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shimmering ::: p. pr. & vb. n. --> of Shimmer ::: n. --> A gleam or glimmering.

shimmerings ::: subdued tremulous lights or gleams.


shimmering ::: p. pr. & vb. n. --> of Shimmer ::: n. --> A gleam or glimmering.

shimmerings ::: subdued tremulous lights or gleams.

MPEG-1 "compression, standard, algorithm, file format" The first {MPEG} format for compressed {video}, optimised for {CD-ROM}. MPEG-1 was designed for the transmission rates of about 1.5 {Mbps} achievable with {Video-CD} and {CD-i}. It uses {discrete cosine transform} (DCT) and {Huffman coding} to remove spatially redundant data within a frame and block-based {motion compensated prediction} (MCP) to remove data which is temporally redundant between frames. Audio is compressed using {subband encoding}. These {algorithms} allow better than VHS quality video and almost CD quality audio to be compressed onto and streamed off a {single speed} (1x) {CD-ROM} drive. MPEG encoding can introduce blockiness, colour bleed and shimmering effects on video and lack of detail and quantisation effects on audio. The official name of MPEG-1 is {International Standard} {IS-11172}. (1999-01-06)

MPEG-1 ::: (compression, standard, algorithm, file format) The first MPEG format for compressed video, optimised for CD-ROM. MPEG-1 was designed for the transmission rates of about 1.5 Mbps achievable with Video-CD and CD-i.It uses discrete cosine transform (DCT) and Huffman coding to remove spatially redundant data within a frame and block-based motion compensated prediction quality video and almost CD quality audio to be compressed onto and streamed off a single speed (1x) CD-ROM drive.MPEG encoding can introduce blockiness, colour bleed and shimmering effects on video and lack of detail and quantisation effects on audio.The official name of MPEG-1 is International Standard IS-11172. (1999-01-06)

shimmered ::: shone with or reflected a subdued, tremulous or flickering light; gleamed faintly. shimmer. shimmering.

smoking clover [ITS] A {display hack} originally due to Bill Gosper. Many convergent lines are drawn on a colour monitor in {AOS} mode (so that every pixel struck has its colour incremented). The lines all have one endpoint in the middle of the screen; the other endpoints are spaced one pixel apart around the perimeter of a large square. The colour map is then repeatedly rotated. This results in a striking, rainbow-hued, shimmering four-leaf clover. Gosper joked about keeping it hidden from the FDA (the US's Food and Drug Administration) lest its hallucinogenic properties cause it to be banned.

Sri Aurobindo: "It is an achievement to have got rid so rapidly and decisively of the shimmering mists and fogs which modern intellectualism takes for Light of Truth. The modern mind has so long and persistently wandered – and we with it – in the Valley of the False Glimmer that it is not easy for anyone to disperse its mists with the sunlight of clear vision.” Letters on Yoga

QUOTES [4 / 4 - 528 / 528]

KEYS (10k)

   4 Sri Aurobindo


   12 Lisa Kleypas
   10 J K Rowling
   10 Catherine Anderson
   8 Rick Riordan
   7 Sri Aurobindo
   6 Tana French
   6 Judith McNaught
   6 Amy Lowell
   5 Patricia Highsmith
   5 Charles Baudelaire
   4 Kristan Higgins
   4 Cassandra Clare
   3 Vladimir Nabokov
   3 Terry Tempest Williams
   3 Rumi
   3 Richard Bach
   3 Mary Oliver
   3 Laini Taylor
   3 Kiersten White
   3 Kelly Corrigan

1:This world of fragile forms
Carried on canvas-strips of shimmering Time, ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Issue,
2:His fires of grandeur burn in the great sun,
He glides through heaven shimmering in the moon;
He is beauty carolling in the fields of sound; ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Debate of Love and Death,
3:The radiant world of the everlasting Truth
Glimmered like a faint star bordering the night
Above the golden Overmind's shimmering ridge. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Yoga of the King, The Yoga of the Soul's Release,
The radiant world of the everlasting Truth
Glimmered like a faint star bordering the night
Above the golden Overmind's shimmering ridge. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Yoga of the King, The Yoga of the Soul's Release,


1:When Sam Blades starts work at Shimmering Dreams who allow you to downloads your dreams onto your Cell Phone. is it as good as it seems? ~ emanuel-swedenborg, @wisdomtrove
2:The shimmering night does not stay for mortals, not misfortunes, nor wealth, but in a moment it is gone, and to the turn of another comes joy and loss. ~ sophocles, @wisdomtrove
3:I don't know lots of things but I know this: next year when spring flows over the starting point I'll think I'm going to drown in the shimmering miles of it... ~ mary-oliver, @wisdomtrove
4:A moment later Jonathan's body wavered in the air, shimmering, and began to go transparent. "Don't let them spread silly rumors about me, or make me a god. O.K., Fletch? I'm a seagull. I like to fly, maybe... ~ richard-bach, @wisdomtrove
5:The first stars tremble as if shimmering in green water. Hours must pass before their glimmer hardens into the frozen glitter of diamonds. I shall have a long wait before I witness the soundless frolic of the shooting stars. In the profound darkness of certain nights I have seen the sky streaked with so many trailing sparks that it seemed to me a great gale must be blowing through the outer heavens. ~ antoine-de-saint-exupery, @wisdomtrove
6:When we're born on this planet, we're taught to believe that what we see is real. But as we grow in understanding, we recognize first that we've been hypnotized by that reaching, and second that it's within our power to de-hypnotize ourselves. And as we do that, the illusion appears to change, to come in harmony with what we most value. If we most value love, we will begin to see more and more love and joy and adventure-creative expressions of life shimmering everywhere around us. ~ richard-bach, @wisdomtrove
7:One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them. Filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present : like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree, or on the ripples of a very deep lake. I don’t know, but I t felt as if something that grew in the ground‚ asleep, you might say, or just feeling itself as something between roof-tip and leaf-tip, between deep earth and sky had suddenly waked up, and was considering you with the same slow care that it had given to its own inside affairs for endless years. ~ j-r-r-tolkien, @wisdomtrove
8:And now my old dog is dead, and another I had after him, and my parents are dead, and that first world, that old house, is sold and lost, and the books I gathered there lost, or sold- but more books bought, and in another place, board by board and stone by stone, like a house, a true life built, and all because I was steadfast about one or two things: loving foxes, and poems, the blank piece of paper, and my own energy- and mostly the shimmering shoulders of the world that shrug carelessly over the fate of any individual that they may, the better, keep the Niles and Amazons flowing. ~ mary-oliver, @wisdomtrove

*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:head, something that looked like relief shimmering ~ Bronwyn Green,
2:words “Thank You from Coping Together,” sparkling and shimmering ~ E L James,
3:A shimmering of heat—
Outside the grave
Alone I dwell. ~ Ry nosuke Akutagawa,
4:This moment in time, shimmering and blissful, was hard to relinquish. ~ Marie Benedict,
5:Love is a young green willow shimmering at the bare wood's edge ~ William Carlos Williams,
6:I could actually see the magic of the place, shimmering like a soap bubble. ~ Cameron Dokey,
7:She had a gorgeous smile, which consisted of two rows of shimmering white teeth. ~ Edward Lorn,
8:There was a silvery film with iridescent swirls shimmering just below my elbow. ~ Christie Anderson,
9:Then, his eyes golden and shimmering, he said quietly, “Come to your wolf, baby doll. ~ Kristen Ashley,
10:In my mind Greece is reduced to one vast pile of shattered marble, shimmering in a heat aze. ~ William Boyd,
11:The past weaves all around this; we still duck in and out of its lost but shimmering kingdoms. ~ Martin Amis,
12:He had given her a piece of his heart, enclosed inside the shimmering surface of a diamond. ~ Rebecca Ethington,
13:This world of fragile forms
Carried on canvas-strips of shimmering Time, ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Issue,
14:the shimmering movement of God’s hand across time, drawing life toward the knowledge of him. I ~ Whitley Strieber,
15:heat waves shimmering
one or two inches
above the dead grass

~ Matsuo Basho, heat waves shimmering
16:For the body is temporal and thought is eternal and the shimmering essence of flame is an image of thought. ~ Milan Kundera,
17:As a Christian, your godly life and your godly mothering sends its shimmering wake throughout all eternity. ~ Elizabeth George,
18:The lady followed the path to the river’s edge; her dress floated with her as she walked, shimmering like pearl. ~ Jeannie Lin,
19:Real fairies from the Kingdom of Adas. Tall, slender green pixies with shimmering wings and black, almond-shaped eyes. ~ Zoraida C rdova,
20:We. Are. Off. Our. Feet. I look up. The air’s shimmering with light. The world is. Or I’m imagining this. Of course I am. ~ Jandy Nelson,
21:Folklore is the perfect second skin. From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world. ~ Jane Yolen,
22:Impossible not to imagine the dead observing us. Our love for them a soft, shimmering gossamar that trails behind us. ~ Joyce Carol Oates,
23:There exists a future so bright that if you squint your eyes in the right direction you can see it shimmering in the distance. ~ Jesse Jacobs,
24:Overhead, the tanequil’s branches formed a silvery green canopy in the moonlight, its strange webbing of orange lines shimmering softly. ~ Terry Brooks,
25:As her fate, she accepted the world of ice, shining, shimmering, dead; she resigned herself to the triumph of glaciers and the death of the world. ~ Anna Kavan,
26:He would talk and talk and talk; the twilight would fill with cigarette smoke and shimmering words would tremble in the blue coils of air... ~ Simone de Beauvoir,
27:Students present a succession of CDs whose shimmering surface gives no clue to their contents without the equipment to play them. ~ John Updike,
28:I could not see my own cold light, but I imagined it to be shimmering brightly, with Death looming close by. After such a dream, how could it not? ~ Robin Bridges,
29:The new discipline will be the study of the psychophysical nature of reality, that mysterious, interstitial space shimmering between mind and matter. ~ Dean Radin,
30:In the sheer, shimmering improbability of the moment, it seemed to Lazlo that his dream had tired of waiting and had simply… come to find him. There ~ Laini Taylor,
31:The shimmering night does not stay for mortals, not misfortunes, nor wealth, but in a moment it is gone, and to the turn of another comes joy and loss. ~ Sophocles,
32:This was one of the images of his lifetime. He simply exposed his retina and let love burn her flickering, shimmering, absorbed face onto his soul. ~ Diane Setterfield,
33:The silence, she thought, was remarkable: a perfect, shimmering thing, and fragile. Like glass, if it shattered, it would never come back together again. ~ Laini Taylor,
34:and three shimmering pink bubbles of energy formed around them. They began to rise through the water. Leo just had time to think: A hamster ball elevator? ~ Rick Riordan,
35:Blaze your own glittery, sparkly, fiery, shimmering path. Surround yourself with the things that make you shine. Create your bubble and thrive in it. ~ Cara Alwill Leyba,
36:If a unicorn trotted out of the woods and stabbed a leprechaun through its tiny heart with its shimmering golden horn, she probably wouldn’t even blink. ~ Cassidy Cayman,
37:The instant Imogenia died, two shimmering figures dressed in official-looking, monochrome uniforms appeared at her side, making her jump. “Oh! You scared me! ~ L R W Lee,
38:I don't know lots of things but I know this: next year when spring flows over the starting point I'll think I'm going to drown in the shimmering miles of it. ~ Mary Oliver,
39:Picture the east Aegean sea by night,
And on a beach aslant its shimmering
Upwards of 50,000 men
Asleep like spoons beside their lethal Fleet. ~ Christopher Logue,
40:I brushed my fingers over the beads and watched as her image rippled, like it was on water, breaking apart gently and shimmering before becoming whole again. ~ Sarah Dessen,
41:Between the wolf in the tall grass and the wolf in the tall story there is a shimmering go-between. That go-between, that prism, is the art of literature. ~ Vladimir Nabokov,
42:Some people are little Chernobyls, shimmering with silent, spreading poison: get anywhere near them and every breath you take will wreck you from the inside out. ~ Tana French,
43:...wings—-vast shimmering wings, their reach so great they swept the walls on either side of the alley, each feather like the wind-tugged lick of a candle flame. ~ Laini Taylor,
44:Cam stepped into the clearing. His eyes were rimmed with a thick, shimmering gold shadow, and it shone on his face in the moonlight, making him look like a wildcat. ~ Lauren Kate,
45:Plants exist in the weather and light rays that surround them - waving in the wind, shimmering in the sunlight. I am always puzzling over how to draw such things. ~ Hayao Miyazaki,
46:Xifeng tilted her face, a pale moon in the evening of the water. She felt like a goddess in the shimmering light. She was a poem come to life, each vein was a lyric. ~ Julie C Dao,
47:Mars tugs at the human imagination like no other planet. With a force mightier than gravity, it attracts the eye to the shimmering red presence in the clear night sky. ~ John Noble,
48:the incessant shimmering cries of the cicadas. If the curious, blurring heat haze produced a sound, it would be exactly the strange, chiming cries of these insects. ~ Gerald Durrell,
49:Those early characterizations (Our parents give us) can become the shimmering self-image we embrace or the limited, stifling perception we rail against for a lifetime ~ Kelly Corrigan,
50:Wherever you go in life, you will feel somewhere over your shoulder a pink, castellated shimmering presence, the domes and riggings and crooked pinacles of the Serenissima ~ Jan Morris,
51:Her sister - shimmering and translucent in the moonlight - was next to her, standing fiercely over Ethan with her fists balled up. And then, just as quickly, she was gone. ~ Sara Shepard,
52:The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves. ~ Terry Tempest Williams,
53:Opting for gold shoes could have been considered downright cocky, but I was confident and never doubted my ability to deliver gold medals to match my shimmering footwear. ~ Michael Johnson,
54:The transformation scene, where man is becoming insect and insect has become at least man and beyond that - a flying, godlike, shimmering, diaphanous, beautiful creature. ~ Michael O Donoghue,
55:In this life,” she said, crossing these glorious gams, shimmering in the filmy light, “you can’t let your guard down. If you can control yourself, you can control everyone else. ~ Megan Abbott,
56:The night is quiet but for the chirping crickets, and dark too, lit only by a few lanterns still shimmering in windows and by the papery white light of the three-quarter moon. ~ Khaled Hosseini,
57:She whips the hose back and forth, laughing as he chases it, the fleeting, uncatchable colors, shimmering splinters of the golden light. "Catch the rainbow, Sammy! Catch the rainbow! ~ Rick Yancey,
58:Arm in arm, we left her room, the beginnings of a real relationship shimmering in the air between us, just like the bright pink sparks fluttering up from the Valkyrie's fingertips. ~ Jennifer Estep,
59:Embracing the Light

Collected bits of truth
Shimmering sparks
Shards of light
Bursting Bright
in divine ecstatic flame. ~ Leonard Nimoy,
60:He defined me first, as parents do. Those early characterizations can become the shimmering self-image we embrace or the limited, stifling perception we rail against for a lifetime. ~ Kelly Corrigan,
61:In every great city, with all its gleaming walls and massive libraries, with all the shimmering fountains and sculptured gardens, there is a superfluity of dung that must be carted out. ~ Jeff Wheeler,
62:I thought of Patrick and the multitude of certificates on the wall of his apartment, and wondered at the male need to display achievements, like a peacock permanently shimmering his tail. ~ Jojo Moyes,
63:His fires of grandeur burn in the great sun,
He glides through heaven shimmering in the moon;
He is beauty carolling in the fields of sound; ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Debate of Love and Death,
64:Kieran glanced at her with shimmering eyes. Neither looked quite human: The black eye was too dark, the silver too metallic. And yet the overall effect was haunting, inhumanly beautiful. ~ Cassandra Clare,
65:There are only perfect, glowing moments, like this one, and then there are the everyday moments that weave them together into a shimmering path that can always be seen, even in the dark. ~ Kristan Higgins,
66:There is no sun, but a hundred blazing blue stars,each shimmering in a long river of nebulous cloud. The air is warm, pleasant,fragrant with the perfume of a thousand invisible flowers. ~ Christopher Pike,
67:Feelings find each other, I thought. Let one in and the others follow. At that moment it seemed that all our feelings were shimmering above us, around us, in a new and stunning constellation. ~ Leila Howland,
68:The hot blue-glass eyes of the mannequins watched as the ladies drifted down the empty river bottom street, their images shimmering in the windows like blossoms seen under darkly moving waters. ~ Ray Bradbury,
69:Imagine a world alive with incomprehensible objects, and shimmering with an endless variety of movement and innumerable gradations of colour. Imagine a world before the 'beginning was the word. ~ Stan Brakhage,
70:There are only perfect, glowing moments, like this one, and then there are the everyday moments that weave them together into a shimmering path that can always be seen, even in the dark. “You ~ Kristan Higgins,
71:Confronted by too much emptiness ... the brain invents. Loneliness creates company as thirst creates water. How many sailors have been wrecked in pursuit of islands that were merely a shimmering? ~ Margaret Atwood,
72:A moment later Jonathan’s body wavered in the air, shimmering, and began to go transparent. “Don’t let them spread silly rumors about me, or make me a god. O.K., Fletch? I’m a seagull. I like to fly, maybe… ~ Richard Bach,
73:Entranced by the flight of a raven, I watch its shadow move effortlessly against golden, shimmering granite. I long to be that free, flying above the cluttered world of normalcy, where so many are half alive. ~ Dean Potter,
74:The radiant world of the everlasting Truth
Glimmered like a faint star bordering the night
Above the golden Overmind’s shimmering ridge. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Yoga of the King, The Yoga of the Soul’s Release,
75:A moment later Jonathan's body wavered in the air, shimmering, and began to go transparent. "Don't let them spread silly rumors about me, or make me a god. O.K., Fletch? I'm a seagull. I like to fly, maybe... ~ Richard Bach,
76:A chorus of Golden Pages and Jade Maidens came onto the stage, fairy streamers fluttering and flags aloft, to reveal in their midst a gorgeously attired lady, her head draped in black, her costume shimmering with ~ Cao Xueqin,
77:But the hair on her arms did not stand on end; she did not experience any strange instances of déjà vu; she did not see the ghosts of future selves shimmering before her, shouting stock picks back through time. ~ Dexter Palmer,
78:In that moment, he chose Greek. He threw in his lot with Camp Half-Blood-and the horses changed. The storm clouds inside burned away, leaving nothing but red dust and shimmering heat, like mirages on the Sahara. ~ Rick Riordan,
79:Her [Gilberte's] face, grown almost ugly, reminded me then of those dreary beaches where the sea, ebbing far out, wearies one with its faint shimmering, everywhere the same, encircled by an immutable low horizon. ~ Marcel Proust,
80:Sometimes I wish I could photosynthesize so that just by being, just by shimmering at the meadow's edge or floating lazily on a pond, I could be doing the work of the world while standing silent in the sun. ~ Robin Wall Kimmerer,
81:Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh. She had a vision of a pale-white flower, shimmering as if seen in darkness, or through water. ~ Patricia Highsmith,
82:I trembled a little under the empress's piercing stare. She was using her faerie sight. I could feel it shimmering over me, illuminating even the darkest stains on my soul. I grew slightly dizzy. And a little sick. ~ Robin Bridges,
83:I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses. ~ J K Rowling,
84:Professor Braithwope, shimmering out of his room fully clothed and dapper. His mustache was a fluffy caterpillar of curiosity, perched and ready to inquire, dragging the vampire along behind it on the investigation. ~ Gail Carriger,
85:The light filtered through the trees, rays of sunlight splitting around the vast trunks, the branches above us fluttering in a faint wind, and the green needles of Douglas Firs shimmering silver underneath in the breeze. ~ Ned Hayes,
86:I don’t expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses... ~ J K Rowling,
87:No human trapped on Earth has ever really seen the stars. Our atmosphere is like a foggy lens between the natural beauty of the universe and our seeking eyes. In space they are perfect, like jewels shimmering with icy light. ~ B V Larson,
The radiant world of the everlasting Truth
Glimmered like a faint star bordering the night
Above the golden Overmind’s shimmering ridge. ~ Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, The Yoga of the King, The Yoga of the Soul’s Release,
89:there came from the olive groves outside the fuchsia hedge the incessant shimmering cries of the cicadas. If the curious, blurring heat haze produced a sound, it would be exactly the strange, chiming cries of these insects. ~ Gerald Durrell,
90:My dear Lord,’ I said, but not to him. I spoke to Arthur. And I watched and wept, my arm around Ceinwyn, as the pale boat was swallowed by the shimmering silver mist. And so my Lord was gone. And no one has seen him since. ~ Bernard Cornwell,
91:Soldiers of the American Revolution fought that 18th century war with heavy muskets. In the early 20th century, we kids fought it every Fourth of July not only with exploding powder and shimmering flares, but with all of our senses. ~ Paul Engle,
92:You've been here before?" Derek asked, his gaze firmly fixed on Rowena's ass shifting under the shimmering green silk a few steps above us. "Wiggles," I told him. He blinked, then realized I wasn't referring to Rowena's backside. ~ Ilona Andrews,
93:Little cocoon apartment, I love how you rattle and shake in the wind. You are mine like nothing has ever been before. Someday you'll tear open, and I'll fly out with the wings I have grown inside you. Still shimmering. Still wet. ~ Kai Cheng Thom,
94:He turns toward the voice. It is as though the darkness itself has spoken. But when he looks closer he can make her out - the very pale blonde hair first, gleaming in what little light there is, then the shimmering stuff of her dress. ~ Lucy Foley,
95:In the river meadows, alders, brambles and wild vines formed a magical jungle, dappled with shimmering, greenish light and spangled with twirling forest particles. Marshy pools lay sparkling among the elderberries and leaning beeches. ~ Nina George,
96:She was luminous. Her red hair had been braided a dozen ways, all swirled together in a high shaggy twist. Her eyelids were shimmering green, her lips crimson and matte. She wore black vintage ankle-high motorcycle boots. She was lethal. ~ Lauren Kate,
97:In those clouds I have seen aberrations-flecks of shimmering silver, orbs of color a shade more intense than their surroundings. I have seen them more than once, and I haves decided they are prayers, mine and everyone else's, too. ~ Cathy Marie Buchanan,
98:They came with hardly a warning,” Moya said. “Hundreds pouring over the chasm, both beautiful and terrible, wearing shining gold and shimmering blue. With them came whirlwinds and giants. Nothing can stop them. They’re coming still. ~ Michael J Sullivan,
99:It's a glorious universe the positive thinkers have come up with, a vast, shimmering aurora borealis in which desires mingle freely with their realizations. ... Dreams go out and fulfill themselves; wishes need only to be articulated. ~ Barbara Ehrenreich,
100:I saw that I could write ten thousand more pages of shimmering prose and still be nothing but a blind minotaur stumbling along broken ground, an unsuccessful, overweight ex-wonder boy with a pot habit and a dead dog in the trunk of my car. ~ Michael Chabon,
101:My look, mind you, is not chocolate like Lauryn Hill, Whoopi Goldberg, or Naomi Campbell - it is pitch black and shimmering like the purple outer space of the universe. I am the charcoal that creates diamonds. I am the blackest black woman (41). ~ Kola Boof,
102:Cardan’s gaze catches mine, and I can’t help the evil smile that pulls up the corners of my mouth. His eyes are bright as coals, his hatred a living thing, shimmering in the air between us like the air above black rocks on a blazing summer day. ~ Holly Black,
103:Shafts of dusty light broke through the branches of the pomerac tree outside the open window. Pohpoh stared at the glittery dust particles that rose and fell in waves around Asha's head, partially silhouetting it in a halo of shimmering light. ~ Shani Mootoo,
104:The lifeless sea was ruffled here and there by a lost zephyr, by a stippling shoal of sardines, dark ash-blue lines that snaked, broad then narrow, in slow motion across the shimmering mirageous surface, as if the water was breeding corruption. ~ John Fowles,
105:Meanwhile the castle rolled. Great walls collapsed, one into another.

The colours of the tracts were horrible. The vilest green. The most hideous purple. Here the foul shimmering of rotting fungi – there a tract of books alive with mice. ~ Mervyn Peake,
106:The next morning dawned cool and clear. The early mist had lifted, leaving a thick layer of dew clinging to the hillsides beyond the castle, shimmering in the morning sun like faerie dust sprinkled over a lush bed of emerald.
Like his eyes. ~ Monica McCarty,
107:A vision of underground connections flashed before him again, only inverted. A towering construction like a tree strung with lights, shimmering, changing, and in the middle,
a darkness—the object or concept holding the visible together. ~ Garth Risk Hallberg,
108:From scarlet to powdered gold, to blazing yellow, to the rare ashen emerald, to the orange and black velvet of your shimmering corselet, out to the tip that like an amber thorn begins you, small, superlative being, you are a miracle, and you blaze ~ Pablo Neruda,
109:The sun itself was hidden, but there was a glitter on the horizon, almost like the dazzle of the crystal walls of the Undertomb, a kind of joyous shimmering off on the edge of the world.

"What is that?' the girl said, and he: "The sea. ~ Ursula K Le Guin,
110:Dresden: of all German cities, Smiley’s favourite. He had loved its architecture, its odd jumble of medieval and classical buildings, sometimes reminiscent of Oxford, its cupolas, towers, and spires, its copper-green roofs shimmering under a hot sun. ~ John le Carr,
111:The original, shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. Instead we live out all the other selves, which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather ~ Frederick Buechner,
112:What I know in my bones is that I forgot to take time to remember what I know. The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves. ~ Terry Tempest Williams,
113:Beatrix had worn her best gown, made of shimmering aniline violet. The bodice was scooped low, revealing a generous expanse of fair skin. Her hair had been curled and swept up with a multitude of pearl-tipped pins- other than that, she wore no adornment. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
114:Paxton walked over to the box and opened it, still feeling a little of that thrill she used to have at the thought of party dresses, the fantasy of it all. She smiled when she saw the shimmering pink material, the sparkling jewels at the neckline. ~ Sarah Addison Allen,
115:Velázquez, past the age of fifty, no longer painted specific objects. He drifted around things like the air, like twilight, catching unawares in the shimmering shadows the nuances of color that he transformed into the invisible core of his silent symphony. ~ Elie Faure,
116:If you know anything about summer in Louisiana you know that the heat, moist and heavy, presses down on the pavement until it sends up shimmering mirages, and lovers, looking for a little noontime solace, stick to one another in high-ceilinged bedrooms. ~ Loraine Despres,
117:I think of my life as a unity of circles. Some are concentric, others overlap, but they all connect in some way. Sometimes the connections don't happen for years. But when they do, I marvel. As in a shimmering kaleidoscope, familiar patterns keep unfolding ~ Dorothy Height,
118:Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh. She had a vision of a pale white flower, shimmering as if seen in darkness, or through water. Why did people talk of heaven, she wondered. ~ Patricia Highsmith,
119:Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh. She had a vision of a pale-white flower, shimmering as if seen in darkness, or through water. Why did people talk of heaven, she wondered. ~ Patricia Highsmith,
120:Finally, he bent his head and brushed his mouth against hers. It was a light kiss, a feathering as soft as down, but enough to cause her eyes to drift closed as that familiar, shimmering warmth she’d never thought she’d ever feel again began to flow in her veins. ~ JoAnn Ross,
121:present and future, Harry Potter …’ He pulled Harry’s wand from his pocket and began to trace it through the air, writing three shimmering words: TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE Then he waved the wand once, and the letters of his name rearranged themselves: I AM LORD VOLDEMORT ~ J K Rowling,
122:Away off in the flaming sunshine, Cardiff Hill lifted its soft green sides through a shimmering veil of heat, tinted with the purple of distance; a few birds floated on lazy wing high in the air; no other living thing was visible but some cows, and they were asleep. ~ Mark Twain,
123:if your body is neglected, exhausted, or abused, it becomes energetically toxic. Your spirit actually leaves via what’s known as the “silver cord” (a shimmering cord of light extending from your solar plexus to your auric field), and your psychic engines shut down. ~ Sonia Choquette,
124:As I ached for this lost part of myself, my missing finger became a synecdoche for all lost things in my life—women and mothers, youth and full-scalp coverage, soberness, and the bliss of solid sleep. Most of all, I ached for the future as a shimmering, distant thing. ~ Julia Elliott,
125:Through the shimmering heat, I could just make out an island in
the middle of the lake. On it rose a glittering black temple that looked not at all friendly.
“The Hall of Judgment,” I guessed.
Bast nodded. “Times like this, I’m glad I don’t have a mortal soul. ~ Rick Riordan,
126:[Sex] is only a mirage, floating in shimmering mockery before the bulging eyes of middle-aged men as they stumble with little whimpers toward the double bed, that somewhere there is a person that will evoke from them sensations of which they dimly dream they are capable. ~ Quentin Crisp,
127:The thing I love watching most is the swirling cotton candy. The contraption for making it is like a flat-bottomed pan. One puts sugar in it, turns the crank, and after a while, a large shimmering ball emerges; it’s like cotton—and like silk, too. Indeed, there’s nothing lovelier. ~ Can Xue,
128:I feel this pang inside – Is it my soul trying to break out, Or the world’s soul trying to break in? My mind trembles with the shimmering leaves. My heart sings with the touch of sunlight. My life is glad to be floating with all things Into the blue of space and the dark of time. ~ Deepak Chopra,
129:She turned to him, shook her head. Her black hair tossed, and the beams of the late-afternoon sunlight played upon it, sending brief ripples of red and green and blue through it the same way that light, shimmering on the black surface of oil, creates short-lived, wriggling rainbows. ~ Dean Koontz,
130:There was a strangeness in the shimmering air, a sense of imminence that made Ursula’s chest feel full, as if her heart was growing. It was a kind of high holiness—she could think of no other way of describing it. Perhaps it was the future, she thought, coming nearer all the time. ~ Kate Atkinson,
131:The Road Was Lit With Moon And Star
The Road was lit with Moon and star The Trees were bright and still Descried I - by the distant Light
A Traveller on a Hill To magic Perpendiculars
Ascending, though Terrene Unknown his shimmering ultimate But he indorsed the sheen ~ Emily Dickinson,
132:Do you ever get the urge to get in your car and keep driving?" I ask, focused on the water shimmering in the light of the moon.
"How'd you know when to stop?" Cole challenged, sitting next to me so our arms barely touched.
"I guess when you find something worth stopping for. ~ Rebecca Donovan,
133:Each time I undertake to reread Virginia Woolf, I am somewhat baffled by the signature breathlessness and relentlessly "poetic" tone, the shimmering impressionism, so very different from the vivid, precise, magisterial (and often very funny) prose of her contemporary James Joyce. ~ Joyce Carol Oates,
134:Good Friday is not about us trying to "get right with God." It is about us entering the difference between God and humanity and just touching it for a moment. Touching the shimmering sadness of humanity's insistence that we can be our own gods, that we can be pure and all-powerful. ~ Nadia Bolz Weber,
135:The wife reads about something called “the wayward fog” on the Internet. The one who has the affair becomes enveloped in it. His old life and wife become unbearably irritating. His possible new life seems a shimmering dream. All of this has to do with chemicals in the brain, allegedly. ~ Jenny Offill,
136:A fish wants to dive from dry land
into the ocean
when it hears the roaring waves.
A falcon wants to return from the forest
to the King’s wrist
when it hears the drum beating “Return.”
A Sufi, shimmering with light,
wants to dance like a sunbeam
when darkness surrounds him. ~ Rumi,
137:There was a light fog in the air, softening the goal and leaving a damp trace upon the skin. The moon was still rising in the sky, shimmering behind mist, and I could just make out the weak glow of the lantern in the middle of the Park. Out in the Borough, a clock struck ten, very faint. ~ Antonia Hodgson,
138:This late-adolescent camaraderie gave their time at Meadow a fraught emotional quality that was like the shimmering fullness of a bead of water before it falls. They were all about to scatter and become different from one another, and this made them exult in their closeness and alikeness. ~ Mary Gaitskill,
139:He would stare down at us in our new world from a long-distant past--a past where men walked cloaked at night, and stood in the shadow of old doorways, a past of narrow stairways and dim dungeons, a past of whispers in the dark, of shimmering rapier blades, of silent, exquisite courtesy. ~ Daphne du Maurier,
140:His touch is incredible, it holds my insides, my heart, my mind, shimmering hot heat into cold places, thawing my spirit... and it rejoices. I'm immediately obsessed, consumed with need to stay in this balmy light, soaking in his touch, relishing the euphoria it brings to my discarded spirituality. ~ Poppet,
141:I was faintly aware of the changing light.
A shining, shimmering glow seemed to cover
the scaffolding and the woods, the P&E barn,
and the white tents that caught the fleeting bits
of sun.
All that was left of the mansion was stone
and ash, but my home was there. Forever. ~ Ally Carter,
142:The shimmering, lucid tones and silver melancholy of I'll Be Right There give readers a South Korea peopled with citizens fighting for honor and intellectual freedom, and longing for love and solace. Kyung-Sook Shin's characters have unforgettable voices-it's no wonder she has so many fans. ~ Susan Straight,
143:And then sudden pain, blinding and brilliant. Fire wrenched her head and fought against the healer, against Archer’s heavy strength. Her scarf slipped off and released the shimmering prism of her hair: sunrise, poppy, copper, fuchsia, flame. Red, brighter than the blood soaking the pathway. ~ Kristin Cashore,
144:Everyone's thought that: maybe even if, maybe we still could, maybe small bits of precious things can be salvaged. No one with cop-on thinks it after the first try. But her voice, quiet and sad, shimmering the air into those pearly colors: for a second I believed it, all over again. ~ Tana French,
145:Serena looked through the violently rotating flames and saw Vanessa, Jimena, and Catty running toward her. They looked like goddesses; Vanessa dressed in shimmering blue, Jimena in lightning-strike silver, and Catty in wild strawberry pink, their hair bouncing in silky soft swirls with each step. ~ Lynne Ewing,
146:A fish wants to dive from dry land
into the ocean
when it hears the roaring waves.
A falcon wants to return from the forest
to the King’s wrist
when it hears the drum beating “Return.”
A Sufi, shimmering with light,
wants to dance like a sunbeam
when darkness surrounds him. ~ Rumi,
147:Sextants that divided the sky into angles not found in the usual geometries, microscopes whose hermetically sealed lenses distorted the viewed object into shimmering rainbow images, other instruments whose complexity and manifold adjustments quite overwhelmed my powers of speculation as to their use ~ K W Jeter,
148:Her eyes were clear, dark brown, like cups of shimmering caravan tea. Nick stared into her sweetly curved face, the chin too pointed, the nose too short. The little imperfections made her beauty unique and endlessly interesting, whereas more classically shaped features would have bored him quickly. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
149:In every way that mattered, we lost and we lost big. Some people are little Chernobyls, shimmering with silent, spreading poison: get anywhere near them and every breath you take will wreck you from the inside out. Some cases--ask any cop--are malignant and incurable, devouring everything they touch. ~ Tana French,
150:Why did the world go on being so beautiful in spite of the ugliness he had experienced? The lake was beautiful, serenely beautiful. The forest was beautiful, greenly beautiful. Lake and forest, the whole shimmering world was painfully beautiful. He loved this world, but he was too hurt to enjoy it. ~ William Steig,
151:The one thing I am now sure of is that if there is such a thing as destiny, it is a result of our passion, be that for money, power, or love. Passion, for better or worse. It can keep a soul alive even if all that survives is a shimmering. I've even seen it. I've been bathed in it. I've been changed by it. ~ M J Rose,
152:...she gave thanks to the images of the stars for the joy she had had of the night, when the constellations shone in their myriad majesty, and moved like an army dresses in silver mail, marching from unknown victories to conquer in distant wars. She praised those bright reflections shimmering down in the pool. ~ Lord Dunsany,
153:What is the space which this speaks of? Vertical ascent. To heaven. Of time? Into the light-world of the mutable. Yes, this thing has disgorged its spirit: light. And my attention is fixed; I can’t look away. Spellbound by mesmerizing shimmering surface which I can no longer control. No longer free to dismiss. ~ Philip K Dick,
154:Not everyone is born a witch or a saint. Not everyone is born talented, or crooked, or blessed; some are born definite in no particular at all. We are a fountain of shimmering contradictions, most of us. Beautiful in the concept, if we're lucky, but frequently tedious or regrettable as we flesh ourselves out. ~ Gregory Maguire,
155:Not everyone is born a witch or a saint. Not everyone is born talented, or crooked, or blessed; some are born definite in no particular at all. We are a fountain of shimmering contradictions, most of us. Beautiful in the concept, if we’re lucky, but frequently tedious or regrettable as we flesh ourselves out. ~ Gregory Maguire,
156:closed my eyes and listened. It was like music I'd heard all my life, even more than "This Lullaby." All those keystrokes, all those letters, so many words. I brushed my fingers over the beads and watched as her image rippled, like it was on water, breaking apart gently and shimmering before becoming whole again. ~ Sarah Dessen,
157:Hey there,” she said, her blue eyes shimmering.
Collin swallowed hard, and took her in his arms, cradling her head against his chest. “Hey, yourself,” he murmured into her hair, and kissed her head. He held her there for as long as he could without it becoming awkward, then gripped her shoulders and stepped back. ~ Tracy March,
158:I was a fucking idiot,” he slurs. “Don't worry about it,” I say. “We all do stupid shit, man. Especially when it comes to people we love – no matter how unworthy they are.” Trey nods and slides off his barstool. He stands there on unsteady legs for a minute, looking at me through eyes shimmering with tears. He pats me ~ R R Banks,
159:In fireworks are released, all the explosive pyrotechnics of a dream. The inflammable desires, dampened by day under the cold water of consciousness, are ignited at night by the libertarian matches of sleep, and burst forth in showers of shimmering incandescence. These imaginary displays provide a temporary relief. ~ Kenneth Anger,
160:I took off the cap, and the pen grew longer and heavier in my hand. In half a second, I held a shimmering bronze sword with a double-edge blade, a leather-wrapped grip, and a flat hilt riveted with gold studs.
"Its name is Anaklusmos."
"Riptide,'" I translated, surprised the Ancient Greek came so easily. ~ Rick Riordan,
161:At night... the streets become rhythmical perspectives of glowing dotted lines, reflections hung upon them in the streets as the wistaria hangs its violet racemes on its trellis. The buildings are shimmering verticality, a gossamer veil, a festive scene-prop hanging there against the black sky to dazzle, entertain, amaze. ~ Frank Lloyd Wright,
162:I’m your worst nightmare come to walk this side of the lines. I’m an elf, Trent something you’re forgotten how to be. You’re scared of black magic. I can see fear shimmering under your aura like sweat. I live and breathe black magic. I’m so tainted with it that I will use it without thought, without guilt and without hesitation. ~ Kim Harrison,
163:All right." Shimmering droplets on her eyelashes, stars caught in transition. "But will you replace it with something for me?"

