Friday, September 8, 2017
From Collected Poems, by Siegfried Sassoon
Your dextrous wit will haunt us long
Wounding our grief with yesterday.
Your laughter is a broken song;
And death has found you, kind and gay.
We may forget those transient things
That made your charm and our delight:
But loyal love has deathless wings
That rise and triumph out of night.
So, in the days to come, your name
Shall be as music that ascends
When honour turns a heart from shame...
O heart of hearts! ... O friend of friends!
Thursday, September 7, 2017
"He drank some water and lay down, and once more he saw the sleigh gliding along, and once more he saw the head of the bull without eyes, and the smoke, and the clouds. And so it went on until the sun rose."
From Gusev, I.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
"It wasn't to torment him -- that again he didn't believe; but he had come to the house in some discomfort, so that he frowned a little at her calling it thus a luxury."
From Chapter XVIII
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
From Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette, by Judith Thurman
"And, sparse as they are, Willy's margin notes suggest that their collaboration was a duet, even a a lovers' discourse, and that some of Colette's most erotic moments with her husband took place between sheets of paper."
From Chapter 11, 2.
Monday, September 4, 2017
Monday, August 28, 2017
"But when I discussed it with them, I found that they could tell me no more about it than I had discovered by reading it on my own."
From Chapter 16
Sunday, August 27, 2017
From The Portable Stephen Crane, edited by Joseph Katz
"He had performed his mistake in the dark, so he was still a man."
From The World of Henry Fleming, Chapter XV
Saturday, August 26, 2017
From Selections Jose Lezama Lima, edited by Ernesto Livon-Grosman
"Blind am I, my home is the whale. Alongside the void, I emit my yawn or give away plaster hats, and an immense funerary ceramic takes from the temple those who have been decapitated in order to establish their simultanious fury a dense hum of memories."
From Ecstasy of the Destroyed Substance
Friday, August 25, 2017
From Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems, by William Stafford
Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether
what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.
I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
From City of Lions, by Jozef Wittlin, Philippe Sands
"Let us come down from heaven to this earthly vale, since we're already on our way to the bar."
From My Lwow, Chapter VI
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
From All the Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to be Famous Strangers, by Alana Massey
"It would seem odd at first that Mary-Kate and Ashley chose to go into business with one another after a childhood spent tethered to each other's side, expected to smile and perform the brightest parts of sisterhood on command. But their lived realities are so entirely foreign, so entirely other, that it is difficult to imagine they can find anyone with sufficient empathy for that reality."
From No She Without Her: On Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and the Singularity
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
From The Cloven Viscount, by Italo Calvino, translated by Archibold Colquhoun
"They talked, of course, without dwelling on religious controversy, as if it were a sequence of misfortunes imputable to the general wickedness of man."
From Chapter 8
Sunday, August 20, 2017
From Mrs. Bridge, by Evan S. Connell
"If she bought a book it was almost always one of three things: a best-seller she had heard about or seen advertised, a self-improvement book, or a book by a Kansas City author no matter what it was about."
From Chapter 39, Minister's Book
Saturday, August 19, 2017
From The Clouds, by Aristophanes, translated by Peter D. Arnott
"I'll yield the privilege to him,
And out of his own mouth I'll take
The thoughts, the sentiments and syllogisms
To put him down."
From page 38, this edition
Friday, August 18, 2017
From The Echoing Green: Poems of Fields, Meadows, and Grasses, edited by Cecily Parks
THIS LAWN A CARPET ALL ALIVE
THIS Lawn, a carpet all alive With shadows flung from leaves--to strive In dance, amid a press Of sunshine, an apt emblem yields Of Worldlings revelling in the fields Of strenuous idleness; Less quick the stir when tide and breeze Encounter, and to narrow seas Forbid a moment's rest; The medley less when boreal Lights Glance to and fro, like aery Sprites To feats of arms addrest! Yet, spite of all this eager strife, This ceaseless play, the genuine life That serves the stedfast hours, Is in the grass beneath, that grows Unheeded, and the mute repose Of sweetly-breathing flowers.
-- William Wordsworth
Thursday, August 17, 2017
From Lysistra, by Aristophanes, translated by Douglas Parker
"The beast in me is eager and fit for a brawl.
Just rile me a bit and she'll kick down the wall.
You'll bawl to your friends that you've no balls at asll."
From page 68, this edition
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
From Ars Botanica, by Tim Taranto
"If I'm to believe that through hoping or imagining you can read these letters, hear these stories, and look at these drawings, then if I played you a song, couldn't you hear it?"
From page 69
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
From Morningstar: Growing Up with Books, by Ann Hood
LITTLE DEAD WOMAN
"As an adult, and a writer, I suspect that Beth had to die."
