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Favorite passages, quotes, poems


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The lucky ones among us ... begin our lives cradled in deception. It is

what every good parent offers their child - freedom to believe that the

world is a stable, safe and morally ordered place - and offers it

knowing it to be a lie.

 

-Kazuo Ishiguro (i think it's from The Unconsoled. not sure. )

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"Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you." Aldous Huxley  

Wild Geese

 

 

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

 

-Mary Oliver

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“He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

 

“I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things.”

― Henry David Thoreau

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  • 3 weeks later...

Love’s Philosophy

 

ByPercy Bysshe Shelley

 

The fountains mingle with the river

 

And the rivers with the ocean,

 

The winds of heaven mix for ever

 

With a sweet emotion;

 

Nothing in the world is single;

 

All things by a law divine

 

In one spirit meet and mingle.

 

Why not I with thine?—

 

 

See the mountains kiss high heaven

 

And the waves clasp one another;

 

No sister-flower would be forgiven

 

If it disdained its brother;

 

And the sunlight clasps the earth

 

And the moonbeams kiss the sea:

 

What is all this sweet work worth

 

If thou kiss not me?

 

 

I first heard about this poem in Twin Peaks and it stuck with me

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Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sun on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there; I did not die.

 

mary elizabeth frye - 1932

 

 

And i love this one as well!

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Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sun on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there; I did not die.

 

mary elizabeth frye - 1932

 

Someone read this at my dad's memorial service. I thought it was very fitting.

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I have gone out, a possessed witch,

haunting the black air, braver at night;

dreaming evil, I have done my hitch

over the plain houses, light by light:

lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.

A woman like that is not a woman, quite.

I have been her kind.

 

 

I have found the warm caves in the woods,

filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,

closets, silks, innumerable goods;

fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:

whining, rearranging the disaligned.

A woman like that is misunderstood.

I have been her kind.

 

 

I have ridden in your cart, driver,

waved my nude arms at villages going by,

learning the last bright routes, survivor

where your flames still bite my thigh

and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.

A woman like that is not ashamed to die.

I have been her kind.

 

Anne Sexton

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  • 2 weeks later...

The familiar has taken leave with all I know

And what is left is mostly echo fading,

Never to return. What takes shape then

Is virtual and is a world apart

Assembled half by memory, half by art.

 

Richard O. Moore, from “The Familiar Has Taken Leave,” Particulars of Place (Omnidawn, 2015)

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You create yourself in ever-changing shapes

that rise from the stuff of our days—

unsung, unmourned, undescribed,

like a forest we never knew.You are the deep innerness of all things,

the last word that can never be spoken.

To each of us you reveal yourself differently:

to the ship as coastline, to the shore as a ship.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, “The Book of Pilgrimage, II, 22″

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  • 1 month later...

My Sadness is Deeper than Yours

 

My sadness is deeper than yours. My interior life is richer than yours. I am more interesting than you. I don’t care about anybody else’s problems. They are not as serious as mine. Nobody knows the weight I carry, the trouble I’ve seen. There are worlds in my head that nobody has access to: fortunately for them, fortunately for me. I have seen things that you will never see, and I have feelings that you are incapable of feeling, that you would never allow yourself to feel, because you lack the capacity and the curiosity. Once you felt the hint of such a feeling, you would stamp it out. I am a martyr to futility and I don’t expect to be shut down by a pretender. Mothballs are an aphrodisiac to me, beauty depresses me. You could never hope to fathom the depth of my feelings, deeper than death. I look down upon you all from my lofty height of lowliness. The fullness of your satisfaction lacks the cadaverous purity of my pain. Don’t talk to me about failure. You don’t know the meaning of the word. When it comes to failure, you’re strictly an amateur. Bush league stuff. I’m ten times the failure you’ll ever be. I have more to complain about than you, and regrets: more than a few, too many to mention. I am a fully-qualified failure, I have proven it over and over again. My credentials are impeccable, my resume flawless. I have worked hard to put myself in a position of unassailable wretchedness, and I demand to be respected for it. I expect to be rewarded for a struggle that produced nothing. I want the neglect, the lack of acknowledgment. And I want the bitterness that comes with it too.

 

-John Tottenham

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Evening Comes Like a Delusion…

 

Evening comes like a delusion

With dimly lit lamps of amber,

And just enough shadow, For

Any ghosts you want to step out of.

 

The day is over, right or wrong.

Nothing more is to be asked of you.

But to dream; The expectations

That things will be better tomorrow.

 

Only to wake to the bleak,

Bleary-eyed, onslaught of morning.

And its demand upon you

To walk, from dawn to dusk,

 

In lockstep with the ecliptic of the Sun.