"Anything." His body was hers.

Brushing her fingers over his lips, she said, "You gave me an eagle. I want to give you one, too." A tender kiss pressed to the scar. "I want us to fly together. ~ Nalini Singh,
164:He defined me first, as parents do. Those early characterizations can become the shimmering self-image we embrace or the limited, stifling perception we rail against for a lifetime. In my case, he sees me as I would like to be seen. In fact, I’m not even sure what’s true about me, since I have always chosen to believe his version. ~ Kelly Corrigan,
165:It's about time you admitted that you are a miraculous work of art. You came into this world as a radiant bundle of exuberant riddles. You slipped into this dimension as a shimmering burst of spiral hallelujahs. You blasted into this realm as a lush explosion of ecstatic gratitude. And it is your birthright to fulfill those promises. ~ Rob Brezsny,
“What a strange word.
‘Night’ I get.
But ‘fall’ is a gentle word.
Autumn leaves fall, swirling with languid grace
To carpet the earth with their dying blaze.
Tears fall, like liquid diamonds
Shimmering softly, before they melt away.
Night doesn’t fall here.
It comes slamming down. ~ Karen Marie Moning,
167:On the waves of the brook she dances by, The light, the lovely dragon-fly; She dances here, she dances there, The shimmering, glimmering flutterer fair. And many a foolish young beetle's impressed By the blue gauze gown in which she is dressed; They admire the enamel that decks her bright, And her elegant waist so slim and slight. ~ Heinrich Heine,
168:In midmost of the stream, embraced in the weir's shimmering arm-spread, a small island lay anchored, fringed close with willow and silver birch and alder. Reserved, shy, but full of significance, it hid whatever it might hold behind a veil, keeping it till the hour should come, and, with the hour, those who were called and chosen. ~ Kenneth Grahame,
169:...the cooing of pigeons, nesting in the wall outside; shimmering and unexpected like a first hyacinth gently tearing open its nutritious heart to release its flower of sound, mauve and satin-soft, letting into my still dark and shuttered bedroom as through an opened window the warmth, the brightness, the fatigue of a first fine day. ~ Marcel Proust,
170:She lifter the shade and bathed the room in silver. Moonlight glinted off the glass and metal instruments on her desk and vanished into the eaves. Moonlight skimmed over her floorboards and made Nero's eyes a shimmering green. It wasn't enough to work by. It wasn't enough to read by. But who needed to read? She knew them by heart. ~ Diana Peterfreund,
171:I sighed. I hate the vamp jobs. They think they're so suave. It's not enough for them to slaughter and eat you like a zombie would. No, they want it to be all sexy, too. And, trust me: vampires? Not. Sexy. I mean, sure, their glamours can be pretty hot, but the dry-as-bone corpse bodies shimmering underneath? Nothing attractive there. ~ Kiersten White,
172:So if you can look at all things without allowing pleasure to creep in—at a face, a bird, the color of a sari, the beauty of a sheet of water shimmering in the sun, or anything that gives delight—if you can look at it without wanting the experience to be repeated, then there will be no pain, no fear and, therefore, tremendous joy. ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti,
173:Voldemort,” said Riddle softly, “is my past, present, and future, Harry Potter. . . .”
He pulled Harry’s wand from his pocket and began to trace it through the air, writing three shimmering words:
Then he waved the wand once, and the letters of his name rearranged themselves:
174:They came with hardly a warning,

thousands both beautiful and terrible;

They came on brilliant white horses

wearing shining gold and shimmering blue;

They came with dragons and whirlwinds,

and giants made of stone and earth;

They came and nothing could stop them.

They are coming still. ~ Michael J Sullivan,
175:I remember reading [ Studs Terkel's] "Working" when it first came out and just finding that very powerful. I was going into community organizing. What stuck was to reveal the sacredness of ordinary people's lives. That everybody has a story. And I think Studs is terrific at drawing out that shimmering quality of people's everyday struggles. ~ Barack Obama,
176:Our gridlocked conflicts contain the potential for great intimacy between us. But we have to feel safe enough to pull our dreams out of the closet. When we wear them, our partner may glimpse how beautiful we are—fragile but shimmering. Then, with understanding, our partners may join us in being dream catchers, rather than dream shredders. ~ John M Gottman,
177:And she just wants everyone to remember -please remember- that once there was a darkly sparkling, glittering, shimmering, lovely dangerous time in this city when Aqua loved Jack.
And Jack loved Aqua.
And I loved Jack.
And Jack loved me.
And boys will be boys.
And boys will be girls.
And sometimes the show can't go on. ~ Josh Kilmer Purcell,
178:I don’t realize it until I speak it. And it’s different from the times I’ve said it before, or the way I’ve hoped it, as if dreaming something enough could birth it into being. I know it now with a certainty that has fitted into the lost core at the heart of me, as hard and angular as my hope was soft and shimmering. The King will not have me. ~ Natasha Ngan,
179:Imagine, reader, in primordial days some vicious dinosaur, heavy with nightmare jaws, which chases a shimmering lizard up a slope, and the predator rejoices, already tasting the kill in its blood-starved mind, when, all at once, its slim prey spreads its feathered fins and takes to the air in a world that had not yet realized life could fly. You ~ Ada Palmer,
180:Then he looked beyond the ever-shifting alteration to study the stillness of her expression. He knew his camera could not capture this - that some things were only truly seen by the human eye. This was one of the images of his lifetime. He simply exposed his retina and let love burn her flickering, shimmering, absorbed face onto his soul. ~ Diane Setterfield,
181:Nothing is nicer than diving with your eyes open. Diving down as far as the shimmering legs of your mother and father who have just come back from swimming and now are wading to shore through the shallow water. Nothing more fun than to tickle them and to hear, muffled by the water, how they shriek because they know it will make their child happy. ~ Jenny Erpenbeck,
182:I quietly quaffed my cognac, discreetly admiring Lana's legs. Longer than the Bible and a hell of a lot more fun, they stretched forever, like an Indian yogi or an American highway shimmering through the Great Plains or the southwestern desert. Her legs demanded to be looked at and would not take no, non, nein, nyet, or even maybe for an answer. ~ Viet Thanh Nguyen,
183:The sun, moon, and stars God gave to the world, but He embedded their glories in your countenance just for me. Woven in your hair are the sun's shimmering golden rays. From your face glows the pale luminescence of the moon. And in your eyes God sprinkled a million stars to twinkle against a backdrop of endless night. You are my celestial light. ~ Richelle E Goodrich,
184:Cursing themselves in ragged dreamsfire has singed the edges of,they know a slow dying the fields have come to terms with.Shimmering fans work against the heat& smell of gunpowder, making moneyfloat from hand to hand. The next momenta rocket pushes a white fistthrough night sky, & they scatter like birds& fall into the shape their liveshave become. ~ Yusef Komunyakaa,
185:CHAPTER 10 Bright flowers nodded around the apprentice as she weaved, slender as a pine martin, through the grass. She sneezed as pollen dusted her soft muzzle. Then, relishing the sun on her back, she lifted her forepaws and peered over the curving stems. Wide-eyed, she gazed at the broad green pasture and breathed the soft scent of the shimmering grass. ~ Erin Hunter,
186:Life has suddenly become overcrowded. Too many people I can care for are swarming in and filling up my chest. Too many things I want to do are rushing headlong into my new life for reasons unknown to me. All of a sudden my new life is like a field overgrown with strange flowers and exotic grasses or the shimmering, starry sky of my unbridled imagination... ~ Qiu Miaojin,
187:Thankfully,two old friends stood next to the throne. Horus wore full battle armor and a khopesh sword at his kohl-lined eyes-one gold, one silver-were as piercing as ever. At his side stood Isis in a shimmering white gown, with wings of light. "Welcome," Horus said. "Um, hi," I said. "He has a way with words," Isis muttered, which made Sadie snort. ~ Rick Riordan,
188:Yet he moved toward her, darkly shimmering out of the library shadows with feeding fangs ready. However, the moment he touched Miss Tarabotti, he was suddenly no longer darkly doing anything at all. He was simply standing there, the faint sounds of a string quartet in the background as he foolishly fished about with his tongue for fangs unaccountably mislaid. ~ Gail Carriger,
189:And as Bi'ul leaped at him, a shimmering prism of rage, Dairy swung.
The world went black for one long moment, and there was only the sound of glass breaking, a glass containing all the oceans in the world, and those oceans held back the fires of a thousand suns, and it all burst forth in one massive wave of power that spread across creation in an instant. ~ Patrick Weekes,
190:I don’t expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses. . . . I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren’t as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach. ~ J K Rowling,
191:What is a fleecy as a cloud, As majestic and shimmering as the breaking dawn, As gorgeous as the sun the sun is strong? Why, it's ME! Twilight, the Great Gray, Tiger of the sky --- Light of the Night, Most beautiful, An avian delight. I beam --- I gleam --- I'm a livin' flying dream. Watch me roll off this cloud and pop on back. This is flying. I ain't no hack. ~ Kathryn Lasky,
192:Woodshadows floated silently by through the morning peace from the stairhead seaward where he gazed. Inshore and farther out the mirror of water whitened, spurned by lightshod hurrying feet. White breast of the dim sea. The twining stresses, two by two. A hand plucking the harpstrings, merging their twining chords. Wavewhite wedded words shimmering on the dim tide. ~ James Joyce,
193:I use to think that somewhere along the line, I'd find the key to that perfect life...and that once I had it, every day would be golden and easy and everything would fit. But life isn't like that. There are only perfect glowing moments...and then there are everyday moments that weave them together into a shimmering path that can always be seen, even in the dark. ~ Kristan Higgins,
194:The Buffetts followed the trail blazed by earlier SUVs a few miles onward from the airport to the tiny town of Ketchum, near the turnoff to the Elkhorn Pass. A few miles later, they rounded Dollar Mountain, where a green oasis appeared, nestled among the brown slopes. Here amid the lacy pines and shimmering aspens lay Sun Valley, the mountains’ most fabled resort. ~ Alice Schroeder,
195:Thankfully,two old friends stood next to the throne. Horus wore full battle armor and a khopesh sword at his kohl-lined eyes-one gold, one silver-were as piercing as ever. At his side stood Isis in a shimmering white gown, with wings of light.
"Welcome," Horus said.
"Um, hi," I said.
"He has a way with words," Isis muttered, which made Sadie snort. ~ Rick Riordan,
196:So long as the mind keeps silent in the motionless world of its hopes, everything is reflected and arranged in the unity of its nostalgia. But with its first move this world cracks and tumbles: an infinite number of shimmering fragments is offered to the understanding. We must despair of ever reconstructing the familiar, calm surface which would give us peace of heart. ~ Albert Camus,
197:Her bare feet hardly make a sound as she leaves the little grove of trees and heads for the cauldron. The contents of her basket are cast into the shimmering, bubbling belly of the cauldron—each item in turn is lifted and honoured as she sings to it and, with a gentle throw, casts each one into the liquid. She smiles, she sings, the boy stirs, the cauldron bubbles. ~ Kristoffer Hughes,
198:Nothing more than a simple panic attack.” The doctor’s bald pate reflected the overhead panel lighting like a shimmering, sweaty halo above his radiantly clean lab coat. A stethoscope hung uselessly around his neck. He leaned forward over his desk and clasped his hands, bringing them up to support his chin in what I assumed was his thoughtful pose. “Are you still smoking? ~ Matthew Mather,
199:A tanker truck appeared far down the wavy surface of the highway, headlights on, its weight and shimmering cylindrical shape and dedicated purpose so great and unrelenting that it seemed to move and jitter against the sun’s afterglow without sound or mechanically driven power, sustained by its own momentum, as though the truck had a destiny that had been planned long ago. ~ James Lee Burke,
200:The soaring, imaginative minds of men, constructing lofty, shimmering piles of abstract thought, and taking as their postulate a revelation from God, gaveus relgions which coule not possible maintained without belief and obedience: ... we find them most permanent and changeless among people who make the least effort to swquare their beliefs with the laws of life. ~ Charlotte Perkins Gilman,
201:The last dress in the wardrobe was loosely wrapped in thin tissue paper that tore away at the slightest touch. Isabel was intrigued by this one, a cocktail dress in peach-colored silk, embellished with a line of crystal bugle beads around the neckline, a fitted bodice and flaring skirt. In the glow of the bedside lamp, the dress was luminous and shimmering with a life of its own. ~ Susan Wiggs,
202:How blue is the sea, how blue is the sky, how blue and tiny and redeemable everything is, even you, even your eyes, even your imagination. The Soul at Last The Lord’s terrifying kindness has come to me. It was only a small silvery thing—say a piece of silver cloth, or a thousand spider webs woven together, or a small handful of aspen leaves, with their silver backs shimmering. And ~ Mary Oliver,
203:It was late September in the Ohio River Valley, the dying days of summer when soaring temperatures fought autumn’s grasp. Here the sweat and sunshine lingered, a mocking presence as school began. Sullen waves of heat thickened under the claustrophobic press of low-lying clouds, while humidity amplified the temperatures into a fever dream of shimmering sidewalks and sunburnt noses. ~ Danika Stone,
204:Then, suddenly, she was convulsing around him, shimmering, flying apart. Seconds later, he followed, his own release ripping the lid right off his world.
Slowly, like a feather on the breeze, he felt his spirit lilt back and forth until finally it settled to earth again.
Incredible. He’d just had the hottest sex of his life, and he’d had it with his wife of almost five years. ~ Norah Wilson,
205:Then Carol slipped her arm under her neck, and all the length of their bodies touched fitting as if something had prearranged it. Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh. She had a vision of a pale white flower, shimmering as if seen in darkness, or through water. Why did people talk of heaven, she wondered ~ Patricia Highsmith,
206:Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his. ~ Ted Kooser,
207:And there, shimmering in the Mist right next to us, was the last person I wanted to see: Mr. D, wearing his leopard-skin jogging suit and rummaging through the refrigerator. He looked up lazily. "Do you mind?"

Where's Chiron!" I shouted.

How rude." Mr. D took a swig from a jug of grape juice. "Is that how you say hello?"

Hello," I amended. "We're about to die! Where's Chiron? ~ Rick Riordan,
208:The pale pink light of dawn sparkled on branch and leaf and stone. Every blade of grass was carved from emerald, every drip of water turned to diamond. Flowers and mushrooms alike wore coats of glass. Even the mud puddles had a bright brown sheen. Through the shimmering greenery, the black tents of his brothers were encased in a fine glaze of ice. So there is magic beyond the Wall after all. ~ George R R Martin,
209:Shadow boxes become poetic theater or settings wherein are metamorphosed the elements of a childhood pastime. The fragile, shimmering globules become the shimmering but more enduring planets—a connotation of moon and tides—the association of water less subtle, as when driftwood pieces make up a proscenium to set off the dazzling white of sea foam and billowy cloud crystallized in a pipe of fancy. ~ Joseph Cornell,
210:They became desperate for an antidote, such as coziness & color. They tried to bury the obligatory white sofas under Thai-silk throw pillows of every rebellious, iridescent shade of Magenta, pink, and tropical green imaginable. But the architect returned, as he always does, like the conscience of a Calvinist, and he lectured them and hectored them and chucked the shimmering little sweet things out. ~ Tom Wolfe,
211:And now I know that you're the one
I've waited my whole life for
You're budding leaves turning green in spring
You're the fresh breath of air that summer brings
You're the autumn sky painted in rainbow hues
You're the wintry ocean dancing in shimmering blues
You're the air I breahte
You're the water I drink
You're the fire inside me
The earth under my feet
You're the one ~ Kendall Grey,
212:I will not dream anymore, you said. I will not set myself up for the pain. But then your team made the playoffs, or you saw a movie, or a billboard glowing dusky orange and advertising Aruba, or a girl who bore more than a passing resemblance to a woman you'd dated in high school— a woman you'd loved and lost— danced above you with shimmering eyes, and you said, fuck it, let's dream just one more time. ~ Dennis Lehane,
213:the solution to racism lies in our ability to see its ubiquity but not to concede its inevitability. It lies in the collective and institutional power to make change, at least as much as with the individual will to change. It also lies in the absolute moral imperative to break the childish, deadly circularity of centuries of blindness to the shimmering brilliance of our common, ordinary humanity. ~ Patricia J Williams,
214:In that room on Via Clelia, I manage to create a world that corresponded to nothing outside it. My books, my city, myself. All I had to do then was let the novels I was reading lend their aura to this street and drop an illusory film over this buildings, a film that washed down Via Clelia like a sheet of rainwater, casting a shimmering spell on this hard, humdrum, here-and-now area of lower-middle-class Rome. ~ Andr Aciman,
215:Lana was not above socializing with a common man, and for the next hour they became partners on a walk down memory lane, reminiscing about Saigon and songs while I quietly quaffed my cognac, discreetly admiring Lana’s legs. Longer than the Bible and a hell of a lot more fun, they stretched forever, like an Indian yogi or an American highway shimmering through the Great Plains or the southwestern desert. ~ Viet Thanh Nguyen,
216:I used to think that somewhere along the line, I’d find the key to that perfect life, the way Rachel seemed to, and that once I had it, every day would be golden and easy, and everything would fit. But life isn’t like that. There are only perfect, glowing moments, like this one, and then there are the everyday moments that weave them together into a shimmering path that can always be seen, even in the dark. ~ Kristan Higgins,
217:Sitting down in the evenings became a kind of torture, a bleak realization of her talents laid out against the bright shimmering fabric of her dreams. Yet she couldn’t stop, she couldn’t give up so easily. To stop writing completely produced in her a bleak and relentless depression, so she stubbornly persisted, plodding through endless drafts and revisions, telling herself she was learning something each time. ~ Cathy Holton,
218:I jump to my feet in this dream within a dream. Although I am quite dry, I discover that the trees of the forest in which I have slept stand rooted in water. Beyond them, at the forest's edge, stretches a tarn. From the steely face of the tarn rises a mist, and there, where the mist swirls thickest, shimmering like a pale column risen from its depths, dripping tarn water and rotted rose petals, stands Gunther. ~ Dalton Trumbo,
219:The first stars tremble as if shimmering in green water. Hours must pass before their glimmer hardens into the frozen glitter of diamonds. I shall have a long wait before I witness the soundless frolic of the shooting stars. In the profound darkness of certain nights I have seen the sky streaked with so many trailing sparks that it seemed to me a great gale must be blowing through the outer heavens. ~ Antoine de Saint Exupery,
220:The first stars tremble as if shimmering in green water. Hours must pass before their glimmer hardens into the frozen glitter of diamonds. I shall have a long wait before I witness the soundless frolic of the shooting stars. In the profound darkness of certain nights I have seen the sky streaked with so many trailing sparks that it seemed to me a great gale must be blowing through the outer heavens. ~ Antoine de Saint Exup ry,
221:Through the shimmering air, I looked on the face of the girl who had been called Ismene. She looked like she was sleeping. I searched my heart for a prayer to offer, but I did not know the gods the Lanista had spoken of. I only knew my own. So I formed a silent prayer for the dead girl I’d never known but in that moment felt a strange kinship with. “May the Morrigan keep your soul,” I whispered in my mind. ~ Lesley Livingston,
222:The great hall was shimmering in light, sun streaming from the open windows, and ablaze with colour, the walls decorated with embroidered hangings in rich shades of gold and crimson. New rushes had been strewn about, fragrant with lavender, sweet woodruff, and balm... the air was... perfumed with honeysuckle and violet, their seductive scents luring in from the gardens butterflies as blue as the summer sky. ~ Sharon Kay Penman,
223:What is a fleecy as a cloud,
As majestic and shimmering as the breaking dawn,
As gorgeous as the sun the sun is strong?
Why, it's ME!
Twilight, the Great Gray,
Tiger of the sky ---
Light of the Night, Most beautiful,
An avian delight.
I beam ---
I gleam ---
I'm a livin' flying dream.
Watch me roll off this cloud and pop on back.
This is flying.
I ain't no hack. ~ Kathryn Lasky,
224:Still, when your truthful eyes,
your keen, attentive stare,
endow the vacuous slut
with royalty, when you match
her soul to her shimmering hair,
what can she do but rise
to your imagined throne?
And what can I, but see
beyond the world that is,
when, faithful, you insist
I have the golden key--
and learn from you once more
the terror and the bliss,
the world as it might be? ~ Lisel Mueller,
225:The retreating tide had transformed the wet sands into a curving silver mirror that reflected the colours that flooded the pale sea and pearly sky in waves of wonder. The far islands had lost their look of shimmering transparency and become silhouettes of violet velvet against the opal sea, and a dimness had crept over the flaming green of the jungle-clad hills; softening and blurring it wiht a blue, grape-like bloom. ~ M M Kaye,
226:Cursing themselves in ragged dreams
fire has singed the edges of,

they know a slow dying the fields have come to terms with.
Shimmering fans work against the heat

& smell of gunpowder, making money
float from hand to hand. The next moment

a rocket pushes a white fist
through night sky, & they scatter like birds

& fall into the shape their lives
have become. ~ Yusef Komunyakaa,
227:On becoming a mother, I had forever left that solitary state of girlhood behind, and if I sometimes pined to be alone with Augustine as we used to be in our first love, a quick glance at my sleeping son's face soon banished such foolish thoughts. It was as if Augustine and I had been in a beautiful bubble but when my body split open in childbirth, the shimmering membrane broke and we were delivered to the world. ~ Suzanne M Wolfe,
228:Sukey's approving glance swept over Amanda's black evening dress, made of shimmering crinkled silk that had been cut very low across the bosom and fitted tightly to her voluptuous shape. Rows of glittering jet beads adorned the bodice and long sleeves, while her gloves and shoes were of soft chamois leather. It was a sophisticated ensemble, one that made the most of Amanda's looks and generously displayed her bosom. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
229:She opened the McRib box and eyed the dark red, sticky sandwich. Suddenly she felt like an animal; she wanted to drag the sandwich somewhere, not anywhere in this McDonald's, not a booth, not Playland, but to a park, a shrouded corner of the woods underneath shimmering tree branches, green, dark, and serene, and then, when she was certain she was completely alone, she wanted to tear that sandwich apart with her teeth. ~ Jami Attenberg,
230:Christmas ribbons decked every crystal ball knocker on every sparkling door as far as the eye could see. Through the snowy streets of the Veiled Village, Echoes and Sounds rushed to and fro, their shimmering clothes looking like pouring rain or ice or waves. Before them multi-colored parcels fluttered like strange birds carried on small see-through wings, and every once in a while two parcels would collide and rain down gifts. ~ Tal Boldo,
231:Leaning forward, he dusted a kiss over her lips, his touch light and sensuous. Her eyes closed, wonder and delight shimmering through her like faerie dust- dreams wrapping her in their silken hold.
"You love me, Grace." His mouth brushed against hers. "That's what you said last night. You meant it, did you not?"
Her eyes opened, locking on his. "Yes, I meant it," she said in a hushed tone. "Of course, I love you. ~ Tracy Anne Warren,
232:The thing about not breathing is no one tells you how addictive it is. That tingling rush, the buzz in every neuron as they eat through oxygen stores and reach for more and find nothing. It feels like a billion miniscule teeth digging into your brain. A shimmering wave of needle pricks starting in your lungs and skittering up your brain stem like a silvery centipede and spreading over your whole scalp, numbing you like a drug. ~ Leah Raeder,
233:There was something familiar about the upbeat rhetoric: since the nineteen-sixties, the schedule for a trip to Mars has been a shimmering, receding horizon, always a few decades away. Daunting technological, physiological, and political obstacles stand in the way of a project still so undefined that no real dollar figures are attached to it, although the figure of a hundred billion dollars is sometimes used to start a conversation. ~ Anonymous,
234:I stopped myself from reaching up to touch the raven feather I’d tied into my hair before leaving my cell. The thing had become almost a talisman to me. In the darkness a war horn sounded, like the Morrigan herself blowing her bronze carnyx, and I felt the cold finger of fate trace up my spine. As the shrill, shimmering notes died to silence, we stood, shoulder to shoulder, facing the ranks of gladiatrixes we would soon join. ~ Lesley Livingston,
235:A soft mist blew around them. Raindrops glistened in his hair, shimmering under the pale glow of the light post. His eyes were shadowed beneath wispy fringes, but the silver in them glinted like pools of liquid mercury. Her breath caught. It must have made a sound because his fingers tightened. His shaky exhale whispered across her face.
“This,” he whispered so quietly she almost didn’t hear him. “Is why you are so bad for me. ~ Airicka Phoenix,
236:Christopher couldn't recall what day it was; he certainly didn't know what hour it was. It was a gray day, but there was no dullness in that gray. It was shimmering pearl-gray, of a color bounced back by shimmering water and shimmering air. It was a crimson-edged day, like a gray squirrel shot and bleeding redly from the inside and around the edges. Yes, there was the pleasant touch of death on things, gushing death and gushing life. ~ R A Lafferty,
237:They stopped for a moment to watch the evening sky transform itself in a show of dazzling radiance as gold transmuted into shades of vermilion that waned into shimmering purple, then darkened to deep blue as the first glittering sky fires appeared. Soon the sooty black night became a backdrop to the multitude of blazing lights that filled the summer sky, with a concentrated accumulation wending its way like a path across the vault above. ~ Jean M Auel,
238:There was more to upgrade. I went to a shop in downtown Oakland that sold salt of every kind and color, black and pink and blue. Each variety sat shimmering in a glass canister, priced by the ounce, with a handwritten card recounting its biography: here, salt from the beaches of Gujarat; there, salt from the pans of Brittany; behold, salt from the suburbs of Portland.

I backed slowly out the door. I would stick with Diamond Crystal. ~ Robin Sloan,
239:They hung, like mirages, shimmering in the future, and the closer you got to them the more you expected them to disappear. When his mother had gone over to work in the States for the first time and his father was supposed to have been making a special effort, Mr. Schock had still managed to turn up at Sports Day after Peter’s big race. There was always another meeting, another client, another urgent matter demanding his attention. ~ Linda Buckley Archer,
240:Alice dug into her pocket and pulled out her notebook, hurrying to make a note of the sensation and the day and the people in it, chewing on the end of her fountain pen as her gaze tripped over the sunlit house, the willow trees, the shimmering lake, and the yellow roses climbing on the iron gate. It was like the garden from a storybook- it 'was' the garden from a storybook- and Alice loved it. She was never going to leave Loeanneth. Never. ~ Kate Morton,
Trigorin has worked out a process of his own, and descriptions are easy for him. He writes that the neck of a broken bottle lying on the bank glimmered in the moonlight, and that the shadows lay black under the mill-wheel. There you have a moonlit night before your eyes, but I speak of the shimmering light, the twinkling stars, the distant sounds of a piano melting into the still and scented air, and the result is abominable. ~ Anton Chekhov,
242:Let's start this place on nonexistent fire," I teased.

"Promise." She sucked in an excited breath.

We closed our eyes and I placed my feverish mouth to hers. Immediately, violent, zealous flashes of shimmering flames climbed to the furthest point, trailed like rain down the pitched ceiling and spilled down the walls, gathering at their feet pools of fervent, bubbling, silvery liquid electricity before evaporating into nothing. ~ Fisher Amelie,
243:Murder in a small town is always more than a paragraph in the local paper. In a place so insulated, where lives are so small and gone about so quietly, violent death hangs in the air—tinting everything crimson, weaving itself into the shimmering heat that rises off the winding asphalt roads at noon. It oozes from taps and runs through the gas pumps. It sits at the dinner table, murmuring in urgent low tones under the clinking of glassware. ~ Kat Rosenfield,
244:I first saw Lucas at the end of July last summer. Of course, I didn't know who he was then... in fact, come to think of it, I didn't even know what he was.
All I could see from the backseat of the car was a green-clad creature padding along the Stand in a shimmering haze of heat; a slight and ragged figure with a mop of straw-blond hair and a way of walking - I smile when I think of it - a way of walking that whispered secrets to the air. ~ Kevin Brooks,
245:As she lies in the bed she weeps, for Bing, for the melting, shimmering candles, the filigree on the holiday tablecloth. She is an unwilling astronaut, bumping against the thick glass of the ship, her line tangling lazily in zero gravity, face mask fogged with fear. My sister reaches across, over the bed, and we both embrace the mother, holding her on earth, pulling her onto the ship, breathing our oxygen into her line. Ten hours later she is dead. ~ Jo Ann Beard,
246:There is always something vaguely unsettling about being alone in an empty building that is not your own. It is as if, whenever present inhabitants are away, the phantoms of former owners come shimmering out of the woodwork to protect their territory. Although you cannot see these ghosts, you can certainly feel their unwelcoming presence, and sometimes even smell them: a sort of shivering in the air that tells you that you're not alone and not wanted. ~ Alan Bradley,
247:Fifteen days after we are born, we begin to discriminate between colors. For the rest of our lives, barring blunted or blinded sight, we find ourselves face-to-face with all these phenomena at once, and we call the whole shimmering mess “color.” You might even say that it is the business of the eye to make colored forms out of what is essentially shimmering. This is how we “get around” in the world. Some might also call it the source of our suffering. ~ Maggie Nelson,
248:Turn from that road's beguiling ease; return
to your hunger's turret. Enter, climb the stair
chill with disuse, where the croaking toad of time
regards from shimmering eyes your slow ascent
and the drip, drip, of darkness glimmers on the stone
to show you how your longing waits alone.
What alchemy shines from under that shut door,
spinning out gold from the hollow of the heart?

("The Sea's Wash In The Hollow Of The Heart") ~ Denise Levertov,
249:Oh, the sudden change of perspective brought about by travel and absence! How different everything was here: the people in the streets, the houses, the color of the air, the sky above the roofs, a low sky, very close, with molded clouds, and which looked as if it had come out of a painting. A unique setting, a subtle atmosphere of silvery greys, the patina of centuries on the old walls—a shimmering marvel for the eyes of a painter. ("The Dead Town") ~ Georges Rodenbach,
250:Centuries telescoped into one evanescent moment. History was wrong-footed, caught off guard. Sloughed off like an old snakeskin. Its marks, its scars, its wounds from old wars and the walking backwards days all fell away. In its absence it left an aura, a palpable shimmering that was as plain to see as the water in a river or the sun in the sky. As plain to feel as the heat on a hot day, or the tug of a fish on a taut line. So obvious that no one noticed. ~ Arundhati Roy,
251:But there was not a moment when she did not see Carol in her mind, and all she saw, she seemed to see through Carol. That evening, the dark flat streets of New York, the tomorrow of work, the milk bottle dropped and broken in her sink, became unimportant. She flung herself on her bed and drew a line with a pencil on a piece of paper. And another line, carefully, and another. A world was born around her, like a bright forest with a million shimmering leaves. ~ Patricia Highsmith,
252:Back home, it is said that each tree has a spirit who lives inside. Very often those who die pick a tree near their family’s home and stay there as a guardian. I truly believe this, Lesya. My own Baba picked a tree near my house, and I felt her whenever I was there. On full-moon nights I could see a shape shimmering inside the tree, like something dancing. And I would hear her voice on the wind when it rushed through the leaves. Praising. Guiding. Warning. ~ Valya Dudycz Lupescu,
253:Arian's ebony hair was spread in a shimmering fan around her shoulders, reminding Tristan absurdly of Snow White in her glass coffin. Even in death, hadn't the deceptive blush of life stained Snow White's pallid cheeks? Hadn't her rosebud lips parted as if to welcome a kiss from a prince who might never come? Hadn't the creamy swell of her breasts tantalized every hopelessly naive kid in the theater into daring to believe her chest would rise just one more time? ~ Teresa Medeiros,
254:How often, you wonder, has the direction of your life been shaped by such misunderstandings? How many opportunities have you been denied--or, for that matter, awarded--because someone failed to see you properly? How many friends have you lost, how many have you gained, because they glimpsed some element of your personality that shone through for only an instant, and in circumstances you could never reproduce? An illusion of water shimmering at the far bend of a highway. ~ Kevin Brockmeier,
255:Under The Harvest Moon
Under the harvest moon,
When the soft silver
Drips shimmering
Over the garden nights,
Death, the gray mocker,
Comes and whispers to you
As a beautiful friend
Who remembers.
Under the summer roses
When the flagrant crimson
Lurks in the dusk
Of the wild red leaves,
Love, with little hands,
Comes and touches you
With a thousand memories,
And asks you
Beautiful, unanswerable questions.
~ Carl Sandburg,
256:When she lowered her hands, her reflection shimmered up at her, pale and golden in contrast with the bronzed, dark-haired man next to her. Seeing herself beside him made the nightmarish situation she was in seem all the more real.
She turned to look at him, and at the same instant he looked at her. For several heartbeats they simply studied one another.
“Even the water sings our song.” He sighed and rose to his knees, glancing back down at their shimmering images. ~ Catherine Anderson,
257:When we're born on this planet, we're taught to believe that what we see is real. But as we grow in understanding, we recognize first that we've been hypnotized by that reaching, and second that it's within our power to de-hypnotize ourselves. And as we do that, the illusion appears to change, to come in harmony with what we most value. If we most value love, we will begin to see more and more love and joy and adventure-creative expressions of life shimmering everywhere around us. ~ Richard Bach,
258:people astray and into potentially horrific acts. Both of these views relate to the world that is delivered to us by our senses. There is a third way that Buddhist practitioners know as “Emptiness.” This is the unseen, formless energy that extrudes itself as the myriad forms of the world, creating and then retrieving them back to the source. Suzuki Roshi suggested that we think of it as the white screen in a movie theater, the unseen background against which the shimmering movie of ~ Peter Coyote,
259:Ranulf had spent much of his life watching those he loved wrestle with the seductive, lethal lure of kingship. It had proved the ruination of his cousin Stephen, a good man who had not made a good king. For his sister Maude, it had been an unrequited love affair, a passion she could neither capture nor renounce. For Hywel, it had been an illusion, a golden glow ever shimmering along the horizon. He believed that his nephew had come the closest to mastery of it, but at what cost? ~ Sharon Kay Penman,
260:Neither of the costumes fit properly. Inej’s purple silks were far too loose, and as for Nina … “What the hell is this supposed to be?” she said, looking down at herself. The plunging gown barely covered her substantial cleavage and clung tightly to her buttocks. It had been wrought to look like blue-green scales, giving way to a shimmering chiffon fan. “Maybe a mermaid?” suggested Inej. “Or a wave?” “I thought I was a horse.” “Well they weren’t going to put you in a dress of hooves. ~ Leigh Bardugo,
261:But when I saw these sleek, shiny carcasses shimmering in the sunlight as they emerged from the ocean, shaking their giant heads; when I saw the waters roll from their sinuous bodies in miniature waterfalls as they glided hither and thither, now upon the surface, now half submerged; as I saw them meet, open-mouthed, hissing and snorting, in their titanic and interminable warring I realized how futile is man’s poor, week imagination by comparison with Nature’s incredible genius. ~ Edgar Rice Burroughs,
262:Now that she was gone, he did not know how to stand in this room right. He looked around at the familiar faces, some people he had known for decades, and was filled with the sense of being incomplete– not enough of a person to do his job. He was paid for his mind, but at this moment he did not know how to find his mind within the shimmering sorrow of his heart. The questions he had spent his career considering seemed like kickable little stones compared to the topography of his loss. ~ Ramona Ausubel,
263:The full moon stood high in the limpid sky. Far away forests and fields that had been in invisible beyond the confines of the camp were now coming into sight. And out there beyond the forests and fields lay all the shimmering, beckoning distance of infinity. Pierre glanced up at the sky and the play of the stars receding into the depths. ‘And it’s all mine, and it’s all within me, and it all adds up to me!’ thought Pierre. ‘And they caught all that, shut it up in a shed and boarded it in! ~ Leo Tolstoy,
264:We lay very still. I could feel the air around us changing, blooming and shimmering like the air over a scorching road. My heart was speeding, or hers was banging against my chest, I'm not sure. I turned Cassie in my arms and kissed her, and after a moment she kissed me back.

