Village Life Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Village Life. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Miriam wished for so much in those final moments. Yet as she closed her eyes, it was not regret any longer but a sensation of abundant peace that washed over her. She thought of her entry into this world, the harami child of a lowly villager, an unintended thing, a pitiable, regrettable accident. A weed. And yet she was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back. She was leaving it as a friend, a companion, a guardian. A mother. A person of consequence at last. No. It was not so bad, Miriam thought, that she should die this way. Not so bad. This was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate belongings.
Khaled Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns)
If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Being Peace (Being Peace, #1))
Once upon a time, there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered, and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword, a pebble could be a diamond, a tree, a castle. Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a house across the field, from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was queen and he was king. In the autumn light her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls, and when the sky grew dark, they parted with leaves in their hair. Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
How did I become President? I began by setting an example, hanging out my own dirty laundry in front of Village Earth right from the start. Every ugly little life secret became a matter of public record. Of course, that included sordid love-life details.
Nancy Omeara (The Most Popular President Who Ever Lived [So Far])
In our village, folks say God crumbles up the old moon into stars.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich)
And what is there to be joyful about?" I asked honestly, thinking on the images of dead children curled into themselves at the village. Another burst of silent tears streamed down. "Life, Sophie. They still live. They breathe, they love each other, they find joy in the world around them for no other reason than because they are children. They are resilient. They will always rise above. Always. It is a curious facet of the innocent young.
Fisher Amelie (Vain (The Seven Deadly, #1))
Hey...You.. What's life without eyebrows, freak? Got a new listing for your bingo book right here!! A guyis going to be the next lord hokage of Konohagakure village. Uzumaki Naruto! Konoha-school NINJA!
Masashi Kishimoto (Naruto, Vol. 02: The Worst Client (Naruto, #2))
Was Ali a poor, illiterate, village boy when he met Wallace, as has generally been believed? Or, did he have an important and interesting backstory?
Paul Spencer Sochaczewski ("Look Here, Sir, What a Curious Bird": Searching for Ali, Alfred Russel Wallace's Faithful Companion)
Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it’s a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that. Ideally, though, we’re lucky, and we find our soul mate and enjoy that life-changing mother lode of happiness. But a soul mate is a very hard thing to find.
Aziz Ansari (Modern Romance)
There you'll find the place I love most in the world. The place where I grew thin from dreaming. My village, rising from the plain. Shaded with trees and leaves like a piggy bank filled with memories. You'll see why a person would want to live there forever. Dawn, morning, mid-day, night: all the same, except for the changes in the air. The air changes the color of things there. And life whirs by as quiet as a murmur...the pure murmuring of life.
Juan Rulfo (Pedro Páramo)
If the idea of loving those whom you have been taught to recognize as your enemies is too overwhelming, consider more deeply the observation that we are all much more alike than we are unalike.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
The human body resonates at the same frequency as Mother Earth. So instead of only focusing on trying to save the earth, which operates in congruence to our vibrations, I think it is more important to be one with each other. If you really want to remedy the earth, we have to mend mankind. And to unite mankind, we heal the Earth. That is the only way. Mother Earth will exist with or without us. Yet if she is sick, it is because mankind is sick and separated. And if our vibrations are bad, she reacts to it, as do all living creatures.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
I wish I could show you the little village where I was born. It's so lovely there...I used to think it too small to spend a life in, but now I'm not so sure.
Mary Kelly
Listen to me. Love is a Yeti. It is bigger than you and frightening and terrible. It makes loud and vicious noises. It is hungry all the time. It has horns and teeth and the force of its fists is more than anyone can bear. It speeds up time and slows it down. And it has its own aims and missions that those who are lucky enough to see it cannot begin to guess. You might see a Yeti once in your life or never. You might live in a village of them. But in the end, not matter how fast you think you can go, the Yeti is always faster than you, and you can only choose how you say hello to it, and whether you shake its hand.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland, #3))
The greatest discovery of the 21st century will be the discovery that Man was not meant to live at the speed of light.
Marshall McLuhan (The Global Village: Transformations in World Life and Media in the 21st Century (Communication and Society))
My grandfather used to say: Life is astoundingly short. To me, looking back over it, life seems so foreshortened that I scarcely understand, for instance, how a young man can decide to ride over to the next village without being afraid that -not to mention accidents- even the span of a normal happy life may fall far short of the time needed for such a journey.
Franz Kafka (The Complete Stories)
Three Pines wasn’t on any tourist map, being too far off any main or even secondary road. Like Narnia, it was generally found unexpectedly and with a degree of surprise that such an elderly village should have been hiding in this valley all along. Anyone fortunate enough to find it once usually found their way back.
Louise Penny (Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #1))
There is a time in the life of every boy when he for the first time takes the backward view of life. Perhaps that is the moment when he crosses the line into manhood. The boy is walking through the street of his town. He is thinking of the future and of the figure he will cut in the world. Ambitions and regrets awake within him. Suddenly something happens; he stops under a tree and waits as for a voice calling his name. Ghosts of old things creep into his consciousness; the voices outside of himself whisper a message concerning the limitations of life. From being quite sure of himself and his future he becomes not at all sure. If he be an imaginative boy a door is torn open and for the first time he looks out upon the world, seeing, as though they marched in procession before him, the countless figures of men who before his time have come out of nothingness into the world, lived their lives and again disappeared into nothingness. The sadness of sophistication has come to the boy. With a little gasp he sees himself as merely a leaf blown by the wind through the streets of his village. He knows that in spite of all the stout talk of his fellows he must live and die in uncertainty, a thing blown by the winds, a thing destined like corn to wilt in the sun.
Sherwood Anderson (Winesburg, Ohio: A Group of Tales of Ohio Small Town Life)
Our lack of community is intensely painful. A TV talk show is not community. A couple of hours in a church pew each Sabbath is not community. A multinational corporation is neither a human nor a community, and in the sweatshops, defiled agribusiness fields, genetic mutation labs, ecological dead zones, the inhumanity is showing. Without genuine spiritual community, life becomes a struggle so lonely and grim that even Hillary Clinton has admitted "it takes a village".
David James Duncan
I don't believe in God. Can you understand that? Look around you man. Cant you see? The clamor and din of those in torment has to be the sound most pleasing to his ear. And I loathe these discussions. The argument of the village atheist whose single passion is to revile endlessly that which he denies the existence of in the first place. Your fellowship is a fellowship of pain and nothing more. And if that pain were actually collective instead of simply reiterative then the sheer weight of it would drag the world from the walls of the universe and send it crashing and burning through whatever night it might yet be capable of engendering until it was not even ash. And justice? Brotherhood? Eternal life? Good god, man. Show me a religion that prepares one for death. For nothingness. There's a church I might enter. Yours prepares one only for more life. For dreams and illusions and lies. If you could banish the fear of death from men's hearts they wouldnt live a day. Who would want this nightmare if not for fear of the next? The shadow of the axe hangs over every joy. Every road ends in death. Or worse. Every friendship. Every love. Torment, betrayal, loss, suffering, pain, age, indignity, and hideous lingering illness. All with a single conclusion. For you and for every one and everything that you have chosen to care for. There's the true brotherhood. The true fellowship. And everyone is a member for life. You tell me that my brother is my salvation? My salvation? Well then damn him. Damn him in every shape and form and guise. Do I see myself in him? Yes. I do. And what I see sickens me. Do you understand me? Can you understand me?
Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
Saturday morning was come, and all the summer world was bright and fresh, and brimming with life. There was a song in every heart; and if the heart was young, the music issued at the lips. There was cheer in every face and a spring in every step. The locust-trees were in bloom, and the fragrance of the blossoms filled the air. Cardiff Hill, beyond the village and above, it was green with vegetation, and it lay just far enough away to seem a Delectable Land, dreamy, reposeful, and inviting.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)
It is like a gap between stones, this village, just wide enough for things to get lost. The kind of place where time slips and blurs, where a month, a year, a life can go missing
Victoria Schwab (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue)
The Day is Done The day is done, and the darkness Falls from the wings of Night, As a feather is wafted downward From an eagle in his flight. I see the lights of the village Gleam through the rain and the mist, And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me That my soul cannot resist: A feeling of sadness and longing, That is not akin to pain, And resembles sorrow only As the mist resembles the rain. Come, read to me some poem, Some simple and heartfelt lay, That shall soothe this restless feeling, And banish the thoughts of day. Not from the grand old masters, Not from the bards sublime, Whose distant footsteps echo Through the corridors of Time. For, like strains of martial music, Their mighty thoughts suggest Life's endless toil and endeavor; And to-night I long for rest. Read from some humbler poet, Whose songs gushed from his heart, As showers from the clouds of summer, Or tears from the eyelids start; Who, through long days of labor, And nights devoid of ease, Still heard in his soul the music Of wonderful melodies. Such songs have power to quiet The restless pulse of care, And come like the benediction That follows after prayer. Then read from the treasured volume The poem of thy choice, And lend to the rhyme of the poet The beauty of thy voice. And the night shall be filled with music, And the cares, that infest the day, Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, And as silently steal away.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems)
A person cannot grow up through happiness. Happiness makes a person shallow. It is only through suffering that we grow up, transform, and come to a better understanding of life.
Leslie T. Chang (Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China)
If we could eliminate the concept of town and return to live in small villages, all world problems were solved.
