moment, everything about you. But soon, always too soon, your image vanishes and the fog rolls back to its faraway place and I am alone on the pier and I do not care what others think as I bow my head and cry and cry and cry.
Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle)
Almondine To her, the scent and the memory of him were one. Where it lay strongest, the distant past came to her as if that morning: Taking a dead sparrow from her jaws, before she knew to hide such things. Guiding her to the floor, bending her knee until the arthritis made it stick, his palm hotsided on her ribs to measure her breaths and know where the pain began. And to comfort her. That had been the week before he went away. He was gone, she knew this, but something of him clung to the baseboards. At times the floor quivered under his footstep. She stood then and nosed into the kitchen and the bathroom and the bedroom-especially the closet-her intention to press her ruff against his hand, run it along his thigh, feel the heat of his body through the fabric. Places, times, weather-all these drew him up inside her. Rain, especially, falling past the double doors of the kennel, where he’d waited through so many storms, each drop throwing a dozen replicas into the air as it struck the waterlogged earth. And where the rising and falling water met, something like an expectation formed, a place where he might appear and pass in long strides, silent and gestureless. For she was not without her own selfish desires: to hold things motionless, to measure herself against them and find herself present, to know that she was alive precisely because he needn’t acknowledge her in casual passing; that utter constancy might prevail if she attended the world so carefully. And if not constancy, then only those changes she desired, not those that sapped her, undefined her. And so she searched. She’d watched his casket lowered into the ground, a box, man-made, no more like him than the trees that swayed under the winter wind. To assign him an identity outside the world was not in her thinking. The fence line where he walked and the bed where he slept-that was where he lived, and they remembered him. Yet he was gone. She knew it most keenly in the diminishment of her own self. In her life, she’d been nourished and sustained by certain things, him being one of them, Trudy another, and Edgar, the third and most important, but it was really the three of them together, intersecting in her, for each of them powered her heart a different way. Each of them bore different responsibilities to her and with her and required different things from her, and her day was the fulfillment of those responsibilities. She could not imagine that portion of her would never return. With her it was not hope, or wistful thoughts-it was her sense of being alive that thinned by the proportion of her spirit devoted to him. "ory of Edgar Sawtelle" As spring came on, his scent about the place began to fade. She stopped looking for him. Whole days she slept beside his chair, as the sunlight drifted from eastern-slant to western-slant, moving only to ease the weight of her bones against the floor. And Trudy and Edgar, encapsulated in mourning, somehow forgot to care for one another, let alone her. Or if they knew, their grief and heartache overwhelmed them. Anyway, there was so little they might have done, save to bring out a shirt of his to lie on, perhaps walk with her along the fence line, where fragments of time had snagged and hung. But if they noticed her grief, they hardly knew to do those things. And she without the language to ask.
David Wroblewski (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle)
Do you think, little flower, that there will ever come a day when you regret meeting me?” he asked quietly. “Yes,” she said simply. “I see,” he said tightly. “Would you like a specific date?” “You are teasing me,” he realized suddenly. “No, I’m dead serious. I have an exact date in mind.” Jacob pulled back to see her eyes, looking utterly perplexed as her pupils sparkled with mischief. “What date is that? And why are you thinking of pink elephants?” “The date is September 8, because, according to Gideon, that’s possibly the day I will go into labor. I say ‘possibly,’ because combining all this human/Druid and Demon DNA ‘may make for a longer period of gestation than usual for a human,’ as the Ancient medic recently quoted. Now, as I understand it, women always regret ever letting a man touch them on that day.” Jacob lurched to his feet, dropping her onto her toes, grabbing her by the arms, and holding her still as he raked a wild, inspecting gaze over her body. “You are pregnant?” he demanded, shaking her a little. “How long have you known? You went into battle with that monster while you are carrying my child?” “Our child,” she corrected indignantly, her fists landing firmly on her hips, “and Gideon only just told me, like, five seconds ago, so I didn’t know I was pregnant when I was fighting that thing!” “But . . . he healed you just a few days ago! Why not tell you then?” “Because I wasn’t pregnant then, Jacob. If you recall, we did make love between then and now.” “Oh . . . oh Bella . . .” he said, his breath rushing from him all of a sudden. He looked as if he needed to sit down and put a paper bag over his head. She reached to steady him as he sat back awkwardly on the altar. He leaned his forearms on his thighs, bending over them as he tried to catch his breath. Bella had the strangest urge to giggle, but she bit her lower lip to repress to impulse. So much for the calm, cool, collected Enforcer who struck terror into the hearts of Demons everywhere. “That is not funny,” he grumbled indignantly. “Yeah? You should see what you look like from over here,” she teased. “If you laugh at me I swear I am going to take you over my knee.” “Promises, promises,” she laughed, hugging him with delight. Finally, Jacob laughed as well, his arm snaking out to circle her waist and draw her back into his lap. “Did you ask . . . I mean, does he know what it is?” “It’s a baby. I told him I didn’t want to know what it is. And don’t you dare find out, because you know the minute you do I’ll know, and if you spoil the surprise I’ll murder you.” “Damn . . . she kills a couple of Demons and suddenly thinks she can order all of us around,” he taunted, pulling her close until he was nuzzling her neck, wondering if it was possible for such an underused heart as his to contain so much happiness.