From the Introduction, Growing up with Books
Monday, August 14, 2017
“It’s taken me a while to reshape many of these notions because I was then, and still am, a late-to-bloom girl. Expectant like a card trick.”
From Chapter 2, Part of a Greater Pattern
Sunday, August 13, 2017
From Morningstar: Growing Up with Books, by Ann Hood
"Once again, my world had been cracked open by a book."
From Lesson 3: How to Ask Why
Saturday, August 12, 2017
I’ll keep this simple. My uncle, Richard Craft, died in The Ardennes, Belgium in December, 1944, fighting Nazis. He and thousands of other Americans did not sacrifice their lives in that cold place so that, two generations later, the President of the United States of America could say there are “many sides” to what happened today in Charlottesville. No. Just as there were 73 years ago in that forest in Belgium, there are only two sides today. Pick a side.
If you believe there are “many sides” to racism, you’re on the wrong side.
If you believe the “white” race is a legitimate political or philosophical category of person, subject to oppression by the liberation and empowerment of others, or that membership in this specious fiction entitles you to oppress, abuse, or murder others, you are on the wrong side.
If you watched what happened today and do nothing, you are on the wrong side.
If you call yourself a Conservative, and you say nothing against fascism, you are on the wrong side.
If you believe Islam, Judaism, or any other religion or creed, or any of the people who practice another religion, or no religion at all, are inherently inferior or a danger to you or to Christianity, you are on the wrong side.
If you believe in Jesus Christ and you think he was with the white men marching with torches last night, you are on the wrong side.
If you believe Christians are an oppressed minority in America, you are on the wrong side.
If you support Donald J. Trump, you are on the wrong side.
If you get your news from right-wing-radio, Fox News, or the pulpits of bigots and hate-mongers, you are on the wrong side.
If you believe you have the right to march and shout to promote hatred, racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and against immigrants, the poor, and Muslims, you are right, but you are on the wrong side.
If you think you can be an American patriot and a Nazi, or a member of the KKK, or the so called “Alt-Right”, you are wrong. You are a disgrace to your country, and you are on the wrong side.
And if you think you will win this fight just because you won an election, you are wrong. You are on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of this fight, and you are in the wrong.
And if you call yourself my friend and you believe any of this hateful nonsense, you are wrong. I do not wish to be your friend. Not now. You are on the wrong side. There is a line. I will not cross that line ever again to shake your hand, wish you well, or try to convince you why you are wrong. You are on the wrong side. It is up to you to move, be left behind, or go to Hell, I don’t much care which option you take.
And to all my friends on this side of the line: fight. They must not win, and they won’t unless we let them. Fight. Donate money to the enemies of this new fascism. March, vote, argue if you will, but fight.
If you don’t, if we don’t, we are all on the wrong side of the line.
From The Collected Poems, by Robert Southey
MY DAYS AMONG THE DEAD ARE PAST
My days among the Dead are past;
Around me I behold,
Where'er these casual eyes are cast,
The mighty minds of old;
My never-failing friends are they,
With whom I converse day by day.
With them I take delight in weal,
And seek relief in woe;
And while I understand and feel
How much to them I owe,
My cheeks have often been bedew'd
With tears of thoughtful gratitude.
My thoughts are with the Dead, with them
I live in long-past years,
Their virtues love, their faults condemn,
Partake their hopes and fears,
And from their lessons seek and find
Instruction with an humble mind.
My hopes are with the Dead, anon
My place with them will be,
And I with them shall travel on
Through all Futurity;
Yet leaving here a name, I trust,
That will not perish in the dust.
Friday, August 11, 2017
From Collected Poems, by Louise Bogan
THE CROSSED APPLE
I’ve come to give you fruit from out my orchard,
Of wide report.
I have trees there that bear me many apples.
Of every sort:
Clear, streaked; red and russet; green and golden;
Sour and sweet.
This apple’s from a tree yet unbeholden,
Where two kinds meet, -
So that this side is red without a dapple,
And this side’s hue
Is clear and snowy. It’s a lovely apple.
It is for you.
Within are five black pips as big as peas,
As you will find,
Potent to breed you five great apple trees
Of varying kind:
To breed you wood for fire, leaves for shade,
Apples for sauce.
Oh, this is a good apple for a maid,
It is a cross,
Fine on the finer, so the flesh is tight,
And grained like silk.
Sweet Burning gave the red side, and the white
Is Meadow Milk.
Eat it, and you will taste more than the fruit:
The blossom, too,
The sun, the air, the darkness at the root,
The rain, the dew,
The earth we came to, and the time we flee,
The fire and the breast.
I claim the white part, maiden, that’s for me.
You take the rest.