Rossana Condoleo
Though there had been moments of beauty in it Mariam knew that life for most part had been unkind to her. But as she walked the final twenty paces, she could not help but wish for more of it. She wished she could see Laila again, wished to hear the clangor of her laugh, to sit with her once more for a pot of chai and leftover halwa under a starlit sky. She mourned that she would never see Aziza grow up, would not see the beautiful young woman that she would one day become, would not get to paint her hands with henna and toss noqul candy at her wedding. She would never play with Aziza's children. She would have liked that very much , to be old and play with Aziza's children. Mariam wished for so much in those final moments. Yet as she closed her eyes, it was not regret any longer but a sensation of abundant peace that washed over her. She thought of her entry into this world, the harami child of a lowly villager, an unintended thing, a pitiable, regrettable accident. A weed. And yet she was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back. She was leaving it as a friend, a companion, a guardian. A mother. A person of consequence at last. No. It was not so bad , Mariam thought, that she should die this way. Not so bad. This was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate beginnings.
Khaled Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns)
For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. The open road still softly calls, like a nearly forgotten song of childhood. We invest far-off places with a certain romance. This appeal, I suspect, has been meticulously crafted by natural selection as an essential element in our survival. Long summers, mild winters, rich harvests, plentiful game—none of them lasts forever. It is beyond our powers to predict the future. Catastrophic events have a way of sneaking up on us, of catching us unaware. Your own life, or your band’s, or even your species’ might be owed to a restless few—drawn, by a craving they can hardly articulate or understand, to undiscovered lands and new worlds. Herman Melville, in Moby Dick, spoke for wanderers in all epochs and meridians: “I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas…” Maybe it’s a little early. Maybe the time is not quite yet. But those other worlds— promising untold opportunities—beckon. Silently, they orbit the Sun, waiting.
Carl Sagan
This is stupid." "Look. You think how stupid people are most of the time. Old men drink. Women at a village fair. Boys throwing stones at birds. Life. The foolishness and the vanity, the selfishness and the waste. The pettiness, the silliness. You think in war it must be different. Must be better. With death around the corner, men united against hardship, the cunning of the enemy, people must think harder, faster, be...better. Be heroic. Only it's just the same. In fact do you know, because of all that pressure, and worry, and fear, it's worse. There aren't many men who think clearest when the stakes are highest. So people are even stupider in war than the rest of the time. Thinking about how they'll dodge the blame, or grab the glory, or save their skins, rather than about what will actually work. There's no job that forgives stupidity more than soldiering. No job that encourages it more.
Joe Abercrombie (The Heroes)
Her death the dividing mark: Before and After. And though it’s a bleak thing to admit all these years later, still I’ve never met anyone who made me feel loved the way she did. Everything came alive in her company; she cast a charmed theatrical light about her so that to see anything through her eyes was to see it in brighter colours than ordinary – I remember a few weeks before she died, eating a late supper with her in an Italian restaurant down in the Village, and how she grasped my sleeve at the sudden, almost painful loveliness of a birthday cake with lit candles being carried in procession from the kitchen, faint circle of light wavering in across the dark ceiling and then the cake set down to blaze amidst the family, beatifying an old lady’s face, smiles all round, waiters stepping away with their hands behind their backs – just an ordinary birthday dinner you might see anywhere in an inexpensive downtown restaurant, and I’m sure I wouldn’t even remember it had she not died so soon after, but I thought about it again and again after her death and indeed I’ll probably think about it all my life: that candlelit circle, a tableau vivant of the daily, commonplace happiness that was lost when I lost her
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
Once, in a village, there was a goat. No one knew where she was born. The birth of an ordinary life never leaves a trace, does it?
பெருமாள் முருகன் (Poonachi: Or the Story of a Black Goat)
She told me about the cop. And the movie star, and the construction worker. You're not having a life Michael, you're fucking the Village People one at a time
Armistead Maupin (Further Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #3))
Village is a place where you can find peace,unity,strength,inspiration and most importantly a natural and beautiful life
Minahil urfan
In the first place, Cranford is in possession of the Amazons; all the holders of houses above a certain rent are women. If a married couple come to settle in the town, somehow the gentleman disappears; he is either fairly frightened to death by being the only man in the Cranford parties, or he is accounted for by being with his regiment, his hip, or closely engaged in business all the week in the great neighbouring commercial town of Drumble, distant only twenty miles on a railroad. In short, whatever does become of the gentlemen, they are not at Cranford.
Elizabeth Gaskell (Cranford)
His hatred for all was so intense that it should extinguish the very love from which it was conceived. And thus, he ceased to feel. There was nothing further in which to believe that made the prospect of feeling worthwhile. Daily he woke up and cast downtrodden eyes upon the sea and he would say to himself with a hint of regret at his hitherto lack of indifference, 'All a dim illusion, was it? Surely it was foolish of me to think any of this had meaning.' He would then spend hours staring at the sky, wondering how best to pass the time if everything—even the sky itself— were for naught. He arrived at the conclusion that there was no best way to pass the time. The only way to deal with the illusion of time was to endure it, knowing full well, all the while, that one was truly enduring nothing at all. Unfortunately for him, this nihilistic resolution to dispassion didn’t suit him very well and he soon became extremely bored. Faced now with the choice between further boredom and further suffering, he impatiently chose the latter, sailing another few weeks along the coast , and then inland, before finally dropping anchor off the shores of the fishing village of Yami.
Ashim Shanker (Only the Deplorable (Migrations, Volume II))
A smile is the best way to get oneself out of a tight spot, even if it is a fake one. Surprisingly enough, everyone takes it at face value. I read that in a book." "If you keep staring at me, I'll hit you." "I only became part of your team recently when I replaced Sasuke, so I don't know everything that's going on. I don't really understand people either. But even I can tell that Naruto really loves you. Naruto's been shouldering that promise for a long time...I think he means to shoulder it for the rest of his life. I don't know what you said to him, but it's just like what's been done to me - it feels like a curse. Sasuke causes Naruto pain, but I think you do too." "Sasuke is only helping spread his darkness across the world. Letting him live will only sow the seeds of another war. He's just another criminal now. Sasuke lost all hope of coming back when his group, Akatsuki, attacked our village. Your fellow Konoha shinobi would never accept him now. Sakura's not stupid, either. She understands the position he's put us all in. That's why she came out here, to tell you herself.
Masashi Kishimoto
What good does it do me, after all, if an ever-watchful authority keeps an eye out to ensure that my pleasures will be tranquil and races ahead of me to ward off all danger, sparing me the need even to think about such things, if that authority, even as it removes the smallest thorns from my path, is also absolute master of my liberty and my life; if it monopolizes vitality and existence to such a degree that when it languishes, everything around it must also languish; when it sleeps, everything must also sleep; and when it dies, everything must also perish? There are some nations in Europe whose inhabitants think of themselves in a sense as colonists, indifferent to the fate of the place they live in. The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved. They are so divorced from their own interests that even when their own security and that of their children is finally compromised, they do not seek to avert the danger themselves but cross their arms and wait for the nation as a whole to come to their aid. Yet as utterly as they sacrifice their own free will, they are no fonder of obedience than anyone else. They submit, it is true, to the whims of a clerk, but no sooner is force removed than they are glad to defy the law as a defeated enemy. Thus one finds them ever wavering between servitude and license. When a nation has reached this point, it must either change its laws and mores or perish, for the well of public virtue has run dry: in such a place one no longer finds citizens but only subjects.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
A Sanskrit word appeared in the paragraph: ANTEVASIN. It means, ‘one who lives at the border.’ In ancient times, this was a literal description. It indicated a person who had left the bustling center of worldly life to go live at the edge of the forest where the spiritual masters dwelled. The antevasin was not of the villager’s anymore-not a householder with a conventional life. But neither was he yet a transcendent-not one of those sages who live deep in the unexplored woods, fully realized. The antevasin was an in-betweener. He was a border-dweller. He lived in sight of both worlds, but he looked toward the unknown. And he was a scholar.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
We find these joys to be self evident: That all children are created whole, endowed with innate intelligence, with dignity and wonder, worthy of respect. The embodiment of life, liberty and happiness, children are original blessings, here to learn their own song. Every girl and boy is entitled to love, to dream and belong to a loving “village.” And to pursue a life of purpose. We affirm our duty to nourish and nurture the young, to honour their caring ideals as the heart of being human. To recognize the early years as the foundation of life, and to cherish the contribution of young children to human evolution. We commit ourselves to peaceful ways and vow to keep from harm or neglect these, our most vulnerable citizens. As guardians of their prosperity we honour the bountiful Earth whose diversity sustains us. Thus we pledge our love for generations to come.
Raffi Cavoukian
Past the village flowed the river, like time, like life itself, waiting for the swimmer to come again on his way to the climax of his adventurous life, and to the end for which he had been made.
Margaret Craven (I Heard the Owl Call My Name)
In an age when nations and individuals routinely exchange murder for murder, when the healing grace of authentic spirituality is usurped by the divisive politics of religious organizations, and when broken hearts bleed pain in darkness without the relief of compassion, the voice of an exceptional poet producing exceptional work is not something the world can afford to dismiss.
Aberjhani (The American Poet Who Went Home Again)
Karsa reached down, gathered the skeletal figure into his arms, and then settled back. ‘I stepped over corpses on the way here,’ the Toblakai said. ‘People no one cared about, dying alone. In my barbaric village this would never happen, but here in this city, this civilized jewel, it happens all the time. (...) What is your name?’ ‘Munug.’ ‘Munug. This night – before I must rise and walk into the temple – I am a village. And you are here, in my arms. You will not die uncared for.’ ‘You – you would do this for me? A stranger?’ ‘In my village no one is a stranger – and this is what civilization has turned its back on. One day, Munug, I will make a world of villages, and the age of cities will be over. And slavery will be dead, and there shall be no chains – tell your god. Tonight, I am his knight.’ Munug’s shivering was fading. The old man smiled. ‘He knows.’ It wasn’t too much, to take a frail figure into one’s arms for those last moments of life. Better than a cot, or even a bed in a room filled with loved ones. Better, too, than an empty street in the cold rain. To die in someone’s arms – could there be anything more forgiving? Every savage barbarian in the world knew the truth of this.