Jacquelyn Frank (Jacob (Nightwalkers, #1))
In your madness you said you loved me," she murmured shyly. His humor fled, and the smile left her lips as she continued, "You said it before, too. When the storm struck, I asked you to love me, and you said you did." Her voice was the barest of whispers. Ruark's gaze turned away from her, and he rubbed the bandage on his leg before he spoke. "Strange that madness should speak the truth, but truth it is." He met her questioning eyes directly. "Aye, I love you." The pain of longing marked his face with a momentary sadness. "And that is madness, in all truth." Shanna raised herself form his side and sat on her heels, staring down at him. "Why do you love me?" Her tone was wondrous. "I beset you at every turn. I deny you as a fit mate. I have betrayed you into slavery and worse. There is no sanity in your plea at all. How can you love me?" "Shanna! Shanna! Shanna!" he sighed, placing his fingers on her hand and gently tracing the lines of her finely boned fingers. "What man would boast the wisdom of his love? How many time has this world heard, 'I don't care, I love.' Do I count your faults and sins to tote them in a book?" ... "I dream of unbelievable softness. I remember warmth at my side the likes of which can set my heart afire. I see in the dark before me softly glowing eyes of aqua, once tender in a moment of love, then flashing with defiance and anger, now dark and blue with some stirring I know I have caused, now green and gay with laughter spilling from them. There is a form within my arms that I tenderly held and touched. There is that one who has met my passion with her own and left me gasping." Ruark caressed Shanna's arm and turned her face to him, making her look into his eyes and willing her to see the truth in them as he spoke. "My beloved Shanna. I cannot think of betrayal when I think of love. I can count no denials when I hold you close. I only wait for that day when you will say, 'I love." Shanna raised her hands as if to plead her case then let them fall dejectedly on her knees. Tears coursed down her cheeks, and she begged helplessly, "But I do not want to love you." She began to sob. "You are a colonial. You are untitled, a murderer condemned, a rogue, a slave. I want a name for my children. I want so much more of my husband." She rolled her eyes in sudden confusion. "And I do not want to hurt you more." Ruark sighed and gave up for the moment. He reached out and gently wiped away the tears as they fell. "Shanna, love," he whispered tenderly, "I cannot bear to see you cry. I will not press the matter for a while. I only beg you remember the longest journey is taken a step at a time. My love can wait, but it will neither yield nor change.