I know I said that I always choose the anticlimactic over the irrevocable, and yes of course what I meant was that I have always been a coward, but I lied: not always, there was that night, there was that one time. ~ Tana French,
265:There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, And swallows circling with their shimmering sound; And frogs in the pools singing at night, And wild plum trees in tremulous white; Robins will wear their feathery fire, Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire; And not one will know of the war, not one Will care at last when it is done. Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, If mankind perished utterly; And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn Would scarcely know that we were gone. ~ Ray Bradbury,
266:I don't like the idea of signs and portents. People like to say fate is inescapable, but I believe there's always an escape. We make our own luck,and we do that by bending our will and energy toward what we want. I think that if you look for an omen, you'll find one, and it will tell you exactly what you desire it to, for good or ill. It would have been easy, had I wanted, to think of that tiny, shimmering smudge as some sort of sign, but I didn't need it to be. I didn't need signs. I had myself. ~ Kat Howard,
267:It looked like someone had been planting stars. The castle was in shreds, flagstone floors tiny islands in a sea of stones and wild grass, but clusters of lights were nestled on the castle floor and the earth of the cliffs alike, lanterns strung from the crumbling battlements.

There were so many lights they cast a shimmering haze over everything, bathing the ruins in a pale glow. Mae walked, hardly aware that she was walking, through Tintagel Castle over stones washed in brightness ~ Sarah Rees Brennan,
268:Faith, in its broadest sense, is about far more than belief in the existence of God or the disregard of scientific evidence. Faith is the willingness to give ourselves over, at times, to things we do not fully understand. Faith is the belief in things larger than ourselves. Faith is the ability to honor stillness at some moments and at others to ride the passion and exuberance that is the artistic impulse, the flight of the imagination, the full engagement with this strange and shimmering world. ~ Alan Lightman,
269:Have you come to help Me?"

The sensayer waited, uncertain whether the words were meant for her. "Help you how?" she asked.

The stone-still Speaker did not turn. "To understand the God Who made this portrait of Himself."

Carlyle looked to the altarpiece, the choirs of Heaven shimmering in their concentric circles of cracking paint and gold. "People made that, human beings searching for their own understanding."

"If God made Man and Man made this, it is still a Self-portrait. ~ Ada Palmer,
270:Brilliant fire burst high above them: reds and yellows and greens. There was a pause,then came a perfect fury of gold, a shimmering waterfall that rained down and rained down and rained down, as if it would never end.
Deirdre took Missy's hand.
Doctor Bob took Myra's hand.
They watched until the last golden sparks went out, and the night was dark again. Somewhere high above them, Scott Carey continued to gain elevation, rising above the earth's mortal grip with his face turned toward the stars. ~ Stephen King,
271:... not only is life put in new patterns from the air, but it is somehow arrested, frozen into form. (The leaping hare is caught in a marble panel.) A glaze is put over life. There is no flaw, no crack in the surface; a still reservoir, no ripple on its face. Looking down from the air that morning, I felt that stillness rested like a light over the earth. The waterfalls seemed frozen solid; the tops of the trees were still; the river hardly stirred, a serpent gently moving under its shimmering skin. ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh,
272:You see, I want a lot.
Maybe I want it all:
the darkness of each endless fall,
the shimmering light of each ascent.
So many are alive who don't seem to care.
Casual, easy, they move in the world
as though untouched.
But you take pleasure in the faces
of those who know they thirst.
You cherish those
who grip you for survival.
You are not dead yet, it's not too late
to open your depths by plunging into them
and drink in the life
that reveals itself quietly there. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke,
273:sun hit the Taj’s marble dome full force, setting the whole structure and the minarets at each corner of the white plinth on fire. Whatever this was, I thought, it did not belong among us. A shimmering ark brought down to Earth. For an instant, I floated away, above myself, and thought I was looking at an exquisitely carved mountain of moon rock. It was more than the mind could take in at once. More than any camera could take in, for sure. Postcards and movies did not do this place justice; no photograph could. ~ Jay Antani,
274:Boys, men, old toothless women had run along beside the car when the train was again in motion, calling, offering bananas, guavas, mangoes, paper cones of flavored ice, Jello shimmering on the palm of a hand, lifting something up to him and fumbling his money, running faster to give him his change, or slower, grinning, shrugging, as the train pulled away. Somewhere he had bought half a roasted cow's head and eaten it held by the horn with a newspaper on his lap. What had caused the diarrhea he did not know. ~ Leonard Gardner,
275:She had always looked like some confectioner's fantasia, a wee thing created of spun sugar, gossamer light, pale and shimmering, so fragile she might melt away in the morning dew. The years had made her seem even more unearthly. Yet, she looked older, too, riper, no longer sprite but faerie queen ... Everything about her was brighter, clearer, lighter. Everything but her eyes. They had darkened into something more complicated, deeper, more intense and intoxicating: pansies in shadow, the Cretan sea at midnight. ~ Eloisa James,
276:It started slow and hit her with the force of a sledgehammer, a cataclysm of such power she could only hold on to him and let it happen. He went rigid against her, rock hard in her arms, and he probably muttered “oh, shit” again, but she was beyond hearing, lost in some mind-scattered cloud of inexpressible pleasure. She fell back, limp, awash in shimmering sensation, and she knew an odd, faint trace of regret that he’d used a condom. She’d wanted all of him inside her, a total giving, and he’d withheld something. ~ Anne Stuart,
277:Wait." He paused, and she held out a hand to him. His thick fingers engulfed her tapering ones; his skin was warm and dry, and scorched her. "Before we go pick up poor Lieutenant Illyan again..."

He took her in his arms, and they kissed, for the first time, for a long time.

"Oh," she muttered after. "Perhaps that was a mistake. It hurts so much when you stop."

"Well, let me..." his hand stroked her hair, gently, then desperately wrapped itself in a shimmering coil; they kissed again. ~ Lois McMaster Bujold,
278:He lived in sight of both worlds, but he looked toward the unknown. And he was a scholar.... You can still live on that shimmering line between your old thinking and your new understanding, always in a state of learning. In the figurative sense, this is a border that is always moving-- as you advance forward in your studies and realizations, that mysterious forest of the unknown always stays a few feet ahead of you, so you have to travel light in order to keep following it. You have to stay mobile, movable, supple. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert,
279:They're sitting on the floor in A Stitch in Time, surrounded on all sides by dresses of every imaginable color. Cora realizes as she glances around, her gaze flitting quickly from one wall to the next, that Etta has arranged them like the seasons: sparkling whites, grays, blacks for winter; shimmering greens and blues for spring; pinks and purples for summer; reds, oranges and yellows for autumn. Together they are breathtaking, almost too bright if stared at for too long, like falling through a rainbow lit by the sun. ~ Menna van Praag,
280:You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making. As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses. . . I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach. ~ J K Rowling,
281:Lines ran this way and that from every direction… and simultaneously came from no direction. They vibrated with harmonics and shimmering spectrums, with laughter, cannon booms, howling hurricane, whispers; wind and rain, wasp stings, and kisses brushed my face as sensation passed through me; memories came and went too, mine, others, fragments of thoughts from long-dead gods, and things my mind refused to comprehend lest it be crushed—all mingled with my astral soul in a glorious choir that sang the hymn of the multiverse. ~ Eric S Nylund,
282:Madness will push you anywhere it wants. It never tells you where you're going, or why. It tells you it doesn't matter. It persuades you. It dangles something sparkly before you, shimmering like that water patch on the road up ahead. You will drive until you find it, the treasure, the thing you most desire. You will never find it. Madness may mock you so long you will die of the search. Or it will tire of you, turn its back, oblivious as you go flying. The car is beside you, smoking, belly-up, still spinning its wheels. ~ Marya Hornbacher,
283:Madness will push you anywhere it wants. It never tells you where you're going, or why. It tells you it doesn't matter. It persuades you. It dangles something sparkly before you, shimmering like that water patch on the road up ahead. You will drive until you find it, the treasure, the thing you most desire.
You will never find it. Madness may mock you so long you will die of the search. Or it will tire of you, turn its back, oblivious as you go flying. The car is beside you, smoking, belly-up, still spinning its wheels. ~ Marya Hornbacher,
284:The sounds of laughter and music were dying down on the thousandth floor, the party breaking up by bits and pieces as even the rowdiest guests finally stumbled into the elevators and down to their homes. The floor-to-ceiling windows were squares of velvety darkness, though in the distance the sun was quietly rising, the skyline turning ocher and pale pink and a soft, shimmering gold. And then a scream cut abruptly through the silence as a girl fell toward the ground, her body falling ever faster through the cool predawn air. ~ Katharine McGee,
285:It was as big as a box kite and mounted on a pole, gesticulating wildly with moving arms, vanes, wheels, and propellers larger and small. I'd never seen it. It was all different colors. It didn't resemble anything in particular, except at the top, where there was a woman's head. Attached to her hair were three reflectors. Shells and chimes hung around her neck. Even with half the moving parts stuck, a gust blowing through it set off a flurry of fluttering and shimmering and ringing, as if a flock of exotic birds was taking flight. ~ Paul Fleischman,
286:We live in a perpetual daze. The snow has made everything unrecognisable so that we never know where we are. Is this the escarpment we were told to take? Is that a stream in that valley floor, somewhere six feet below the shimmering cloak of white? What mountain is that? Someone strip away the cloud, for the love of God, so that we can tell. Is this a road we are floundering upon, or a river? Don't worry, we'll know when we reach the source. Don't worry, if we go to the wrong place we might be captured, with any luck. (138-139) ~ Louis de Berni res,
287:It’s okay. I’m—”
“Fine?” Joseph chimed in. “Obviously not. You need to be checked out by a doctor.”
“I am a doctor.” I rolled my eyes at him, but that didn’t deter him from his train of thought.
“Not that kind of doctor.”
“What is ‘that kind of doctor’ going to say when they see my shimmering pink blood, Joseph?” I changed my voice to mimic one of a concerned doctor. “I’m sorry ma’am, you appear to be suffering from a mild case of Pretty Pretty Princess syndrome. Have you ingested any magical woodland faeries recently? ~ Laura Kreitzer,
288:Wood does not customarily glitter. Few things do, unless they are attempting to lure something closer to themselves. Sparkle and shine are pleasures reserved for predators, who can afford the risk of courting attention. The exceptions - which exist, for all things must have exceptions - are almost entirely poisonous, and will sicken whatever they lure. So even the exception feeds into the rule, which states that a bright, shimmering thing is almost certainly looking to be seen, and that which hopes to be seen is persuing its own agenda. ~ Seanan McGuire,
289:Just as twilight is neither light nor dark, but a bit of each, so is the middle head, face, or person representative of that magical blend of two opposing energies. The shaman is the twilight child, born from the union of the masculine world of light and conscious awareness and the feminine world of darkness and unconscious awareness. Shamans are at home in both worlds: in that magical space and time shimmering between these worlds, that point of consciousness 'betwixt and between' and 'neither this, nor that,' flickering at the edge of twilight. ~ Tom Cowan,
290:Micah, how are you feeling?” She tried to avoid looking at the small, round metal container beside him in which a bloody, misshapen bullet lay. “Better now, Miss Sarah,” he said in his soft, slurred drawl. “This Dr. Nolan, he’s one fine bullet remover. I barely felt it,” he said. The pain shining in his eyes, and the beads of sweat shimmering on his brow, however, belied his words. “Young Micah, you’re a very polite liar,” Nolan told him. “It’s all right to say it hurt like h—that is, it hurt very badly. You bore up well, though.” “Thank ya, Doctor. ~ Laurie Kingery,
291:A disagreement about what?” The voice belonged to Frost, Doyle’s second in command. Other than the fact that they were both tall, physically they were almost opposites. The hair that fell in a glimmering curtain to Frost’s ankles was silver, a shimmering metallic silver like Christmas tree tinsel. The skin was as white as my own. The eyes were a soft grey like a winter sky before a storm. His face was angular and arrogantly handsome. His shoulders were a touch broader than Doyle’s, but other than that they were both very alike and very unalike. He ~ Laurell K Hamilton,
292:We match each other stroke for stroke until I get a hit on her right arm.

She tries to switch sword arms, but I jab my scim at her wrist faster than she can parry. Her scim goes flying, and I tackle her. Her white-blonde hair tumbles free of her bun.

“Surrender!” I pin her down at the wrists, but she trashes and rips one arm free, scrabbling for a dagger at her waist. Steel stabs at my ribs, and seconds later, I am on my back with a blade at my throat.

“Ha!” She leans down, her hair falling around us like a shimmering silver curtain. ~ Sabaa Tahir,
293:Nature had refused to offer herself to them. The water, the green, the mammalian, the tropical, the semitropical, the leafy, the verdant, the motherloving citrus, all of it was denied them and had been denied them so long that with each day, each project, it became more and more impossible to conceive of a time wen it had not been denied them. The prospect of Mother Nature opening her legs and inviting Los Angeles back into her ripeness was, like the disks of water shimmering in the last foothill reservoirs patrolled by the National Guard, evaporating daily. ~ Claire Vaye Watkins,
294:The top clicked open. The rusted hinge gave way.
Through shimmering tears, she saw the tiny scrap of paper that fell out into her palm. Very slowly, she began to unfold it, piece by painstaking piece, all too aware of the delicate memories she was holding.
Even after all this time…
The delicate memories, and fragile lives, and long-ago brittle promises, all of them crumbling into dust between her fingertips.
Yet the message itself remained.
Six simple words, binding two hearts forever:

Nathan, I love you,
Your Ellena.
~ Richie Tankersley Cusick,
295:Its objects are carved cups of World-Delight Whose charmed wine is some deep soul’s rapture-drink: The All-Wonderful has packed heaven with his dreams, He has made blank ancient Space his marvel-house; He spilled his spirit into Matter’s signs: His fires of grandeur burn in the great sun, He glides through heaven shimmering in the moon; He is beauty carolling in the fields of sound; He chants the stanzas of the odes of Wind; He is silence watching in the stars at night; He wakes at dawn and calls from every bough, Lies stunned in the stone and dreams in flower and tree. ~ Sri Aurobindo,
296:On the fifth night of this solitude, she falls asleep with a candle burning and dreams herself a mermaid with a thick and golden tail, a crown of shimmering conch shells, then awakens with a start. Whether the ship hit something or something hit the ship, another change has come. The ship is dying; she can feel it slipping away. She waits beneath the blanket for icy water to greet her. But instead of the sea, it's a bear that opens the door.

A great white bear up on its hind legs steps across the threshold.

'Good morning,' he says, and reaches out a paw. ~ Danielle Dutton,
297:It was the kind of summer evening that made Ursula want to be alone. 'Oh,' Izzie said, 'You're at an age when a girl is simply consumed by the sublime.' Ursula wasn't sure what she meant ('No one is ever sure what she means,' Sylvie said) but she thought she understood a little. There was a strangeness in the shimmering air, a sense of imminence that made Ursula's chest feel full, as if her heart was growing. It was a kind of high holiness - she could think of no other way of describing it. Perhaps it was the future, she thought, coming nearer all the time. ~ Kate Atkinson,
298:One felt as if there was an enormous well behind them. Filled up with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking; but their surface was sparkling with the present : like sun shimmering on the outer leaves of a vast tree, or on the ripples of a very deep lake. I don’t know, but I t felt as if something that grew in the ground—asleep, you might say, or just feeling itself as something between roof-tip and leaf-tip, between deep earth and sky had suddenly waked up, and was considering you with the same slow care that it had given to its own inside affairs for endless years. ~ J R R Tolkien,
299:He took her hand in his, caressed her palm with his finger.“Duin an doras,” he whispered hoarsely, feverishly.“Fuirichidh mise.”
Close the door. I’ll stay.
Ellie flushed dark, her lashes fluttered shut. “I…I don’t know what you say,” she murmured.
Liam dropped her hand, gently laid his at the base of her bare neck. Her skin was soft and warm against his callused palm, and he whispered in her ear,“I know.” He moved his head; his lips whisked across hers, shimmering like a whisper of silk.
He breathed her in once more, made himself remove his hand from her heated flesh. ~ Julia London,
300:And now my old dog is dead, and another I had after him, and my parents are dead, and that first world, that old house, is sold and lost, and the books I gathered there lost, or sold- but more books bought, and in another place, board by board and stone by stone, like a house, a true life built, and all because I was steadfast about one or two things: loving foxes, and poems, the blank piece of paper, and my own energy- and mostly the shimmering shoulders of the world that shrug carelessly over the fate of any individual that they may, the better, keep the Niles and Amazons flowing. ~ Mary Oliver,
301:Oh, I'll just improvise. I doubt you'll be much help. You couldn't have any real skills yet. Probably all you can do is stand there and shimmer, like some kind of freakin' Christmas ornament -- meaning only a believer or two will see you."

"Only a believer?"

"You mean you still haven't figured out that?" She shook her head in disbelief.

But he had figured it out; he just didn't want to admit it, just didn't want it to be true. The old lady had been a believer. So was Philip. Both of them had seen him shimmering. But Ivy had not. Ivy had stopped believing. ~ Elizabeth Chandler,
302:Once I’m out of the woods and on the main road, a full moon bathes the fields around me in a shimmering, pearly light. Gravel crunches loudly under my boots; I can feel its pebbly roughness through my thin soles. I stroke the soft wool inside my gloves, so warm that not even my fingertips are cold. I’m not afraid—it was more frightening in that shack than it is on the road, with moonlight all around. My coat is thin, but I’m wearing what clothing I could salvage underneath, and as I hurry along I begin to warm up. I make a plan: I will walk to school. It’s only four miles. ~ Christina Baker Kline,
303:There Will Come Soft Rains

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pool singing at night,
And wild plum-trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone. ~ Sara Teasdale,
304:Elvis Cole LARKIN CONNER BARKLEY wouldn’t talk to him. Cole asked about the property owners and tenants near her loft, but he might as well have spoken in a foreign language. Her lips pulled into a pensive bud, and she stared down the street as if Pike’s car had been a shimmering mirage. “I can’t believe he left me like this. He dismissed me.” Cole said, “The nerve of him. That cad.” “Fuck you.” “That’s the second time you’ve hinted at sex, but I still have to refuse.” Larkin crossed the street without waiting for him and went directly to Cole’s car. Some people didn’t appreciate humor. ~ Robert Crais,
305:Her beauty must have been exhausting and not to mention troublesome. Glitter swiftly made it's way into the vibrant strands that graced her lavish eyelashes. Each blink, each pressing moment, time seemed to have stopped and I felt as if, her charm could fill an entire room and with every set of eyes locked onto her, somehow the glare of her shimmering wet lipgloss could take care of everyones problems. That as soon as her heavenly music flowed through their wine glasses, that they too were apart of something such bigger, much grander. I believed, when I stood beside her; I became more handsome. ~ Brandon Villasenor,
306:This universe an old enchantment guards; Its objects are carved cups of World-Delight Whose charmed wine is some deep soul’s rapture-drink: The All-Wonderful has packed heaven with his dreams, He has made blank ancient Space his marvel-house; He spilled his spirit into Matter’s signs: His fires of grandeur burn in the great sun, He glides through heaven shimmering in the moon; He is beauty carolling in the fields of sound; He chants the stanzas of the odes of Wind; He is silence watching in the stars at night; He wakes at dawn and calls from every bough, Lies stunned in the stone and dreams in flower and tree. ~ Sri Aurobindo,
307:We hardly know each other, and yet we find ourselves bound for the rest of our lives. What can you say to bridge that fact?"
Gripping the seat edge, he leaned forward until they were just a breath apart. "How about what's your favorite color?"
She laughed despite her widening eyes. "I've always been partial to lavender."
Taking a breath of her scent, he nodded. "Of course you are. And my favorite color is green. Jade green."
He let his gaze linger on that very color, reflected in her shimmering eyes. His compliment didn't fail to hit its mark, for she turned those jade eyes away with a small smile. ~ Jenna Petersen,
308:Both brows perked now, like the shimmering feathers of a raven. “So . . .?”
“I should think that your husband would be delighted to teach you the finer points of kissing.” And learn a thing or two in the process.
“I suppose you may be correct about that. Men like to instruct women. I think it makes them feel more in control.”
He could not hide his amusement. “You don’t say?”
“Well, doesn’t it? You are a man.”
“Good of you to notice.”
“Do you like it when you feel in control of a woman?”
“I like it when a woman feels she is getting what she wants from me.”

-Jacqueline & Cam ~ Katharine Ashe,
309:...I became aware of the world's tenderness, the profound beneficence of all that surrounded me, the blissful bond between me and all of creation, and I realized that the joy I sought in you was not only secreted within you, but breathed around me everywhere, in the speeding street sounds, in the hem of a comically lifted skirt, in the metallic yet tender drone of the wind, in the autumn clouds bloated with rain. I realized that the world does not represent a struggle at all, or a predaceous sequence of chance events, but the shimmering bliss, beneficent trepidation, a gift bestowed upon us and unappreciated. ~ Vladimir Nabokov,
310:Something had shifted between us, faintly, but the change was almost palpable. Our friendship had sat lightly between us, an ephemeral thing, without weight or gravity. Once, in the Boboli Gardens, under the shadow of a cypress tree on an achingly beautiful October afternoon, he had kissed me, a solemnly sweet and respectful kiss. But weeks had passed and we had not spoken of it. I had attributed it to the sunlight, shimmering gold like Danaë's shower, and had pressed it into the scrapbook of memory, to be taken out and admired now and then, but not to be dwelled upon too seriously. Perhaps I had been mistaken. ~ Deanna Raybourn,
311:Larkin Schoendienst had told Betsy that in DC there were two ways to murder policy without appearing to have committed a crime. One was cobwebbing, in which a person with an idea--usually a young and bright person with a good, new idea--would fall victim to the surrounding bureaucrats, who would exclaim, 'Why, that's a good idea!' and throw out a web of reporting requirements, consulting requirements, or new budgeting procedures. Soon the person and his idea would be totally immobilized by a shimmering silken cocoon, to be put away and devoured another day.

The second method was the interagency task force. ~ Neal Stephenson,
312:The small group hugged one another quickly. Although nothing was said, they knew this could be the last time they ever saw one another again.
Saint-Germain kissed Joan before they parted. “I love you,” he said softly.
She nodded, slate-grey eyes shimmering behind tears.
“When all this is over, I suggest we go on a second honeymoon,” he said.
“I’d like that.” Joan smiled. “Hawaii is always nice at this time of year. And you do know I love it there.”
Saint-Germain shook his head. “We’re not going anywhere that has a volcano.”
“I love you,” she whispered, and turned away before they could see each other cry. ~ Michael Scott,
313:Ben launched himself from the building.
For the second time in two nights, I watched in horror as Ben sailed through the air. His arms pinwheeled as he dropped toward the shimmering inkblot below.
Ben hit with a thunderous splash and disappeared beneath the water. Heart in my throat, I willed him to resurface.
Ben. Ben, are you okay?!
My bond with Ben grew fuzzy. Tenuous. Then it broke altogether. Frantic, I unleashed a swell of love for Ben I didn’t know existed. All my hopes and cares burst outward. In a split second, I bared my soul.
The water rippled.
I never knew you cared. ~ Kathy Reichs,

And if sun comes
How shall we greet him?
Shall we not dread him,
Shall we not fear him
After so lengthy a
Session with shade?

Though we have wept for him,
Though we have prayed
All through the night-years—
What if we wake one shimmering morning to
Hear the fierce hammering
Of his firm knuckles
Hard on the door?

Shall we not shudder?—
Shall we not flee
Into the shelter, the dear thick shelter
Of the familiar
Propitious haze?

Sweet is it, sweet is it
To sleep in the coolness
Of snug unawareness.

The dark hangs heavily
Over the eyes. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks,
315:His mamãe was the best artist at that show, the disaster that became the yardstick by which I measured all others. Her series of child-sized mannequins depicting the stages of life of a waka in Palmares Três made me bite back tears. She dressed a child in a smock made lovely by a border of hand-stitched coffee beans and sugarcane. The older ones wore a shimmering aquamarine dress with a wistful bow gathered like flowers beneath her chin; a soccer jersey for a team that didn’t exist and shockingly orange cleats; and the last mannequin came of age in a simple wide skirt and blouse in blushing pink and a turban the color of dried blood. ~ Alaya Dawn Johnson,
316:I want to see the front of you.”
“That’s what all the girls say.”
“Do you expect me to roll you over? ’Cuz I will.”
“Your mate’s not going to like this.”
“As if that’s going to bother you?”
“True. It actually makes it worth the effort.”
With a groan, he shoved his palms into the shimmering silver pool of blood beneath him, and flopped over like the side of beef he was.
“Wow,” she breathed.
“I know, right? Hung like a horse.”
“If you’re really nice—and you live through this—I’ll promise not to tell V.”
“About my size.”
She laughed a little. “No, that you assumed I’d look at you in any fashion other than professionally. ~ J R Ward,
317:An aphrodisiac will disappear,
delusional, like permanence or wealth -
a shimmering, as if love were a ghost -
and yet my passion for you seethes and sears
without an end. Late April leaves can’t crave
caress of dew, sunlight’s sweet splash, more than
I pine for your embrace, us turned to one;
when harsh reversals scar, the thought of you will salve
like summer wind in autumn; deep red blood
surging along with mine, staid genes worked hot
from your electric charms, as all my moods
succumb to your sweet fire, and perfect wit.
Now you are all I live for - loving you -
in fleeting world of lies, you are the truth. ~ Lauren Lipton,
318:She raises her arms in an effort to hook at the nape of her neck a gown of black veiling. She cannot: no, she cannot. She moves backwards towards me mutely. I raise my arms to help her: her arms fall. I hold the websoft edges of her gown and drawing them out to hook them I see through the opening of the black veil her lithe body sheathed in an orange shift. It slips its ribbons of moorings at her shoulders and falls slowly: a lithe smooth naked body shimmering with silvery scales. It slips slowly over the slender buttocks of smooth polished silver and over their furrow, a tarnished silver shadow.... Fingers, cold and calm and moving.... A touch, a touch. ~ James Joyce,
319:Then he's here, emerging from the water like some kind of myth, some fabled Ai'oan god, his hand smoothing his wet hair back from his face, his chest and shoulders gleaming with water and moonlight. Behind him, a pale shimmering trail of blue light marks his passage through the water. His wet shorts hang a bit lower on his hips than they usually do, tempting my imagination. He extends the flower, which I take with trembling fingers. (...)

He smiles a small, crooked smile, and I think he knows exactly how tightly he's bound my tongue in knots. I suspect fetching me the passionflower was only half his purpose in swimming through the glowing pool. ~ Jessica Khoury,
320:And you wait, keep waiting for that one thing
which would infinitely enrich your life:
the powerful, uniquely uncommon,
the awakening of dormant stones,
depths that would reveal you to yourself.

In the dusk you notice the book shelves
with their volumes in gold and in brown;
and you think of far lands you journeyed,
of pictures and of shimmering gowns
worn by women you conquered and lost.

And it comes to you all of a sudden:
That was it! And you arise, for you are
aware of a year in your distant past
with its fears and events and prayers.
Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Rememberance
321:EVER SINCE BORIS HAD shown up with the bruised eye, I had built Boris’s father up in my mind to be some thick-necked Soviet with pig eyes and a buzz haircut. In fact—as I was surprised to see, when I did finally meet him—he was as thin and pale as a starved poet. Chlorotic, with a sunken chest, he smoked incessantly, wore cheap shirts that had grayed in the wash, drank endless cups of sugary tea. But when you looked him in the eye you realized that his frailty was deceptive. He was wiry, intense, bad temper shimmering off him—small-boned and sharp-faced, like Boris, but with an evil red-rimmed gaze and tiny, brownish sawteeth. He made me think of a rabid fox. ~ Donna Tartt,
322:With a clamor of bells that set the swallows soaring, the Festival of Summer came to the city. Omelas, bright-towered by the sea. The rigging of the boats in harbor sparkled with flags. In the streets between houses with red roofs and painted walls, between old moss-grown gardens and under avenues of trees, past great parks and public buildings, processions moved. Some were decorous: old people in long stiff robes of mauve and grey, grave master workmen, quiet, merry women carrying their babies and chatting as they walked. In other streets the music beat faster, a shimmering of gong and tambourine, and the people went dancing, the procession was a dance. ~ Ursula K Le Guin,
323:He followed her into the small alcove that led to the door. If he was going to gain her trust, he should walk straight out the door. It was the right thing to do. The smart thing. And it was the last thing he was going to do.
He stepped close enough to feel the sweet heat of her body and to hear her heart kick-start into overdrive. Oh, yeah, she felt the energy shimmering between them.
“One more thing happened in the alley last night that you forgot to mention.” He leaned in closer, gazing at her delectable mouth.
“What . . . what was that?” She licked her lips.
Then he claimed her, with his lips, with his arms, and a full-body press. ~ Alexis Morgan,
324:In the foam worlds, however, no bubble can be expanded into an absolutely centered, all-encompassing, amphiscopic org; no central light penetrates the entire foam in its dynamic murkiness. Hence the ethics of the decentered, small and middle-sized bubbles in the world foam includes the effort to move about in an unprecedentedly spacious world with an unprecedentedly modest circumspection; in the foam, discrete and polyvalent games of reason must develop that learn to live with a shimmering diversity of perspectives , and dispense with the illusion of the one lordly point of view. Most roads do not lead to Rome-that is the situation, European: recognize it. ~ Peter Sloterdijk,
325:I like the word ‘decadent,’ all shimmering with purple and gold … it throws out the brilliance of flames and the gleam of precious stones. It is made up of carnal spirit and unhappy flesh and of all the violent splendors of the Lower Empire; it conjures up the paint of the courtesans, the sports of the circus, the breath of the tamers of animals, the bounding of wild beasts, the collapse among the flames of races exhausted by the power of feeling, to the invading sound of enemy trumpets. The decadence is Sardanapalus lighting the fire in the midst of his women, it is Seneca declaiming poetry as he opens his veins, it is Petronius masking his agony with flowers. ~ Paul Verlaine,
326:You are here to learn the subtle art of potion making, he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but they caught every word - like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the gift of keeping a class silent without effort. As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses... I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death - if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach. ~ J K Rowling,
327:The clue to everything a man should love and fear in her was there right from the start in the ironic smile that primed and swelled the archery of her full lips. There was pride in that smile and confidence in the set of her fine nose. Without understanding why I knew beyond question that a lot of people would mistake her pride for arrogance and confuse her confidence with impassivity. I didn't make that mistake. My eyes were lost swimming floating free in the shimmering lagoon of her steady even stare. Her eyes were large and spectacularly green. It was the green that trees are in vivid dreams. It was the green that the sea would be if the sea were perfect. ~ Gregory David Roberts,
328:I still remember the ache in my heart as I attempted to make sense of what had happened. When a dearly held desire begins to break up, one can feel nothing but despair and emptiness as one tries to come to terms with the end of a dream. I could not bear to be indoors after seeing the result. I had to go out for air and be in the open, because all around me the walls seemed to close in. I walked around for a while till I reached the edge of a cliff. I stood there looking down at the shimmering waters of a lake and wondered what I should do next. Plans needed to be changed and priorities reassessed. I decided to go to Rishikesh for a few days and seek a new way forward. ~ A P J Abdul Kalam,
329:Silverkit took a step forward and peered past him at Oakheart, who was standing on the far side of the clearing, watching them. Then she stared up at Crookedstar, her bright blue eyes shimmering. She was so like her mother — and like him, too, in the shape of her ears and the length of her tail. Crookedstar gazed down at her, feeling a lifetime of hope open up in front of him. For the first time that day he felt the warmth of the sun. Watch over us, Willowbreeze. We still need you.
“You’re really just training?” Silverkit mewed. “Do you promise?”
“I promise.” Crookedstar ached with joy. “I’m your father, Silverkit, and that means I will always keep my promises. ~ Erin Hunter,
330:You must feel a certain lack of excitement in these accouncements. No garish posters, no bright lights, none of the paraphernalia with which the entertainment industry whips up a jaded public. But in a day or so these simple notices will begin to take on all the excitement of the shimmering marquee. When there are no signs ten feet high, five feet will do. When there are none five feet high, one foot serves well enough. It isn't the color or brightness or size of a poster which makes it exciting. It's the experiences which have accompanied similar posters in the past. The excitement is a conditioned reflex. Our bulletin board is our Great White Way, and we're dazzled by it. ~ B F Skinner,
331:An Evening Thought
Bird of the fanciful plumage,
That foldest thy wings in the west,
Imbuing the shimmering ocean
With the hues of thy delicate breast,
Passing away into Dreamland,
To visions of heavenly rest!
Spirit! when thou art permitted
To bask in the sunset of life;
Serene in thine eventide splendour,
Thy countenance victory rife;
Leaving the world where thou'st triumphed
Alike o'er its greatness and strife:
Thine be the destiny, spirit,
To set like the sun in the west;
Folding thy wings of rare plumage,
Conscious of infinite rest,
Heralded on to thy haven,
The Fortunate Isles of the Blest.
~ Charles Sangster,
332:All right," he said.
Magnus whipped toward him in the dark, all coiled energy now, all cheekbones and shimmering eyes. “Really?”
“Really,” Alec said. He reached out a hand, and interlinked his fingers with Magnus’s. There was a glow being woken in Alec’s chest, where all had been dark. Magnus cupped his long fingers under Alec’s jawline and kissed him, his touch light against Alec’s skin: a slow and gentle kiss, a kiss that promised more later, when they were no longer on a roof and could be seen by anyone walking by.
“So I’m your first ever Shadowhunter, huh?” Alec said when they separated at last.
“You’re my first so many things, Alec Lightwood,” Magnus said. ~ Cassandra Clare,
333:The clue to everything a man should love and fear in her was there, right from the start, in the ironic smile that primed and swelled the archery of her full lips. There was pride in that smile, and confidence in the set of her fine nose. Without understanding why, I knew beyond question that a lot of people would mistake her pride for arrogance, and confuse her confidence with impassivity. I didn’t make that mistake. My eyes were lost, swimming, floating free in the shimmering lagoon of her steady, even stare. Her eyes were large and spectacularly green. It was the green that trees are, in vivid dreams. It was the green that the sea would be, if the sea were perfect. ~ Gregory David Roberts,
334:A Winter's Night
The pale moon shining from a pallid sky
Lit half the street, and over half she laid
Her folded mantle; through the dark-browed shade
White windows glittered, each a watchful eye.
The dim wet pavement lit irregularly
With shimmering streaks of gaslight, faint and frayed,
Shone luminous green where sheets of glass displayed
Long breadths of faded blinds mechanically.
the night was very still; above, below,
No sound, no breath, no change in anything;
Only, across the squares of damp lit street,
Shooting a mocking double from his feet,
With vague uncertain steps went to and fro
A solitary shadow wandering.
~ Arthur Symons,
335:His hands uncupped himself and he stared downward. It was a long while before he spoke, and when he did, his words were slow and considered … and as ceaseless as his quiet tears.

