Wednesday, May 31, 2017
From Selected Poems, by Charlotte Mew
I SO LIKED SPRING
I so liked Spring last year
Because you were here;-
The thrushes too-
Because it was these you so liked to hear-
I so liked you.
This year's a different thing,-
I'll not think of you.
But I'll like the Spring because it is simply spring
As the thrushes do.
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
"So I wrote back saying I hadn't been expecting another letter and there was no need to have written again and was this an appropriate use of public resources? They didn't even bother to reply. Typical."
From A Lady of Letters
Monday, May 29, 2017
Finally it remains to be said that hardly a trace of this distress was detectable to a stranger. (In my particular case, the chief thing to survive is the memory of unlimited kindness.)
From Chapter 4, The Marches of Transylvania
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Saturday, May 27, 2017
"The most ridiculous gadget of the year, in the show window of an Indian shop on the Boulevard Pasteur: a deodorant stick with a built-in compass."
Friday, May 26, 2017
"'Don't forget what I said about good books. And read the Bible occasionally. It's had some good reviews, you know.' Ladanyi's tone in this farewell admonition was not that of a salesman, or a friend recommending a good read, but rather that of a visitor handing a prisoner a loaf of bread with a file in it."
From January 1949
Thursday, May 25, 2017
HAROLD ACTON MEETS GENET
"'He told Cocteau that it was not enough for an author to watch his heroes live and pity them: ""We should take their sins upon ourselves and suffer the consequences.""'"
From Chapter X
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
From Collected Poems in English, by Joseph Brodsky
I THREW MY ARMS ABOUT THOSE SHOULDERS, GLANCING
I threw my arms about those shoulders, glancing
at what emerged behind that back,
and saw a chair pushed slightly forward,
merging now with the lighted wall.
The lamp glared too bright to show
the shabby furniture to some advantage,
and that is why sofa of brown leather
shone a sort of yellow in a corner.
The table looked bare, the parquet glossy,
the stove quite dark, and in a dusty frame
a landscape did not stir. Only the sideboard
seemed to me to have some animation.
But a moth flitted round the room,
causing my arrested glance to shift;
and if at any time a ghost had lived here,
he now was gone, abandoning this house.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Fans left of the hatchet job
He made of Les Misérables.*
*Except Penguin, which can't resist reprinting Denny's bowdlerized translation 'cause it's, you know, free.
"I say to you who love that all these things are contained in love. You must learn to find them."
From Part Four, Book Five, Chapter IV, The Heart Beneath the Stone
Monday, May 22, 2017
“If you can’t see inside the heart no matter how you look, then why not look? Why not see as much as you can?”
From Lost Cat
Sunday, May 21, 2017
From One of Ours, by Willa Cather
"The country people never had to spend money for doctors, but cured all diseases with roots and herbs, and when the old folks had the rheumatism they took 'one of dem jenny-pigs' to bed with them, and the guinea-pig drew out all the pain."
From Book Three, Chapter X
Saturday, May 20, 2017
From Collected Shorter Fiction, Volume One, by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude
"He was exceedingly neat, elegantly dressed, fresh-looking, and had self-confidently modest manners and a very youthful, almost childlike, appearance which made one unconsciously forgive the expression of self-satisfaction and of a desire to mitigate the degree of his superiority over you, which his intelligent face, and especially his smile, always showed."
From A Moscow Acquaintance
Friday, May 19, 2017
From A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman, translated by Henning Koch
"It is very quiet in the house. In the whole neighborhood, actually. Everyone's sleeping. And only then does Ove realize that the cat will probably wake at the sound of the shot. Will probably scare the living daylights out of the poor critter, Ove admits. He thinks about this for a good while before he determinedly sets down the rifle and goes into the kitchen to turn on the radio. Not that he needs music to take his own life, and not that he likes the idea of the radio clicking its way through units of electricity when he's gone. But because if the cat wakes up from the bang, it may end up thinking it's just a part of one of those modern pop songs the radio plays all the time these days. And then go back to sleep. That is Ove's train of thought."
From Chapter 32, A Man Called Ove Isn't Running a Damned Hotel
Thursday, May 18, 2017
AS FOR ME
"'As for me,' he said, 'when I crave something, do you know what I do? I eat and eat until I'm satiated.'"
From Chapter XVII
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
From Collected Poems 1919 - 1976, by Allen Tate
When you are come by ways emptied of light
You'll say goodbye, in that indifferent gloom,
To the quick draughts of old, yet with polite
Anguish of pride recall as an heirloom
A dawn when stars dropped gold about your head
And, so amazed, you knew not were you dead.
For, brother, know that this is art, and you
With a cold incautious sorrow stricken dumb,
Have your own vanishing slit of light let through,
Passionate as winter, where only a few may come:
Not idiots in the street find out the lees
In the last drink of dying Socrates.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
From South Riding, by Winifred Holtby
"It was with a sense of exhilaration that she returned to her final shopping. Confession to her friend had lifted a burden of responsibility from her shoulders."
From Book Vi, Chapter 6
Monday, May 15, 2017
From Letters to His Son, by the Earl of Chesterfield
"If I form any conjectures, I keep them to myself, not to be disproved by the event; but, in truth, I form none: I might have known, but would not."
From Letter CCXXI, dated Blackheath, May 18, O. S. 1758
Sunday, May 14, 2017
From Letters to His Son, by the Earl of Chesterfield
"There is nothing so necessary, but at the same time there is nothing more difficult (I know by experience) for you young fellows, than to know how to behave yourselves prudently toward those whom you do not like. Your passions are warm, and your heads are light; you hate all those who oppose your views, either of ambition or love; and a rival, in either, is almost an enemy."
From Letter CLXXIX, dated London, September 29, 1752