Steven Erikson (The Crippled God (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #10))
Once upon a time, there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword. A pebble could be a diamond. A tree was a castle. Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a house across the field from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was the Queen and he was the King. In the autumn light, her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls. When the sky grew dark, they parted with leaves in their hair. Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering. When they were ten he asked her to marry him. When they were eleven he kissed her for the first time. When they were thirteen they got into a fight and for three weeks they didn't talk. When they were fifteen she showed him the scar on her left breast. Their love was a secret they told no one. He promised her he would never love another girl as long as he lived. "What if I die?" she asked. "Even then," he said. For her sixteenth birthday, he gave her an English dictionary and together they learned the words. "What's this?" he'd ask, tracing his index finger around her ankle and she'd look it up. "And this?" he'd ask, kissing her elbow. "Elbow! What kind of word is that?" and then he'd lick it, making her giggle. "What about this," he asked, touching the soft skin behind her ear. "I don't know," she said, turning off the flashlight and rolling over, with a sigh, onto her back. When they were seventeen they made love for the first time, on a bed of straw in a shed. Later-when things happened that they could never have imagined-she wrote him a letter that said: When will you learn that there isn't a word for everything?
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
In the Ramtop village where they dance the real Morris dance, for example, they believe that no one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away—until the clock he wound up winds down, until the wine she made has finished its ferment, until the crop they planted is harvested. The span of someone’s life, they say, is only the core of their actual existence.
Terry Pratchett (Reaper Man (Discworld, #11))
Spring flew swiftly by, and summer came; and if the village had been beautiful at first, it was now in the full glow and luxuriance of its richness. The great trees, which had looked shrunken and bare in the earlier months, had now burst into strong life and health; and stretching forth their green arms over the thirsty ground, converted open and naked spots into choice nooks, where was a deep and pleasant shade from which to look upon the wide prospect, steeped in sunshine, which lay stretched out beyond. The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green; and shed her richest perfumes abroad. It was the prime and vigour of the year; all things were glad and flourishing.
Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist)
Our fantastic civilization has fallen out of touch with many aspects of nature, and with none more completely than with night. Primitive folk, gathered at a cave mouth round a fire, do not fear night; they fear, rather, the energies and creatures to whom night gives power; we of the age of the machines, having delivered ourselves of nocturnal enemies, now have a dislike of night itself. With lights and ever more lights, we drive the holiness and beauty of night back to the forests and the sea; the little villages, the crossroads even, will have none of it. Are modern folk, perhaps, afraid of night? Do they fear that vast serenity, the mystery of infinite space, the austerity of stars? Having made themselves at home in a civilization obsessed with power, which explains its whole world in terms of energy, do they fear at night for their dull acquiescence and the pattern of their beliefs? Be the answer what it will, to-day's civilization is full of people who have not the slightest notion of the character or the poetry of night, who have never even seen night. Yet to live thus, to know only artificial night, is as absurd and evil as to know only artificial day.
Henry Beston (The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod)
Until he met the most devastatingly gorgeous peasant boy from a nearby village who said absolutely ghastly things to him that made him feel alive for the first time in years and who turned out to be the most mad sort of sorcerer, one who could conjure up things like gold and vodka shots and apricot tarts out of absolutely nothing, and the prince’s whole life went up in a puff of dazzling purple smoke, and the kingdom said, “I can’t believe we’re all so surprised.
Casey McQuiston (Red, White & Royal Blue)
I did a research assignment on life in the Middle Ages only last year. I found the era fascinating, all that chivalry and court romance. But I never pictured anything as poor as this village. This is the pits. There's no romance here, definitely no chivary. And it stinks--of sweat and smoke and sewage.
Marianne Curley (Old Magic)
When some people talk about money They speak as if it were a mysterious lover Who went out to buy milk and never Came back, and it makes me nostalgic For the years I lived on coffee and bread, Hungry all the time, walking to work on payday Like a woman journeying for water From a village without a well, then living One or two nights like everyone else On roast chicken and red wine.
Tracy K. Smith (Life on Mars: Poems)
I had drunk so deeply of grief and innocently gambled so hard with fate and irony that a special kind of vision was gathering in my eyes, not entirely clear just yet. This was the same look people saw in your eyes when you have died for beauty and come to live accepting nature as life with no promise of paradise, and mad at people who couldn't see that.
Martin Prechtel (Secrets of the Talking Jaguar: Memoirs from the Living Heart of a Mayan Village)
This isn't how it should be, God. Thousands of graves marking thousands of lives--so much focus on death. Did the gravediggers spend their lives just serving the dead? How many Numbers ticked away for the sake of carving headstones no one would read? As I stare at this scene, I decide I don't want a headstone when I die. I don't even want to be buried. I want to disappear--save that chunk of earth for people to live on. This land I stand on is worthless now. No one can build a house here. No one can plant gardens or start a new village. Is that what the people buried beneath me would have wanted? Earth wasn't intended to hold only dead bodies. I stand. God, I need to live.
Nadine Brandes (A Time to Die (Out of Time, #1))
How do you ruin a people? Is it with fire? Is it with bullets? You can drag a man through the street tied to the back of a horse. You can incinerate a village. Can line families up in rows against a brick wall and fell them, one by one, like a forest. But all it takes is one survivor, and the story lives on. One survivor to carry the poems and the songs, the prayers, the sorrows. It isn’t just taking a life that destroys a people. It’s taking their history.
GennaRose Nethercott (Thistlefoot)
Life is astonishingly short. As I look back over it, life seems so foreshortened to me that I can hardly understand, for instance, how a young man can decide to ride over to the next village without being afraid that, quite apart from accidents, even the span of a normal life that passes happily may be totally insufficient for such a ride.
Franz Kafka (The Complete Stories)
I was born in a country of brooks and rivers, in a corner of Champagne, called Le Vallage for the great number of its valleys. The most beautiful of its places for me was the hollow of a valley by the side of fresh water, in the shade of willows...My pleasure still is to follow the stream, to walk along its banks in the right direction, in the direction of the flowing water, the water that leads life towards the next village...Dreaming beside the river, I gave my imagination to the water, the green, clear water, the water that makes the meadows green. ...The stream doesn’t have to be ours; the water doesn’t have to be ours. The anonymous water knows all my secrets. And the same memory issues from every spring.
Gaston Bachelard (Water and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Matter (The Bachelard Translations))
I have seen ministers of justice, clothed in magisterial robes and criminals arraigned before them, while life was suspended on a breath in the courts of England; I have witnessed a congress in solemn session to give laws to nations;...but dignity and majesty have I seen but once, as it stood in chains at midnight, in a dungeon, in an obscure village of Missouri.
Parley P. Pratt
The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple. A good example of a simple technology with profound historical consequences is hay. Nobody knows who invented hay, the idea of cutting grass in the autumn and storing it in large enough quantities to keep horses and cows alive through the winter. All we know is that the technology of hay was unknown to the Roman Empire but was known to every village of medieval Europe. Like many other crucially important technologies, hay emerged anonymously during the so-called Dark Ages. According to the Hay Theory of History, the invention of hay was the decisive event which moved the center of gravity of urban civilization from the Mediterranean basin to Northern and Western Europe. The Roman Empire did not need hay because in a Mediterranean climate the grass grows well enough in winter for animals to graze. North of the Alps, great cities dependent on horses and oxen for motive power could not exist without hay. So it was hay that allowed populations to grow and civilizations to flourish among the forests of Northern Europe. Hay moved the greatness of Rome to Paris and London, and later to Berlin and Moscow and New York.
Freeman Dyson (Infinite in All Directions)
There have been numerous studies suggesting that one of the most effective ways to reduce poverty is through the education of women and girls. It’s one of the best returns on investment in the developing world, but sixty-six million girls worldwide are not enrolled in school. Educated women spread what they’ve learned to their families and villages and children. Educated girls get pregnant later, have fewer children, and have a far lower infant mortality rate. Educated women and girls have greater power to determine their own fate; earn more; live a rich, fulfilled life; and give back to their communities at a greater level.
Rainn Wilson (The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy)
Vimes died. The sun dropped out of the sky, giant lizards took over the world, and the stars exploded and went out and all hope vanished and gurgled into the sinktrap of oblivion. And gas filled the firmament and combusted and behold! There was a new heaven - or possibly not. And Disc and Io and and possibly verily life crawled out of the sea - or possibly didn't because it had been made by the gods, and lizards turned to less scaly lizards - or possibly did not. And lizards turned into birds and bugs turned into butterflies and a species of apple turned into banana and a kind of monkey fell out of a tree and realised life was better when you didn't have to spend your time hanging onto something. And in only a few billion years evolved trousers and ornamental stripey hats. Lastly the game of Crocket. And there, magically reincarnated, was Vimes, a little dizzy, standing on the village green looking into the smiling countenance of an enthusiast.
Terry Pratchett (Snuff (Discworld, #39; City Watch, #8))
Perhaps it's called the end of the world because it's the end of the games, because I can go to one of the villages and become one of the little boys working and playing there, with nothing to kill and nothing to kill me, just living there. As he thought of it, though, he could not imagine what "just living" might actually be. He had never done it in his life. But he wanted to do it anyway.
Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game (Ender's Saga, #1))
Mariam wished for so much in those final moments. Yet as she closed her eyes, it was not regret any longer but a sensation of abundant peace that washed over her. She thought of her entry into this world, the harami child of a lowly villager, an unintended thing, a pitiable, regrettable accident. A weed. And yet she was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back. She was leaving it as a friend, a companion, a guardian. A mother. A person of consequence at last. No. It was not so bad, Mariam thought, that she should die this way. Not so bad. This was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate belongings
Khaled Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns)
I’d say that the quantity of boredom, if boredom is measurable, is much greater today than it once was. Because the old occupations, at least most of them, were unthinkable without a passionate involvement: the peasants in love with their land; my grandfather, the magician of beautiful tables; the shoemakers who knew every villager’s feet by heart; the woodsmen; the gardeners; probably even the soldiers killed with passion back then. The meaning of life wasn’t an issue, it was there with them, quite naturally in their workshops, in their fields. Each occupation had created its own mentality, its own way of being. A doctor would think differently from a peasant, a soldier would behave differently from a teacher. Today we’re all alike, all of us bound together by our shared apathy toward our work. That very apathy has become a passion. The one great collective passion of our time.
Milan Kundera (Identity)
I have seen many amazing things in my long and troubled life history. I have seen a series of corridors built entirely out of human skulls. I have seen a volcano erupt and send a wall of lava crawling towards a small village. I have seen a women I loved picked up by an enormous eagle and flown to its high mountain next. But I still cannot imagine what it was like to watch Aunt Josephine's house topple into Lake Lachrymose.
Lemony Snicket (The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #3))
Second, nothing about adolescence can be understood outside the context of delayed frontocortical maturation. If by adolescence limbic, autonomic, and endocrine systems are going full blast while the frontal cortex is still working out the assembly instructions, we’ve just explained why adolescents are so frustrating, great, asinine, impulsive, inspiring, destructive, self-destructive, selfless, selfish, impossible, and world changing. Think about this—adolescence and early adulthood are the times when someone is most likely to kill, be killed, leave home forever, invent an art form, help overthrow a dictator, ethnically cleanse a village, devote themselves to the needy, become addicted, marry outside their group, transform physics, have hideous fashion taste, break their neck recreationally, commit their life to God, mug an old lady, or be convinced that all of history has converged to make this moment the most consequential, the most fraught with peril and promise, the most demanding that they get involved and make a difference. In other words, it’s the time of life of maximal risk taking, novelty seeking, and affiliation with peers. All because of that immature frontal cortex.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
I returned from the village. The house seemed unbearably dull. But I bore it. "There is no escape from loneliness and separation...." I told myself often. "Wife, child, brothers, parents, friends.... We come together only to go apart again. It is one continuous movement. They move away from us as we move away from them. The law of life can't be avoided. The law comes into operation the moment we detach ourselves from our mother's womb. All struggle and misery in life is due to our attempt to arrest this law or get away from it or in allowing ourselves to be hurt by it. The fact must be recognized. A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life. All else is false. My mother got away from her parents, my sisters from our house, I and my brother away from each other, my wife was torn away from me, my daughter is going away with my mother, my father has gone away from his father, my earliest friends - where are they? They scatter apart like the droplets of a waterspray. The law of life. No sense in battling against it...." Thus I reconciled myself to this separation with less struggle than before.
R.K. Narayan (The English Teacher)
I knew that to really minister to Rwanda's needs meant working toward reconciliation in the prisons, in the churches, and in the cities and villages throughout the country. It meant feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, caring for the young, but it also meant healing the wounded and forgiving the unforgivable. I knew I had to be committed to preaching a transforming message to the people of Rwanda. Jesus did not die for people to be religious. He died so that we might believe in Him and be transformed. I'm engaged in a purpose and strategy that Jesus came to Earth for. My life is set for that divine purpose in Jesus Christ. I was called to that--proclaiming the message of transformation through Jesus Christ.
John Rucyahana (The Bishop of Rwanda: Finding Forgiveness Amidst a Pile of Bones)
I dont believe in God. Can you understand that? Look around you man. Cant you see? The clamour and din of those in torment has to be the sound most pleasing to his ear. And I loathe these discussions. The argument of the village atheist whose single passion is to revile endlessly that which he denies the existence of in the first place. Your fellowship is a fellowship of pain and nothing more. And if that pain were actually collective instead of simply reiterative then the sheer weight of it would drag the world from the walls of the universe and send it crashing and burning through whatever night it might yet be capable of engendering until it was not even ash. And justice? Brotherhood? Eternal life? Good god, man. Show me a religion that prepares one for death. For nothingness. There's a church I might enter. Yours prepares one only for more life. For dreams and illusions and lies. If you could banish the fear of death from men's hearts they wouldnt live a day. Who would want this nightmare if not for fear of the next? The shadow of the axe hangs over every joy. Every road ends in death. Or worse. Every friendship. Every love. Torment, betrayal, loss, suffering, pain, age, indignity, and hideous lingering illness. All with a single conclusion. For you and for every one and every thing that you have chosen to care for. There's the true brotherhood. The true fellowship. And everyone is a member for life. You tell me that my brother is my salvation? My salvation? Well then damn him. Damn him in every shape and form and guise. Do I see myself in him? Yes, I do. And what I see sickens me. Do you understand me? Can you understand me?
Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
A huge cloud of dust is not a beautiful thing to look at. Very few painters have done portraits of huge clouds of dust or included them in their landscapes or still lifes. Film directors rarely choose huge clouds of dust to play the lead roles in romantic comedies, and as far as my research has shown, a huge cloud of dust has never placed higher than twenty-fifth in a beauty pageant. Nevertheless, as the Baudelaire orphans stumbled around the cell, dropped each half of the battering ram and listening to the sound of crows flying in circles outside, they stared at the huge cloud of dust as if it were a thing of great beauty.
Lemony Snicket (The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #7))
And so we know the satisfaction of hate. We know the sweet joy of revenge. How it feels good to get even. Oh, that was a nice idea Jesus had. That was a pretty notion, but you can't love people who do evil. It's neither sensible or practical. It's not wise to the world to love people who do such terrible wrong. There is no way on earth we can love our enemies. They'll only do wickedness and hatefulness again. And worse, they'll think they can get away with this wickedness and evil, because they'll think we're weak and afraid. What would the world come to? But I want to say to you here on this hot July morning in Holt, what if Jesus wasn't kidding? What if he wasn't talking about some never-never land? What if he really did mean what he said two thousand years ago? What if he was thoroughly wise to the world and knew firsthand cruelty and wickedness and evil and hate? Knew it all so well from personal firsthand experience? And what if in spite of all that he knew, he still said love your enemies? Turn your cheek. Pray for those who misuse you. What if he meant every word of what he said? What then would the world come to? And what if we tried it? What if we said to our enemies: We are the most powerful nation on earth. We can destroy you. We can kill your children. We can make ruins of your cities and villages and when we're finished you won't even know how to look for the places where they used to be. We have the power to take away your water and to scorch your earth, to rob you of the very fundamentals of life. We can change the actual day into actual night. We can do these things to you. And more. But what if we say, Listen: Instead of any of these, we are going to give willingly and generously to you. We are going to spend the great American national treasure and the will and the human lives that we would have spent on destruction, and instead we are going to turn them all toward creation. We'll mend your roads and highways, expand your schools, modernize your wells and water supplies, save your ancient artifacts and art and culture, preserve your temples and mosques. In fact, we are going to love you. And again we say, no matter what has gone before, no matter what you've done: We are going to love you. We have set our hearts to it. We will treat you like brothers and sisters. We are going to turn our collective national cheek and present it to be stricken a second time, if need be, and offer it to you. Listen, we-- But then he was abruptly halted.
Kent Haruf (Benediction (Plainsong, #3))
Civilization is an experiment, a very recent way of life in the human career, and it has a habit of walking into what I am calling progress traps. A small village on good land beside a river is a good idea; but when the village grows into a city and paves over the good land, it becomes a bad idea. While prevention might have been easy, a cure may be impossible: a city isn't easily moved. This human inability to foresee -- or to watch out for -- long-range consequences may be inherent to our kind, shaped by the millions of years when we lived from hand to mouth by hunting and gathering. It may also be little more than a mix of inertia, greed, and foolishness encouraged by the shape of the social pyramid. The concentration of power at the top of large-scale societies gives the elite a vested interest in the status quo; they continue to prosper in darkening times long after the environment and general populace begin to suffer. (109)
Ronald Wright (A Short History of Progress)
...this is the first time in the history of humankind where we are trying to experience sexuality in the long term, not because we want 14 children, for which we need to have even more because many of them won't make it, and not because it is exclusively a woman's marital duty. This is the first time that we want sex over time about pleasure and connection that is rooted in desire. So what sustains desire, and why is it so difficult? And at the heart of sustaining desire in a committed relationship, I think is the reconciliation of two fundamental human needs... So reconciling our need for security and our need for adventure into one relationship, or what we today like to call a passionate marriage, used to be a contradiction in terms. Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it's a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that.
Esther Perel
But others of us believed that the only true happiness our Sara had ever known in her short life on this earth had been among these people. And we wished for her soul to go to the place the Cheyennes called Seano – the place of the dead – which is reached by following the Hanging Road in the Sky, the Milky Way. Here the Cheyennes believe that all the People who have ever died live with their Creator, He’amaveho’e. In Seano they live in villages just as they did on earth – hunting, working, eating, playing, loving, and making war. And all go to the place of the dead, regardless of whether they were good or bad on earth, virtuous or evil, brave or cowardly – everyone – and eventually in Seano all are reunited with the souls of their loved ones.