“I wish I were whole. I wish I could have given you young if you’d wanted them and could conceive them. I wish I could have told you that it killed me when you thought I had been with anyone else. I wish I had spent the last year waking up every night and telling you I loved you. I wish I had mated you properly the evening you came back to me from the dead. I wish …” Now his shimmering stare flipped up to hers. “I wish I were half as strong as you are and I wish I deserved you. And … that’s about it. ~ J R Ward,
336:I want to know what your five-dollar wish was for.”
“Is that all?” He smiled beneath her exploring fingertips. “I wished you would find someone who wanted you as much as I did. But I knew it wouldn’t come true.”
The candlelight slid over Daisy’s delicate features as she raised her head to look at him. “Why not?”
“Because I knew no one could ever want you as much as I do.”
Daisy levered herself farther over him until her hair tumbled in a dark curtain around them both.
“What was your wish?” Matthew asked, combing his fingers through the fall of shimmering hair.
“That I could find the right man to marry.” Her tender smile stopped his heart. “And then you appeared. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
337:SOFTLY I ANNOUNCE MY PRESENCE. Shimmering hues of radiance tap gently at your consciousness, seeking entrance. Though I have all Power in heaven and on earth, I am infinitely tender with you. The weaker you are, the more gently I approach you. Let your weakness be a door to My Presence. Whenever you feel inadequate, remember that I am your ever-present Help. Hope in Me, and you will be protected from depression and self-pity. Hope is like a golden cord connecting you to heaven. The more you cling to this cord, the more I bear the weight of your burdens; thus, you are lightened. Heaviness is not of My kingdom. Cling to hope, and My rays of Light will reach you through the darkness. ~ Sarah Young,
338:can. “New York City, huh?” “Yup.” She rolled up her sleeves and dipped down into the water. And that was when I noticed the scar. “Jeez. What’s that?” It started just inside her left elbow and ran down to the wrist like a long pink twisted worm. She saw where I was looking. “Accident,” she said. “We were in a car.” Then she looked back into the water where you could see her reflection shimmering. “Jeez.” But then she didn’t seem to want to talk much after that. “Got any more of ’em?” I don’t know why scars are always so fascinating to boys, but they are, it’s a fact of life, and I just couldn’t help it. I couldn’t shut up about it yet. Even though I knew she wanted me to, even though ~ Jack Ketchum,
339:There are different kinds of people in this world. Some people, if they stepped outside and saw a glowing portal hovering in their yard—a shimmering doorway that led to another world where the sky is the color of emeralds and crystal palaces shimmer in the distance—they would go right back inside the house and lock the door and pray for the freaky thing to go away. Other people would grab a couple of power bards, a bottle of water, and a baseball bat for self-defense and step on through, because the regret of wondering what might have been would tear them to pieces eventually if they did anything else. Turns out I'm the kind of girl who has a hard time turning her back on what might be. ~ Tim Pratt,
340:You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making,” he began. He spoke in barely more than a whisper, but they caught every word — like Professor McGonagall, Snape had the gift of keeping a class silent without effort. “As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don’t expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses. . . . I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death — if you aren’t as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach. ~ J K Rowling,
341:The approach to the city was not the finest. For that we ought to have come from Baghdad, crossing the desert to find Damascus shimmering in its oasis with the snowy bulk of Mount Hermon looming up behind. But rolling through the orchards of olive and lemon, pomegranate and orange, we saw Damascus standing on the plain, a gleaming, jewelled city of white in a lush green setting. It smelled, as all ancient cities do, of stone and smoke and donkey and spices, but over it all hung the perfume of the flowers that spilled from private courtyards and public gardens. Sewage ran in the streets, yet to me it would always be the city of jasmine, the air thick with the fragrance of crushed blossoms. ~ Deanna Raybourn,
342:There was a sound of movement, of clinking glass: Amycus was coming round. Before Harry or Luna could act, Professor McGonagall rose to her feet, pointed her wand at the groggy Death Eater, and said, “Imperio.
Amycus got up, walked over to his sister, picked up her wand, then shuffled obediently to Professor McGonagall and handed it over along with his own. Then he lay down on the floor beside Alecto. Professor McGonagall waved her wand again, and a length of shimmering silver rope appeared out of thin air and snaked around the Carrows, binding them tightly together.
“Potter,” said Professor McGonagall, turning to face him again with superb indifference to the Carrows’ predicament. ~ J K Rowling,
343:The depths of winter longing are ice within my heart
The shards of broken covenants lie sharp against my soul
The wraiths of long-lost ecstasy still keep us two apart
The amen winds of bitterness sill keen from turn to pole.

The scares are twisted tendons, the stumps of struck-off limbs,
The aching pit of hunger and throb of unset bone,
My sanded burning eyeballs, as might within them dims,
Add nothin to the torment of lying here alone...

The shimmering flames of fever trace out your blessed face
My broken eardrums echo yet your voice inside my head
I do not fear the darkness that comes to me apace
I only dread the loss of you thy comes when I am dead. ~ Robert A Heinlein,
344:A hidden mussel was blowing bubbles like a spring through the sand where his boot was teasing the water. It was the little pulse of bubbles and not himself or herself that was the moment for her then; and he could have already departed and she could have already wept, and it would have been the same, as she stared at the little fountain rising so gently out of the shimmering sand. A clear love is in the world - this came to her as insistently as the mussel's bubbles through the water. There it was, existing there where they came and were beside it now. It is in the bubble in the water in the river, and it has its own changing and its mysteries of days and nights, and it does not care how we come and go. ~ Eudora Welty,
345:He welcomes the chance to do fatherly things with the little girl, and those ten morning minutes with dear little four-year-old Ruby, with her deep soulful eyes, and the wondrous things she sees with them, and her deep soulful voice, and the precious though not entirely memorable things she says with it, and the smell of baby shampoo and breakfast cereal filling the car, that little shimmering capsule of time is like listening to cello music in the morning, or watching birds in a flutter of industry building a nest, it simply reminds you that even if God is dead, or never existed in the first place, there is, nevertheless, something tender at the center of creation, some meaning, some purpose and poetry. ~ Scott Spencer,
346:This is a powder that when applied to the air causes ghosts to become visible,” Henry said.

Magnus tilted the jar of shining grains up to the lamp admiringly, and when Henry beamed in an
encouraging fashion, Magnus removed the cork.
“It seems very fine to me,” he said, and on a whim he poured it upon his hand. It coated his brown skin, gloving one hand in shimmering luminescence. “And in addition to its practical uses, it would seem to work for cosmetic purposes. This powder would make my very skin glimmer for eternity.”
Henry frowned. “Not eternity,” he said, but then he brightened. “But I could make you up another batch whenever you please!”
“I could shine at will!” Magnus grinned at Henry ~ Cassandra Clare,
347:A story is alive, as you and I are. It is rounded by muscle and sinew. Rushed with blood. Layered with skin, both rough and smooth. At its core lies soft marrow of hard, white bone. A story beats with the heart of every person who has ever strained ears to listen. On the breath of the storyteller, it soars. Until its images and deeds become so real you can see them in the air, shimmering like oases on the horizon line. A story can fly like a bee, so straight and swift you catch only the hum of its passing. Or move so slowly it seems motionless, curled in upon itself like a snake in the sun. It can vanish like smoke before the wind. Linger like perfume in the nose. Change with every telling, yet always remain the same. ~ Cameron Dokey,
348:the shimmering green water, and then, in an instant, it was gone altogether. The little circles in the water gradually disappeared too. Are you still there? he asked, after a few seconds. I love it. He smiled. Just be careful. You too . . . Are you leaving now? Yes . . . for good. I'll miss you. There was a long, drawn-out silence, and then, as if from another dimension, her voice said, Good . . . do. When he was sure she was gone, he unfolded his legs, and stood up. For a moment, he studied his own shadow falling on the water; with the end of his pact with Kaliya, his shadow had been returned to him . . . as had his soul. With the ring gone too now, there was little to remind him of his terrible odyssey . . . little ~ Robert Masello,
349:In Snow-Time
I have seen things that charmed the heart to rest:
Faint moonlight on the towers of ancient towns,
Flattering the soul to dream of old renowns;
The first clear silver on the mountain crest
Where the lone eagle by his chilly nest
Called the lone soul to brood serenely free;
Still pools of sunlight shimmering in the sea,
Calm after storm, wherein the storm seemed blest.
But here a peace deeper than peace is furled,
Enshrined and chaliced from the changeful hour;
The snow is still, yet lives in its own light.
Here is the peace which brooded day and night,
Before the heart of man with its wild power
Had ever spurned or trampled the great world.
~ Duncan Campbell Scott,
350:Some thought magic came from the mind, others the soul, or the heart, or the will. But Kell knew it came from the blood.

Blood was magic made manifest. There it thrived. And there it poisoned. Kell had seen what happened when power warred with the body, watched it darken in the veins of corrupted men, turning their blood from crimson to black. If red was the color of magic in balance—of harmony between power and humanity—then black was the color of magic without balance, without order, without restraint.

As an Antari, Kell was made of both, balance and chaos; the blood in his veins, like the Isle of Red London, ran a shimmering, healthy crimson, while his right eye was the color of spilled ink, a glistening black. ~ V E Schwab,
351:So if you can look at all things without allowing pleasure to creep in - at a face, a bird, the colour of a sari, the beauty of a sheet of water shimmering in the sun, or anything that gives delight - if you can look at it without wanting the experience to be repeated, then there will be no pain, no fear, and therefore tremendous joy. It is the struggle to repeat and perpetuate pleasure which turns it into pain. Watch it in yourself. The very demand for the repetition of pleasure brings about pain, because it is not the same, as it was yesterday. You struggle to achieve the same delight, not only to your aesthetic sense but the same inward quality of the mind, and you are hurt and disappointed because it is denied to you. ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti,
352:Does it hurt here?” he asked, his fingers slipping over the swollen entrance of her sex.
“A little.” She leaned back against his arm, her head lolling on the polished wooden rim of the huge porcelain bathtub.
Nick kneaded lightly with his fingertips, as if he could heal her with his touch. “I tried to be gentle.”
“You were,” she managed to say, her thighs floating apart.
Nick’s thick lashes lowered as he stared at the shimmering blur of her body beneath the water. His handsome features were carved with such severity that his face could have been molded from bronze. The edge of his rolled-up sleeve dragged in the water, the velvet turning hot and sodden.
“I won’t ever hurt you again,” he said. “That’s a promise. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
353:Taylor nearly came undone, imagining that worm in her own mouth, and mistakenly took in a deep breath through her nose. She winced and turned away for a moment, watching the activity around her. Usually the death greeters would swarm like their own type of insect, but no one was in much of a hurry today. Fitz was ambling back toward the crime scene control area, he’d taken a cursory look at the body, covered his mouth and politely excused himself. She could see Marcus and Lincoln conferring in the distance, waves of heat shimmering around their bodies. Crime scene techs carried brown paper bags to their vehicles, patrol officers kept their backs to the body. The scene stirred, listless, the entire group indolent in the heat. Except ~ J T Ellison,
354:He belonged to a walled city of the fifteenth century, a city of narrow, cobbled streets, and thin spires, where the inhabitants wore pointed shoes and worsted hose. His face was arresting, sensitive, medieval in some strange inexplicable way, and I was reminded of a portrait seen in a gallery I had forgotten where, of a certain Gentleman Unknown. Could one but rob him of his English tweeds, and put him in black, with lace at his throat and wrists, he would stare down at us in our new world from a long distant past—a past where men walked cloaked at night, and stood in the shadow of old doorways, a past of narrow stairways and dim dungeons, a past of whispers in the dark, of shimmering rapier blades, of silent, exquisite courtesy. ~ Daphne du Maurier,
355:Parking himself on the chaise lounge, he stared at the gown that Lassiter had handled so roughly. The fine satin was bunched up in waves, the disorder creating a wonderful, shimmering display over on the bed.
“My beloved is dead,” he said out loud.
As the sound of the words faded, something was suddenly, stupidly clear: Wellesandra, blooded daughter of Relix, was never filling out that bodice again. She was never going to put the skirting over her head and wriggle into the corset, or free the ends of her hair from the lace-ups in the back. She wasn’t going to look for matching shoes, or get pissed off because she sneezed right after she put her mascara on, or worry about whether she was going to spill on the skirting.
She was… dead. ~ J R Ward,
356:On The Plains
ALONE with the silence, the sun and sky,
Full length on the tussocky plain I lie:
An ocean of yellow from east to west
Still rolling and sweeping, far crest on crest;
And billow on billow the tussocks bend
Until in one shimmering haze they blend;
Where, under the distance, the heat and noon,
The plains in an ecstasy thrilling, swoon
And melt in the yellow-tinged, sombre air,
Like perfume from roses on evenings rare.
Where the sky and the misty horizon meet
The flax-bushes float, like a far-off fleet;
As slowly they swim, with no spray nor splash,
Their green sails swell, and their brown oars flash;
So, lost in two oceans—of plain and sky—
Full length on the tussocks alone I lie.
~ Arthur Henry Adams,
357:Instead I just stand there, tears running down my cheeks in nameless emotion that tastes of joy and of grief. Joy for the being of the shimmering world and grief for what we have lost. The grasses remember the nights they were consumed by fire, lighting the way back with a conflagration of love between species. Who today even knows what that means? I drop to my knees in the grass and I can hear the sadness, as if the land itself was crying for its people: Come home. Come home.
There are often other walkers here. I suppose that’s what it means when they put down the camera and stand on the headland, straining to hear above the wind with that wistful look, the gaze out to sea. They look like they’re trying to remember what it would be like to love the world. ~ Robin Wall Kimmerer,
358:Resting beside her, he seemed to Ildiko a living statue, carved from dark granite into a form of supple elegance and power. He was beautiful, and the tremor change in her perception of him robbed her lungs of air.
He opened both eyes suddenly, making her jump. Two shimmering gold coins stared at her unblinking. "Good evening, wife," he said in a voice raspy with the remnants of sleep. A closed-lip smile curved his mouth upward and deepened the tiny lines that fanned from the corners of his eyes. "You're staring. Do I have a fly on my nose?"
Fighting down a blush at being caught gawking at her own husband, Ildiko lightly tapped the tip of his nose with one finger. "I was trying to find a way to kill it without punching you in the face. Lucky for you, it flew away. ~ Grace Draven,
359:The mist was very dark in here, white and wet, and the cobwebs festooning the gaunt tree trunks were weighed down with thousands of shimmering, pear-shaped crystals. But it was not cold. Only still and secret and private, a hushed world within a world… They followed the sound, and after a while found a clearing, not open to the sky but clear on the ground. Long, wet grass stood there, and pine needles lay dark around the feet of the surrounding trees. In the centre, a well of water bubbled up and trickled away through the grass in two little channels already grooved in the spongy turf… Together they approached the spring, laying Aricia’s bronze coin and his own gold ring in the ice-cold, pure water, and for a moment they stayed there, hypnotised by the quiet tinkle of the gushing water. ~ Pauline Gedge,
360:hotel where their relationship had finally been consummated. The Hôtel du Cap was one of the most beautiful, exclusive, and illustrious hotels in Europe, with prices to match. The main building had marble halls, high ceilings, and magnificent rooms and suites, most of them looking out at the sea shimmering like glass. There was an impressive outdoor staircase leading down to the even more exclusive Eden Roc, with gardens on either side of the wide path and closer to the water. It was the vacation spot for aristocrats, royalty, the immensely rich, and in recent years jet-setters, Russian tycoons, and movie stars, many of whom preferred to stay at the less formal lower building, with smaller but still elegantly appointed suites, and even better views of the sea from their balconies. There ~ Danielle Steel,
361:This charming custom of ‘speeding the fairies’ is a special favourite with the fair sex, and in Prospect Garden all the girls were up betimes on this day making little coaches and palanquins out of willow-twigs and flowers and little banners and pennants from scraps of brocade and any other pretty material they could find, which they fastened with threads of coloured silk to the tops of flowering trees and shrubs. Soon every plant and tree was decorated and the whole garden had become a shimmering sea of nodding blossoms and fluttering coloured streamers. Moving about in the midst of it all, the girls in their brilliant summer dresses, beside which the most vivid hues of plant and plumage became faint with envy, added the final touch of brightness to a scene of indescribable gaiety and colour. ~ Cao Xueqin,
362:Being Beauteous
Against a fall of snow, a Being Beauiful, and very tall.
Whistlings of death and circles of faint music
Make this adored body, swelling and trembling
Like a specter, rise...
Black and scarlet gashes burst in the gleaming flesh.
The true colors of life grow dark,
Shimmering and sperate
In the scaffolding, around the Vision.
Shiverings mutter and rise,
And the furious taste of these effects is charged
With deadly whistlings and the raucous music
That the world, far behind us, hurls at our mother of beauty...
She retreats, she rises up...
Oh! Our bones have put on new flesh, for love.
Oh ash-white face
Oh tousled hair
O crystal arms!
On this cannot I mean to destroy myself
In a swirling of trees and soft air!
~ Arthur Rimbaud,
363:Ultimately, Roger learned only of the encounter with the urban bees. The boy remained thoroughly fascinated by what he heard nonetheless, his blue-eyed stare never once straying from Holmes; his visage passive and accepting, his eyes wide, Roger's pupils stated fixed on those venerable, reflective eyes, as though the boy were seeing distant lights shimmering along an opaque horizon, a glimpse of something flickering and alive existing beyond his reach. And, in turn, the gray eyes that focused sharply on him - piercing and kind at the same instant - endeavoured to bridge the lifetime that separated the two of them, attempting to do so as brandy was sipped, and the vial's glass grew warmer against soft palms, and that seasoned, well-lived voice somehow made Roger feel much older and more worldly than his years. ~ Mitch Cullin,
364:This is not an easy thing to admit, but until that moment I had held out some craven speck of hope that this had all been a hideous misunderstanding. A boy who would say anything he thought you wanted to hear, a girl made vicious by trauma and grief and my rejection on top of it all; we could have misinterpreted in any one of a hundred ways. It was only in that moment, in the ease of that gratuitous lie, that I understood that Rosalind—the Rosalind I had known, the bruised, captivating, unpredictable girl with whom I had laughed in the Central and held hands on a bench—had never existed. Everything she had ever shown me had been constructed for effect, with the absorbed, calculating care that goes into an actor's costume. Underneath the myriad shimmering veils, this was something as simple and deadly as razor wire. ~ Tana French,
365:The Sea's Wash In The Hollow Of The Heart...
Turn from that road's beguiling ease; return
to your hunger's turret. Enter, climb the stair
chill with disuse, where the croaking toad of time
regards from shimmering eyes your slow ascent
and the drip, drip, of darkness glimmers on the stone
to show you how your longing waits alone.
What alchemy shines from under that shut door,
spinning out gold from the hollow of the heart?
Enter the turret of your love, and lie
close in the arms of the sea; let in new suns
that beat and echo in the mind like sounds
risen from sunken cities lost to fear;
let in the light that answers your desire
awakening at midnight with the fire,
until its magic burns the wavering sea
and flames carress the windows of your tower.
~ Denise Levertov,
366:Amongst so many strange things: the predictable sun, the countless stars, the trees that resolutely put on the same green splendor each time their season mysteriously comes round, the river that ebbs and flows, the shimmering yellow sand and summer air, the pulsating body which is born, grows old and dies, all the vast distances and the passing days, enigmas which we all in our innocence believe to be familiar, amongst all these presences that seem oblivious to ours, it is understandable that one day, in the face of the inexplicable, we experience the unpleasant feeling that we are just voyagers through a phantasmagoria... But, despite its intensity, that feeling, which we all have sometimes, does not last and does not go deep enough to unsettle our lives. One day, when we least expect it, it suddenly overwhelms us. ~ Juan Jos Saer,
367:Despairingly she looked all round. She was completely encircled by the tremendous ice walls, which were made fluid by explosions of blinding light, so that they moved and changed with a continuous liquid motion, advancing in torrents of ice, avalanches as big as oceans, flooding everywhere over the doomed world. Wherever she looked, she saw the same fearful encirclement, soaring battlements of ice, an over-hanging ring of frigid, fiery, colossal waves about to collapse upon her. Frozen by the deathly cold emanating from the ice, dazzled by the blaze of crystalline ice-light, she felt herself becoming part of the polar vision, her structure becoming one with the ice and snow. As her fate, she accepted the world of ice, shining, shimmering, dead; she resigned herself to the triumph of glaciers and the death of her world. ~ Anna Kavan,
368:Cecilia turned her gaze away from the girls and looked at the shimmering blue of their kidney-shaped swimming pool with its powerful underwater light: the perfect symbol of suburban bliss. Except for that strange intermittent sound, like a baby choking, that was coming from the pool filter. She could hear it right now. Cecilia had asked John-Paul to look at it weeks before he went to Chicago; he hadn’t got around to it, but he would have been furious if she’d arranged for some repair guy to come and fix it. It would have indicated lack of faith in his abilities. Of course, when he did finally look at it, he wouldn’t be able to fix it and she’d have to get the guy in anyway. It was frustrating. Why hadn’t that been part of his stupid lifelong redemption program: Do what my wife asks immediately so she doesn’t feel like a nag. ~ Liane Moriarty,
369:Late September
Tang of fruitage in the air;
Red boughs bursting everywhere;
Shimmering of seeded grass;
Hooded gentians all a'mass.
Warmth of earth, and cloudless wind
Tearing off the husky rind,
Blowing feathered seeds to fall
By the sun-baked, sheltering wall.
Beech trees in a golden haze;
Hardy sumachs all ablaze,
Glowing through the silver birches.
How that pine tree shouts and lurches!
From the sunny door-jamb high,
Swings the shell of a butterfly.
Scrape of insect violins
Through the stubble shrilly dins.
Every blade's a minaret
Where a small muezzin's set,
Loudly calling us to pray
At the miracle of day.
Then the purple-lidded night
Westering comes, her footsteps light
Guided by the radiant boon
Of a sickle-shaped new moon.
~ Amy Lowell,
370:When I look up at Heaven,
I see the souls of those who died
Beaming down at me,
Wanting to scream: “I'm still alive!”,
Wishing to scribble across the sapphire sky -
Letters to their loved ones,
But a million dark oceans stand between us,
Between those who passed and the living,
Between those of us still stuck below,
And those who have crossed over the threshold of time -
Where what seems like eternity to us,
Is really only a few minutes to them.
So you see, there is no reason to weep over the shining ones -
For even though the space that separates us is limitless,
The wall of time that divides us is only paper-thin.
And one day, we shall all reunite with them,
When our souls are released like fish
Back into the vast shimmering sea
To shine together like
Glittering diamonds. ~ Suzy Kassem,
371:I watched bulls bred to cows, watched mares foal, I saw life come from the egg and the multiplicative wonders of mudholes and ponds, the jell and slime of life shimmering in gravid expectation. Everywhere I looked, life sprang from something not life, insects unfolded from sacs on the surface of still waters and were instantly on prowl for their dinner, everything that came into being knew at once what to do and did it, unastonished that it was what it was, unimpressed by where it was, the great earth heaving up bloodied newborns from every pore, every cell, bearing the variousness of itself from every conceivable substance which it contained in itself, sprouting life that flew or waved in the wind or blew from the mountains or stuck to the damp black underside of rocks, or swam or suckled or bellowed or silently separated in two. ~ E L Doctorow,

When I look up at Heaven,
I see the souls of those who died
Beaming down at me,
Wanting to scream: “I'm still alive!”,
Wishing to scribble across the sapphire sky -
Letters to their loved ones,
But a million dark oceans stand between us,
Between those who passed and the living,
Between those of us still stuck below,
And those who have crossed over the threshold of time -
Where what seems like eternity
Is really only a few minutes.
So you see, there is no reason to weep over the shining ones -
For even though the space that separates us is limitless,
The wall of time that divides us is only paper-thin.
And one day, we shall all reunite with them,
When our souls are released like fish
Back into the vast shimmering sea
To shine together like
Glittering diamonds. ~ Suzy Kassem,
373:Ian saw the tears shimmering in her magnificent eyes and one of them traced unheeded down her smooth cheek.
With a raw ache in his voice he said, "If you would take one step forward, darling, you could cry in my arms. And while you do, I'll tell you how sorry I am for everything I've done - " Unable to wait, Ian caught her, pulling her tightly against him. "And when I'm finished," he whispered hoarsely as she wrapped her arms around him and wept brokenly, "you can help me find a way to forgive myself."
Tortured by her tears, he clasped her tighter and rubbed his jaw against her temple, his voice a ravaged whisper: "I'm sorry," he told her. He cupped her face between his palms, tipping it up and gazing into her eyes, his thumbs moving over her wet cheeks. "I'm sorry." Slowly, he bent his head, covering her mouth with his. "I'm so damned sorry. ~ Judith McNaught,
374:I wonder, sometimes, if the Continentals were like shoals of fish, & the slightest flick of one fish caused dozens of others to follow suit, until the entire shimmering cloud had changed course.

And were the Divinities the sum of this cloud? An embodiment, perhaps, of a national subconscious? Or were they empowered by the thoughts & praises of millions of people, yet also yoked to every one of those thoughts – giant, terrible puppets forced to dance by the strings of millions of puppeteers.

This knowledge, I think, is incredibly dangerous. The Continentals derive so much pride & so much power from having Divine approval … but were they merely hearing the echoes of their own voices, magnified through strange caverns & tunnels? When they spoke to the Divinities, were they speaking to giant reflections of themselves? ~ Robert Jackson Bennett,
375:A Something In A Summer's Day
A something in a summer's Day
As slow her flambeaux burn away
Which solemnizes me.
A something in a summer's noon—
A depth—an Azure—a perfume—
Transcending ecstasy.
And still within a summer's night
A something so transporting bright
I clap my hands to see—
Then veil my too inspecting face
Lets such a subtle—shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me—
The wizard fingers never rest—
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes it narrow bed—
Still rears the East her amber Flag—
Guides still the sun along the Crag
His Caravan of Red—
So looking on—the night—the morn
Conclude the wonder gay—
And I meet, coming thro' the dews
Another summer's Day!
~ Emily Dickinson,
376:Special Pleading
THE world's a path all fresh and sweet,
A sky all fresh and fair,
With daisies underneath your feet
And roses for your hair;
Red roses for your pretty hair,
Green trees to shade your way,
And lavish blossoms everywhere,
Because the time is May.
How gold the sun shines through the green!
How soft the turf is spread!
How richly falls the shimmering sheen
About your darling head!
How in the dawn of Paradise
Should you foresee the night?
How, with the sunlight in your eyes,
See aught beyond the light?
The world's a path all rough and wild,
A sky all black with fears,
Among the ghosts, unhappy child,
You stumble, blind with tears;
The track is faint, and far the fold,
And very far the day:
Unless you have a hand to hold,
How will you find the way?
~ Edith Nesbit,
377:I bite my lip, but there’s no one here but me and the seabirds. The sun makes me savor it. I’m slow and deliberate and not thinking of anyone much at all, which is strange of me. I think about art. I look out on the bay and imagine the four siblings gauded in their luminous finery. I imagine how it will seem from up here on Tier Eight, because I know I’ll never get to see it. The shimmering array growing more and more frantic as the voices compound and coalesce. In the dark, it will look as though the four islands are dancing. Like Gil and Enki, that night it all began. At that bare thought of him, I gasp and shudder and fall back against the grass and packed dirt. A worm slides past my ear while I pant. “Should I come back?” I sit up so fast I feel dizzy. It’s Enki, leaning against the guardrail. I can hardly see his face, the sun is so bright behind him. ~ Alaya Dawn Johnson,
378:This scent had a freshness, but not the freshness of limes or pomegranates, not the freshness of myrrh or cinnamon bark or curly mint or birch or camphor or pine needles, not that of a May rain or a frosty wind or of well water... and at the same time it had warmth, but not as bergamot, cypress, or musk has, or jasmine or daffodils, not as rosewood has or iris... This scent was a blend of both, of evanescence and substance, not a blend, but a unity, although slight and frail as well, and yet solid and sustaining, like a piece of thin, shimmering silk... and yet again not like silk, but like pastry soaked in honey-sweet milk - and try as he would he couldn't fit those two together: milk and silk! This scent was inconceivable, indescribable, could not be categorized in any way - it really ought not to exist at all. And yet there it was as plain and splendid as day. ~ Patrick S skind,
379:Hildegard. I am Sapientia. God’s Wisdom. A ray of light from her heart touched mine. Guda had grown into a beauty with her golden curls and emerald eyes, crowned like Adelheid. She offered me a cup overflowing with blood-red wine, her eyes brimming in joyful welcome. Know me, Hildegard. I am Ecclesia, the true and hidden Church. From between these two women, a third appeared, an utter stranger, and so beautiful. Crowned like the others, her long black hair swept to her waist. Her silk gown was as red as the Virgin’s beating heart, and her smile gleamed in tenderness as she stretched out her arms. Hildegard, seek me. My name is Caritas, Divine Love. Before me this trinity of women blazed, the sacred shimmering through them. My fever was broken by the vision of these three divine maidens dancing around a flowing fountain of pure grace. Three women who formed the face of God. ~ Mary Sharratt,
380:You wake up on a winter morning and pull up the shade, and what lay there the evening before is no longer there--the sodden gray yard, the dog droppings, the tire tracks in the frozen mud, the broken lawn chair you forgot to take in last fall. All this has disappeared overnight, and what you look out on is not the snow of Narnia but the snow of home, which is no less shimmering and white as it falls. The earth is covered with it, and it is falling still in silence so deep that you can hear its silence. It is snow to be shoveled, to make driving even worse than usual, snow to be joked about and cursed at, but unless the child in you is entirely dead, it is snow, too, that can make the heart beat faster when it catches you by surprise that way, before your defenses are up. It is snow that can awaken memories of things more wonderful than anything you ever knew or dreamed. ~ Frederick Buechner,
381:The Night Before The Mowing
ALL shimmering in the morning shine
And diamonded with dew,
And quivering in the scented wind
That thrills its green heart through,-The little field, the smiling field,
With all its flowers a-blowing,
How happy looks the golden field
The day before the mowing!
All still 'neath the departing light,
Twilight, though void of stars,
Save where, low westering, Venus hides
From the red eye of Mars;
How quiet lies the silent field
With all its beauties glowing;
Just stirring,--like a child asleep,-The night before the mowing.
Sharp steel, inevitable hand,
Cut keen, cut kind! Our field
We know full well must be laid low
Before its wealth it yield:
Labor and mirth and plenty blest
Its blameless death bestowing:
And yet we weep, and yet we weep,
The night before the mowing.
~ Dinah Maria Mulock Craik,
382:[...] it is a strange thing that most of the feeling we call religious, most of the mystical outcrying which is one of the most prized and used and desired reactions of our species, is really the understanding and the attempt to say that man is related to the whole thing, related inextricably to all reality, known and unknowable. This is a simple thing to say, but the profound feeling of it made a Jesus, a St. Augustine, a St. Francis, a Roger Bacon, a Charles Darwin, and an Einstein. Each of them in his own tempo and with his own voice discovered and reaffirmed with astonishment the knowledge that all things are one thing and that one thing is all things—plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time. It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again. ~ John Steinbeck,
383:Lined up . . . are 40 emaciated sons of an African village, each carrying his little basket of rubber. The toll of rubber is weighed and accepted, but . . . four baskets are short of the demand. The order is brutally short and sharp—Quickly the first defaulter is seized by four lusty “executioners,” thrown on the bare ground, pinioned hands and feet, whilst a fifth steps forward carrying a long whip of twisted hippo hide. Swiftly and without cessation the whip falls, and the sharp corrugated edges cut deep into the flesh—on back, shoulders and buttocks blood spurts from a dozen places. In vain the victim twists in the grip of the executioners, and then the whip cuts other parts of the quivering body—and in the case of one of the four, upon the most sensitive part of the human frame. The “hundred lashes each” left four inert bodies bloody and quivering on the shimmering sand of the rubber collecting post. ~ Adam Hochschild,
384:We were about a mile from school, on a path in the park, when Chirag reached down and took off his shoes, tossing them into the trees beside us.

“What are you doing?” I shouted in between breaths. Step, breath. Step, breath. He was a few yards ahead of me. I took advantage of his pause to pass him; I wasn’t about to let him beat me.

“There’s a tribe of Indians in Mexico who are the best runners in the world,” he shouted. “They run barefoot for miles and miles and never break a sweat.”

“You’re not that kind of Indian,” I shouted back, and Chirag laughed, his golden skin shimmering beneath his sweat.

“You should try it, too!”

“No way!” I replied without turning around to face him. “The ground is filthy. There could be glass or splinters or something.”