 

12.6.07 John Tansey

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“If you aren’t paranoid before you arrive in this city, give it a few weeks and you will soon notice it creeping in, dripping into your subconscious like a leaky tap. The trick is not to give a flying what anyone thinks about you, and if you are in the right frame of mind this can be an easy trick to perform but if not you’ll soon notice that for a city full of people who do a great Stevie Wonder impersonation when it comes to the homeless and beggars and casual violence towards others, wearing the wrong kind of shoes or a cheap suit brings out a sneering, hateful attitude that can have weaker minded individuals locked in their houses for weeks before harassing their doctors for prescriptions of Prozac and Beta blockers just to make it out the front door.”

- Garry Crystal, Leaving London

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The sound of pines in the wind.

And to think you’re the only person on earth

isn’t hard, at the end

of the long journey nowhere.

Yet in the end I have come to

love this room and be the one

looking out on snowfields, blank

scores of wire fence in the deepening

snow, the wind through them a passage

of remembered music, bare

unbeckoning branches

with never a ghost

of a deciduous rustling,

the stilled river

with the sheet over its face—

 

Franz Wright, from “Going North in Winter,” Earlier Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007)

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The moon isn’t looking for solutions.

She’s grown accustomed

to partialities,

 

that accretion

of absence, her black scarves

plucked from the top hat

 

one by one

Then a miraculous

cumulus, removeless

 

completion.

Stoic mathematician,

efficient wizard,

 

reveal your secrets.

A lover

is going, some lover is always

 

going. Such curious

quadratics that

will not leave me whole.

 

Karen Volkman, “Equations,” Paris Review (vol. 35, no. 128, Fall 1993)

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The dark soft languages are being silenced:

Mothertongue Mothertongue Mothertongue

falling one by one back into the moon.

Language of marshes,

language of the roots of rushes tangled

together in the ooze,

marrow cells twinning themselves

inside the warm core of the bone:

pathways of hidden light in the body fade and wink out.

 

The sibilants and gutturals,

the cave language, the half-light

forming at the back of the throat,

the mouths damp velvet moulding

the lost syllable for “I” that did not mean separate,

all are becoming sounds no longer

heard because no longer spoken,

and everything that could once be said in them has

ceased to exist.

 

Margaret Atwood, from “Marsh Languages,” Morning in the Burned House (Houghton Mifflin, 1995)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I believe in the great discovery.

I believe in the man who will make the discovery.

I believe in the fear of the man who will make the discovery.

 

I believe in his face going white,

His queasiness, his upper lip drenched in cold sweat.

 

I believe in the burning of his notes,

burning them into ashes,

burning them to the last scrap.

 

I believe in the scattering of numbers,

scattering them without regret.

 

I believe in the man’s haste,

in the precision of his movements,

in his free will.

 

I believe in the shattering of tablets,

the pouring out of liquids,

the extinguishing of rays.

 

I am convinced this will end well,

that it will not be too late,

that it will take place without witnesses.

 

I’m sure no one will find out what happened,

not the wife, not the wall,

not even the bird that might squeal in its song.

 

I believe in the refusal to take part.

I believe in the ruined career.

I believe in the wasted years of work.

I believe in the secret taken to the grave.

 

These words soar for me beyond all rules

without seeking support from actual examples.

My faith is strong, blind, and without foundation.

.

Wislawa Szymborska

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We have a soul at times.

No one’s got it non-stop,

for keeps.

 

Day after day,

year after year

may pass without it.

 

Sometimes

it will settle for awhile

only in childhood’s fears and raptures.

Sometimes only in astonishment

that we are old.

 

It rarely lends a hand

in uphill tasks,

like moving furniture,

or lifting luggage,

or going miles in shoes that pinch.

 

It usually steps out

whenever meat needs chopping

or forms have to be filled.

 

For every thousand conversations

it participates in one,

if even that,

since it prefers silence.

 

Just when our body goes from ache to pain,

it slips off-duty.

 

It’s picky:

it doesn’t like seeing us in crowds,

our hustling for a dubious advantage

and creaky machinations make it sick.

 

Joy and sorrow

aren’t two different feelings for it.

It attends us

only when the two are joined.

 

We can count on it

when we’re sure of nothing

and curious about everything.

 

Among the material objects

it favors clocks with pendulums

and mirrors, which keep on working

even when no one is looking.

 

It won’t say where it comes from

or when it’s taking off again,

though it’s clearly expecting such questions.

 

We need it

but apparently

it needs us

for some reason too.

 

Wislawa Szymborska

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  • 1 month later...

......

 

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,

On its roof did float and flow,

(This- all this- was in the olden

Time long ago,)

And every gentle air that dallied,

In that sweet day,

Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,

A winged odor went away.

 

.....

 

-The Haunted Palace, Edgar Allan Poe

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