Jim Fergus (One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (One Thousand White Women, #1))
The question is, Miss Finch . . . what are you doing in this village?” “I’ve been trying to explain it to you. We have a community of ladies here in Spindle Cove, and we support one another with friendship, intellectual stimulation, and healthful living.” “No, no. I can see how this might appeal to a mousy, awkward chit with no prospects for something better. But what are you doing here?” Perplexed, she turned her gloved hands palms-up. “Living happily.” “Really,” he said, giving her a skeptical look. Even his horse snorted in seeming disbelief. “A woman like you.” She bristled. Just what kind of woman did he think she was? “If you think yourself content with no man in your life, Miss Finch, that only proves one thing.” In a swift motion, he pulled himself into the saddle. His next words were spoken down at her, making her feel small and patronized. “You’ve been meeting all the wrong men.
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
It was normal for it to rain, but in October- who could forget the rains of October?- now this disturbingly silent rain was falling. That was so nebulous that it was pretty; that, if it had not been wet, no one would have believed it was raining; that was so slow that it was possible to follow its fall with one's eyes. That which villagers called 'the rains of October' was the accumulation of the serenity of such a life. Eyes almost broke into tears on looking at the sun subdividing itself, at the end of the afternoon, in each drop of that snail's-pace precipitation, as if the great star had dissolved each day an infinitesimal bit more.
Ondjaki (The Whistler)
Old Deuteronomy's lived a long time; He's a Cat who has lived many lives in succession. He was famous in proverb and famous in rhyme A long while before Queen Victoria's accession. Old Deuteronomy's buried nine wives And more – I am tempted to say, ninety-nine; And his numerous progeny prospers and thrives And the village is proud of him in his decline. At the sight of that placid and bland physiognomy, When he sits in the sun on the vicarage wall, The Oldest Inhabitant croaks: "Well, of all … Things … Can it be … really! … No! … Yes! … Ho! hi! Oh, my eye! My mind may be wandering, but I confess I believe it is Old Deuteronomy!" Old Deuteronomy sits in the street, He sits in the High Street on market day; The bullocks may bellow, the sheep they may bleat, But the dogs and the herdsman will turn them away. The cars and the lorries run over the kerb, And the villagers put up a notice: ROAD CLOSED — So that nothing untoward may chance to disturb Deuteronomy's rest when he feels so disposed Or when he's engaged in domestic economy: And the Oldest Inhabitant croaks: "Well of all … Things … Can it be … really! … No! … Yes! … Ho! hi! Oh, my eye! My sight's unreliable, but I can guess That the cause of the trouble is Old Deuteronomy!
T.S. Eliot (Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats)
Fucker, I though to myself. So irritated by a stare! I wonder what your reaction would have been if you had lived under occupation for as many years as I had, or if your shopping rights, like all of your other rights, were violated day and night, or if the olive trees in your grandfather's orchards had been uprooted, or if your village had been bulldozed, or if your house had been demolished, or if your sister could not reach her school, or if your brother had been given three life sentences, or if your mother had given birth at a checkpoint, or if you had stood in a line for days in the hot August summers waiting for your work permit, or if you could not reach your beloved ones in Arab East Jerusalem.... A stare, and you lose your mind!
Suad Amiry (Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries)
You can be a rich person alone. You can be a smart person alone. But you cannot be a complete person alone. For that you must be part of, and rooted in, an olive grove. This truth was once beautifully conveyed by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner in his interpretation of a scene from Gabriel García Márquez’s classic novel One Hundred Years of Solitude: Márquez tells of a village where people were afflicted with a strange plague of forgetfulness, a kind of contagious amnesia. Starting with the oldest inhabitants and working its way through the population, the plague causes people to forget the names of even the most common everyday objects. One young man, still unaffected, tries to limit the damage by putting labels on everything. “This is a table,” “This is a window,” “This is a cow; it has to be milked every morning.” And at the entrance to the town, on the main road, he puts up two large signs. One reads “The name of our village is Macondo,” and the larger one reads “God exists.” The message I get from that story is that we can, and probably will, forget most of what we have learned in life—the math, the history, the chemical formulas, the address and phone number of the first house we lived in when we got married—and all that forgetting will do us no harm. But if we forget whom we belong to, and if we forget that there is a God, something profoundly human in us will be lost.
Thomas L. Friedman (The Lexus and the Olive Tree)
There is not a moment but preys upon you,—and upon all around you, not a moment in which you do not yourself become a destroyer. The most innocent walk deprives of life thousands of poor insects: one step destroys the fabric of the industrious ant, and converts a little world into chaos. No: it is not the great and rare calamities of the world, the floods which sweep away whole villages, the earthquakes which swallow up our towns, that affect me. My heart is wasted by the thought of that destructive power which lies concealed in every part of universal nature. Nature has formed nothing that does not consume itself, and every object near it: so that, surrounded by earth and air, and all the active powers, I wander on my way with aching heart; and the universe is to me a fearful monster, for ever devouring its own offspring.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (The Sorrows of Young Werther)
FOR THE DYING May death come gently toward you, Leaving you time to make your way Through the cold embrace of fear To the place of inner tranquillity. May death arrive only after a long life To find you at home among your own With every comfort and care you require. May your leave-taking be gracious, Enabling you to hold dignity Through awkwardness and illness. May you see the reflection Of your life’s kindness and beauty In all the tears that fall for you. As your eyes focus on each face, May your soul take its imprint, Drawing each image within As companions for the journey. May you find for each one you love A different locket of jeweled words To be worn around the heart To warm your absence. May someone who knows and loves The complex village of your heart Be there to echo you back to yourself And create a sure word-raft To carry you to the further shore. May your spirit feel The surge of true delight When the veil of the visible Is raised, and you glimpse again The living faces Of departed family and friends. May there be some beautiful surprise Waiting for you inside death, Something you never knew or felt, Which with one simple touch, Absolves you of all loneliness and loss, As you quicken within the embrace For which your soul was eternally made. May your heart be speechless At the sight of the truth Of all belief had hoped, Your heart breathless In the light and lightness Where each and everything Is at last its true self Within that serene belonging That dwells beside us On the other side Of what we see.
John O'Donohue (To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings)
Get Comfortable Not Knowing There once was a village that had among its people a very wise old man. The villagers trusted this man to provide them answers to their questions and concerns. One day, a farmer from the village went to the wise man and said in a frantic tone, “Wise man, help me. A horrible thing has happened. My ox has died and I have no animal to help me plow my field! Isn’t this the worst thing that could have possibly happened?” The wise old man replied, “Maybe so, maybe not.” The man hurried back to the village and reported to his neighbors that the wise man had gone mad. Surely this was the worst thing that could have happened. Why couldn’t he see this? The very next day, however, a strong, young horse was seen near the man’s farm. Because the man had no ox to rely on, he had the idea to catch the horse to replace his ox—and he did. How joyful the farmer was. Plowing the field had never been easier. He went back to the wise man to apologize. “You were right, wise man. Losing my ox wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened. It was a blessing in disguise! I never would have captured my new horse had that not happened. You must agree that this is the best thing that could have happened.” The wise man replied once again, “Maybe so, maybe not.” Not again, thought the farmer. Surely the wise man had gone mad now. But, once again, the farmer did not know what was to happen. A few days later the farmer’s son was riding the horse and was thrown off. He broke his leg and would not be able to help with the crop. Oh no, thought the man. Now we will starve to death. Once again, the farmer went to the wise man. This time he said, “How did you know that capturing my horse was not a good thing? You were right again. My son is injured and won’t be able to help with the crop. This time I’m sure that this is the worst thing that could have possibly happened. You must agree this time.” But, just as he had done before, the wise man calmly looked at the farmer and in a compassionate tone replied once again, “Maybe so, maybe not.” Enraged that the wise man could be so ignorant, the farmer stormed back to the village. The next day troops arrived to take every able-bodied man to the war that had just broken out. The farmer’s son was the only young man in the village who didn’t have to go. He would live, while the others would surely die. The moral of this story provides a powerful lesson. The truth is, we don’t know what’s going to happen—we just think we do. Often we make a big deal out of something. We blow up scenarios in our minds about all the terrible things that are going to happen. Most of the time we are wrong. If we keep our cool and stay open to possibilities, we can be reasonably certain that, eventually, all will be well. Remember: maybe so, maybe not.
Richard Carlson (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and it's all small stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life)
Then I said to myself, "If the centuries are going by, mine will come too, and will pass, and after a time the last century of all will come, and then I shall understand." And I fixed my eyes on the ages that were coming and passing on; now I was calm and resolute, maybe even happy. Each age brought its share of light and shade, of apathy and struggle, of truth and error, and its parade of systems, of new ideas, of new illusions; in each of them the verdure of spring burst forth, grew yellow with age, and then, young once more, burst forth again. While life thus moved with the regularity of a calendar, history and civilization developed; and man, at first naked and unarmed, clothed and armed himself, built hut and palace, villages and hundred-gated Thebes, created science that scrutinizes and art that elevates, made himself an orator, a mechanic, a philosopher, ran all over the face of the globe, went down into the earth and up to the clouds, performing the mysterious work through which he satisfied the necessities of life and tried to forget his loneliness. My tired eyes finally saw the present age go by end, after it, future ages. The present age, as it approached, was agile, skillful, vibrant, proud, a little verbose, audacious, learned, but in the end it was as miserable as the earlier ones. And so it passed, and so passed the others, with the same speed and monotony.
Machado de Assis (Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas)
Mariam wished for so much in those final moments. Yet as she closed her eyes, it was not regret any longer but a sensation of abundant peace that washed over her. She thought of her entry into this world, the harami child of a lowly villager, an unintended thing, a pitiable, regrettable accident. A weed. And yet she was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back. She was leaving it as a friend, a companion, a guardian. A mother. A person of consequence at last. No. It was not so bad, Mariam thought, that she should die this way. Not so bad. This was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate beginnings. Mariam's final thoughts were a few words from the Koran, which she muttered under her breath. He has created the heavens and the earth with the truth; He makes the night cover the day and makes the day overtake the night, and He has made the sun and the moon subservient; each one runs on to an assigned term; now surely He is the Mighty, the Great Forgiver. "Kneel," the Talib said. O my Lord! Forgive and have mercy, for you are the best of the merciful ones. "Kneel here, hamshira. And look down." One last time, Mariam did as she was told.