“Aw, come on, Maisie,” he cooed, coming up on my left side and getting a few steps ahead of me once more. “I dare you. ~ Alyssa B Sheinmel,
385:Rafe walked out of the forest. The leather jacket was gone, replaced by a tattered denim one. Instead of boots, he wore sneakers that looked as old as the jacket. As he walked toward us, his gaze was fixed on me like he didn’t notice anyone else there.
“You’re late,” I said.
“Yeah, had some trouble getting away. Then I figured I was at the wrong place until I saw the gifts and followed the papayas.”
He stopped in front of me and smiled--his real smile, the crooked one that made my breath flutter. To my left, Daniel rocked forward. He didn’t say anything, just stayed poised like that, watching for trouble. Rafe didn’t seem to notice. His gaze stayed locked on mine, crooked smile fainter now, but his eyes still shimmering.
“So did I hear right?” he said. “Race to the top? Winner gets a kiss?”
“Maya’s done seven climbs in a row,” Daniel said. “You can race me.”
“But I don’t want to kiss you. ~ Kelley Armstrong,
386:We found ourselves on a smooth, spacious but narrow track of ice or glass. We floated along it, as if on marvellous skates, and we were dancing too, for like a wave the track rose and fell beneath us. It was delightful. I had never seen anything like it and I shouted for joy, ‘How glorious!’ And overhead the stars were shimmering, in a sky that was strangely all pale blue and yet dark, and the moon with its unearthly light was shining down on us skaters. ‘This is freedom,’ said the instructress, ‘it’s something very wintry, and cannot be borne for long. One must always keep moving, as we are doing here, one must dance in freedom. It is cold and beautiful. Never fall in love with it. That would only make you sad afterwards, for one can only be in the realm of freedom for a moment, no longer. Look how the wonderful track we are floating on is slowly melting away. Now you can watch freedom dying, if you open your eyes... ~ Robert Walser,
387:Café Flore is packed, shimmering, every table filled. Bentley notices this with a grim satisfaction but Bentley feels lost. He’s still haunted by the movie Grease and obsessed with legs that he always felt were too skinny though no one else did and it never hampered his modeling career and he’s still not over a boy he met at a Styx concert in 1979 in a stadium somewhere in the Midwest, outside a town he has not been back to since he left it at eighteen, and that boy’s name was Cal, who pretended to be straight even though he initially fell for Bentley’s looks but Cal knew Bentley was emotionally crippled and the fact that Bentley didn’t believe in heaven didn’t make him more endearing so Cal drifted off and inevitably became head of programming at HBO for a year or two. Bentley sits down, already miked, and lights a cigarette. Next to them Japanese tourists study maps, occasionally snap photos. This is the establishing shot. ~ Bret Easton Ellis,
388:In time the glowing, cratered moon began its seeming rise from the sea, casting a prism of light across the slowly darkening water, splitting itself into a thousand different parts, each more beautiful than the last. At exactly the same moment, the sun was meeting the horizon in the opposite direction, turning the sky red and orange and yellow, as if heaven above had suddenly opened its gates and let all its beauty escape its holy confines. The ocean turned golden silver as the shifting colors reflected off it, waters rippling and sparkling with the changing light, the vision glorious, almost like the beginning of time. The sun continued to lower itself, casting its glow as far as the eye could see, before finally, slowly, vanishing beneath the waves. The moon continued its slow drift upward, shimmering as it turned a thousand different shades of yellow, each paler than the last, before finally becoming the color of the stars. ~ Nicholas Sparks,
389:In The Shallows
AMONG the shallows where the sand
Is golden and the waves are small,
I love to lie, and to my hand
How many little treasures fall!
What shells and seaweed grace the shore,
What happy birds on happy wings,
And for companions, what a store
Of humble, happy, living things!
Yet the sea's depths are also mine,
And in the old days I used to dive
Into the caves, where corals shine
And where the shimmering mer-folk live.
I am the master of the sea
In deeps where fairy flowers uncurl;
That treasure-house belongs to me,
Those amber halls, those stairs of pearl.
But now thereto I go no more,
Because of all the argosies,
Deep sunk upon the ocean floor,
Where all the world's lost treasure lies.
Where loveless laughter curls the lips
Of wild sea creatures at their sport
About the bones of noble ships,
My ships, that never came to port.
~ Edith Nesbit,
390:The Addictive Self-Soother When dealing with the addictive self-soother, recognize that you’re with someone who is in a state of unknowing avoidance. The intolerable discomfort associated with his unrecognized loneliness, shame, and disconnection when the spotlight isn’t casting its shimmering glow upon him sends him hiding beneath the floorboards once again. He may be engrossed in workaholism, drinking binges, spending marathons, or voracious Internet surfing. He may indulge in the delivery of yet another tiring oration on some esoteric or controversial subject, not necessarily because he’s seeking attention, but in an effort to avoid feeling the throbbing pulse of his aloneness and fragility. You may go knocking, but he doesn’t come out. He can’t risk being seen au naturel, with all of his emotions, needs, and longings revealed. You’re expected to pander to his selective emotional departures and not request his presence, regardless of the emotional costs to you. ~ Wendy T Behary,
391:Death Valley is the perfect flesh-grilling device, the Foreman Grill in Mother Nature’s cupboard.

It’s a big, shimmering sea of salt ringed by mountains that bottle up the heat and force it right back down on your skull. The average air temperature hovers around 125 degrees, but once the sun rises and begins broiling the desert floor, the ground beneath Scott’s feet would hit a nice, toasty 200 degrees—exactly the temperature you need to slow roast a prime rib. Plus, the air is so dry that by the time you feel thirsty, you could be as good as dead; sweat is sucked so quickly from your body,you can be dangerously dehydrated before it even registers in your throat. Try to conserve water,and you could be a dead man walking.

But every July, ninety runners from around the world spend up to sixty straight hours running down the sizzling black ribbon of Highway 190, making sure to stay on the white lines so the soles of their running shoes don’t melt. ~ Christopher McDougall,
392:In the distance, over the cusp of the planets, a primordial paused, its mammoth body shimmering itself into perception. As I watched it, a dreadful certainty gripped me: this was how Gramps was trapped. If I didn’t look away immediately, I would be punished too, for when have human eyes glimpsed divinity without forsaking every sight they hold dear? But I was rooted, stilled by the primordial’s composition. Strange minerals gleamed in its haunches. From head to tail, it was decorated with black-and-white orbs like eyes. They twitched like muscles and revolved around its flesh until their center, a gush of flame riding bony gears, was visible to me. Mirages and reveries danced in it, constellations of knowledge ripe for the taking. Twisted ropes of fire shot outward, probing for surface, oscillating up and down. My gaze went to a peculiar vision bubbling inside the fiery center. I watched it churn inside the primordial, and in the briefest of instants I knew what I knew. ~ Ellen Datlow,
393:He thought, that all men, trickled away, changing constantly, until they finally dissolved, while the artist-created images remained unchangeably the same. He thought that the fear of death was perhaps the root of all art, perhaps also of all things of the mind. We fear death, we shudder at life’s instability, we grieve to see the flowers wilt again and again, and the leaves fall, and in our hearts we know that we, too, are transitory and will search for laws and formulate thoughts, it is in order to salvage something from the great dance of death, to make something that lasts longer than we do. Perhaps the woman after whom the master shaped his beautiful Madonna is already wilted or dead, and soon he, too, will be dead; others will live in his house and eat at his table- but his work will still be standing hundreds of years from now, and longer. It will go on shimmering in the quiet cloister church, unchangingly beautiful, forever smiling with the same sad, flowering mouth. ~ Hermann Hesse,

There is a shimmering excitement in being sentient and shaped. The

caravan master sees his camels lost in it, nose to tail, as he himself is,

his friend, and the stranger coming toward them. A gardener watches the

sky break into song, cloud wobbly with what it is. Bud, thorn, the same.

Wind, water, wandering this essential state. Fire, ground, gone. That's

how it is with the outside. Form is ecstatic. Now imagine the inner:

soul, intelligence, the secret worlds!
And don't think the garden loses its

ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there rioutous.

If someone bumps you in the street, don't be angry. Everyone careens

about in this surprise. Respond in kind. Let the knots untie, turbans

be given away. Someone drunk on this could drink a donkeyload a night.

Believer, unbeliever, cynic, lover, all combine in the spirit-form we are,

but no one yet is awake like Shams. ~ Rumi,
395:The Spell
OUR boat has drifted with the stream
That stirs the river's full sweet bosom
And now she stays where gold flags gleam
By meadow-sweet's pale foam of blossom.
Sedge-warblers sing the sun the song
The nightingale sings to the shadows;
Forget-me-nots grow all along
The fringes of the happy meadows.
See the wet lilies' golden beads!
The river-nymphs for necklace string them,
And in the sighing of the reeds
You hear the song their lovers sing them.
Gold sun, blue air, green shimmering leaves,
The weir's old song--the wood's old story-Such spells the enchanting Summer weaves
She holds me in a web of glory.
And you--with head against my arm
And subtle wiles that seek to hold me-Not even you can add a charm
To the sweet sorceries that enfold me.
Yet lean there still! The hour is ours;
If we should move the charm might shiver
And joyless sun and scentless flowers
Might mock a disenchanted river.
~ Edith Nesbit,
396:I never dreamed that she meant lights. Sparkling. Shimmering. Waves of light. We could see them from the front of the cafe. Besides the few customers, everyone who lived on the street was gathered inside. And I mean everyone, even strange little Esther. She'd squeezed herself into the darkest corner of the room, sitting on the floor with her arms wrapped around her bent knees. But even her face was in awe. Silvers. Pearls. Iridescent pinks. They now sprayed out into the sunless room and hit the ceiling. The walls. The floor. Glowing copper. Gilded orange. And all kinds or gold. Sequins of light that swirled and spun through the air. Cascades of light flowing in, breaking up, and rolling like fluid diamonds over the worn tile. Emerald. Turquoise. Sapphire. It went on for hours. I looked over there and there were tears streaming down Gabe's wrinkled face: God bless you, Eve. And finally only the muted glow of a cool aquamarine. Then we heard the baby's first thin cry- and the place went wild. ~ Gloria Naylor,
397:The way God squandered Himself had always hurt her; and annoyed her too. The sky full of wings and only the shepherds awake. That golden voice speaking and only a few fishermen there to hear; and perhaps some of the words He spoke carried away on the wind or lost in the sound of the waves lapping against the side of the boat. A thousand blossoms shimmering over the orchard, each a world of wonder all to itself, and then the whole thing blown away on a southwest gale as though the delicate little worlds were of no value at all. Well, of all the spendthrifts, she would think and then pull herself up. It was not for her to criticize the ways of Almighty God; if He liked to go to all that trouble over the snowflakes, millions and millions of them, their intricate patterns too small to be seen by human eyes, and melting as soon as made, that was His affair and not hers. All she could do about it was to catch in her window, and save from entire waste, as much of the squandered beauty as she could. ~ Elizabeth Goudge,
398:Only dimly aware of his movements, she watched in a daze as he unfastened his falls with impatient hands, shoving the cloth aside to free his eager shaft. Then he was plunging into her, seating himself to the hilt with a pair of solid, forceful thrusts.
This time there was no pain, only a wonderful sense of fullness, a tantalizing stretching that made her want more. Sliding his palms under her legs and bottom, he held her wide for his penetration, pumping into her with long, steady strokes, punctuated by shallower ones that turned her wild. Leaning up, she curled a hand behind his head and bent him down for a rapacious kiss whose fierceness surprised even her. Taking her mouth with an almost savage hunger, he thrust harder, pushing even deeper inside her.
She came on a stunning, shuddering peak, ecstasy filling her in a glorious surge that was shining and shimmering and bright. She rode the wave while Cade claimed his own release, his fists clenched on both sides of her head as he shook. ~ Tracy Anne Warren,
399:Glanced up and caught Ammu's gaze. Centuries telescoped into one evanescent moment. History was wrong-footed, caught off guard. Sloughed off like an old snakeskin. Its marks , its scars its wouns from old wars and the walking backwards days all fell away. In its abscence it left an aura, a palpable shimmering that was as plain as water in a river or the sun in the sky. As plain to feel the heat on a hot day, or the tug of a fish on a taut line. So obvious that no-one noticed.
In that brief moment, Velutha looked up and saw things that he hadn't seen before. Things that had been out of bounds so far, obscured by histor's blinkers.
...This knowing slid into him cleanly, like the sharp edge of a knife. Cold and hot at once. It only took a moment.
Ammu saw that he saw. She looked away. He did too. History's fiends returned to claim them. To rewrap them in its old scarred pelt and drag them back to where they really lived. Where the Love Laws lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much. ~ Arundhati Roy,
400:Contemplating Hell
Contemplating Hell, as I once heard it,
My brother Shelley found it to be a place
Much like the city of London. I,
Who do not live in London, but in Los Angeles,
Find, contemplating Hell, that it
Must be even more like Los Angeles.
Also in Hell,
I do not doubt it, there exist these opulent gardens
With flowers as large as trees, wilting, of course,
Very quickly, if they are not watered with very expensive water. And fruit
With great leaps of fruit, which nonetheless
Possess neither scent nor taste. And endless trains of autos,
Lighter than their own shadows, swifter than
Foolish thoughts, shimmering vehicles, in which
Rosy people, coming from nowhere, go nowhere.
And houses, designed for happiness, standing empty,
Even when inhabited.
Even the houses in Hell are not all ugly.
But concern about being thrown into the street
Consumes the inhabitants of the villas no less
Than the inhabitants of the barracks.
~ Bertolt Brecht,
401:the NetMind 'knocked' ... ageless and childish. Today she caught the tumble of roses it threw into her mind in its version of hello, and laughed ... its roses were followed by torrent of images Faith could barely process ... She showed the NetMind a hand, palm-out, their by-now familiar signal for 'slow-down' ... Worried, she sent it an image of a woman colored in darkness ... The image she'd sent was returned to her, but with the DarkMind scrubbed out ... An image of a thousand tears overlaid the snapshot of the PsyNet.
The PsyNet was dying ... She sent the NetMind an image of arms outstretched, an offer of help.
The response was of a globe, but a globe colored in the shades of the Net - white stars against a background of black velvet. Around that globe was a shimmering shield that repelled her hands.
The Net wasn't ready for help.
But there were cracks in the shield. She touched a finger to one crack, and knew that was Judd. The one next to it, Walker. And not far from them, Sascha. So many fine, fine cracks. ~ Nalini Singh,
402:He pulled out a book here and there, but what kept catching his attention were the diagonal tunnels of sunlight rolling in through the dormer windows. All around him dust motes rose and fell, shimmering, quivering in those shafts of roiling light. He found several shelves full of old editions of classical writers and began vaguely browsing, hoping to find a cheap edition of Virgil's Aeneid, which he had only ever read in a borrowed copy. It wasn't really the great poem of antiquity that Dorrigo Evans wanted though, but the aura he felt around such books--an aura that both radiated outwards and took him inwards to another world that said to him that he was not alone.

And this sense, this feeling of communion, would at moments overwhelm him. At such times he had the sensation that there was only one book in the universe, and that all books were simply portals into this greater ongoing work--an inexhaustible, beautiful world that was not imaginary but the world as it truly was, a book without beginning or end. ~ Richard Flanagan,
403:That year it seemed as if the summer were never coming to an end: days of shimmering golden stillness followed each other in equal radiance, as if by their sweetness and peace they wanted to make the war, now in its bloodiest period, appear doubly insensate. As the sun dipped behind the chain of mountain peaks, as the sky paled into tenderer blue, as the road stretched away more peacefully and all life folded in upon itself like the breathing of a sleeper, that stillness grew more and more accessible and acceptable to the human soul. Surely that Sabbath peace lay over the whole of the German fatherland, and in a sudden uprush of yearning the Major thought of his wife and children whom he saw walking over the sunset fields. "I wish this were all over and done with," and Esch could not find any word of comfort for him. Hopeless and dreary this life seemed to both of them, its sole meagre return a walk in the evening landscape which they were both contemplating. It's like a reprieve, thought Esch. And so they went on in silence. ~ Hermann Broch,
404:We get to the end of the block of shops. Here the street opens into a grand plaza. Right in the center of it is a sculpture of a winged couple holding each other in a tight embrace. Only this sculpture floats several feet in the air.

I pause in front of it.

“Who are they?” I ask, staring at the couple. The woman seems to be made of the same dark stone my beads are, her skin drawing in the light. The man she embraces is made of some shimmering sandstone, his skin seeming to glow from within.

“The Lovers,” Des replies. “Two of our ancient gods.” He points to the man. “He’s Fierion, God of Light, and she’s Nyxos, Goddess of Darkness.”

Nyxos … why does that name sound familiar?

“In the myths,” Des continues, “Fierion was married to Gaya, Goddess of Nature, but his true love was Nyxos, the woman he was forbidden from ever being with. Their love for each other is what causes day to chase night and night to chase day.

“Here in the Land of Dreams they’re finally allowed to be with each other. ~ Laura Thalassa,
405:Try, if you can, not to talk as if colors emanated from a single physical phenomenon. Keep in mind the effects of all the various surfaces, volumes, light-sources, films, expanses, degrees of solidity, solubility, temperature, elasticity, on color. Think of an object's capacity to emit, reflect, absorb, transmit, or scatted light; think of "the operation of light on a feather." Ask yourself, what is the color of a puddle? Is your blue sofa still blue when you stumble past it on your way to the kitchen for water in the middle of the night; is it still blue if you don't get up, and no one enters the room to see it? Fifteen says after we are born, we begin to discriminate against colors. For the rest of our lives, barring blunted or blinded sight, we find ourselves face-to-face with all these phenomena at once, and we call the whole shimmering mess "color." You might even say that it is the business of the eye to make colored forms out of what is essentially shimmering. This is how we "get around" in the world. Some might also call it the source of our suffering. ~ Maggie Nelson,
406:The Dance Of The Rain
The Dance of the Rain
Oh, the dance of our Sister!
First, over the hilltop she peeps stealthily
and her eyes are shy
and she laughs softly
From afar she begs with her one hand
her wrist-bands shimmering and her bead-work sparkling
softly she calls
She tells the wind about the dance
and she invites it, because the yard is spacious and the wedding large
The big game rush about the plains
they gather on the hilltop
their nostrils flared-up
and they swallow the wind
and they crouch to see her tracks in the sand
The small game, deep down under the floor, hear the rhythm of her feet
and they creep, come closer and sing softly
"Our Sister! Our Sister! You've come! You've come!"
and her bead-work shake,
and her copper wrist-bands shine in the disappearance of the sun
On her forehead, rests the eagle's plume
She decends down from the hilltop
She spreads her ashened cloak with both arms
the breath of the wind disappears
Oh, the dance of our Sister!
~ Eugene Marais,
407:Norwegian Students' Greeting With A Procession To
Professor Welhaven
Hear us, O age-laden singer!
Streams of your tones are returning,
Touching your heart!
Spirit of youth is their bringer,
Under your window with yearning
Called by your art.
Now our soul's echoes abounding
Soar in the blue,
In the sun-shimmering blue,
High where your silvery song-notes are sounding.
Smile on your labor now lightened,
You who in winter perfected
Seeds to be sown!
All that your courage has brightened,
All that your pity protected,
Now it is grown;
Over your shoulders upswinging,
Folds round your frame,
Bringing in roses your name,
Joyous the sprite of your poetry bringing.
Onward our life is now marching,
Banner-like high thoughts are flying,
Lifted to view.
One 'mid the foremost o'erarching
Leads where the pathway is lying,It came from you!
Runes of our past with their warning
Carved on its shaft,
Show us the spring you have quaffed,
Leading our land to the light of the morning.
~ Bjornstjerne Bjornson,
408:The Indian reached to his belt and pulled something loose. Lifting it high, he stared straight at the window where Loretta stood. She had the uncanny feeling he could see her. Something golden streamed from his fingers, shimmering in the slanting sunlight. “Pe-nan-de,” he yelled. “Honey, you call it. Send me the woman whose hair I hold.”
“Oh, sweet Jesus,” Tom whispered.
Unable to drag her eyes from the strands of gold trailing from the half-breed’s brown fingers, Loretta pressed a trembling hand to her throat. This isn’t really happening, she thought fuzzily. In a minute I’ll wake up. It’s just a bad dream.
“We’re outnumbered fifty to one,” Henry said. “What in hell we gonna do?”
Tom shifted at the window. “Ain’t no matter if it’s a hundred to one, you can’t send him the girl.”
“Better just her than all of us.” A trickle of moisture dripped off Henry’s nose, and he made a quick swipe with his white sleeve. “I got Amy and Rachel to think of. You know what those savages would do to Amy, Tom.”
“And what about Loretta?”
Loretta reached to the wall for support. He wanted her? ~ Catherine Anderson,
409:They took my mother’s stomach out about six months ago. At that point, there wasn’t a lot left to remove—they had already taken out [I would use the medical terms here if I knew them] the rest of it about a year before. Then they tied the [something] to the [something], hoped that they had removed the offending portion, and set her on a schedule of chemotherapy. But of course they didn’t get it all. They had left some of it and it had grown, it had come back, it had laid eggs, was stowed away, was stuck to the side of the spaceship. She had seemed good for a while, had done the chemo, had gotten the wigs, and then her hair had grown back—darker, more brittle. But six months later she began to have pain again— Was it indigestion? It could just be indigestion, of course, the burping and the pain, the leaning over the kitchen table at dinner; people have indigestion; people take Tums; Hey Mom, should I get some Tums?—but when she went in again, and they had “opened her up”—a phrase they used—and had looked inside, it was staring out at them, at the doctors, like a thousand writhing worms under a rock, swarming, shimmering, wet and oily— ~ Dave Eggers,
410:As he spoke, the edges of the clay man began shimmering, like air does in intense heat, and the lumpen form gradually became more manlike. "Something's happening!" I cried. I was paralyzed by shock and hope. "Please let it work. Come back, Vincent. You have to come back, I whispered, pleading.
Red clay became olive-toned skin, and the bald head became waves of raven black hair. The face that Jules had carefully sculpted became a real nose and mouth and eyes, closed as if in sleep. But it lay there, still unmoving, until, focusing on the air just above, Bran yelled, "Come, bardia spirit, inhabit this body!" He made one final sweeping gesture, as if pulling the aura downward, and touching his fingers to the body's side.
The eyes flew open and Vincent took a great gulping gasp, as if trying to swallow all of the oxygen in the room.
"Vincent," I said, my heart in my throat.
His eyes flew to mine. He reached toward me, and I took his hand and pressed it to my cheek. His skin was burning hot, like with a fever. I kissed his fingers, and his skin smelled like fire and rain-soaked earth. Like the boy I thought I would never touch again. ~ Amy Plum,
411:Oui,” the lady said in a slightly dazed voice, “but I cannot give you the emerald silk. That has already been selected by Lady Margaret Mitcham and promised to her.”
Ian’s expression took on a look of surprised displeasure. “I’m surprised you allowed her to choose it, madame. It will make her complexion look sallow. Tell her I said so.”
He turned and left the shop without the slightest idea of who Lady Margaret Mitcham was. Behind him an assistant came to lift the shimmering emerald silk and take it back to the seamstresses. “Non,” the modiste said, her appreciate gaze on the tall, broad-shouldered man who was bounding into his carriage. “It is to be used for someone else.”
“But Lady Mitcham chose it.”
With a last wistful glance at the handsome man who obviously appreciated exquisite cloth, she dismissed her assistant’s objection. “Lord Mitcham is an old man with bad eyes; he cannot appreciate the gown I can make from this cloth.”
“But what shall I tell Lady Mitcham?” the harassed assistant implored.
“Tell her,” her mistress said wryly, “that Monsieur Thornton-no, Lord Kensington-said it would make her complexion sallow. ~ Judith McNaught,
412:Blast it, Silverton, just look at the collection of suitors she’s got trailing after her, especially Broadmore.” Nigel gloomily watched the broad-shouldered Corinthian sweep Amelia gracefully down the room. “What girl wouldn’t want to be romanced by someone who looks like bloody Prince Charming?” Silverton frowned. “And you’re what? The frog on the lily pad?” “Hardly, but I can’t compete with Broadmore. He’s got every girl in town half in love with him already. Why not Amelia?” “Because Broadmore’s an arrogant ass. Do you really want Miss Easton spending the rest of her life with him? You’d be doing the poor girl a service by stealing him a march.” Nigel had never looked at it that way before. Broadmore was an arrogant ass, one who had a great deal more bottom than brains. Not that Amelia seemed to think so. As she and Broadmore spun past him, her light-hearted laugh drifted behind her, shimmering like fairy dust in the air. “I see your point,” Nigel replied. “But Amelia doesn’t seem the least bit bothered by Broadmore’s character defects.” He tried to ignore the way his heart twisted into a hard knot at the thought of Amelia married to another man. Silverton ~ Anna Campbell,
413:What was I thinking?" Chiron cried. " I can't let you get away without this."
He pulled a pen from his coat pocket. It was an ordinary disposable ballpoint, black ink, removable cap. Probably thirty cents.
Gee," I said. "Thanks."
Percy, that's a gift from your father. I've kept it for years, not knowing you were who I was waiting for. But the profecy is clear to me now. You are the one.
I remembered the feild trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, when I'd vaporized Mrs. Dodds. Chiron had thrown me a pen that turned into a sword. Could this be...?
I took off the cap, and the pen grew longer and heavier in my hand. In half a second, I held a shimmering bronze sword with a double-edged blade, a leather=wrapped grip, and a flat hilt riveted with gold studs. It was the first weapon that actually felt balanced in my hands.
The sword has a long and tragic history that we need not go into," Chiron told me. "It's name is Anaklusmos."
Riptide," I translated, surprised the Ancient Greek came so easily.
Use it only for emergencies" Chiron said, "and only against monsters No hero should harm mortals unless absolutely, of course, but this sword wouldn't harm them in any case. ~ Rick Riordan,
414:Directly overhead the Milky Way was as distinct as a highway across the sky. The constellations shown brilliantly, except the north, where they were blurred by the white sheets of the Aurora. Now shimmering like translucent curtains drawn over the windows of heaven, the northern lights suddenly streaked across a million miles of space to burst in silent explosions. Fountains of light, pale greens, reds, and yellows, showered the stars and geysered up to the center of the sky, where they pooled to form a multicolored sphere, a kind of mock sun that gave light but no heat, pulsing, flaring, and casting beams in all directions, horizon to horizon. Below, the wolves howled with midnight madness and the two young men stood in speechless awe. Even after the spectacle ended, the Aurora fading again to faint shimmer, they stood as silent and transfixed as the first human beings ever to behold the wonder of creation. Starkmann felt the diminishment that is not self-depreciation but humility; for what was he and what was Bonnie George? Flickers of consciousness imprisoned in lumps of dust; above them a sky ablaze with the Aurora, around them a wilderness where wolves sang savage arias to a frozen moon. ~ Philip Caputo,
415:On The Cliff-Top
FACE upward to the sky
Quiet I lie:
Quiet as if the finger of God's will
Had bade this human mechanism 'be still!'
And sent the intangible essence, this strange I,
All wondering forth to His eternity.
Below, the sea's sound, faint
As dying saint
Telling of gone-by sorrows long at rest:
Above, the fearless sea-gull's shimmering breast
Painted a moment on the dark blue skies-A hovering joy, that while I watch it flies.
Alike unheeded now
Old griefs, and thou
Quick-wingèd Joy, that like a bird at play
Pleasest thyself to visit me to-day:
On the cliff-top, earth dim and heaven clear,
My soul lies calmly, above hope--or fear.
But not--(do Thou forbid
Whose stainless lid
Wept tears at Lazarus' grave, and looking down
Afar off, upon Solyma's doomed town.)
Ah, not above love--human yet divine-Which, Thee seen first, in Thee sees all of Thine!
Is't sunset? The keen breeze
Blows from the seas:
And at my side a pleasant vision stands
With her brown eyes and kind extended hands.
Dear, we'll go down together and full fain
From the cliff-top to the busy world again.
~ Dinah Maria Mulock Craik,
416:The fact is that, after the Easter Rising and the War of Independence, the Irishmen who’d fought in the Great War didn’t fit the new way the country imagined itself. If the British were our sworn enemies, why had two hundred thousand Irishmen gone off to fight alongside them? If our history was the struggle to escape from British oppression, what were we doing helping Britain out, fighting and dying on her behalf? The existence of these soldiers seemed to argue against this new thing called Ireland. And so, first of all, they were turned into traitors. Then, in a quite systematic way, they were forgotten.’

The boys listen palely, the lucent grass-green of the empty park shimmering around them.

‘It’s a good example of how history works,’ Howard says. ‘We tend to think of it as something solid and unchanging, appearing out of nowhere etched in stone like the Ten Commandments. But history, in the end, is only another kind of story, and stories are different from the truth. The truth is messy and chaotic and all over the place. Often it just doesn’t make sense. Stories make things make sense, but the way they do that is to leave out anything that doesn’t fit. And often that is quite a lot. ~ Paul Murray,
417:Dear Karen,

I've been thinking about Us, the story of us. How the fuck do I sum it up? Has it been perfect? Hardly. Any story with me at the center of it will never be anything less than a big smiling mess. But here's what I know for sure—our time in the sun has been a thing of absolute fucking beauty. The nightmares, the hangovers, the fucking and the punching. The gorgeous shimmering insanity of the city of ours. Where for years I woke up, fucked up, said I was sorry, passed out and did it all over again.

As a writer, I'm a sucker for happy endings. The guy gets the girl, she saves him from himself, fade to fucking black. As a guy who loves a girl, I realize there's no such thing. There's no sunset. There's just now, and there's just the two of us, which can be scary fucking ugly sometimes. But if you close your eyes and listen for the whisper of your heart—if you simply keep trying and never ever give up, no matter how many times you get it wrong, until the beginning and the end blur into something called until we meet again -- and that's it.

I didn't know how to finish it, because it's not over. It'll never be over, as longs as there's you, and there's me, and there's hope, and grace. ~ Hank Moody,
418:If you don't attend, Gwendolen," said the mistress, "and stop looking out of the window, I shall have to give you an order-mark."
"But please, Miss Prizzle-" began Gwendolen.
"Did you hear what I said, Gwendolen?" asked Miss Prizzle.
"But please, Miss Prizzle," said Gwendolen, "there's a LION!"
"Take two order-marks for talking nonsense," said Miss Prizzle. "And now-" A roar interrupted her. Ivy came curling in at the windows of the classroom. The walls became a mass of shimmering green, and leafy branches arched overhead where the ceiling had been. Miss Prizzle found she was standing on grass in a forest glade. She clutched at her desk to steady herself, and found that the desk was a rose-bush. Wild people such as she had never even imagined were crowding round her. Then she saw the Lion, screamed and fled, and with her fled her class, who were mostly dumpy, prim little girls with fat legs. Gwendolen hesitated.
"You'll stay with us, sweetheart?" said Aslan.
"Oh, may I? Thank you, thank you," said Gwendolen. Instantly she joined hands with two of the Maenads, who whirled her round in a merry dance and helped her take off some of the unnecessary and uncomfortable clothes that she was wearing. ~ C S Lewis,
419:Simon's gaze wandered over the drifts of lace and muslin that covered her body. Still dressed in his formal black wedding suit, he approached her slowly and came to stand before her as she remained sitting in the chair. To her surprise, he lowered to his knees to bring their faces level, his thighs bracketing her slender calves. A large hand lifted to the shimmering fall of her hair, and he combed his fingers through it, watching with fascination as the golden brown strands slipped across his knuckles.
Although Simon was immaculately dressed, there were signs of dishevelment that lured her attention... the short forelocks of his hair falling over his forehead, the loosened knot of his ice gray silk cravat. Dropping the brush to the floor, Annabelle used her fingers to smooth his hair in a tentative stroke. The sable filaments were thick and gleaming, springing willfully against her fingertips. Simon held still for her as she untied the cravat, the heavy silk saturated with the warmth of his skin. His eyes contained an expression that caused a ticklish sensation in the pit of her stomach.
"Every time I see you," he murmured. "I think you couldn't possibly become any more beautiful- and you always prove me wrong. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
420:A knock at the door pulled me from my thoughts. I opened it, expecting to see Gupta, but it was Amar. His expression looked carved in stone and his lips were set in a grim line. But the moment we held each other’s gaze, something in him relented. His hands tightened at his side.
“I would never want to cause you pain.”
I flinched. “I am not in pain.”
“I am not some animal you wounded,” I added.
“It is only a night longer,” he said.
The warning voice from the halls echoed back to me: You are running out of moon time. Listen to my warning rhyme. What would happen tomorrow?
Amar hesitated, before reaching out to hold my hand. I stared at the circlet of my hair around his wrist. Bitterness rose in my throat. I glanced from my bracelet to the other one on his wrist--black leather and knotted--dull and malevolent.
“Do these past days mean nothing?” he asked, so gently that my weak self curled around his words.
But I would no longer be weak. I tapped into that power in my veins and a shimmering wall of flames sprang up between us. Amar jumped back, shocked and then…amused.
“A little ruthlessness is to be admired, but it’s cruel to play with a powerless heart. ~ Roshani Chokshi,
421:Color—that’s another thing people don’t expect. In her imagination, in her dreams, everything has color. The museum buildings are beige, chestnut, hazel. Its scientists are lilac and lemon yellow and fox brown. Piano chords loll in the speaker of the wireless in the guard station, projecting rich blacks and complicated blues down the hall toward the key pound. Church bells send arcs of bronze careening off the windows. Bees are silver; pigeons are ginger and auburn and occasionally golden. The huge cypress trees she and her father pass on their morning walk are shimmering kaleidoscopes, each needle a polygon of light. She has no memories of her mother but imagines her as white, a soundless brilliance. Her father radiates a thousand colors, opal, strawberry red, deep russet, wild green; a smell like oil and metal, the feel of a lock tumbler sliding home, the sound of his key rings chiming as he walks. He is an olive green when he talks to a department head, an escalating series of oranges when he speaks to Mademoiselle Fleury from the greenhouses, a bright red when he tries to cook. He glows sapphire when he sits over his workbench in the evenings, humming almost inaudibly as he works, the tip of his cigarette gleaming a prismatic blue. ~ Anthony Doerr,
422:Livia had never wanted anything more than to taste his lips right then.
“Would you mind very much if I kissed you?” she whispered.
Blake shook his head.
Livia leaned in and took a gentle kiss. His lips were soft, and they tasted perfect. The smell of his skin combined with that wonderful taste almost made her collapse.
Blake steadied her by placing his hand against her chest. His splayed fingers must have felt how fast her heart was beating. Livia pulled back just a bit to see his eyes again. They were half closed and shimmering.
It was his turn to whisper. “Would you mind very much if I kissed you?”
She shook her head and waited, very still. Blake lifted his other hand to touch her face. Livia had to work not to press her skin into his fingers. His touch was light as a breeze. He traced the features of her face. He trailed his fingers down to her throat and up to her earlobe. He’s so gentle.
As soon as the thought flashed through Livia’s mind, Blake grabbed a fistful of her hair, yanking it enough to make her gasp. Then he kissed the living hell out of her.
Oh, oh, OH. Livia felt her arms begin to shake, and Blake took more of her weight onto his forearm. She’d had no idea kissing was an art form. She knew now. ~ Debra Anastasia,
423:Color—that’s another thing people don’t expect. In her imagination, in her dreams, everything has color. The museum buildings are beige, chestnut, hazel. Its scientists are lilac and lemon yellow and fox brown. Piano chords loll in the speaker of the wireless in the guard station, projecting rich blacks and complicated blues down the hall toward the key pound. Church bells send arcs of bronze careening off the windows. Bees are silver; pigeons are ginger and auburn and occasionally golden. The huge cypress trees she and her father pass on their morning walk are shimmering kaleidoscopes, each needle a polygon of light.
She has no memories of her mother but imagines her as white, a soundless brilliance. Her father radiates a thousand colors, opal, strawberry red, deep russet, wild green; a smell like oil and metal, the feel of a lock tumbler sliding home, the sound of his key rings chiming as he walks. He is an olive green when he talks to a department head, an escalating series of oranges when he speaks to Mademoiselle Fleury from the greenhouses, a bright red when he tries to cook. He glows sapphire when he sits over his workbench in the evenings, humming almost inaudibly as he works, the tip of his cigarette gleaming a prismatic blue. ~ Anthony Doerr,
424:Drug addicts, especially young ones, are conformists flocking together in sticky groups, and I do not write for groups, nor approve of group therapy (the big scene in the Freudian farce); as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate, a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts. Young dunces who turn to drugs cannot read “Lolita,” or any of my books, some in fact cannot read at all. Let me also observe that the term “square” already dates as a slang word, for nothing dates quicker than conservative youth, nor is there anything more philistine, more bourgeois, more ovine than this business of drug duncery. Half a century ago, a similar fashion among the smart set of St. Petersburg was cocaine sniffing combined with phony orientalities. The better and brighter minds of my young American readers are far removed from those juvenile fads and faddists. I also used to know in the past a Communist agent who got so involved in trying to wreck anti-Bolshevist groups by distributing drugs among them that he became an addict himself and lapsed into a dreamy state of commendable metempsychic sloth. He must be grazing today on some grassy slope in Tibet if he has not yet lined the coat of his fortunate shepherd. ~ Vladimir Nabokov,
425:The model stripped down naked and stood with her arms out to her sides while genderless cohorts sprayed her body with large silver canisters of foundation. They wore masks over there faces and sprayed her from head to toe like they were putting out a fire. They airbrushed her into a mono-toned six-foot-two column of a human being with no visible veins, nipples, nails, lips, or eyelashes. When every single thing that was real about the model was gone, the make up artist fug through a suite case of brushes and plowed through hundreds of tubes of flesh colored colors and began to draw human features onto her face. At the same time, the hair stylist meticulously sewed with a needle and thread strand after strand of long blond hairs onto her thin light brown locks, creating a thick full mane of shimmering gold. The model had brought her own chef, who cooked her spinach soup from scratch. The soup was fed to her by one of her lackeys, who existed solely for this purpose. The blond boy stood in front of her, blowing on the soup and then feeding it to her from a small silver child's spoon, just big enough to fit between her lips. the model's mouth was barely open, maybe a quarter of an inch wide, so that she would not crack the flesh colored paint. ~ Margot Berwin,
426:I think this dress will stun the nobility, and leave them stupefied with envy and lust," Madame Sandrine announced with relish.
"I'm just glad it's not crimson, like everything else you drape," Farah said to her husband as she glanced at her transformation in the floor-to-ceiling mirrors across from the raised podium on which she stood. The creation of blue silk evoked the midnight sky, as it wrapped her bosom and waist in bejeweled gathers before cascading from her hips in a dark waterfall. The shamelessly cut bodice was lent a hint of respectability by folds of a shimmering diaphanous silver material draping from a choker of gems about her neck and flowing down her shoulders like moonbeams. To call them sleeves would have been a mistake, for all they concealed.
Madame Sandrine threw a teasing look over her shoulder at Blackwell. "How fitting that the color of blood is the one you prefer the most."
"Not for her," Dorian rumbled.
The seamstress lifted a winged eyebrow, but didn't comment. "Voila. I believe that is all I'll need from you today, Madame Blackwell. I can have these finished in the morning, and in the meantime I have a lovely soft gray frock hemmed with tiny pink blossoms that will bring out the color in your cheeks. ~ Kerrigan Byrne,
427:Toquet, it is well, little one. It is finished, eh?”
She panted, tossing her head. “It h-hurts!”
“It will pass,” he assured her huskily. “It will pass. It is a promise I make for you.”
She went rigid when he began to move within her, her small face drawing tight. Tears sprang to Hunter’s eyes when she reached up to hug his neck, clinging to him even though he was the one hurting her. He had asked her to trust him this one last time. And she had. What if the discomfort didn’t lessen, as he had promised her? She would never let him near her again.
Relief flooded through him when at last he felt her relax. Carefully he picked up momentum, nudging deeper and deeper. Only when Hunter heard her cry out in pleasure did he allow himself to seek pleasure as well.
They drifted back to reality slowly, limbs entwined, heartbeats erratic, bodies shimmering with sweat. Hunter drew her head onto his shoulder, unwilling to let her go. A half smile settled on his mouth. He knew this first coupling had fallen far short of what it could have been, what it would be the second time. He had been tense, and so had she, not to mention the pain he had inflicted. His smile broadened. This small woman filled the empty places inside him, made him feel whole again. ~ Catherine Anderson,
428:The Water-Witch
The little creek went winding down
‘Twixt whispering reeds and small blue flowers,
Singing a pleasant summer song
Of holidays and playtime hours.
We reached it at the noonday hours,
Coming from the scrub-aisles dime and cool,
Laden with ferns and lilies white,
And rested by it’s deepest pool.
And while we watched with drowsy eyes
The shimmering sunlight on the plain,
The water-witch within the stream
Arose and stood between us twain.
She looked on me with scornful eye
And mocking smile that held no mirth;
She knew my simple soul was kin
To the brown, kindly, homely earth.
But she kissed Maye upon the brow,
As though to steal her soul away;
She kissed here on her Irish eyes,
Her faery eyes, now green, now grey.
And now she walks alone our girl,
Aloof from all life’s joys and pains;
The witch’s kiss is on her brow,
The dancing water in her veins.
Ah! For the hearts that cherish her,
That sigh and pine with secret pain
For her cool lips and smiling eyes;
For Maye will never love again—
Shallow and cold as water’s self!
And my warm heart that loves her well
Can only breathe a prayer to Heaven
To break the water witch’s spell.
~ Alice Guerin Crist,
429:Blue Eyes, you will say yes to me?”
“Tonight? Now?”
“Yes, tonight. Before this time between us passes.”
When she sat, silent, watching, Hunter lifted her of his lap and rose, drawing her up beside him. She studied his every move, poised as if for flight. Hunter’s hands shook as he unfastened her braids and ran his fingers through the intertwined strands of gold, combing them into a shimmering cloud about her shoulders. Then he framed her face between his palms and slowly bent his head. He wanted so badly to make a glad song inside of her. In his way, he was as terrified of her memories as she was.
As his lips drew close to hers, Loretta’s nerves leaped. This was it, no turning back. His mouth came within an inch, then nearer. Her eyes widened. Then their lips touched, silk on silk, their breath mingling, their lashes fluttering closed. Her mind screamed a warning as her senses spun out of control. Something deep within her belly quickened, sending shocks of longing through her. She twisted her face aside, shivering as his mouth trailed across her cheek to her ear.
“Hunter?” She grasped his shoulders for support, digging her nails into his flesh. “Hunter?”
“I am here. Be easy.” He slid a hand to the nape of her neck and turned her face back to him. “Be easy. ~ Catherine Anderson,
430:Her parents noticed, when Dominika turned five, that the little girl had a prodigious memory. She could recite lines from Pushkin, identify the concertos of Tchaikovsky. And when music was played, Dominika would dance barefoot around the Oriental carpet in the living room, perfectly in time with the notes, twirling and jumping, perfectly in balance, her eyes gleaming, her hands flashing. Vassily and Nina looked at each other, and her mother asked Dominika how she had learned all this. “I follow the colors,” said the little girl.
“What do you mean, ‘the colors’?” asked her mother. Dominika gravely explained that when the music played, or when her father read aloud to her, colors would fill the room. Different colors, some bright, some dark, sometimes they “jumped in the air” and all Dominika had to do was follow them. It was how she could remember so much. When she danced, she leapt over bars of bright blue, followed shimmering spots of red on the floor. The parents looked at each other again.
“I like red and blue and purple,” said Dominika. “When Batushka reads, or when Mamulya plays, they are beautiful.”
“And when Mama is cross with you?” asked Vassily.
“Yellow, I don’t like the yellow,” said the little girl, turning the pages of a book. “And the black cloud. I do not like that. ~ Jason Matthews,
431:suddenly Arthur had a fairly clear idea of what infinity looked like. It wasn’t infinity in fact. Infinity itself looks flat and uninteresting. Looking up into the night sky is looking into infinity— distance is incomprehensible and therefore meaningless. The chamber into which the aircar emerged was anything but infinite, it was just very very very big, so big that it gave the impression of infinity far better than infinity itself. Arthur’s senses bobbed and spun as, traveling at the immense speed he knew the aircar attained, they climbed slowly through the open air, leaving the gateway through which they had passed an invisible pinprick in the shimmering wall behind them. The wall. The wall defied the imagination—seduced it and defeated it. The wall was so paralyzingly vast and sheer that its top, bottom and sides passed away beyond the reach of sight. The mere shock of vertigo could kill a man. The wall appeared perfectly flat. It would take the finest laser-measuring equipment to detect that as it climbed, apparently to infinity, as it dropped dizzily away, as it planed out to either side, it also curved. It met itself again thirteen light seconds away. In other words the wall formed the inside of a hollow sphere, a sphere over three million miles across and flooded with unimaginable light. ~ Douglas Adams,
432:Hey Meg! Communication implies sound. Communion doesn't.' He sent her a brief image of walking silently through the woods, the two of them alone together., their feet almost noiseless on the rusty carpet of pine needles. They walked without speaking, without touching, and yet they were as close as it is possible for two human beings to be. They climbed up through the woods, coming out into the brilliant sunlight at the top of the hill. A few sumac trees showed their rusty candles. Mountain laurel, shiny, so dark a green the leaves seemed black in the fierceness of sunlight, pressed toward the woods. Meg and Calvin had stretched out in the thick, late-summer grass, lying on their backs, gazing up into the shimmering blue of sky, a vault interrupted only by a few small clouds.