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (Shanna)
On the eleventh day, it finally stopped raining. Musashi chafed to be out in the open, but it was another week before they were able to return to work under a bright sun. The field they had so arduously carved out of the wilderness had disappeared without a trace; in its place were rocks, and a river where none had been before. The water seemed to mock them just as the villagers had. Iori, seeing no way to reclaim their loss, looked up and said, “This place is beyond hope. Let’s look for better land somewhere else.” “No,” Musashi said firmly. “With the water drained off, this would make excellent farmland. I examined the location from every angle before I chose it.” “What if we have another heavy rain?” “We’ll fix it so the water doesn’t come this way. We’ll lay a dam from here all the way to that hill over there.” ‘That’s an awful lot of work.” “You seem to forget that this is our dōjō. I’m not giving up a foot of this land until I see barley growing on it.” Musashi carried on his stubborn struggle throughout the winter, into the second month of the new year. It took several weeks of strenuous labor to dig ditches, drain the water off, pile dirt for a dike and then cover it with heavy rocks. Three weeks later everything was again washed away. “Look,” Iori said, “we’re wasting our energy on something impossible. Is that the Way of the Sword?” The question struck close to the bone, but Musashi would not give in. Only a month passed before the next disaster, a heavy snowfall followed by a quick thaw. Iori, on his return from trips to the temple for food, inevitably wore a long face, for the people there rode him mercilessly about Musashi’s failure. And finally Musashi himself began to lose heart. For two full days and on into a third, he sat silently brooding and staring at his field. Then it dawned on him suddenly. Unconsciously, he had been trying to create a neat, square field like those common in other parts of the Kanto Plain, but this was not what the terrain called for. Here, despite the general flatness, there were slight variations in the lay of the land and the quality of the soil that argued for an irregular shape. “What a fool I’ve been,” he exclaimed aloud. “I tried to make the water flow where I thought it should and force the dirt to stay where I thought it ought to be. But it didn’t work. How could it? Water’s water, dirt’s dirt. I can’t change their nature. What I’ve got to do is learn to be a servant to the water and a protector of the land.” In his own way, he had submitted to the attitude of the peasants. On that day he became nature’s manservant. He ceased trying to impose his will on nature and let nature lead the way, while at the same time seeking out possibilities beyond the grasp of other inhabitants of the plain. The snow came again, and another thaw; the muddy water oozed slowly over the plain. But Musashi had had time to work out his new approach, and his field remained intact. “The same rules must apply to governing people,” he said to himself. In his notebook, he wrote: “Do not attempt to oppose the way of the universe. But first make sure you know the way of the universe.
Eiji Yoshikawa (Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era)
Jesus Christ is not a cosmic errand boy. I mean no disrespect or irreverence in so saying, but I do intend to convey the idea that while he loves us deeply and dearly, Christ the Lord is not perched on the edge of heaven, anxiously anticipating our next wish. When we speak of God being good to us, we generally mean that he is kind to us. In the words of the inimitable C. S. Lewis, "What would really satisfy us would be a god who said of anything we happened to like doing, 'What does it matter so long as they are contented?' We want, in fact, not so much a father in heaven as a grandfather in heaven--a senile benevolence who as they say, 'liked to see young people enjoying themselves,' and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, 'a good time was had by all.'" You know and I know that our Lord is much, much more than that. One writer observed: "When we so emphasize Christ's benefits that he becomes nothing more than what his significance is 'for me' we are in danger. . . . Evangelism that says 'come on, it's good for you'; discipleship that concentrates on the benefits package; sermons that 'use' Jesus as the means to a better life or marriage or job or attitude--these all turn Jesus into an expression of that nice god who always meets my spiritual needs. And this is why I am increasingly hesitant to speak of Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. As Ken Woodward put it in a 1994 essay, 'Now I think we all need to be converted--over and over again, but having a personal Savior has always struck me as, well, elitist, like having a personal tailor. I'm satisfied to have the same Lord and Savior as everyone else.' Jesus is not a personal Savior who only seeks to meet my needs. He is the risen, crucified Lord of all creation who seeks to guide me back into the truth." . . . His infinity does not preclude either his immediacy or his intimacy. One man stated that "I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone." . . . Christ is not "my buddy." There is a natural tendency, and it is a dangerous one, to seek to bring Jesus down to our level in an effort to draw closer to him. This is a problem among people both in and outside the LDS faith. Of course we should seek with all our hearts to draw near to him. Of course we should strive to set aside all barriers that would prevent us from closer fellowship with him. And of course we should pray and labor and serve in an effort to close the gap between what we are and what we should be. But drawing close to the Lord is serious business; we nudge our way into intimacy at the peril of our souls. . . . Another gospel irony is that the way to get close to the Lord is not by attempting in any way to shrink the distance between us, to emphasize more of his humanity than his divinity, or to speak to him or of him in casual, colloquial language. . . . Those who have come to know the Lord best--the prophets or covenant spokesmen--are also those who speak of him in reverent tones, who, like Isaiah, find themselves crying out, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts" (Isaiah 6:5). Coming into the presence of the Almighty is no light thing; we feel to respond soberly to God's command to Moses: "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Exodus 3:5). Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained, "Those who truly love the Lord and who worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Spirit, according to the approved patterns, maintain a reverential barrier between themselves and all the members of the Godhead.
Robert L. Millet