Khaled Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns)
Names came patterning into the dusk, bodying out the places of their forebears, the villages and towns where the telegrams would be delivered, the houses where the blinds would be drawn, where low moans would come in the afternoon behind closed doors; and the places that had borne them, which would be like nunneries, like dead towns without their life or purpose, without young men at the factories or in the fields, with no husbands for the women, no deep sound of voices in the inns, with the children who would have been born, who would have grown and worked or painted, even governed, left ungenerated in their fathers shattered flesh that lay in stinking shellholes in the beet crop soil, leaving their homes to put up only granite slabs in place of living flesh, on whose inhuman surface the moss and lichen would cast their crawling green indifference.
Sebastian Faulks (Birdsong)
I was never afraid of my monsters. I controlled them. I slept with them in the dark, and they never stepped beyond their boundaries. My monsters had never asked to be bora with bolts in their necks, scaly wings, blood hunger in their veins, or deformed faces from which beautiful girls shrank back in horror. My monsters were not evil; they were simply trying to survive in a tough old world. They reminded me of myself and my friends: ungainly, unlovely, beaten but not conquered. They were the outsiders searching for a place to belong in a cataclysm of villagers’ torches, amulets, crucifixes, silver bullets, radiation bombs, air force jets, and flamethrowers. They were imperfect, and heroic in their suffering.
Robert McCammon (Boy's Life)
Niphon, standing with a glass of wine, regarded me with curious amusement as I headed straight for him.Considering I usually avoided him if it all possible, my approach undoubtedly astonished him. But not as much as when I punched him. I didn’t even need to shape-shift much bulk into my fist. I’d caught him by surprise. The wineglass fell out of his hand, hitting the carpet and spilling its contents like blood. The imp flew backward, hitting Peter’s china cabinet with a crash. Niphon slumped to the floor, eyes wide with shock. I kept coming. Kneeling, I grabbed his designer shirt and jerked him toward me. “Stay the fuck out of my life, or I will destroy you,” I hissed. Terror filled his features. “Are you out of your fucking mind? What do you—” Suddenly, the fear disappeared. He started laughing. “He did it, didn’t he? He broke up with you. I didn’t know if he could do it, even after giving him the spiel about how it’d be better for both of you. Oh my. This is lovely. All your so-called charms weren’t enough to—ahh!” I’d pulled him closer to me, digging my nails into him, and finally, I felt an emotion. Fury. Niphon’s role had been greater than I believed. My face was mere inches from his. “Remember when you said I was nothing but a backwoods girl from some gritty fishing village? You were right. And I had to survive in gritty circumstances—in situations you’d never be able to handle. And you know what else? I spent most of my childhood gutting fish and other animals.” I ran a finger down his neck. “I can do it for you too. I could slit you from throat to stomach. I could rip you open, and you’d scream for death. You’d wish you weren’t immortal. And I could do it over and over again.” That wiped the smirk off Niphon’s face.
Richelle Mead (Succubus Dreams (Georgina Kincaid, #3))
Three times now... We've fought world wars for our own nations, our own villages. We've hurt one another. We've hated one another. That hatred bred a lust for power, and that lust for power created ME. I was a Jinchuuriki, the embodiment of hatred and power. And I hated this world, and all the people in it... I wanted to destroy it with my own hands. The exact same thing Akatsuki is trying to do today. But one man, one ninja from Konoha stopped me. I was his enemy, yet he wept for me! I hurt him, yet he called me his friend! He saved me! My enemy, my fellow Jinchuuriki... He suffered the same pain as me, yet bore no ill will! There are no enemies here because we've all suffered at Akatsuki's hand! SO THERE IS NO SAND, NO STONE, NO LEAF, NO MIST, NO CLOUD! THERE ARE ONLY SHINOBI! And if you still hold a grudge against the Sand, then when this war is over, come and take my head instead! Our enemies are after the friend who saved my life! If they take him, if we hand him over, our world is finished! I want to protect him, and I want to protect our world! But I'm too young to protect it all on my own! All of you lend me your aid!
Masashi Kishimoto
We call it hypocrisy, but it is schizophrenia, a modest ranch-house life with Draconian military adventures; a land of equal opportunity where a white culture sits upon a Black; a horizontal community of Christian love and a vertical hierarchy of churches--the cross was well-designed! a land of family, a land of illicit heat; a politics of principle, a politics of property; nation of mental hygiene with movies and TV reminiscent of a mental pigpen; patriots with a detestation of obscenity who pollute their rivers; citizens with a detestation of government control who cannot bear any situation not controlled. The list must be endless, the comic profits are finally small--the society was able to stagger on like a 400-lb. policeman walking uphill because living in such an unappreciated and obese state it did not at least have to explode in schizophrenia--life went on. Boys could go patiently to church at home and wait their turn to burn villages in Vietnam.
Norman Mailer
It was a still night, tinted with the promise of dawn. A crescent moon was just setting. Ankh-Morpork, largest city in the lands around the Circle Sea, slept. That statement is not really true On the one hand, those parts of the city which normally concerned themselves with, for example, selling vegetables, shoeing horses, carving exquisite small jade ornaments, changing money and making tables, on the whole, slept. Unless they had insomnia. Or had got up in the night, as it might be, to go to the lavatory. On the other hand, many of the less law-abiding citizens were wide awake and, for instance, climbing through windows that didn’t belong to them, slitting throats, mugging one another, listening to loud music in smoky cellars and generally having a lot more fun. But most of the animals were asleep, except for the rats. And the bats, too, of course. As far as the insects were concerned… The point is that descriptive writing is very rarely entirely accurate and during the reign of Olaf Quimby II as Patrician of Ankh some legislation was passed in a determined attempt to put a stop to this sort of thing and introduce some honesty into reporting. Thus, if a legend said of a notable hero that “all men spoke of his prowess” any bard who valued his life would add hastily “except for a couple of people in his home village who thought he was a liar, and quite a lot of other people who had never really heard of him.” Poetic simile was strictly limited to statements like “his mighty steed was as fleet as the wind on a fairly calm day, say about Force Three,” and any loose talk about a beloved having a face that launched a thousand ships would have to be backed by evidence that the object of desire did indeed look like a bottle of champagne.
Terry Pratchett (The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind, #2))
As long as we share our stories, as long as our stories reveal our strengths and vulnerabilities to each other, we reinvigorte our understanding and tolerance for the little quirks of personality that in other circumstances would drive us apart. When we live in a family, a community, a country where we know each other's true stories, we remember our capacity to lean in and love each other into wholeness. I have read the story of a tribe in southern Africa called the Babemba in which a person doing something wrong, something that destroys this delicate social net, brings all work in the village to a halt. The people gather around the "offender," and one by one they begin to recite everything he has done right in his life: every good deed, thoughtful behavior, act of social responsibility. These things have to be true about the person, and spoken honestly, but the time-honored consequence of misbehavior is to appreciate that person back into the better part of himself. The person is given the chance to remember who he is and why he is important to the life of the village. I want to live under such a practice of compassion. When I forget my place, when I lash out with some private wounding in a public way, I want to be remembered back into alignment with my self and my purpose. I want to live with the opportunity for reconciliation. When someone around me is thoughtless or cruel, I want to be given the chance to respond with a ritual that creates the possibility of reconnection. I want to live in a neighborhood where people don't shoot first, don't sue first, where people are Storycatchers willing to discover in strangers the mirror of themselves.
Christina Baldwin (Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story)
Surveys have shown that ranking very close to the fear of death is the fear of public speaking. Why would someone feel profound fear, deep in his or her stomach, about public speaking, which is so far from death? Because it isn’t so far from death when we link it. Those who fear public speaking actually fear the loss of identity that attaches to performing badly, and that is firmly rooted in our survival needs. For all social animals, from ants to antelopes, identity is the pass card to inclusion, and inclusion is the key to survival. If a baby loses its identity as the child of his or her parents, a possible outcome is abandonment. For a human infant, that means death. As adults, without our identity as a member of the tribe or village, community or culture, a likely outcome is banishment and death. So the fear of getting up and addressing five hundred people at the annual convention of professionals in your field is not just the fear of embarrassment—it is linked to the fear of being perceived as incompetent, which is linked to the fear of loss of employment, loss of home, loss of family, your ability to contribute to society, your value, in short, your identity and your life. Linking an unwarranted fear to its ultimate terrible destination usually helps alleviate that fear. Though you may find that public speaking can link to death, you’ll see that it would be a long and unlikely trip.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
what is the expression which the age demands? the age demands no expression whatever. we have seen photographs of bereaved asian mothers. we are not interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. there is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. do not even try. you will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. we have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and dislocation. you are playing to people who have experienced a catastrophe. this should make you very quiet. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. everyone knows you are in pain. you cannot tell the audience everything you know about love in every line of love you speak. step aside and they will know what you know because you know it already. you have nothing to teach them. you are not more beautiful than they are. you are not wiser. do not shout at them. do not force a dry entry. that is bad sex. if you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you promise. and remember that people do not really want an acrobat in bed. what is our need? to be close to the natural man, to be close to the natural woman. do not pretend that you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very moment. the bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have destroyed more than just the trees and villages. they have also destroyed the stage. did you think that your profession would escape the general destruction? there is no more stage. there are no more footlights. you are among the people. then be modest. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. be by yourself. be in your own room. do not put yourself on. do not act out words. never act out words. never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death. do not fix your burning eyes on me when you speak about love. if you want to impress me when you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under your dress and play with yourself. if ambition and the hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the material. this is an interior landscape. it is inside. it is private. respect the privacy of the material. these pieces were written in silence. the courage of the play is to speak them. the discipline of the play is not to violate them. let the audience feel your love of privacy even though there is no privacy. be good whores. the poem is not a slogan. it cannot advertise you. it cannot promote your reputation for sensitivity. you are students of discipline. do not act out the words. the words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition. the poem is nothing but information. it is the constitution of the inner country. if you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. you are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. think of the words as science, not as art. they are a report. you are speaking before a meeting of the explorers' club of the national geographic society. these people know all the risks of mountain climbing. they honour you by taking this for granted. if you rub their faces in it that is an insult to their hospitality. do not work the audience for gasps ans sighs. if you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. it will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. it will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence. avoid the flourish. do not be afraid to be weak. do not be ashamed to be tired. you look good when you're tired. you look like you could go on forever. now come into my arms. you are the image of my beauty.