And she had been as happy, she remembered, as it is possible to be, and as close to Calvin as she had ever been to anybody in her life, even Charles Wallace, so close that their separate bodies, daisies and buttercups joining rather than dividing them, seemed a single enjoyment of summer and sun and each other.

That was surely the purest kind of thing.

Mr. Jenkins had never had that kind of communion with another human being, a communion so rich and full that silence speaks more powerfully than words. ~ Madeleine L Engle,
433:Paul felt his knees almost buckle when he saw her. Now, he knew this was one fine-looking woman, and since he’d been the best man at her last wedding, it wasn’t as if he’d never seen her all dressed up. But it felt like the first time. She was usually found in jeans or a simple sundress, and in those she was almost too much for his heart. Today she was resplendent in green so pale it was nearly white. It was a shimmering, clingy silk, her reddish-gold hair lying in full curls on her shoulders and down her back. Her turquoise eyes were alive with love, sparkling brightly, and her peach lips were curved in a smile. “Holy shit,” Tommy said. “Look at my sister, man.” “I see her,” Paul croaked. “God above.” Tom laughed. “Well, go get her,” he said, poking him in the ribs. “God, I hope I’m cooler than you when I get married.” “Yeah,” Paul said in a weak breath. He unstuck his rooted feet and went to collect his bride and bring her into the gathering. She was greeted with lots of hugs and kisses, a glass pressed into her hand. Paul’s arm was around her waist and he couldn’t make himself let her go. He felt his chest swell with cocky pride, having her at his side. No way he should be getting a woman who looked like this. And she was all his; she couldn’t even glance at him without confirming that with her gaze. “Let’s ~ Robyn Carr,
434:My father peed like a horse. His urine lowed in one great sweeping dream that started suddenly and stopped just as suddenly, a single, winking arc of shimmering clarity that endured for a prodigious interval and then disappeared in an instant, as though the outflow were a solid object—and arch of glittering ice or a thick band of silver—and not (as it actually approximated) a parabolic, dynamically averaged graph of the interesting functions of gravity, air resistance, and initial velocity on a non-viscous fluid, produced and exhibited by a man who’d just consumed more than a gallon of midwestern beer. The flow was as clear as water. When it struck the edge of the gravel shoulder, the sound was like a bed-sheet being ripped. Beneath this high reverberation, he let out a protracted appreciative whistle that culminated in a tunneled gasp, his lips flapping at the close like a trumpeters. In the tiny topsoil, a gap appeared, a wisp entirely unashamed. Bernie bumped about in the cargo bay. My father moved up close to peer through the windshield, zipping his trousers and smiling through the glass at my mother. I realized that the yellow that should have been in his urine was unmistakable now in his eyes.

‘’Thank goodness,’’ my mother said when the car door closed again. ‘’I was getting a little bored in here. ~ Ethan Canin,
435:That night Serena dressed to meet Zahi. She used a metallic green eye shadow on the top lids and the outer half of the bottom lids so that her eyes looked like a jungle cat's. Two coats of black mascara completed them, and then she smudged a light gold gloss on her lips.
She took a red skirt from the closet. The material was snakelike, shimmering black, then red. She slipped it on and tied the black strings of a matching bib halter around her neck and waist. She painted red-and-black glittering flames on her legs and rubbed glossy shine on her arms and chest.
Finally, she took the necklace she had bought at the garage sale and fixed it in her hairline like the headache bands worn by flappers back in the 1920's. The jewels hung on her forehead, making her look like an exotic maharani.
She sat at her dressing table and painted her toenails and fingernails gold, then looked in the mirror. A thrill jolted through her as it always did. No matter how many times she saw her reflection after the transformation, her image always astonished her. She looked supernatural, a spectral creature, green eyes large, skin glowing, eyelashes longer, thicker. Everything about her was more forceful and elegant- an enchantress goddess. She couldn't pull away from her reflection. It was as if the warrior in her had claimed the night. ~ Lynne Ewing,
436:The shimmering tarmac of the deserted basketball court, a line of industrial-sized garbage cans, and beyond the electrified perimeter fence a vista that twangs a country and western chord of self-pity in me. For a brief moment, when I first arrived, I thought of putting a photo of Alex - Laughing Alpha Male at Roulette Wheel - next to my computer, alongside my family collection: Late Mother Squinting Into Sun on Pebbled Beach, Brother Pierre with Postpartum Wife and Male Twins, and Compos Mentis Father Fighting Daily Telegraph Crossword. But I stopped myself. Why give myself a daily reminder of what I have in every other way laid to rest? Besides, there would be curiosity from colleagues, and my responses to their questions would seem either morbid or tasteless or brutal depending on the pitch and role of my mood. Memories of my past existence, and the future that came with it, can start as benign, Vaselined nostalgia vignettes. But they’ll quickly ghost train into Malevolent noir shorts backlit by that great worst enemy of all victims of circumstance, hindsight. So for the sake of my own sanity, I apologize silently to Alex before burying him in the desk alongside my emergency bottle of Lauphroaig and a little homemade flower press given to me by a former patient who hanged himself with a clothesline.
The happy drawer. ~ Liz Jensen,
437:When she did, her mouth fell open. The vivid glamour of the world outside paled in comparison to the world within. It was a palace of vaulting glass and shimmering tapestry and, woven through it all like light, magic. The air was alive with it. Not the secret, seductive magic of the stone, but a loud, bright, encompassing thing. Kell had told Lila that magic was like an extra sense, layered on top of sight and smell and taste, and now she understood. It was everywhere. In everything. And it was intoxicating. She could not tell if the energy was coming from the hundreds of bodies in the room, or from the room itself, which certainly reflected it. Amplified it like sound in an echoing chamber. And it was strangely—impossibly—familiar. Beneath the magic, or perhaps because of it, the space itself was alive with color and light. She’d never set foot inside St. James, but it couldn’t possibly have compared to the splendor of this. Nothing in her London could. Her world felt truly grey by comparison, bleak and empty in a way that made Lila want to kiss the stone for freeing her from it, for bringing her here, to this glittering jewel of a place. Everywhere she looked, she saw wealth. Her fingers itched, and she resisted the urge to start picking pockets, reminding herself that the cargo in her own was too precious to risk being caught. The ~ V E Schwab,
438:She swam nearer and her breath caught. Lying atop the rock was a bow and quiver full of arrows beside a pair of beaded moccasins. She spun around in the water, joy bubbling up inside her. But before she could take a breath, firm hands caught her ankles and tugged her under. She came up sputtering and laughing, but he’d still not surfaced. So he swims like a fish. She remembered he could also run like a deer, overtaking her in the woods all those years before. “Yellow Bird.” The voice behind her seemed almost to drown her with its depth. She turned to Captain Jack, hard pressed to keep her pleasure down. How many days since they had walked in the meadow? Too many, from the feeling inside her. In one glance she took in the doused eagle feathers of his headdress and the fine silver bands encircling his solid upper arms. Shimmering with water, Captain Jack’s hair was blue black. The beads about his neck were the same startling jade as his eyes and made him even more appealing. Suddenly shy, she ducked beneath the water, then swam away. Would he follow? They did a dance of sorts in the warm current, circling, gliding, swaying. Each time he caught her she pulled free and swam farther downriver than she’d ever been before. But he continued to woo her, pursuing her until she was so breathless she could only lie upon her back and float, the river like a watery bed. ~ Laura Frantz,
439:Rincewind sighed, and padded around the base of the tower toward the Library.
Towards where the Library had been.
There was the arch of the doorway, and most of the walls were still standing, but a lot of the roof had fallen in and everything was blackened by soot.
Rincewind stood and stared for a long time. Then he dropped the carpet and ran, stumbling and sliding through the rubble that half-blocked the doorway. The stones were still warm underfoot. Here and there the wreckage of bookcase still smouldered. Anyone watching would have seen Rincewind dart backward and forward across the shimmering heaps, scrabbling desperately among them, throwing aside charred furniture, pulling aside lumps of fallen roof with less than superhuman strength. They would have seen him pause once or twice to get his breath back, then dive in again, cutting his hands on shards of half molten glass from the dome of the roof. They would have noticed that he seemed to be sobbing.
Eventually his questing fingers touched something warm and soft. The frantic wizard heaved a charred roof beam aside, scrabbled through a drift of fallen tiles and peered down. There, half squashed by the beam and baked brown by the fire, was a large bunch of overripe, squashy bananas. He picked one up, very carefully, and sat and watched it for some time until the end fell off.
Then he ate it. ~ Terry Pratchett,
440:Finer feeling, which we now wish to consider, is chiefly of two kinds: the feeling of the *sublime* and that of the *beautiful*. The stirring of each is pleasant, but in different ways. The sight of a mountain whose snow-covered peak rises above the clouds, the description of a raging storm, or Milton's portrayal of the infernal kingdom, arouse enjoyment but with horror; on the other hand, the sight of flower strewn meadows, valleys with winding brooks and covered with grazing flocks, the description of Elysium, or Homer's portrayal of the girdle of Venus, also occasion a pleasant sensation but one that is joyous and smiling. In order that the former impression could occur to us in due strength, we must have *a feeling of the sublime*, and, in order to enjoy the latter well, *a feeling of the beautiful*. Tall oaks and lonely shadows in a sacred grove are sublime; flower beds, low hedges and trees trimmed in figures are beautiful. Night is sublime; day is beautiful. Temperaments that possess a feeling for the sublime are drawn gradually, by the quiet stillness of a summer evening as the shimmering light of the stars breaks through the brown shadows of night and the lonely moon rises into view, into high feelings of friendship, of disdain for the world, of eternity. The shining day stimulates busy fervor and a feeling of gaiety. The sublime *moves*, the beautiful *charms*. ~ Immanuel Kant,
441:looked at you, gave you bread, and said, “Child of  God, the body of  Christ, broken for you.” Child of  God. Child of  God. We’re all children of  God. And we’ve been given the authority, even the duty, to declare that to each other. And so I find myself on US 36, where another asshole is embodying so much that I despise, and in my mind, I bless them. I look in their eyes, hold up the bread, and say, “Child of God…” Jeff, like so many of us, is changed by the word of grace that he hears in church. He is formed by the Word of  God.*2 He is given a place where he is told by others that he is a child of  God. He is given a place where he can look other people in the eye, other annoying, inconsistent, arrogant people in the eye, hand them bread, and say, “Child of  God, the body of  Christ, given for you,” and then he, in his own arrogant inconsistencies, has a frame of grace through which to see even the people he can’t stand. I argue that this wouldn’t just happen alone. This is why we have Christian community. So that we can stand together under the cross and point to the gospel. A gospel that Bonhoeffer said is “frankly hard for the pious to understand. Because this grace confronts us with the truth saying: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner, now come as the sinner you are to a God who loves you.” God wants you, you in your imperfect, broken, shimmering glory. ~ Nadia Bolz Weber,
442:They drifted back to reality slowly, limbs entwined, heartbeats erratic, bodies shimmering with sweat. Hunter drew her head onto his shoulder, unwilling to let her go. A half smile settled on his mouth. He knew this first coupling had fallen far short of what it could have been, what it would be the second time. He had been tense, and so had she, not to mention the pain he had inflicted. His smile broadened. This small woman filled the empty places inside him, made him feel whole again.
Gazing sightlessly across the lodge at the evening shadows, Loretta listened to the rapid tattoo of Hunter’s pulse. She felt boneless and completely exhausted. Her cheeks flamed when she thought of the things he had done to her and the shameless way she had responded. A wave of embarrassment washed over her.
As if he sensed her anguish, he slid his hand over her hip and upward to her ribs. “My heart is filled with great love for you,” he whispered.
Tears sprang to Loretta’s eyes. She couldn’t name the emotion that caused them, didn’t want to. Then, like projectiles from a cannon, the words shot from her mouth. “Oh, Hunter, I love you, too.”
The moment she said it, she knew it was true. She loved him as she had never loved anyone, with an intensity that made her ache. Hunter, the fierce warrior, the culmination of all her nightmares, had become the most important person in her world. ~ Catherine Anderson,
443:Nonetheless, when it finally ended and the hairdressers left and Tess insisted upon pulling her to the mirror, Fire saw, and understood, that everyone had done the job well. The dress, deep shimmering purple and utterly simple in design, was so beautifully-cut and so clingy and well-fitting that Fire felt slightly naked. And her hair. She couldn’t follow what they’d done with her hair, braids thin as threads in some places, looped and wound through the thick sections that fell over her shoulders and down her back, but she saw that the end result was a controlled wildness that was magnificent against her face, her body, and the dress. She turned to measure the effect on her guard - all twenty of them, for all had roles to play in tonight’s proceedings, and all were awaiting her orders. Twenty jaws hung slack with astonishment - even Musa’s, Mila’s, and Neel’s. Fire touched their minds, and was pleased, and then angry, to find them open as the glass roofs in July.

‘Take hold of yourselves,’ she snapped. ‘It’s a disguise, remember? This isn’t going to work if the people meant to help me can’t keep their heads.’

‘It will work, Lady Granddaughter.’ Tess handed Fire two knives in ankle holsters. ‘You’ll get what you want from whomever you want. Tonight King Nash would give you the Winged River as a present, if you asked for it. Dells, child - Prince Brigan would give you his best warhorse. ~ Kristin Cashore,
444:The summer stretch had come into the evenings: it was gone seven, but the sky was a soft clear blue and the light flooding through the open windows was pale gold. All around us the Place was humming like a beehive, shimmering with a hundred different stories unfurling. Next door Mad Johnny Malone was singing to himself, in a cheerful cracked baritone: “Where the Strawberry Beds sweep down to the Liffey, you’ll kiss away the worries from my brow . . .” Downstairs Mandy shrieked delightedly, there was a tumble of thumping noises and then an explosion of laughter; farther down, in the basement, someone yelled in pain and Shay and his mates sent up a savage cheer. In the street, two of Sallie Hearne’s young fellas were teaching themselves to ride a robbed bike and giving each other hassle—“No, you golf ball, you’ve to go fast or you’ll fall off, who cares if you hit things?”—and someone was whistling on his way home from work, putting in all the fancy, happy little trills. The smell of fish and chips came in at the windows, along with smart-arse comments from a blackbird on a rooftop and the voices of women swapping the day’s gossip while they brought in their washing from the back gardens. I knew every voice and every door-slam; I even knew the determined rhythm of Mary Halley scrubbing her front steps. If I had listened hard I could have picked out every single person woven into that summer-evening air, and told you every story. Rosie ~ Tana French,
445:If- if I could find a way to free you," I whispered, "would you walk the world above with me?"
My back was to the Goblin King; I could not face him. It was a long time before he answered.
"Oh, Elisabeth," he said. "I would go anywhere with you."
I turned around. His eyes deepened in color and for a moment, just for the merest glimpse, I could see what he would have been like as a mortal man. If he had been allowed to live the course of his life, from the child he had been to the man he would have become. A musician- a violinist. I ran back into the circle of alder trees, wanting the circle of his arms around me. I reached out my hands, and his fingers brushed mine, but we passed through each other like water, like a mirage. We were each nothing but a shimmering illusion, a candle flame we could not hold.
And yet, the Goblin King was still here, in the Goblin Grove, with me. He stood in the Underground while I stood in the world above, but our hearts beat within the same space.
"Don't look back," he said.
I nodded. I love you, I wanted to say. But I knew these words would break me.
The Goblin King was smiling. Not the pointed smile of the Lord of Mischief or Der Erlkönig, but a crooked one. Twisted to one side, lopsided and goofy, it cracked my heart open and I bled inside.
He mouthed a word at me. A name. "You've always had it, Elisabeth," he said softly. "For it is you I gave my soul. ~ S Jae Jones,
446:On the other stage, there was a girl who looked like a mix of Japanese and something Mediterranean or Latin. A good mix. She had that silky, almost shimmering black hair so many modern Japanese women like to ruin with chapatsu dye, worn short and swept over from the side. The shape of the eyes was also Japanese, and she was on the petite side. But her skin, a smooth gold like melted caramel, spoke of something else, something tropical. Her breasts and hips, too, appealingly full and slightly incongruous on her Japanese-sized frame, suggested some foreign origin. She was using the pole skillfully, grabbing it high, posing with her body held rigid and parallel to the floor, then spiraling down in time to the music. There was real vitality in her moves and she didn’t seem to mind that most of the patrons were focused on the blonde. Mr. Ruddy held out a chair for me at an empty table in the center of the room. After a routine glance to ensure the seat afforded a proper view of the entrance, I sat. I wasn’t displeased to see that I also had a good view of the stage where the dark-haired girl was dancing. “Wow,” I said in English, looking at her. “Yes, she is beautiful,” he replied, also in English. “Would you like to meet her?” I watched her for another moment before answering. I didn’t want to wind up with one of the Japanese girls here. I would have a better chance of creating rapport, and therefore of eliciting information, by chatting with a foreigner while playing the role of foreigner. I nodded. ~ Barry Eisler,
447:Eveningsong At Bellosguardo
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
di doman non c'e certezza.
-Lorenzo di Medici
In the poplars' lengthening shadows on this hill,
amid the rows of marigolds and earth,
and through the boxhedge labyrinth we walk,
together, to the choiring twilight bells.
Their fugue of echoes echoes through the hills
and sings against this time-streaked, flowering wall
where breezes coax the potted lemon trees,
the pendant, yellow fruit and shiny leaves.
Beneath the flaming watercolor sky,
the cultivated, terraced dropp of hill,
a gleaming city with its towers and domes,
the Arno shimmering as its drowns the sun.
Chameleon-like, I am tranformed by light,
and wine has blurred the edges of the night.
What gifts I give on this or any night
may be refracted in another light.
You understnad this in a foreign tongue,
but vaguely, for these things will not translate.
I feel it in the cadence of your walk:
you are not whom moonlight can create.
And you will think the loosening of these thighs,
the sudden, urging whiteness of the throat
are muted but distinctly pagan cries
and in your triumph you will fairly gloat.
Tonight the unplucked lemons almost gleam.
And with their legs, the crickets harmonize.
The trees are rustling an uncertain hymn,
and unseen birds contribute trembling cries.
When did the summer censor choiring things?
We know the blood is brutal though it sings.
~ Erica Jong,
448:He snatched at the kerchief, managing to loosen it. "Please. It's all I want from life, to see you with-" another swipe, and he snagged the edge of the cloth, "-your hair all-"
But Leo broke off as the kerchief pulled free, and the hair that spilled out was not any conceivable shade of green. It was blond... pale amber and champagne and honey... and there was so much of it, cascading in shimmering waves to the middle of her back.
Leo went still, holding her in place as his astonished gaze raked over her. They both gulped for breath, worked up and winded like racehorses. Marks couldn't have looked more appalled if he had just stripped her naked. And the truth was, Leo couldn't have been any more confounded- or aroused- if he were actually viewing her naked. Though he certainly would have been willing to try it.
Such a commotion had risen in him, Leo hardly knew how to react. Just hair, just locks of hair... but it was like a previously undistinguished painting in the perfect frame, revealing its beauty in full luminous detail. Catherine Marks in the sunlight was a mythical creature, a nymph, with delicate features and opalescent eyes.
The most confounding realization was that it wasn't really hair color that had concealed all this from him... he had never noticed how stunning she was because she had deliberately kept him from seeing it.
"Why," Leo asked, his voice husky, "would you conceal something so beautiful?" Staring at her, nearly devouring her, he asked more softly still, "What are you hiding from? ~ Lisa Kleypas,
449:Harry strained his ears. Distantly, from the floor above, and growing fainter still, he heard the voice: ‘… I smell blood … I SMELL BLOOD!’ His stomach lurched. ‘It’s going to kill someone!’ he shouted, and ignoring Ron and Hermione’s bewildered faces, he ran up the next flight of steps three at a time, trying to listen over his own pounding footsteps. Harry hurtled around the whole of the second floor, Ron and Hermione panting behind him, not stopping until they turned a corner into the last, deserted passage. ‘Harry, what was that all about?’ said Ron, wiping sweat off his face. ‘I couldn’t hear anything …’ But Hermione gave a sudden gasp, pointing down the corridor. ‘Look!’ Something was shining on the wall ahead. They approached, slowly, squinting through the darkness. Foot-high words had been daubed on the wall between two windows, shimmering in the light cast by the flaming torches. THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE. ‘What’s that thing – hanging underneath?’ said Ron, a slight quiver in his voice. As they edged nearer, Harry almost slipped over: there was a large puddle of water on the floor. Ron and Hermione grabbed him, and they inched towards the message, eyes fixed on a dark shadow beneath it. All three of them realised what it was at once, and leapt backwards with a splash. Mrs Norris, the caretaker’s cat, was hanging by her tail from the torch bracket. She was stiff as a board, her eyes wide and staring. For a few seconds, they didn’t move. Then Ron said, ‘Let’s get out of here. ~ J K Rowling,
450:Do these past days mean nothing?” he asked, so gently that my weak self curled around his words.
But I would no longer be weak. I tapped into that power in my veins and a shimmering wall of flames sprang up between us. Amar jumped back, shocked and then…amused.
“A little ruthlessness is to be admired, but it’s cruel to play with a powerless heart.”
“Crueler still to promise equality and hide a person’s true self.”
“I thought it was best for you,” he repeated.
“Strange how something that only affected me was decided by you.
Amar’s smile turned cold. “My promises were true. You seek to punish an illusion without fully knowing. What were your kisses, then? Vengeance?”
The wall of flames shimmered away. Anger still flared inside me, but now it was mixed with something else. Something I couldn’t push away, despite fury. Want.
“They were nothing,” I lied. “They meant nothing.”
I didn’t look at him. And then, a bloom of cold erupted beside me and Amar was at my side. His fingers traced a secret calligraphy along my arms.
“Nothing at all?”
My heart twisted. I reached forward, my hands tangling in his hair as I kissed him. It was a kiss meant to devour, to summon war. And when I broke it, my voice was harsh:
“My kisses mean nothing.”
“Cruel queen,” he murmured, tilting my head back. His lips skimmed down my neck. Amar’s hands gripped my waist, before tracing the outline of my hips. Heat flared through my body. But just as I pulled him closer, a sudden clash echoed in the hallway, and we sprang apart. ~ Roshani Chokshi,
451:Her hands found his buttocks, squeezing the densely textured flesh like a cat kneading with its paws, and Jack gasped against her hair. Emboldened, she slid one hand to his sex and touched him, her fingers closing tightly around the pulsing shape. He moved to his side to give her more access to his body, letting her touch him in any manner she wished.
Gently she cupped the fuzz-covered pouch at the base of his sex, which felt cool and soft in comparison to the turgid shaft. Her fingertips traced over the ridges of veins that led all the way up to a broad tip. Experimentally she drew the pad of her thumb over the satiny bulb, and he clenched his hands in her hair and groaned.
"Does that please you?" she whispered.
It appeared that he found it difficult to speak. "Yes," he finally managed with a smothered laugh. "God, yes... if you please me any more, I will probably explode." He tilted her head back and brought their faces together, his features shimmering with a mist of sweat, his eyes ablaze with blue light. His large hand covered hers, helping to guide the head of his shaft to the thatch of soft, wiry curls between her legs. His palm moved to her thigh, hitching it over his hip so that she was spread open for him. "Rub it against yourself," he murmured.
Amanda's entire body turned crimson. Slowly she took the head of his shaft in her fingers and brought it to the damp furrow between her thighs. Her breath rushed in harsh surges as she rubbed the tip of his organ over her intimate flesh, until the moisture from her own body made him slippery. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
452:The Goal
ON the grey levels of the plain of life
When, slowly swirled,
The moving hills of morning mist
Hedged in the world—
While yet undared the path of toil and strife,
I found a friend
Whose faith I pictured would persist
Until the end.
Then peered the stooping sun across the plain—
The world he kissed;
In sudden glory shimmering
Flamed all the mist!
The sullen Darkness carried off his slain,
And straight away,
Like a forefinger beckoning,
The white road lay.
Her hand in mine, upon the path we pressed;
Together shared
The flowers we plucked—to find them pain;
And forward fared
Till we stood radiant on the mountain crest;
And still ahead,
Dipping to pleasant depths of plain,
The white road led.
But when I urged her onward to the end
Her heart peered out
Upon the road's unswerving leap
In dizzy doubt.
“Nay, we have reached the highest, why descend?”
Her lips demurred—
And with us, gazing at the steep,
There stood a third.
Her eyes clasped his in an embrace of love.
Said they: “No more;
Here on the crest is our abode,
Our journey o'er;
The goal for you!” So, leaving them above,
I went alone—
And still the arrow of the road
Sped on, straight on!
But darker and more desolate the way,
Until I turned—
Lo, in the halo of the sun
The lovers burned,
High on the mountain-top! Ah, what if they,
By passion kissed,
The goal of life and love have won,
And I have missed?
~ Arthur Henry Adams,
453:It was a gorgeous evening, with a breeze shimmering through the trees, people strolling hand in hand through the quaint streets and the plaza. The shops, bistros and restaurants were abuzz with patrons. She showed him where the farmer's market took place every Saturday, and pointed out her favorite spots- the town library, a tasting room co-op run by the area vintners, the Brew Ha-Ha and the Rose, a vintage community theater. On a night like this, she took a special pride in Archangel, with its cheerful spirit and colorful sights. She refused to let the Calvin sighting drag her down. He had ruined many things for her, but he was not going to ruin the way she felt about her hometown.
After some deliberation, she chose Andaluz, her favorite spot for Spanish-style wines and tapas. The bar spilled out onto the sidewalk, brightened by twinkling lights strung under the big canvas umbrellas. The tables were small, encouraging quiet intimacy and insuring that their knees would bump as they scooted their chairs close. She ordered a carafe of local Mataro, a deep, strong red from some of the oldest vines in the county, and a plancha of tapas- deviled dates, warm, marinated olives, a spicy seared tuna with smoked paprika. Across the way in the plaza garden, the musician strummed a few chords on his guitar.
The food was delicious, the wine even better, as elemental and earthy as the wild hills where the grapes grew. They finished with sips of chocolate-infused port and cinnamon churros. The guitar player was singing "The Keeper," his gentle voice seeming to float with the breeze. ~ Susan Wiggs,
454:It is interesting to compare his translation into alliterative verse of the description in Beowulf, lines 210–24, of the voyage of Beowulf and his companions to Denmark (given in the section ‘On Metre’ in his Prefatory Remarks to the translation by J.R. Clark Hall, revised by C.L. Wrenn, 1940), with the prose translation in this book, lines 171–82. Time passed away. On the tide floated under bank their boat. In her bows mounted brave men blithely. Breakers turning spurned the shingle. Splendid armour they bore aboard, in her bosom piling well-forged weapons, then away thrust her to voyage gladly valiant-timbered. She went then over wave-tops, wind pursued her, fleet, foam-throated, like a flying bird; and her curving prow on its course waded, till in due season on the day after those seafarers saw before them shore-cliffs shimmering and sheer mountains, wide capes by the waves; to water’s end the ship had journeyed. Time passed on. Afloat upon the waves was the boat beneath the cliffs. Eagerly the warriors mounted the prow, and the streaming seas swirled upon the sand. Men-at arms bore to the bosom of the ship their bright harness, their cunning gear of war; they then, men on a glad voyage, thrust her forth with her well-joined timbers. Over the waves of the deep she went sped by the wind, sailing with foam at throat most like unto a bird, until in due hour upon the second day her curving beak had made such way that those sailors saw the land, the cliffs beside the ocean gleaming, and sheer headlands and capes thrust far to sea. Then for that sailing ship the journey was at an end. ~ Unknown,
455:Elijah Browning
I was among multitudes of children
Dancing at the foot of a mountain.
A breeze blew out of the east and swept them as leaves,
Driving some up the slopes.... All was changed.
Here were flying lights, and mystic moons, and dream-music.
A cloud fell upon us. When it lifted all was changed.
I was now amid multitudes who were wrangling.
Then a figure in shimmering gold, and one with a trumpet,
And one with a sceptre stood before me.
They mocked me and danced a rigadoon and vanished....
All was changed again. Out of a bower of poppies
A woman bared her breasts and lifted her open mouth to mine.
I kissed her. The taste of her lips was like salt.
She left blood on my lips. I fell exhausted.
I arose and ascended higher, but a mist as from an iceberg
Clouded my steps. I was cold and in pain.
Then the sun streamed on me again,
And I saw the mists below me hiding all below them.
And I, bent over my staff, knew myself
Silhouetted against the snow. And above me
Was the soundless air, pierced by a cone of ice,
Over which hung a solitary star!
A shudder of ecstasy, a shudder of fear
Ran through me. But I could not return to the slopes -Nay, I wished not to return.
For the spent waves of the symphony of freedom
Lapped the ethereal cliffs about me.
Therefore I climbed to the pinnacle.
I flung away my staff.
I touched that star
With my outstretched hand.
I vanished utterly.
For the mountain delivers to Infinite Truth
Whosoever touches the star!
~ Edgar Lee Masters,
456:Her Hair
O fleece, that down the neck waves to the nape!
O curls! O perfume nonchalant and rare!
O ecstasy! To fill this alcove shape
With memories that in these tresses sleep,
I would shake them like penions in the air!
Languorous Asia, burning Africa,
And a far world, defunct almost, absent,
Within your aromatic forest stay!
As other souls on music drift away,
Mine, O my love! still floats upon your scent.
I shall go there where, full of sap, both tree
And man swoon in the heat of the southern climates;
Strong tresses be the swell that carries me!
I dream upon your sea of amber
Of dazzling sails, of oarsmen, masts, and flames:
A sun-drenched and reverberating port,
Where I imbibe colour and sound and scent;
Where vessels, gliding through the gold and moiré,
Open their vast arms as they leave the shore
To clasp the pure and shimmering firmament.
I'll plunge my head, enamored of its pleasure,
In this black ocean where the other hides;
My subtle spirit then will know a measure
Of fertile idleness and fragrant leisure,
Lulled by the infinite rhythm of its tides!
Pavilion, of autumn-shadowed tresses spun,
You give me back the azure from afar;
And where the twisted locks are fringed with down
Lurk mingled odors I grow drunk upon
Of oil of coconut, of musk, and tar.
A long time! always! my hand in your hair
Will sow the stars of sapphire, pearl, ruby,
That you be never deaf to my desire,
My oasis and my gourd whence I aspire
To drink deep of the wine of memory.
~ Charles Baudelaire,
457:Rapids At Night
Here at the roots of the mountains,
Between the sombre legions of cedars and tamaracks,
The rapids charge the ravine:
A little light, cast by foam under starlight,
Wavers about the shimmering stems of the birches:
Here rise up the clangorous sounds of battle,
Immense and mournful.
Far above curves the great dome of darkness
Drawn with the limitless lines of the stars and the planets.
Deep at the core of the tumult,
Deeper than all the voices that cry at the surface,
Dwells one fathomless sound,
Under the hiss and cry, the stroke and the plangent clamour.
O human heart that sleeps,
Wild with rushing dreams and deep with sadness!
The abysmal roar drops into almost silence,
While over its sleep play in various cadence
Innumerous voices crashing in laughter;
Then rising calm, overwhelming,
Slow in power,
Rising supreme in utterance,
It sways, and reconquers and floods all the spaces of silence,
One voice, deep with the sadness,
That dwells at the core of all things.
There by a nest in the glimmering birches,
Speaks a thrush as if startled from slumber,
Dreaming of Southern ricefields,
The moted glow of the amber sunlight,
Where the long ripple roves among the reeds.
Above curves the great dome of darkness,
Scored with the limitless lines of the stars and the planets;
Like the strong palm of God,
Veined with the ancient laws,
Holding a human heart that sleeps,
Wild with rushing dreams and deep with the sadness,
That dwells at the core of all things.
~ Duncan Campbell Scott,
458:Stop fussing,” Legna admonished her, tapping her finger against Isabella’s absently energetic hand.
“I’m getting married in a few minutes, Legna, I think I’ve a right to fuss.” Isabella felt her heart turn over as she spoke aloud, listening to herself talk about her impending marriage.
“Well, brides are supposed to be blushing, as I understand it. At the moment you are no less than five shades of gray.” Legna continued with her interrupted weaving of more ribbons in Isabella’s hair. “And as much as it matches the silver of your dress, I think you would look better with a little natural color.” Legna reached to smooth down a portion of the shimmering silver fabric that draped off of the bride’s shoulders in a Grecian fashion. “You know,” she pressed, “there are only two nights in a year when Demons perform a joining ceremony. Samhain and Beltane. If you pass out tonight, you will have to wait until next spring.”
“Thanks for the bulletin. You’re too kind,” Isabella retorted dryly.
“Actually, purely out of kindness, I will tell you that your future husband is just shy of tossing his cookies himself, so you can take comfort in knowing he is just as nervous as you are.”
“Legna!” Bella laughed. “You’re a wretch!” She turned to look at the female Demon, briefly admiring how pretty she looked in her soft white chiffon gown. “And how would you know? You’re standing too close to me to be able to sense his emotions.”
“Because when I went to fetch the ribbons, he was seated next to Noah with his head between his knees.” Legna giggled. “I have never seen anything rattle Jacob before. I cannot help but find it amusing. ~ Jacquelyn Frank,
459:Back home, we can't kill them fast enough," he says. "Even Grahamites offer blue bills for their skins. Probably the only thing they've ever done that I agreed with."