Leonard Cohen (Death of a Lady's Man)
They had to die. They were killing innocent people. (Wulf) They were surviving, Wulf. You never had to face the choice of being dead at twenty-seven. When most people’s lives are just beginning, we are looking at a death sentence. Have you any idea what it’s like to know you can never see your children grow up? Never see your own grandchildren? My mother used to say we were spring flowers who are only meant to bloom for one season. We bring our gifts to the world and then recede to dust so that others can come after us. When our loved ones die, we immortalize them like this. I have one for my mother and the other four are my sisters. No one will ever know the beauty of my sisters’ laughter. No one will remember the kindness of my mother’s smile. In eight months, my father won’t even have enough of me left to bury. I will become scattered dust. And for what? For something my great-great-great-whatever did? I’ve been alone the whole of my life because I dare not let anyone know me. I don’t want to love for fear of leaving someone like my father behind to mourn me. I will be a vague dream, and yet here you are, Wulf Tryggvason. Viking cur who once roamed the earth raiding villages. How many people did you kill in your human lifetime while you sought treasure and fame? Were you any better than the Daimons who kill so that they can live? What makes you better than us? (Cassandra) It’s not the same thing. (Wulf) Isn’t it? You know, I went to your Web site and saw the names listed there. Kyrian of Thrace, Julian of Macedon, Valerius Magnus, Jamie Gallagher, William Jess Brady. I’ve studied history all my life and know each of those names and the terror they wrought in their day. Why is it okay for the Dark-Hunters to have immortality even though most of you were killers as humans, while we are damned at birth for things we never did? Where is the justice in this? (Cassandra)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Kiss of the Night (Dark-Hunter, #4))
Fanfare for the Makers A cloud of witnesses. To whom? To what? To the small fire that never leaves the sky. To the great fire that boils the daily pot. To all the things we are not remembered by, Which we remember and bless. To all the things That will not notice when we die, Yet lend the passing moment words and wings. So fanfare for the Makers: who compose A book of words or deeds who runs may write As many who do run, as a family grows At times like sunflowers turning towards the light. As sometimes in the blackout and the raids One joke composed an island in the night. As sometimes one man’s kindness pervades A room or house or village, as sometimes Merely to tighten screws or sharpen blades Can catch a meaning, as to hear the chimes At midnight means to share them, as one man In old age plants an avenue of limes And before they bloom can smell them, before they span The road can walk beneath the perfected arch, The merest greenprint when the lives began Of those who walk there with him, as in default Of coffee men grind acorns, as in despite Of all assaults conscripts counter assault, As mothers sit up late night after night Moulding a life, as miners day by day Descend blind shafts, as a boy may flaunt his kite In an empty nonchalant sky, as anglers play Their fish, as workers work and can take pride In spending sweat before they draw their pay. As horsemen fashion horses while they ride, As climbers climb a peak because it is there, As life can be confirmed even in suicide: To make is such. Let us make. And set the weather fair. Louis Macneice
Louis MacNeice (Collected Poems)
I’d like to run away, to flee from what I know, from what is mine, from what I love. I want to set off, not for some impossible Indies or for the great islands that lie far to the south of all other lands, but for anywhere, be it village or desert, that has the virtue of not being here. What I want is not to see these faces, this daily round of days. I want a rest from, to be other than, my habitual pretending. I want to feel the approach of sleep as if it were a promise of life, not rest. A hut by the sea, even a cave on a rugged mountain ledge, would be enough. Unfortunately, my will alone cannot give me that. Slavery is the only law of life, there is no other, because this law must be obeyed; there is no possible rebellion against it or refuge from it. Some are born slaves, some become slaves, some have slavery thrust upon them. The cowardly love we all have of freedom -which if it were given to us we would all repudiate as being too new and strange –is the irrefutable proof of how our slavery weighs upon us.
Fernando Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet)
Brian Wilson went to bed for three years. Jean-Michel Basquiat would spend all day in bed. Monica Ali, Charles Bukowski, Marcel Proust, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Tracey Emin, Emily Dickinson, Edith Sitwell, Frida Kahlo, William Wordsworth, René Descartes, Mark Twain, Henri Matisse, Kathy Acker, Derek Jarman and Patti Smith all worked or work from bed and they’re productive people. (Am I protesting too much?) Humans take to their beds for all sorts of reasons: because they’re overwhelmed by life, need to rest, think, recover from illness and trauma, because they’re cold, lonely, scared, depressed – sometimes I lie in bed for weeks with a puddle of depression in my sternum – to work, even to protest (Emily Dickinson, John and Yoko). Polar bears spend six months of the year sleeping, dormice too. Half their lives are spent asleep, no one calls them lazy. There’s a region in the South of France, near the Alps, where whole villages used to sleep through the seven months of winter – I might be descended from them. And in 1900, it was recorded that peasants from Pskov in northwest Russia would fall into a deep winter sleep called lotska for half the year: ‘for six whole months out of the twelve to be in the state of Nirvana longed for by Eastern sages, free from the stress of life, from the need to labour, from the multitudinous burdens, anxieties, and vexations of existence’.‡ Even when I’m well I like to lie in bed and think. It’s as if
Viv Albertine (To Throw Away Unopened)
I suddenly knew that religion, God - something beyond everyday life - was there to be found, provided one is really willing. And I saw that though what I felt in the church was only imagination, it was a step on the way; because imagination itself can be a kind of willingness - a pretense that things are real, due to one's longing for them. It struck me that this was somehow tied up with what the Vicar said about religion being an extension of art - and then I had a glimpse of how religion can really cure you of sorrow; somehow make use of it, turn it to beauty, just as art can make sad things beautiful. I found myself saying: 'Sacrifice is the secret - you have to sacrifice things for art and it's the same with religion; and then the sacrifice turns out to be a gain.' Then I got confused and I couldn't hold on to what I meant - until Miss Blossom remarked: 'Nonsense, duckie - it's prefectly simple. You lose yourself in something beyond yourself and it's a lovely rest.' I saw that, all right. Then I thought: 'But that's how Miss Marcy cured her sorrow, too - only she lost herself in other people instead of in religion.' Which way of life was best - hers or the Vicar's? I decided that he loves God and merely likes the villagers, whereas she loves the villagers and merely likes God - and then I suddenly wondered if I could combine both ways, love God and my neighbor equally. Was I really willing to?
Dodie Smith
Many people in this room have an Etsy store where they create unique, unreplicable artifacts or useful items to be sold on a small scale, in a common marketplace where their friends meet and barter. I and many of my friends own more than one spinning wheel. We grow our food again. We make pickles and jams on private, individual scales, when many of our mothers forgot those skills if they ever knew them. We come to conventions, we create small communities of support and distributed skills--when one of us needs help, our village steps in. It’s only that our village is no longer physical, but connected by DSL instead of roads. But look at how we organize our tribes--bloggers preside over large estates, kings and queens whose spouses’ virtues are oft-lauded but whose faces are rarely seen. They have moderators to protect them, to be their knights, a nobility of active commenters and big name fans, a peasantry of regular readers, and vandals starting the occasional flame war just to watch the fields burn. Other villages are more commune-like, sharing out resources on forums or aggregate sites, providing wise women to be consulted, rabbis or priests to explain the world, makers and smiths to fashion magical objects. Groups of performers, acrobats and actors and singers of songs are traveling the roads once more, entertaining for a brief evening in a living room or a wheatfield, known by word of mouth and secret signal. Separate from official government, we create our own hierarchies, laws, and mores, as well as our own folklore and secret history. Even my own guilt about having failed as an academic is quite the crisis of filial piety--you see, my mother is a professor. I have not carried on the family trade. We dwell within a system so large and widespread, so disorganized and unconcerned for anyone but its most privileged and luxurious members, that our powerlessness, when we can summon up the courage to actually face it, is staggering. So we do not face it. We tell ourselves we are Achilles when we have much more in common with the cathedral-worker, laboring anonymously so that the next generation can see some incremental progress. We lack, of course, a Great Work to point to and say: my grandmother made that window; I worked upon the door. Though, I would submit that perhaps the Internet, as an object, as an aggregate entity, is the cathedral we build word by word and image by image, window by window and portal by portal, to stand taller for our children, if only by a little, than it does for us. For most of us are Lancelots, not Galahads. We may see the Grail of a good Classical life, but never touch it. That is for our sons, or their daughters, or further off. And if our villages are online, the real world becomes that dark wood on the edge of civilization, a place of danger and experience, of magic and blood, a place to make one’s name or find death by bear. And here, there be monsters.
Catherynne M. Valente
Coming back to America was, for me, much more of a cultural shock than going to India. The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead, and their intuition is far more developed than in the rest of the world. Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work. Western rational thought is not an innate human characteristic; it is learned and is the great achievement of Western civilization. In the villages of India, they never learned it. They learned something else, which is in some ways just as valuable but in other ways is not. That’s the power of intuition and experiential wisdom. Coming back after seven months in Indian villages, I saw the craziness of the Western world as well as its capacity for rational thought. If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is. If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things—that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it. Zen has been a deep influence in my life ever since. At one point I was thinking about going to Japan and trying to get into the Eihei-ji monastery, but my spiritual advisor urged me to stay here. He said there is nothing over there that isn’t here, and he was correct. I learned the truth of the Zen saying that if you are willing to travel around the world to meet a teacher, one will appear next door.
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
Let me tell you a story,” I say instead. “Once upon a time, there was a girl whose life was saved by the faery king—” “This story sounds distinctly familiar. I think I might have heard it somewhere before.” I shush him and say not to interrupt. “If anyone asked her how she felt about the king, she would have said she loathed him. He ruthlessly trained her to fight his own kind. He taught her to kill. She learned from his lessons how to quiet the rage that burned inside her. But she had already decided that one day, when she had grown strong enough and learned everything she could about battle, she was going to murder him.” Kiaran goes still, his eyes glittering in the darkness. He says nothing. “Her opportunity came one night when he decided she was ready to hunt her first faery. It was a skriker that had been terrorizing a nearby village, slaughtering children in the night. The king handed the girl his sword and ordered her to kill the goblin-like creature. “She barely won. But in the end, as she thrust the sword deep into the monster’s gut, she felt something so profoundly that she thought it would consume her. So she told the king. She whispered the words and meant them with every part of her rage-filled soul: ‘I hate you. I hate all of you.’ When she lifted the sword again, she intended to pierce it right through his heart. “That was the first time the girl had ever seen the faery king smile.” I lift my hand and press my palm to Kiaran’s cheek. “You’ll have to finish the story. She never knew why he smiled. Just that one day, she wanted to see him do it again. So she dropped the sword and spared his life. And she never told the king what really happened that night.” Kiaran looks amused. “The king knew the girl’s plan all along. He smiled because he decided he liked her. She kept things interesting.” I stare at him. “So the faery king is a deranged sort. As the girl always suspected.” “How about his side of this story?” He pulls me close, his lips soft on my shoulder. “He never told the girl that during a hunt, when she ran alongside him with the wind in her hair and the moonlight behind her, that she was the most magnificent thing he had ever seen and he wanted her.” Then Kiaran’s hands are in my hair, lips brushing mine. “And when the king watched her in battle, she’d look over at him with a smile and he desired her. “It was never at once,” he continued. “It was after everything they had gone through and then it was the king and the girl facing an entire army together. And he knew the truth. His heart was hers. It always was. It always will be.” A shadow crosses Kiaran’s irises. A reminder that he’s still fighting. Just to be here. With me. He shuts his eyes, expression strained. Before I can ask if he’s all right, he pulls me against him and holds me close. His next words are spoken under his breath, so low I wonder if I heard them at all. “The girl helps the king keep his darkness at bay.
Elizabeth May (The Fallen Kingdom (The Falconer, #3))
What do think about abortion?” “I could feel the tension growing in the plane. I dropped my head, acknowledging that we had very different value systems for our lives. Then I thought of a way to respond to his question. “You’re Jewish, right?” I asked. “Yes,” he said defensively. “I told you I was!” “Do you know how Hitler persuaded the German people to destroy more than six million of your Jewish ancestors?” The man looked at me expectantly, so I continued. ”He convinced them that Jews were not human and then exterminated your people like rats.” I could see that I had his attention, so I went on. “Do you understand how Americans enslaved, tortured, and killed millions of Africans? We dehumanized them so our constitution didn’t apply to them, and then we treated them worse than animals.” “How about the Native Americans?” I pressed. “Do you have any idea how we managed to hunt Indians like wild animals, drive them out of their own land, burn their villages, rape their women, and slaughter their children? Do you have any clue how everyday people turned into cruel murderers?” My Jewish friend was silent, and his eyes were filling with tears as I made my point. “We made people believe that the Native Americans were wild savages, not real human beings, and then we brutalized them without any conviction of wrongdoing! Now do you understand how we have persuaded mothers to kill their own babies? We took the word fetus, which is the Latin word for ‘offspring,’ and redefined it to dehumanize the unborn. We told mothers, ‘That is not really a baby you are carrying in your belly; it is a fetus, tissue that suddenly forms into a human being just seconds before it exits the womb.’ In doing so, we were able to assert that, in the issue of abortion, there is only one person’s human rights to consider, and then we convinced mothers that disposing of fetal tissue (terminating the life of their babies) was a woman’s right. Our constitution no longer protects the unborn because they are not real people. They are just lifeless blobs of tissue.” By now, tears were flowing down his cheeks. I looked right into his eyes and said, “Your people, the Native Americans, and the African Americans should be the greatest defenders of the unborn on the planet. After all, you know what it’s like for society to redefine you so that they can destroy your races. But ironically, your races have the highest abortion rates in this country! Somebody is still trying to exterminate your people, and you don’t even realize it. The names have changed, but the plot remains the same!” Finally he couldn’t handle it anymore. He blurted out, “I have never heard anything like this before. I am hanging out with the wrong people. I have been deceived!
Kris Vallotton
The moon fled eastward like a frightened dove, while the stars changed their places in the heavens, like a disbanding army. 'Where are we?' asked Gil Gil. 'In France,' responded the Angel of Death. 'We have now traversed a large portion of the two bellicose nations which waged so sanguinary a war with each other at the beginning of the present century. We have seen the theater of the War of Succession. Conquered and conquerors both lie sleeping at this instant. My apprentice, Sleep, rules over the heroes who did not perish then, in battle, or afterward of sickness or of old age. I do not understand why it is that below on earth all men are not friends? The identity of your misfortunes and your weaknesses, the need you have of each other, the shortness of your life, the spectacle of the grandeur of other worlds, and the comparison between them and your littleness, all this should combine to unite you in brotherhood, like the passengers of a vessel threatened with shipwreck. There, there is neither love, nor hate, nor ambition, no one is debtor or creditor, no one is great or little, no one is handsome or ugly, no one is happy or unfortunate. The same danger surrounds all and my presence makes all equal. Well, then, what is the earth, seen from this height, but a ship which is foundering, a city delivered up to an epidemic or a conflagration?' 'What are those ignes fatui which I can see shining in certain places on the terrestrial globe, ever since the moon veiled her light?' asked the young man. 'They are cemeteries. We are now above Paris. Side by side with every city, every town, every village of the living there is always a city, a town, or a village of the dead, as the shadow is always beside the body. Geography, then, is of two kinds, although mortals only speak of the kind which is agreeable to them. A map of all the cemeteries which there are on the earth would be sufficient indication of the political geography of your world. You would miscalculate, however, in regard to the population; the dead cities are much more densely populated than the living; in the latter there are hardly three generations at one time, while, in the former, hundreds of generations are often crowded together. As for the lights you see shining, they are phosphorescent gleams from dead bodies, or rather they are the expiring gleams of thousands of vanished lives; they are the twilight glow of love, ambition, anger, genius, mercy; they are, in short, the last glow of a dying light, of the individuality which is disappearing, of the being yielding back his elements to mother earth. They are - and now it is that I have found the true word - the foam made by the river when it mingles its waters with those of the ocean.' The Angel of Death paused. ("The Friend of Death")
Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (Ghostly By Gaslight)
You. Man at the machine and man in the workshop. If tomorrow they tell you you are to make no more water-pipes and saucepans but are to make steel helmets and machine-guns, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! You. Woman at the counter and woman in the office. If tomorrow they tell you you are to fill shells and assemble telescopic sights for snipers' rifles, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! You. Research worker in the laboratory. If tomorrow they tell you you are to invent a new death for the old life, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! You. Priest in the pulpit. If tomorrow they tell you you are to bless murder and declare war holy, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! You. Pilot in your aeroplane. If tomorrow they tell you you are to carry bombs over the cities, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! You. Man of the village and man of the town. If tomorrow they come and give you your call-up papers, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! You. Mother in Normandy and mother in the Ukraine, mother in Vancouver and in London, you on the Hwangho and on the Mississippi, you in Naples and Hamburg and Cairo and Oslo - mothers in all parts of the earth, mothers of the world, if tomorrow they tell you you are to bear new soldiers for new battles, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! For if you do not say NO - if YOU do not say no - mothers, then: then! In the bustling hazy harbour towns the big ships will fall silent as corpses against the dead deserted quay walls, their once shimmering bodies overgrown with seaweed and barnacles, smelling of graveyards and rotten fish. The trams will lie like senseless glass-eyed cages beside the twisted steel skeleton of wires and track. The sunny juicy vine will rot on decaying hillsides, rice will dry in the withered earth, potatoes will freeze in the unploughed land and cows will stick their death-still legs into the air like overturned chairs. In the fields beside rusted ploughs the corn will be flattened like a beaten army. Then the last human creature, with mangled entrails and infected lungs, will wander around, unanswered and lonely, under the poisonous glowing sun, among the immense mass graves and devastated cities. The last human creature, withered, mad, cursing, accusing - and the terrible accusation: WHY? will die unheard on the plains, drift through the ruins, seep into the rubble of churches, fall into pools of blood, unheard, unanswered, the last animal scream of the last human animal - All this will happen tomorrow, tomorrow, perhaps, perhaps even tonight, perhaps tonight, if - if - You do not say NO.
Wolfgang Borchert