"Mmm, yes." Emiko's brow wrinkles thoughtfully. "They are too much improved for this world, I think. A natural bird has so little chance, now." She smiles slightly. "Just think if they had made New People first."

Is it mischief in her eyes? Or melancholy?

"What do you think would have happened?" Anderson asks.

Emiko doesn't meet his gaze, looks out instead at the circling cats amongst the diners. "Generippers learned too much from cheshires."

She doesn't say anything else, but Anderson can guess what's in her mind. If her kind had come first, before the generippers knew better, she would not have been made sterile. She would not have the signature tick-tock motions that make her so physically obvious. She might have even been designed as well as the military windups now operating in Vietnam—deadly and fearless. Without the lesson of the cheshires, Emiko might have had the opportunity to supplant the human species entirely with her own improved version. Instead, she is a genetic dead end. Doomed to a single life cycle, just like SoyPRO and TotalNutrient Wheat.

Another shadow cat bolts across the street, shimmering and shading through darkness. A high-tech homage to Lewis Carroll, a few dirigible and clipper ship rides, and suddenly entire classes of animals are wiped out, unequipped to fight an invisible threat.

"We would have realized our mistake," Anderson observes.

"Yes. Of course. But perhaps not soon enough. ~ Paolo Bacigalupi,
460:Sheridan bit back a teary smile at his quip, afraid to believe him, afraid to trust him, and unable to stop herself because she loved him. "Look at me," Stephen said, tipping her chin up again, and this time her glorious eyes looked into his. "I have several reasons for asking you to walk into that chapel, where there is a vicar waiting for us, but guilt is not among them. I also have several things to ask of you before you agree to go in there with me."

"What sort of things?"

"I would like you to give me daughters with your hair and your spirit," he said, beginning to enumerate his reasons and requests. "I would like my sons to have your eyes and your courage. Now, if that's not what you want, then give me any combination you like, and I will humbly thank you for giving me any child we make."

Happiness began to spread through Sheridan until it was so intense she ached from it. "I want to change your name," he said with a tender smile, "so there's no doubt who you are ever again, or who you belong to." He slid his hands up and down her arms, looking directly into her eyes. "I want the right to share your bed tonight and every night from this day onward. I want to make you moan in my arms again, and I want to wake up wrapped in yours."

He shifted his hands and cradled her cheeks, his thumbs brushing away two tears at the edges of her shimmering eyes. "Last of all, I want to hear you say 'I love you' every day of my life. If you aren't ready to agree to that last request right now, I would be willing to wait until tonight, when I believe you will. In return for all those concessions, I will grant you every wish that is within my power to grant you. ~ Judith McNaught,
461:This vicious circle is but the first of a series in which the mind that studies itself gets lost in a giddy whirling. The very simplicity of these paradoxes makes them irreducible. Whatever may be the plays on words and the acrobatics of logic, to understand is, above all, to unify. The mind’s deepest desire, even in its most elaborate operations, parallels man’s unconscious feeling in the face of his universe: it is an insistence upon familiarity, an appetite for clarity. Understanding the world for a man is reducing it to the human, stamping it with his seal. The cat’s universe is not the universe of the anthill. The truism “All thought is anthropomorphic” has no other meaning. Likewise, the mind that aims to understand reality can consider itself satisfied only by reducing it to terms of thought. If man realized that the universe like him can love and suffer, he would be reconciled. If thought discovered in the shimmering mirrors of phenomena eternal relations capable of summing them up and summing themselves up in a single principle, then would be seen an intellectual joy of which the myth of the blessed would be but a ridiculous imitation. That nostalgia for unity, that appetite for the absolute illustrates the essential impulse of the human drama. But the fact of that nostalgia’s existence does not imply that it is to be immediately satisfied. For if, bridging the gulf that separates desire from conquest, we assert with Parmenides the reality of the One (whatever it may be), we fall into the ridiculous contradiction of a mind that asserts total unity and proves by its very assertion its own difference and the diversity it claimed to resolve. This other vicious circle is enough to stifle our hopes ~ Anonymous,
Sunflower tall and hollyhock, that wave in the
wind together,
Corn-flower, poppy, and marigold, blossoming
fair and fine,
Delicate sweet-peas, glowing bright in the quiet
autumn weather,
While over the fence, on fire with bloom,
climbs the nasturtium vine!
Quaint little wilderness of flowers, straggling
hither and thither morning-glories tangled about the larkspur
gone to seed,
Scarlet runners that burst all bounds, and wander, heaven knows whither,
And lilac spikes of bergamot, as thick as any
And oh, the bees and the butterflies, the humming-birds and sparrows,
That over the garden waver and chirp and
flutter the livelong day!
Humming-birds, that dart in the sun like green
and golden arrows,
Butterflies like loosened flowers blown off by
the wind in play.
Look at the red nasturtium flower, drooping,
bending, and swaying;
Out the gold-banded humble-bee breaks and
goes booming anew!
Hark, what the sweet-voiced fledgling sparrows
low to themselves are saying,
Pecking my golden oats where the corn-flowers
gleam so blue!
Welcome, a thousand times welcome, ye dear
and delicate neighbors Bird and bee and butterfly, and humming-bird
fairy fine!
Proud am I to offer you a field for your graceful labors;
All the honey and all the seeds are yours in
this garden of mine.
I sit on the door-step and watch you. Beyond
lies the infinite ocean,
Sparkling, shimmering, whispering, rocking itself
to rest;
And the world is full of perfume and color and
beautiful motion,
And each new hour of this sweet day the
happiest seems and best.
~ Celia Thaxter,
463:To Arms! (Ii)
Now let the cry, ``To Arms! To Arms!''
Go ringing round the world;
And swift a wave-wide Empire swarms
Round Battleflag unfurled!
Wherever glitters Britain's might,
Or Britain's banner flies,
Leap up mailed myriads with the light
Of manhood in their eyes;
Calling from farmstead, mart, and strand,
``We come! And we! And we!
That British steel may hold the land,
And British keels the sea!''
From English hamlet, Irish hill,
Welsh hearths, and Scottish byres,
They throng to show that they are still
Sons worthy of their sires:
That what these did, we still can do,
That what they were, we are,
Whose fathers fought at Waterloo,
And died at Trafalgar!
Shoulder to shoulder see them stand,
Wherever menace be,
To guard the lordship of the land
And the Trident of the sea.
Nor in the parent Isle alone
Spring squadrons from the ground;
Canadian shore and Austral zone
With kindred cry resound:
``From shimmering plain and snow-fed stream,
Across the deep we come,
Seeing the British bayonets gleam,
Hearing the British drum.
Foot in the stirrup, hilt in hand,
Free men, to keep men free,
All, all will help to hold the land
While England guards the sea!''
Comrades in arms, from every shore
Where thundereth the main,
On to the front they press and pour
To face the rifles' rain;
To force the foe from covert crag,
And chase them till they fall,
Then plant for ever England's Flag
Upon the rebel wall!
What! Wrench the Sceptre from her hand,
And bid her bow the knee!
Not while her Yeomen guard the land,
And her ironclads the sea!
~ Alfred Austin,
464:Before The Altar
Before the Altar, bowed, he stands
With empty hands;
Upon it perfumed offerings burn
Wreathing with smoke the sacrificial urn.
Not one of all these has he given,
No flame of his has leapt to Heaven
Firesouled, vermilion-hearted,
Forked, and darted,
Consuming what a few spare pence
Have cheaply bought, to fling from hence
In idly-asked petition.
His sole condition
Love and poverty.
And while the moon
Swings slow across the sky,
Athwart a waving pine tree,
And soon
Tips all the needles there
With silver sparkles, bitterly
He gazes, while his soul
Grows hard with thinking of the poorness of his dole.
"Shining and distant Goddess, hear my prayer
Where you swim in the high air!
With charity look down on me,
Under this tree,
Tending the gifts I have not brought,
The rare and goodly things
I have not sought.
Instead, take from me all my life!
"Upon the wings
Of shimmering moonbeams
I pack my poet's dreams
For you.
My wearying strife,
My courage, my loss,
Into the night I toss
For you.
Golden Divinity,
Deign to look down on me
Who so unworthily
Offers to you:
All life has known,
Seeds withered unsown,
Hopes turning quick to fears,
Laughter which dies in tears.
The shredded remnant of a man
Is all the span
And compass of my offering to you.
"Empty and silent, I
Kneel before your pure, calm majesty.
On this stone, in this urn
I pour my heart and watch it burn,
Myself the sacrifice; but be
Still unmoved: Divinity.”
From the altar, bathed in moonlight,
The smoke rose straight in the quiet night.
~ Amy Lowell,
465:Taut, intelligent, and intense suspense that is deeply human.”—Mark Greaney, New York Times Bestselling Author of Gunmetal Gray

“Exciting and well-layered....David Bell is a master storyteller with a sure hand at crafting characters you feel for and stories you relish.”—Allen Eskens, USA Today Bestselling Author of The Life We Bury

“A tense and twisty suspense novel about the dark secrets that lie buried within a community and a father who can save his daughter only by uncovering them. Will leave parents wondering just how well they truly know their children.”—Hester Young, author of The Gates of Evangeline and The Shimmering Road

“A gripping, immersive tour-de-force full of twists and turns. BRING HER HOME kept me flipping the pages late into the night. Don’t expect to sleep until you’ve finished reading this book. I could not put it down!”—A. J. Banner, bestselling author of The Good Neighbor and The Twilight Wife

“In David Bell’s riveting BRING HER HOME, the unthinkable is only the beginning. From there, the story races through stunning twists all the way to its revelation, without letting its heart fall away in the action. Intense, emotional, and deeply satisfying. This one will keep you up late into the night. Don't miss it!”—Jamie Mason, author of Three Graves Full and Monday’s Lie

“Spellbinding and pulse-raising, BRING HER HOME hooked me from the first sentence and surprised me until the final pages. Sharply written and richly observed, this book is about the secrets we keep, the mysteries that keep us, and the lengths a father will go to for the daughter he loves. David Bell is a masterful storyteller who has perfected the art of suspense in BRING HER HOME.”—Sarah Domet, author of The Guineveres ~ David Bell,
466:Loretta was stuffing her belongings into her satchel when Hunter stepped into the lodge. He stood in the shadows a moment, watching her. The firelight fell across her, shimmering in her golden hair, flickering across the leather that skimmed her bent shoulders. She was sobbing. The sounds cut through him.
“Blue Eyes?”
His whisper snapped her head around. She sprang to her feet, his eyes huge with shock, her lips pale. “I’m leaving, Hunter.”
Hunter stepped from the shadows, his heart catching at the way she retreated. “I was not at your wooden walls that day, Blue Eyes. I have spoken it.” He paused by the fire, not wanting to crowd her. “It is a God promise I make for you.”
Sparkling with tears, her eyes met his. Her throat worked, and her mouth twisted. “Oh, Hunter, don’t you see it doesn’t make a difference?” She made a gesture toward his scalp pole. “From the first we knew it could never work between us. Somehow, for a few wonderful days, we lost sight of that. You’re a Comanche. I’m a tosi woman. We’re worlds apart.”
“Look into me and say you have no love for me,” he commanded hoarsely.
“All the love in the world can never change this.”
“Say the words to me!”
“I can’t. I do love you, don’t you see? What I must do has nothing to do with what’s between us.”
“My heart sang only good things--” His voice caught, and he swallowed. “I thought the comb would bring you great gladness.”
“I know that.” Loretta swiped at her cheeks and sniffed. “I’m not blaming you. It’s not your fault, Hunter, or mine, not even Red Buffalo’s. Don’t you see? This madness began long before we were born, and it’ll go on long after we’re all dead. Some things, no matter how sweet, how wonderful, just aren’t meant to be. ~ Catherine Anderson,
467:And then Winnie said something she had never said before, but the words were words she had sometimes heard, and often longed to hear. They sounded strange on her own lips and made her sit up straighter. “Mr. Tuck,” she said, “don’t worry. Everything’s going to be all right.”
The constable glanced heavenward and shook his head. Then, clutching his shotgun, he climbed up behind Winnie and turned the horse toward the path. “You first,” he barked at Mae, “I got to keep an eye on you. And as for you,” he added grimly, speaking to Tuck, “you better hope that feller don’t die on you. I’ll be back soon as I can.”
“Everything’ll be all right,” Tuck repeated slowly. Mae, slumped on the back of the fat old horse, did not respond. But Winnie leaned round the constable and looked back at Tuck. “You’ll see,” she said. And then she faced forward, sitting very straight. She was going home, but the thought of that was far from her mind. She watched the rump of the horse ahead, the swish of coarse, dusty hairs as he moved his tail. And she watched the swaying, sagging back of the woman who rode him.
Up through the dim pine trees they went, the constable’s breath wheezing in her ears, and emerging from the coolness and the green, Winnie saw again the wide world spread before her, shimmering with light and possibility. But the possibilities were different now. They did not point to what might happen to her but to what she herself might keep from happening. For the only thing she could think of was the clear and terrible necessity: Mae Tuck must never go to the gallows. Whatever happened to the man in the yellow suit, Mae Tuck must not be hanged. Because if all they had said was true, then Mae, even if she were the cruelest of murderers and deserved to be put to death--Mae Tuck would not be able to die. ~ Natalie Babbitt,
468:It was a dead swan. Its body lay contorted on the beach like an abandoned lover. I looked at the bird for a long time. There was no blood on its feathers, no sight of gunshot. Most likely, a late migrant from the north slapped silly by a ravenous Great Salt Lake. The swan may have drowned. I knelt beside the bird, took off my deerskin gloves, and began smoothing feathers. Its body was still limp—the swan had not been dead long. I lifted both wings out from under its belly and spread them on the sand. Untangling the long neck which was wrapped around itself was more difficult, but finally I was able to straighten it, resting the swan’s chin flat against the shore. The small dark eyes had sunk behind the yellow lores. It was a whistling swan. I looked for two black stones, found them, and placed them over the eyes like coins. They held. And, using my own saliva as my mother and grandmother had done to wash my face, I washed the swan’s black bill and feet until they shone like patent leather. I have no idea of the amount of time that passed in the preparation of the swan. What I remember most is lying next to its body and imagining the great white bird in flight. I imagined the great heart that propelled the bird forward day after day, night after night. Imagined the deep breaths taken as it lifted from the arctic tundra, the camaraderie within the flock. I imagined the stars seen and recognized on clear autumn nights as they navigated south. Imagined their silhouettes passing in front of the full face of the harvest moon. And I imagined the shimmering Great Salt Lake calling the swans down like a mother, the suddenness of the storm, the anguish of its separation. And I tried to listen to the stillness of its body. At dusk, I left the swan like a crucifix on the sand. I did not look back. ~ Terry Tempest Williams,
469:Beware, Now That You Have Left Your Homes
So said the Breezes addressing those departing,
"To search for the long departed is certainly a futile effort,
for who has ever found the traces of the long departed!
you, who wander about the darkness
carrying shimmering lamps in your eyes,
youl tell us,
has anything ever sprouted from dead earth!"
Ruined by an eternally secure nature,
paths of imagination tell tales,
of the precious footsteps of the long departed,
arouse hopes of union;
mingling with the verdant smell of roselike bodies,
by the living knock of their quiet rustlings.
Were you to ask about the abodes
of those passionate faces, questioning eyes;
Those paths of imagination peer at you
as though words:
have been severed from their meanings
and utterances:
have clustered in the ambiguous whirlwind of anonymity.
So said the journeys addressing those departing,
"Travel is an ocean of trials and afflictions.
It is entirely a whirlpool.
The gait of the long departed is
nothing more than the vagaries of desert winds,
unaware of its waystations,
It is a mirage;
More credible than clear vision.
Every spectacle is a tunic of perishing colours, as
failures and dreams go hand in hand"
So said the Stars, addressing those departing
"But the longing to rekindle previous friendship
Is the path to union
The new word derives vitality from the
reappearance of timeworn letters.
Beware, now that you have left your homes,
Stasis is:
decadence, demise of existence,
Quest is
eternal fire of eyes,
The path to the unseen destination
is illumined by those who have long departed."
[Translated by Farooq Hamid]
~ Amjad Islam Amjad,
470:Sir Bird preens next to me, tucking feathers into place with a low noise in his throat almost like he’s talking to himself. A slow smile spreads across Finn’s face as he rubs his knuckles—black and blue with several bruises from Sir Bird’s beak.
“Let’s see,” he says, flipping through his father’s book. “Here! I’ll need some water in a shallow bowl . . . ink . . . yes, I think this is everything.” He gathers the items, then reads over the entry several times, eyebrows knit in concentration. Dipping his pen in the ink, he whispers strange words while writing on the surface of the water. The ink drips down, elongating the form of the symbols that still hover where he wrote them. I recognize one—change. But the rest I haven’t learned yet.
Then, without warning, he lifts up the bowl and dumps the whole thing onto Sir Bird.
Only instead of getting wet, as the water washes over his body, Sir Bird’s feathers turn . . . blue.
Bright, brilliant, shimmering blue.
Squawking in outrage, Sir Bird hops and flies around the room, frantically shaking his feathers. He lands on the desk with a scrabble of clawed feet, then begins trying to bite off the color.
“Ha!” Finn says, pointing at his knuckles. “Now you’re black and blue, too!”
I can’t help but laugh at my poor, panicking bird. Not to mention the ridiculous pettiness of Finn’s magic show. Picking up Sir Bird, I stroke his feathers and speak softly to him. “Hush now. I’ll make him fix you. You’re still very handsome, but blue isn’t your color, is it?”
He caws mournfully, still pulling at his own feathers.
He puts his hands behind his back, trying to look innocent. “What? He deserved it.”
“He’s a bird. You can’t really find this much satisfaction in revenge against a bird, can you?”
His voice comes out just a tad petulant. “He started it. ~ Kiersten White,
I know a country laced with roads,
They join the hills and they span the brooks,
They weave like a shuttle between broad fields,
And slide discreetly through hidden nooks.
They are canopied like a Persian dome
And carpeted with orient dyes.
They are myriad-voiced, and musical,
And scented with happiest memories.
O Winding roads that I know so well,
Every twist and turn, every hollow and hill!
They are set in my heart to a pulsing tune
Gay as a honey-bee humming in June.
'T is the rhythmic beat of a horse's feet
And the pattering paws of a sheep-dog bitch;
'T is the creaking trees, and the singing breeze,
And the rustle of leaves in the road-side ditch.
A cow in a meadow shakes her bell
And the notes cut sharp through the autumn air,
Each chattering brook bears a fleet of leaves
Their cargo the rainbow, and just now where
The sun splashed bright on the road ahead
A startled rabbit quivered and fled.
O Uphill roads and roads that dip down!
You curl your sun-spattered length along,
And your march is beaten into a song
By the softly ringing hoofs of a horse
And the panting breath of the dogs I love.
The pageant of Autumn follows its course
And the blue sky of Autumn laughs above.
And the song and the country become as one,
I see it as music, I hear it as light;
Prismatic and shimmering, trembling to tone,
The land of desire, my soul's delight.
And always it beats in my listening ears
With the gentle thud of a horse's stride,
With the swift-falling steps of many dogs,
Following, following at my side.
O Roads that journey to fairyland!
Radiant highways whose vistas gleam,
Leading me on, under crimson leaves,
To the opaline gates of the Castles of Dream.
~ Amy Lowell,
472:Flanked by Warren and Tanu, Kendra started forward. As she neared the peninsula, her companions hung back. She felt generally peaceful about proceeding, and decided the absence of an identifiable warning meant the Fairy Queen would welcome her visit. A pair of tall women stepped out from behind the trees, blocking her path. One had flowers braided into her auburn hair; the other had leafy vines twisted into her dark plaits. Their layered gowns reminded Kendra of springtime foliage shimmering with dew. Each woman held a heavy wooden staff. “Where did you come from?” asked the woman with dark hair, her voice a resonant alto. “You tread on sacred ground,” warned the other. Warren and Tanu hustled up beside Kendra. Tanu was a large man, but these women stood half a head taller. The woman with dark hair arched an eyebrow. “Would you threaten us with weapons?” From both sides and behind, other dryads emerged from the trees. “We are friends,” Kendra said. “I have urgent business with the Fairy Queen.” “This one has a queer aspect,” whispered the dryad with the auburn hair. “Indeed,” the other dryad whispered back, “and she speaks our tongue.” “I speak many languages,” Kendra said. The dryads looked stricken. “Even our secret dialect?” asked the one with auburn hair. Kendra stared up at them, hoping her eyes displayed more confidence than she felt. “I am fairykind, a servant of the Fairy Queen. These are my companions.” The dryad with the dark hair narrowed her green eyes. After a moment, her posture became less threatening. “I apologize for our abrupt greeting. These are troubled times, and it has long been our task to protect this shrine. We’ve heard of you, but did not recognize you. We have never encountered a mortal quite like you. We now see that you belong among us.” “Thank you,” Kendra said. “My friends can’t come to the shrine with me.” The ~ Brandon Mull,
473:A Japanese Wood-Carving
High up above the open, welcoming door
It hangs, a piece of wood with colours dim.
Once, long ago, it was a waving tree
And knew the sun and shadow through the leaves
Of forest trees, in a thick eastern wood.
The winter snows had bent its branches down,
The spring had swelled its buds with coming flowers,
Summer had run like fire through its veins,
While autumn pelted it with chestnut burrs,
And strewed the leafy ground with acorn cups.
Dark midnight storms had roared and crashed among
Its branches, breaking here and there a limb;
But every now and then broad sunlit days
Lovingly lingered, caught among the leaves.
Yes, it had known all this, and yet to us
It does not speak of mossy forest ways,
Of whispering pine trees or the shimmering birch;
But of quick winds, and the salt, stinging sea!
An artist once, with patient, careful knife,
Had fashioned it like to the untamed sea.
Here waves uprear themselves, their tops blown back
By the gay, sunny wind, which whips the blue
And breaks it into gleams and sparks of light.
Among the flashing waves are two white birds
Which swoop, and soar, and scream for very joy
At the wild sport. Now diving quickly in,
Questing some glistening fish. Now flying up,
Their dripping feathers shining in the sun,
While the wet drops like little glints of light,
Fall pattering backward to the parent sea.
Gliding along the green and foam-flecked hollows,
Or skimming some white crest about to break,
The spirits of the sky deigning to stoop
And play with ocean in a summer mood.
Hanging above the high, wide open door,
It brings to us in quiet, firelit room,
The freedom of the earth's vast solitudes,
Where heaping, sunny waves tumble and roll,
And seabirds scream in wanton happiness.
~ Amy Lowell,
474:Christopher . . . are these from you?” she asked at lunch, careful to make her tone light as she placed the two picture-poems on the table. Christopher’s eyes fell to them, and he smiled.
He didn’t ask if she liked them, and he didn’t seem embarrassed.
Sarah was flustered, and somewhat surprised by Christopher’s easy confidence. Even so, her natural suspicion surfaced. “Why?”
“Because,” he answered seriously, “you make a good subject. Your hair, for one, is like a shimmering waterfall. It’s so fair that it catches the light. It makes you seem like you have a halo about you. And your eyes—they’re such a pure color, not washed out at all, deep as the ocean. And your expression . . . intense and yet somehow detached, as if you see more of the world than the rest of us.”
Flustered, she could think of no way to respond. Did he just say this stuff from the top of his head? Only her strict Vida control kept her from blushing.
Meanwhile Nissa entered the cafeteria. She started to sit, then glanced from the pictures, to Christopher, to Sarah. “Should I go somewhere else?”
Christopher nodded to a chair, answering easily, “Sit down. We aren’t exchanging dark secrets—yet.”
Nissa flashed a teasing look to her brother as she took a seat. “As his sister, I feel the need to inform you, Sarah, that Christopher has been talking about you incessantly.”
Christopher smiled, unembarrassed. “I suppose I might have been.’
“Especially your eyes—he never shuts up about your eyes,” Nissa confided, and this time Christopher shrugged.
“They’re beautiful,” he said casually. “Beauty should be looked at, not ignored. I try to capture it on paper, but that’s really impossible with eyes, because they have a life no still portrait can capture.”
Sarah’s voice was tied up so tightly she thought she might be able to speak again sometime next year. No one had ever talked about her—or to her—with such admiration. ~ Amelia Atwater Rhodes,
475:Dance with me,” Merripen surprised her by murmuring. Win shook her head with a little laugh, watching the couples twirl and move sinuously around each other. Women used their hands in shimmering motions around their bodies, while men stomped with their heels and clapped their hands, and all the while they circled each other while holding each other’s gaze as long as possible. “I don’t know how,” Win said. Merripen stood behind her and crossed his arm around her front, drawing her back against him. Another surprise. She had never known him to touch her so openly. But amid the goings-on, it seemed no one noticed or cared. His voice was hot and soft in her ear. “Watch for a moment. You see how little space is needed? How they circle each other? When Roma dance they lift their hands to the sky, but they stomp their feet to express connection to the earth. And to earthly passions.” He smiled against her cheek and gently turned her to face him. “Come,” he murmured, and hooked his hand around her waist to urge her forward. Win followed him shyly, fascinated by a side of him she hadn’t seen before. She wouldn’t have expected him to be this self-assured, drawing her into the dance with animal grace, watching her with a wicked gleam in his eyes. He coaxed her to raise her arms upward, to snap her fingers, even to swish her skirts at him as he moved around her. She couldn’t seem to stop giggling. They were dancing, and he was so good at it, turning it into a cat-and-mouse game. She twirled in a circle, and he caught her around the waist, pulling her close for one scalding moment. The scent of his skin, the movement of his chest against hers, filled her with intense desire. Leaning his forehead against hers, Merripen stared at her until she was drowning in the depths of his eyes, as dark and bright as hellfire. “Kiss me,” she whispered unevenly, not caring where they were or who might see them. A smile touched his lips. “If I start now, I won’t be able to stop. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
476:An Old Man To His Sleeping Young Bride
As when the old moon lighted by the tender
And radiant crescent of the new is seen,
And for a moment's space suggests the splendor
Of what in its full prime it once has been,
So on my waning years you cast the glory
Of youth and pleasure, for a little hour;
And life again seems like an unread story,
And joy and hope both stir me with their power.
Can blooming June be fond of bleak December?
I dare not wait to hear my heart reply.
I will forget the question-and remember
Alone the priceless feast spread for mine eye,
That radiant hair that flows across the pillows,
Like shimmering sunbeams over drifts of snow;
Those heaving breasts, like undulating billows,
Whose dangers or delights but Love can know,
That crimson mouth from which sly Cupid borrowed
The pattern for his bow, nor asked consent;
That smooth, unruffled brow which has not sorrowedAll these are mine; should I not be content?
Yet are these treasures mine, or only lent me?
And, who shall claim them when I pass away?
Oh, jealous Fate, to torture and torment me
With thoughts like these in my too fleeting day!
For while I gained the prize which all were seeking,
And won you with the ardor of my quest,
The bitter truth I know without your speakingYou only let me love you at the best.
E'en while I lean and count my riches over,
And view with gloating eyes your priceless charms,
I know somewhere there dwells the unnamed lover
Who yet shall clasp you, willing, in his arms.
And while my hands stray through your clustering tresses,
And while my lips are pressed upon your own,
This unseen lover waits for such caresses
As my poor hungering clay has never known,
And when some day, between you and your duty
A green grave lies, his love shall make you glad,
And you shall crown him with your splendid beautyAh, God! ah, God! 'tis this way men go mad!
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
477:The pink?" she suggested, holding the shimmering rose-colored satin in front of Sara's half-clad figure. Sara held her breath in awe. She had never worn such a sumptuous creation. Silk roses adorned the sleeves and hem of the gown. The short-waisted bodice was finished with a stomacher of silver filigree and a row of satin bows.
Lily shook her head thoughtfully. "Charming, but too innocent."
Sara suppressed a disappointed sigh. She couldn't imagine anything more beautiful than the pink satin. Busily Monique discarded the gown and sorted through the others. "The peach. No man will be able to keep his eyes from her in that. Here, let us try it, chérie."
Raising her arms, Sara let the dressmaker and her assistant Cora pull the gauzy peach-hued gown over her head. "I think it will have to be altered a great deal," Sara commented, her voice muffled beneath the delicate layers of fabric. The gowns had been fitted for Lily's lithe, compact lines. Sara was more amply endowed, with a generous bosom and curving hips, and a tiny, scoped-in waist... a figure style that had been fashionable thirty years ago. The current high-waisted Grecian mode was not particularly flattering to her.
Monique settled the gown around Sara's feet and then began to yank the back of it together. "Oui, Lady Raiford has the form that fashion loves." Energetically, she hooked the tight bodice together. "But you, chérie, have the kind that men love. Draw in your breath, s'il vous plaît."
Sara winced as her breasts were pushed upward until they nearly overflowed from the low-cut bodice. The hem of the unusually full skirt was bordered with three rows of graduated tulip-leaves. Sara could hardly believe the woman in the mirror was herself. The peach gown, with its transparent layers of silk and shockingly low neckline, had been designed to attract a man's attention. It was too loose at the waist, but her breasts rose from the shallow bodice in creamy splendor pushed together to form an enticing cleavage. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
478:Elizabeth was standing at the edge of the grassy plateau, a few yards beyond where they’d held their shooting match. Wind ruffled through the trees, blowing her magnificent hair about her shoulders like a shimmering veil. He stopped a few steps away from her, looking at her, but seeing her as she had looked long ago-a young goddess in royal blue, descending a staircase, aloof, untouchable; an angry angel defying a roomful of men in a card room; a beguiling temptress in a woodcutter’s cottage, lifting her wet hair in front of the fire-and at the end, a frightened girl thrusting flowerpots into his hands to keep him from kissing her. He drew in a deep breath and shoved his hands into his pockets to keep from reaching for her.
“It’s a magnificent view,” she commented, glancing at him.
Instead of replying to her remark, Ian drew a long, harsh breath and said curtly, “I’d like you to tell me again what happened that last night. Why were you in the greenhouse?”
Elizabeth suppressed her frustration. “You know why I was there. You sent me a note. I thought it was from Valerie-Charise’s sister-and I went to the greenhouse.”
“Elizabeth, I did not send you a note, but I did receive one.”
Sighing with irritation, Elizabeth leaned her shoulders against the tree behind her. “I don’t see why we have to go through this again. You won’t believe me, and I can’t believe you.” She expected an angry outburst; instead he said, “I do believe you. I saw the letter you left on the table in the cottage. You have a lovely handwriting.”
Caught completely off balance by his solemn tone and his quiet compliment, she stared at him. “Thank you,” she said uncertainly.
“The note you received,” he continued. “What was the handwriting like?”
“Awful,” she replied, and she added with raised brows, “You misspelled ‘greenhouse.’”
His lips quirked with a mirthless smile. “I assure you I can spell it, and while my handwriting may not be as attractive as yours, it’s hardly an illegible scrawl. If you doubt me, I’ll be happy to prove it inside. ~ Judith McNaught,
479:Welsh Incident

'But that was nothing to what things came out
From the sea-caves of Criccieth yonder.'
What were they? Mermaids? dragons? ghosts?'
Nothing at all of any things like that.'
What were they, then?'
'All sorts of queer things,
Things never seen or heard or written about,
Very strange, un-Welsh, utterly peculiar
Things. Oh, solid enough they seemed to touch,
Had anyone dared it. Marvellous creation,
All various shapes and sizes, and no sizes,
All new, each perfectly unlike his neighbour,
Though all came moving slowly out together.'
Describe just one of them.'
'I am unable.'
What were their colours?'
'Mostly nameless colours,
Colours you'd like to see; but one was puce
Or perhaps more like crimson, but not purplish.
Some had no colour.'
'Tell me, had they legs?'
Not a leg or foot among them that I saw.'
But did these things come out in any order?'
What o'clock was it? What was the day of the week?
Who else was present? How was the weather?'
I was coming to that. It was half-past three
On Easter Tuesday last. The sun was shining.
The Harlech Silver Band played Marchog Jesu
On thrity-seven shimmering instruments
Collecting for Caernarvon's (Fever) Hospital Fund.
The populations of Pwllheli, Criccieth,
Portmadoc, Borth, Tremadoc, Penrhyndeudraeth,
Were all assembled. Criccieth's mayor addressed them
First in good Welsh and then in fluent English,
Twisting his fingers in his chain of office,
Welcoming the things. They came out on the sand,
Not keeping time to the band, moving seaward
Silently at a snail's pace. But at last
The most odd, indescribable thing of all
Which hardly one man there could see for wonder
Did something recognizably a something.'
Well, what?'
'It made a noise.'
'A frightening noise?'
No, no.'
'A musical noise? A noise of scuffling?'
No, but a very loud, respectable noise ---
Like groaning to oneself on Sunday morning
In Chapel, close before the second psalm.'
What did the mayor do?'
'I was coming to that. ~ Robert Graves,
480:Ironically,” she commented, “this will be the first time I’ve ever done anything to please my father.”
With a sympathetic murmur, Matthew gathered Daisy close against him. He knew her father as well as anyone, having become well acquainted with the man’s tempers, his self-absorption, his impossible standards. And yet he understood what it had required for Bowman to build a great fortune from scratch, the sacrifices he’d had to make. Bowman had discarded everything that would have gotten in the way of achieving his goals. Including closeness with his wife and children.
For the first time it occurred to Matthew that Bowman and his family would benefit from someone acting as a mediator, to ease their communications with each other. If such a thing were in his power, he would find a way to do it.
“You,” he whispered in Daisy’s hair, “are the best thing he’s ever done. Someday he’ll realize that.”
He felt her smile against his skin. “I doubt it. But it’s nice of you to say so. You don’t have to be concerned on that account, you know. I reconciled myself to the way he was a long time ago.”
Once again Matthew was taken unaware by the extent of the feelings she inspired in him, his own limitless desire to fill her with happiness.
“Whatever you need,” he whispered, “Whatever you want, I’ll get it for you. Just tell me.”
Daisy stretched comfortably, a pleasant shiver running through her limbs. She touched his lips with her fingers, tracing the smoothness. “I want to know what your five-dollar wish was for.”
“Is that all?” He smiled beneath her exploring fingertips. “I wished you would find someone who wanted you as much as I did. But I knew it wouldn’t come true.”
The candlelight slid over Daisy’s delicate features as she raised her head to look at him. “Why not?”
“Because I knew no one could ever want you as much as I do.”
Daisy levered herself farther over him until her hair tumbled in a dark curtain around them both.
“What was your wish?” Matthew asked, combing his fingers through the fall of shimmering hair.
“That I could find the right man to marry.” Her tender smile stopped his heart. “And then you appeared. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
481:Haunted In Old Japan
Music of the star-shine shimmering o’er the sea
Mirror me no longer in the dusk of memory:
Dim and white the rose-leaves drift along the shore
Wind among the roses, blow no more!
All along the purple creek, lit with silver foam,
Silent, silent voices, cry no more of home;
Soft beyond the cherry-trees, o’er the dim lagoon,
Dawns the crimson lantern of the large low moon.
We that loved in April, we that turned away
Laughing, ere the wood-dove crooned across the May,
Watch the withered rose-leaves drift along the shore.
Wind among the roses, blow no more!
We that saw the winter waste the weeping bower,
We that saw the young love perish like a flower,
We that saw the dark eyes deepening with tears,
Hear the vanished voices in the land beyond the years.
We that hurt the thing we loved; we that went astray,
We that in the darkness idly dreamed of day . . .
. . . Ah! The dreary rose-leaves drift along the shore.
Wind among the roses, blow no more!
Lonely starry faces, wonderful and white,
Yearning with a cry across the dim sweet night,
All our dreams are blown a-drift as flowers before a fan,
All our hearts are haunted in the heart of old Japan.
Haunted, haunted, haunted; we that mocked and sinned
Hear the vanished voices wailing down the wind,
Watch the ruined rose-leaves drift along the shore;
Wind among the roses, blow no more!
We, the sons of reason, we that chose to bride
Knowledge and rejected the Dream that we denied,
We that mocked the Holy Ghost and chose the Son of Man, [1]
Now must wander haunted in the heart of old Japan
Haunted, haunted, haunted, by the sound of falling tears,
Haunted, haunted, haunted, by the yearning of the years;
Ah! the phantom rose-leaves drift along the shore;
Wind among the roses, blow no more!
All along the purple creek, lit with silver foam,
Sobbing, sobbing voices, cry no more of home:
Soft beyond the cherry trees, o’er the dim lagoon,
Dawns the crimson lantern of the large, low moon.
~ Alfred Noyes,
482:Show me something."
"What would you like to see?"
"Anything. Dazzle me with your boring, practical Alben magic."
Sir Bird preens next to me, tucking feathers into place with a low noise in his throat almost like he's talking to himself. A slow smile spreads across Finn's face as he rubs his knuckles - black and blue with several bruises from Sir Bird's beak.
"Let's see," he says, flipping through his father's book. "Here! I'll need some water in a shallow bowl ... ink ... yes, I think this is everything." He gathers the items, then reads over the entry several times, eyebrows knit in concentration. Dipping his pen in the ink, he whispers strange words while writing on the surface of the water. The ink drips down, elongating the form of the symbols that still hover where he wrote them. I recognize one - change. But the rest I haven't learned yet.
Then, without warning, he lifts up the bowl and dumps the whole thing onto Sir Bird.
Only instead of getting wet, as the water washes over his body, Sir Bird's feathers turn ... blue.
Bright, brilliant, shimmering blue.
Squawking in outrage, Sir Bird hops and flies around the room, frantically shaking his feathers. He lands on the desk with a scrabble of clawed feet, then begins trying to bite off the color.
"Ha!" Finn says, pointing at his knuckles. "Now you're black and blue, too!"
I can't help but laugh at my poor, panicking bird. Not to mention the ridiculous pettiness of Finn's magic show. Picking up Sir Bird, I stroke his feathers and speak softly to him. "Hush now. I'll make him fix you. You're still very handsome, but blue isn't your color, is it?"
He caws mournfully, still pulling at his own feathers.
He puts his hands behind his back, trying to look innocent. "What? He deserved it."
"He's a bird. You can't really find this much satisfaction in revenge against a bird, can you?"
His voice comes out just a tad petulant. "He started it. Besides, I made it temporary. It'll wear off within the hour."
"There now." I kiss Sir Bird's head and set him on my shoulder. "You'll be back to yourself in no time."
"Tell him to stop pecking at me.'
"Perhaps you deserve it. ~ Kiersten White,
483:Maybe nostalgia is itself the problem. A Democrat I met in Macon during a conversation we had about the local enthusiasm for Trump told me that “people want to go back to Mayberry”, the setting of the beloved old Andy Griffith Show. (As it happens, the actual model for Mayberry, Mount Airy, a bedraggled town in North Carolina, has gone all in on the Trump revolution, as the Washington Post recently reported.)

Maybe it’s also true, as my liberal friends believe, that what people in this part of the country secretly long to go back to are the days when the Klan was riding high or when Quantrill was terrorizing the people of neighboring Kansas, or when Dred Scott was losing his famous court case. For sure, there is a streak of that ugly sentiment in the Trump phenomenon.

But I want to suggest something different: that the nostalgic urge does not necessarily have to be a reactionary one. There is nothing un-progressive about wanting your town to thrive, about recognizing that it isn’t thriving today, about figuring out that the mid-century, liberal way worked better.

For me, at least, that is how nostalgia unfolds. When I drive around this part of the country, I always do so with a WPA guidebook in hand, the better to help me locate the architectural achievements of the Roosevelt years. I used to patronize a list of restaurants supposedly favored by Harry Truman (they are slowly disappearing).

And these days, as I pass Trump sign after Trump sign, I wonder what has made so many of Truman’s people cast their lot with this blustering would-be caudillo.

Maybe what I’m pining for is a liberal Magic Kingdom, a non-racist midwest where things function again. For a countryside dotted with small towns where the business district has reasonable job-creating businesses in it, taverns too.

For a state where the giant chain stores haven’t succeeded in putting everyone out of business. For an economy where workers can form unions and buy new cars every couple of years, where farmers enjoy the protection of the laws, and where corporate management has not been permitted to use every trick available to them to drive down wages and play desperate cities off one against the other.

Maybe it’s just an impossible utopia, a shimmering Mayberry dream. But somehow I don’t think so. ~ Thomas Frank,
484:They’re all okay, then?” I grin like an idiot. What is wrong with me?

She rises from her chair, fluid and vaguely shimmering. Her grace is legendary. I’m agile and strong, but I’d rather move like sunbeams on water, like Selena.

“In good health and arguing incessantly with Desma and Aetos. Those two are under the impression the Sintans abducted you.”

She’s asking a question. I owe her an answer. “They did. Sort of.”

Her sculpted lips purse. “Help me understand a ‘sort of’ abduction,” Selena says, pouring me a cup of water.

Well, it sounds stupid when you say it like that.

My throat is parched, so I drink before answering. “He’s Beta Sinta. He said he’d have you all arrested if I didn’t come.”

“And you believed him?”

It’s a loaded question coming from Selena. I nod. After nearly a month with him, I also know he would have done it because he felt he had to, not because he wanted to.

“He needs a powerful Magoi to help him and his precious Alpha sister, Egeria.” Egeria is no Alpha. She sounds more like a buttercup. Beta Sinta on the other hand, he’s Alpha material. Fierce on the battlefield, bloody, focused, ruthless…fair?

“Plus, he had a magic rope.”

Selena laughs, and the sound is like wind chimes on a spring breeze. “You? Caught by a magic rope?”

I flush. “Don’t remind me.”

She clears her throat, taming more laughter, and asks, “Will you help him?”

Selena may not know who I am, but I’m certain she knows what I am—the Kingmaker—even if we’ve never discussed it. “My abilities can be valuable in diplomatic situations,” I say carefully.

“He came here to save you. He looked like he cared.”

I shrug, glancing down. “I’m a weapon he doesn’t want to lose.”

“I think there’s more.”

My eyes snap back up. “Don’t infer something that isn’t there. We’re both monsters.”

Her dark-blue gaze flicks over me, unnerving. “Monsters still mate.”

I choke on my own spit and then cough.

A faint smile curves her lips. “Why didn’t you just escape?”

“The rope.” That stupid, infuriating enchanted rope that led me to make a binding vow to stay with Beta Sinta until his—or my, if it comes first—dying day.

She looks incredulous. “You couldn’t find a way out?”

“It was a bloody good rope! ~ Amanda Bouchet,
485:In the dim light he could see tears shimmering on her pale cheeks. He bent his head to catch their saltiness with the tip of his tongue.
“Ah, Blue Eyes, ka taikay, ka taikay, don’t cry. Has my hand upon you ever brought pain?”
“No,” she whispered brokenly.
Determined to finish what he had begun, Hunter swept her slender body into his arms and strode to the bed. Lowering her gently onto the fur, he stretched out beside her and gathered her close, his manhood throbbing with urgency against the confining leather of his pants. He half expected her to struggle, and perhaps if she had, he could have continued, his one thought to consummate their marriage, to put her fears behind them and ease the ache in his loins. But instead of fighting him, she wrapped her slender arms around his neck and clung to him, so rigid with fear that she felt brittle, her limbs quivering almost uncontrollably.
In a voice thick with tears, she said, “Hunter--would you do one thing for me? Just one small thing. Please?”
He splayed a hand on her back and felt the wild hammering of her heart. “What thing, Blue Eyes?”
“Would you get it over with quickly? Please? I won’t ever ask again, I swear it. Just this time, please?”
Hunter buried a smile in her hair and closed his eyes, tightening his arms around her. His father’s voice whispered. Fear is not like dust on a leaf that can be washed away by a gentle rain. The words no sooner came to him than a dozen forgotten memories did as well. For an instant the years rolled away, and Hunter saw himself running hand in hand with Willow by the Stream through a meadow of red daisies, their laughter ringing across the windswept grass, their eyes shining with love as they drank in the sight of one another. He remembered so many things in that instant--the love, yes, but mostly he remembered the friendship he and Willow had shared, the trust, the silliness, the laughter. Ah, yes, the laughter…He and his little blue-eyes had laughed together so few times that Hunter had difficulty recalling when they had. Suddenly he knew that without the laughter, their loving would fall far short of what it should be. Especially for her.
In a voice that rasped with frustration as well as tender amusement, Hunter said, “You have such a great want for me that we must hurry, yes? ~ Catherine Anderson,
486:Swinging to his feet, Hunter scattered the fire so the flames licked feebly at the wood and threw the lodge into gentle shadows. Then he turned to regard his wife, forcing his hands to curl loosely at his sides, his stance deliberately relaxed. “Blue Eyes, come here,” he whispered softly.
She threw up her head like a startled doe, her eyes huge and wary. Hunter’s guts clenched, and with one stride he closed the distance between them. Catching her by the chin, he tipped her head back and feathered his thumb across her quivering bottom lip.
“I--” Her voice shook and broke. She swallowed and tried again. “I’m sorry, Hunter. I know I promised. It’s just that--I’m a little nervous.”
Hunter bent his head and lightly pressed his forehead against hers, nudging her hands aside so he could untie the pink ribbon that cinched her small waist. With deft fingers he loosened the petticoat and let it fall in a heap at their feet. “There is nothing to fear,” he whispered, “nothing.”
Her breath caught when he untied the first small bow that held her chemise closed. He untied the others quickly and feathered his fingers over her shoulders, skimming the muslin aside and drawing it down her arms. Shame washed over her, hot and pulsating, as the evening air touched her bare breasts. She closed her eyes, wishing she could die on the spot. An instant later she opened her eyes again, terrified of what he might do when she wasn’t watching.
Loosening the drawstring waist of her pantalets, he crouched before her, tugging the breeches down her legs, pulling off her high-topped shoes as he divested her of the garment. As he stood back up, it was his turn to catch his breath. His memories didn’t do her justice. For a moment he couldn’t drag his gaze from her, so fascinated was he by the glowing whiteness of her skin, the delicate curves, so long hidden from him by chin-high calico and multiple layers of muslin. Settling his hands on her narrow waist, he drew her toward him, his heart slamming as the pebbled tips of her small breasts came into contact with the flesh over his ribs. In the dim light he could see tears shimmering on her pale cheeks. He bent his head to catch their saltiness with the tip of his tongue.
“Ah, Blue Eyes, ka taikay, ka taikay, don’t cry. Has my hand upon you ever brought pain?”
“No,” she whispered brokenly. ~ Catherine Anderson,
Too far away, oh love, I know,
To save me from this haunted road,
Whose lofty roses break and blow
On a night-sky bent with a load
Of lights: each solitary rose,
Each arc-lamp golden does expose
Ghost beyond ghost of a blossom, shows
Night blenched with a thousand snows.
Of hawthorn and of lilac trees,
White lilac; shows discoloured night
Dripping with all the golden lees
Laburnum gives back to light.
And shows the red of hawthorn set
On high to the purple heaven of night,
Like flags in blenched blood newly wet,
Blood shed in the noiseless fight.
Of life for love and love for life,
Of hunger for a little food,
Of kissing, lost for want of a wife
Long ago, long ago wooed.
Too far away you are, my love,
To steady my brain in this phantom show
That passes the nightly road above
And returns again below.
The enormous cliff of horse-chestnut trees
Has poised on each of its ledges
An erect small girl looking down at me;
White-night-gowned little chits I see,
And they peep at me over the edges
Of the leaves as though they would leap, should I call
Them down to my arms;
“But, child, you’re too small for me, too small
Your little charms.”
White little sheaves of night-gowned maids,
Some other will thresh you out!
And I see leaning from the shades
A lilac like a lady there, who braids
Her white mantilla about
Her face, and forward leans to catch the sight
Of a man’s face,
Gracefully sighing through the white
Flowery mantilla of lace.
And another lilac in purple veiled
Discreetly, all recklessly calls
In a low, shocking perfume, to know who has hailed
Her forth from the night: my strength has failed
In her voice, my weak heart falls:
Oh, and see the laburnum shimmering
Her draperies down,
As if she would slip the gold, and glimmering
White, stand naked of gown.
The pageant of flowery trees above
The street pale-passionate goes,
And back again down the pavement, Love
In a lesser pageant flows.
Two and two are the folk that walk,
They pass in a half embrace
Of linkèd bodies, and they talk
With dark face leaning to face.
Come then, my love, come as you will
Along this haunted road,
Be whom you will, my darling, I shall
Keep with you the troth I trowed.
~ David Herbert Lawrence,
488:Amy?" he breathed. Two dancers, caught up in the dance, didn't see him standing there and collided with him, nearly knocking him down. "Lord Charles!  I beg your pardon!" But he never heard them.  He never saw them.  He had eyes only for the stunning beauty who was being swept around the dance floor by Gareth's friend Perry.  She was a ravishing young woman in shimmering peacock and royal blue whose beauty commanded the eye, the attention, the heart — and made every other woman in the room pale to insignificance. Charles's mouth went dry.  His heartbeat cracked his chest and he forgot to breathe. Another set of dancers collided with him, knocking him to his senses.  Angrily, he stared into the amused eyes of Gareth's friend Neil Chilcot, another Den of Debauchery member who was partnering a grinning Nerissa.  "Gorgeous young woman, isn't she?" quipped Chilcot, sweeping Nerissa past.  "You should've stuck around to see her announced, Charles.  Not that you'll ever have a chance of claiming a dance with her now, what with all the young bucks before you already waiting . . ." Charles had heard enough.  But as he stalked across the dance floor, he heard even more. "Well, His Grace told me she's an heiress . . ." "Not just an heiress, but a princess from some vast Indian nation in America . . ." ". . . came here to offer her tribe's help in the war against the Americans . . ." Charles clenched his fists.  Lucien.  No one else could have, would have, started and circulated such a preposterously crazy rumor!  What the hell was his brother trying to do, get Amy married off to some handsome young swain and out of Charles's life forever?  This was no training for a lady's maid, that was for damned sure! His jaw tight, he stormed across the dance floor toward Amy.  He saw her hooped petticoats swirling about her legs and exposing a tantalizing bit of ankle with every step she took, the laughter in her face even though she kept glancing over Perry's shoulder in search of someone, the studied grace in her movements that, a week ago, he would've sworn she didn't have. She had not seen him yet, and as Perry, a handsome man who had something of a reputation with the ladies, led her through the steps, Charles felt a surge of jealousy so fierce, so violent, that it made him think of doing something totally irrational. Such as calling Perry out for dancing with his woman. Such as killing Lucien for whatever little game he was playing. Such ~ Danelle Harmon,
489:A throbbing ache started to grow in her womb. She wanted more, wanted something...
"Rothbury, please," she begged. "Please."
And then his fingers were there, delving inside, spreading her moisture up and down and around her opening. Her hips circled and dipped along with his movements. She moaned, saying his name. He groaned, panting along with her. Expertly, he handled her. Rhythmically, sweetly, he tortured her.
"Open my trousers," he breathed.
She complied.
Soon he was freed, his hardness jutting upward, seeking her heat.
"Look at me," he bit out through his teeth.
As if through a haze, she met his heated, intense gaze.
"This is the only time in my life I will ever hurt you."
Her brow scrunched and it was on the tip of her tongue to ask him just what exactly he meant, when the tip of his manhood pulsed at the opening of her center.
"Hold on," he said, his voice strained.
Charlotte gripped his shoulders. Rothbury gripped her hips. Lifting her, he hesitated for a moment.
"Do you want it?"
She nodded and made some sort of noise, half whimper and half the word "yes."
He bent his head to suckle one of her breasts again. For long moments, he held her poised above him as he toyed with her nipples, flicking, lapping, and gently running the bottom row of his teeth against them.
When she started to wriggle, he impaled her in one smooth, swift motion.
She cried out, nearly surging off of him.
"Shh. Shh." He kissed her eyelids, the apples of her cheeks. "Only this time, my angel. Only this time it hurts."
He kept very still, waiting for some sort of response from her, she imagined.
Where there was once only pleasure, she now felt a stabbing pain. It seemed to radiate around his arousal. Her breathing slowed. This couldn't be it. There had to be more...
And then she felt a sort of tickling. She looked down at their joined bodies to find Rothbury using his thumb to flick quickly against a tiny nubbin of flesh hidden in her folds. It felt... wonderful.
Like magic, her hips began to move of their own accord. Her breathing increased and the throbbing, damp pleasure returned. She rocked against him.
"There you are, Charlotte," he murmured against her throat. "Better?"
She nodded shakily, tiny shivers shimmering down her upper body as he nipped at her earlobe.
His large hands held her backside tightly against him, controlling, rolling her with him in a primal rhythm. ~ Olivia Parker,
490:Where is everyone?” Cat asked, looking around the deserted ship.
“Shore leave,” he said laconically.
“What about us?”
“If it’s urgent, we’ll just have to swim.”
Cat yawned and stretched languidly, feeling boneless from Travis’s loving and a long, wonderful nap. “Swim? Ha. I’d go down like a brick. Looks like you’re stuck with me.”
Travis tilted her face up and kissed her swiftly. “Remember that, witch. You’re mine.”
Her eyes widened into misty silver pools. She looked up at him through dense lashes that glinted red and gold.
He smiled.
“You really are a pirate, aren’t you?” Cat muttered.
“Where you’re concerned, yes.”
The sensual rasp in Travis’s voice sent echoes of ecstasy shimmering through her. His smile was rakish and utterly male, reminding her of what it was like to have him deep inside her.
It was all Cat could do not to simply stand and stare at her lover. In the slanting afternoon light his eyes had a jewel-like purity of color. His skin was taught, deeply bronzed, and his beard was spun from dark gold. Beneath his faded black T-shirt and casual shorts, his body radiated ease and power.
“Don’t move,” Cat ordered, heading back to the cabin.
“Where are you going?”
“Don’t move!”
She raced below deck, grabbed the two camera cases she used most often, and ran back on deck. While Travis watched her with a lazy, sexy gleam in his eyes, she pulled out a camera and a small telephoto lens. When she retreated a few feet back along the deck, he moved as though to follow.
“No,” she said. “Stay right where you are. You’re perfect.”
“Cat,” he said, amusement curling in his voice, “what are you doing?”
“Taking pictures of an off-duty buccaneer.”
The motor drive surged quickly, pulling frame after frame of film through the camera.
“You’re supposed to be taking pictures of the Wind Warrior,” Travis pointed out.
“I am. You’re part of the ship. The most important part. Creator, owner, soul.”
She caught the sudden intensity of his expression, an elemental recognition of her words. The motor drive whirred in response to her command. After a few more frames she lowered the camera and walked back to him.
“Get used to looking into a camera lens.” Cat warned Travis. “I’ve been itching to photograph you since the first time I looked into those gorgeous, sea-colored eyes of yours.”
Laughing softly, he snaked one arm around her and pulled her snugly against his side. ~ Elizabeth Lowell,
491:Magnus’s head was tipped back, his shimmering white suit rumpled like bedsheets in the morning, his white cloak swaying after him like a moonbeam. His mirrorlike mask was askew, his black hair wild, his slim body arching with the dance, and wrapped around his fingers like ten shimmering rings was the light of his magic, casting a spotlight on one dancer, then another.
The faerie Hyacinth caught one radiant stream of magic and whirled, holding on to it as if the light were a ribbon on a maypole. The vampire woman in the violet cheongsam, Lily, was dancing with another vampire who Alec presumed was Elliott, given the blue and green stains around his mouth and all down his shirtfront. Malcolm Fade joined in the dance with Hyacinth, though he appeared to be doing a jig and she seemed very puzzled. The blue warlock who Magnus had called Catarina was waltzing with a tall horned faerie.The dark-skinned faerie whom Magnus had addressed as a prince was surrounded by others whom Alec presumed were courtiers, dancing in a circle around him.
Magnus laughed as he saw Hyacinth using his magic like a ribbon, and sent shimmering streamers of blue light in several directions. Catarina batted away Magnus’s magic, her own hand glowing faintly white. The two vampires Lily and Elliott both let a magic ribbon wrap around one of their wrists. They did not seem like trusting types, but they instantly leaned into Magnus with perfect faith, Lily pretending to be a captive and Elliott shimmying enthusiastically as Magnus laughed and pulled them toward him in the dance. Music and starshine filled the room, and Magnus shone brightest in all that bright company.
As Alec made for the stairs, he brushed past Raphael Santiago, who was leaning against the balcony rail and looking down at the dancing crowd, his dark eyes lingering on Lily and Elliott and Magnus. There was a tiny smile on the vampire’s face. When Raphael noticed Alec, the scowl snapped immediately back on.
“I find such wanton expressions of joy disgusting,” he declaimed.
“If you say so,” said Alec. “I like it myself.”
He reached the foot of the stairs and was crossing the gleaming ballroom floor when a voice boomed out from above.
“This is DJ Bat, greatest werewolf DJ in the world, or at least in the top five, coming to you live from Venice because warlocks make irresponsible financial decisions, and this one is for the lovers! Or people with friends who will dance with them. Some of us are lonely jerks, and we’ll be doing shots at the bar. ~ Cassandra Clare,
492:Anxious to demonstrate her competence, Amelia strode to the other window and began jerking at the closed draperies. “Thank you, Mr. Rohan, but as you can see, I have the situation well in hand.”
“I think I’ll stay. Having stopped you from falling through one window, I’d hate for you to go out the other.”
“I won’t. I’ll be fine. I have everything under—” She tugged harder, and the rod clattered to the floor, just as the other had done. But unlike the other curtain, which had been lined with aged velvet, this one was lined with some kind of shimmering rippling fabric, some kind of—
Amelia froze in horror. The underside of the curtain was covered with bees. Bees. Hundreds, no, thousands of them, their iridescent wings beating in an angry relentless hum. They lifted in a mass from the crumpled velvet, while more flew from a crevice in the wall, where an enormous hive simmered. They must have found their way into a hollow space from a decayed spot in the outer wall. The insects swarmed like tongues of flame around Amelia’s paralyzed form.
She felt the blood drain from her face. “Oh, God—”
“Don’t move.” Rohan’s voice was astonishingly calm. “Don’t swat at them.”
She had never known such primal fear, welling up from beneath her skin, leaking through every pore. No part of her body seemed to be under her control. The air was boiling with them, bees and more bees.
It was not going to be a pleasant way to die. Closing her eyes tightly, Amelia willed herself to be still, when every muscle strained and screamed for action. Insects moved in sinuous patterns around her, tiny bodies touching her sleeves, hands, shoulders.
“They’re more afraid of you than you are of them,” she heard Rohan say.
Amelia highly doubted that. “These are not f-frightened bees.” Her voice didn’t sound like her own. “These are f-furious bees.”
“They do seem a bit annoyed,” Rohan conceded, approaching her slowly. “It could be the dress you’re wearing—they tend not to like dark colors.” A short pause. “Or it could be the fact that you just ripped down half their hive.”
“If you h-have the nerve to be amused by this—” She broke off and covered her face with her hands, trembling all over.
His soothing voice undercut the buzzing around them. “Be still. Everything’s fine. I’m right here with you.”
“Take me away,” she whispered desperately. Her heart was pounding too hard, making her bones shake, driving every coherent thought from her head. She felt him brush a few inquisitive insects from her hair and back. His arms went around her, his shoulder sturdy beneath her cheek.
“I will, sweetheart. ~ Lisa Kleypas,
493:After Hunter lowered her onto her fur pallet, which she was swiftly coming to regard as her prison, she clutched the buffalo robe around her and rolled onto her side. Make no grief behind you. She felt like an animal caught in a snare--awaiting the trapper and certain death.
The sun burned through her closed eyelids, red and hot. Loretta heard Hunter walk a short distance away, heard him murmur something. His stallion nickered in response. She lifted her lashes and watched the Comanche go through the contents of a parfleche. He withdrew her ruffled drawers, the buckskin shirt he had worn to the farm yesterday morning, and a drawstring pouch. As he walked back to her, he pressed her bloomers to his nose and sniffed.
He met her gaze as he drew the lavender-scented cloth away from his face. For the first time, he smiled a genuine smile. It warmed his expression so briefly that she might have believed she imagined it but for the twinkle that remained in his dark eyes as he knelt beside her.
He dropped the clothing onto the fur and held up the pouch. “Bear fat for the burn. You will lie on your face.”
Their gazes locked, laughter still shimmering in his. Seconds dragged by, measured by the wild thumping of her heart. He wanted to rub her down? Oh, God, what was she going to do? She clutched the fur more tightly.
Hunter shrugged as if her defiance bothered him not at all and tossed down the pouch. “You are sure enough not smart, Blue Eyes. You will lie on your face,” he said softly. “Don’t fight the big fight. If my strong arm fails me, I will call my friends. And in the end, you will lie on your face.”
Loretta imagined sixty warriors swooping down on her. As if he needed more of an advantage. Hatred and helpless rage made her tremble. Hunter watched her, his expression unreadable as he waited. She wanted to fly at him, scratching and biting. Instead she loosened her hold on the buffalo robe and rolled onto her stomach.
As she pressed her face into the stench-ridden buffalo fur, tears streamed down her cheeks, pooling and tickling in the crevices at each side of her nose. She clamped her arms to her sides and lay rigid, expecting him to jerk back the robe. Shame swept over her in hot, rolling waves as she imagined all those horrible men looking at her.
She felt the fur shift and braced herself. His greased palm touched her back and slid downward with such agonizing slowness that her skin shriveled and her buttocks quivered. So focused was she on his touch, on the shame of it, that several seconds passed before she realized he had slipped his arm beneath the fur, that no one, not even he, could see her. ~ Catherine Anderson,
494:The Vindictive
How should we praise those lads of the old
Who looked Death straight in the eyes,
Till his gaze fell,
In those red gates of hell?
England, in her proud history, proudly enrolls them,
And the deep night in her remembering skies
With purer glory
Shall blazon their grim story.
There were no throngs to applaud that hushed adventure.
They were one to a thousand on that fierce emprise.
The shores they sought
Were armoured, past all thought.
O, they knew fear, be assured, as the brave must know it,
With youth and its happiness bidding their last good-byes;
Till thoughts, more dear
Than life, cast out all fear.
For if, as we think, they remembered the brown-roofed homesteads,
And the scent of the hawthorn hedges when daylight dies,
Old happy places,
Young eyes and fading faces;
One dream was dearer that night than the best of their boyhood,
One hope more radiant than any their hearts could prize.
The touch of your hand,
The light of your face, England!
So, age to age shall tell how they sailed through the darkness
Where, under those high, austere, implacable stars,
Not one in ten
Might look for a dawn again.
They saw the ferry-boats,
, creeping
Darkly as clouds to the shimmering mine-strewn bars,
Flash into light!
Then thunder reddened the night.
The wild white swords of the search-lights blinded and stabbed them,
The sharp black shadows fought in fantastic wars.
Black waves leapt whitening,
Red decks were washed with lightning.
But, under the twelve-inch guns of the black land-batteries
The hacked bright hulk, in a glory of crackling spars,
Moved to her goal
Like an immortal soul;
That, while the raw rent flesh in a furnace is tortured,
Reigns by a law no agony ever can shake,
And shines in power
Above all shocks of the hour.
O, there, while the decks ran blood, and the star-shells lightened
The old broken ship that the enemy never could break,
Swept through the fire
And grappled her heart's desire.
There, on a wreck that blazed with the soul of England,
The lads that died in the dark for England's sake
Knew, as they died,
Nelson was at their side;
Nelson, and all the ghostly fleets of his island,
Fighting beside them there, and the soul of Drake!Dreams, as we knew,
Till these lads made them true.
_How should we praise you, lads of the old Vindictive,
Who looked death straight in the eyes,
Till his gaze fell
In those red gates of hell?_
~ Alfred Noyes,
495:Oh, my," said Nerissa, when she could speak. Juliet, smiling, murmured, "Would you just look at her." "I don't think we can help but look at her," murmured an urbane voice, and gasping, all three women turned to see Lucien standing in the doorway, arms crossed and his black eyes gleaming in the candlelight. He lifted his hand.  "Turn around, my dear," he said, giving a negligent little wave.  Her eyes huge, Amy slowly did as he asked, staring down at herself in awe and disbelief.  The gown, an open-robed saque of watered silk, shimmered with every movement, a vibrant purplish-blue in this light, a vivid emerald-green in that.  Its robed bodice open to show a stomacher of bright yellow satin worked with turquoise and green embroidery, it had tight sleeves ending in treble flounces just behind the elbow, which, combined with the chemise's triple tiers of lace, made Amy feel as though she had wings.  She smoothed her palms over the flounced and scalloped petticoats of royal blue silk, and then, with impulsive delight, threw back her head on a little laugh, extended her arms and spun on her toe, making gauzy sleeves, shining hair, and yards upon yards of shimmering fabric float in the air around her. Hannah, who did not think such behavior was quite appropriate, especially in front of a duke, frowned, but Lucien was trying hard to contain his amusement.  He couldn't remember the last time he'd made anyone so happy, and it touched something deep inside him that he'd long thought dead.  He exchanged a look of furtive triumph with Nerissa. "Oh!  Is it really me?" Amy breathed, reverently touching her sleeve and then raising wide, suddenly misty eyes to her small audience. "It is really you," Juliet said, smiling. "Only someone with your coloring could wear such bold shades and make them work for instead of against you," said Nerissa, coming forward to tie a black ribbon around Amy's neck.  "Lud, if I tried to wear those colors, I daresay they would overwhelm me!" "Speaking of overwhelmed . . ."  Amy turned to face the man who still lounged negligently in the doorway, his fingers trying, quite unsuccessfully, to rub away the little smile that tugged at his mouth.  "Your Grace, I don't know how to thank you," she whispered, dabbing away one tear, then another.  "No one has ever done anything like this for me before and I . . . I feel like a princess." "My dear girl.  Don't you know?"  His smile deepened and she saw what was almost a cunning gleam come into his enigmatic black eyes.  "You are a princess.  Now dry those tears and if you must thank me, do so by enjoying yourself tonight." "I will, Your Grace." "Yes," he said, on a note of finality.  "You will." And ~ Danelle Harmon,
496:But if you could just pay her some small attention-or better yet, escort her yourself-it would be ever so helpful, and I would be grateful forever.”
“Alex, if you were married to anyone but Jordan Townsende, I might consider asking you how you’d be willing to express your gratitude. However, since I haven’t any real wish to see my life brought to a premature end, I shall refrain from doing so and say instead that your smile is gratitude enough.”
“Don’t joke, Roddy, I’m quite desperately in need of your help, and I would be eternally grateful for it.”
“You are making me quake with trepidation, my sweet. Whoever she is, she must be in a deal of trouble if you need me.”
“She’s lovely and spirited, and you will admire her tremendously.”
“In that case, I shall deem it an embarrassing honor to lend my support to her. Who-“ His gaze flicked to a sudden movement in the doorway and riveted there, his eternally bland expression giving way to reverent admiration. “My God,” he whispered.
Standing in the doorway like a vision from heaven was an unknown young woman clad in a shimmering silver-blue gown with a low, square neckline that offered a tantalizing view of smooth, voluptuous flesh, and a diagonally wrapped bodice that emphasized a tiny waist. Her glossy golden hair was swept back off her forehead and held in place with a sapphire clip, then left to fall artlessly about her shoulders and midway down her back, where it ended in luxurious waves and curls that gleamed brightly in the dancing candlelight. Beneath gracefully winged brows and long, curly lashes her glowing green eyes were neither jade nor emerald, but a startling color somewhere in between.
In that moment of stunned silence Roddy observed her with the impartiality of a true connoisseur, looking for flaws that others would miss and finding only perfection in the delicately sculpted cheekbones, slender white throat, and soft mouth.
The vision in the doorway moved imperceptibly. “Excuse me,” she said to Alexandra with a melting smile, her voice like wind chimes, “I didn’t realize you weren’t alone.”
In a graceful swirl of silvery blue skirts she turned and vanished, and still Roddy stared at the empty doorway while Alexandra’s hopes soared. Never had she seen Roddy display the slightest genuine fascination for a feminine face and figure. His words sent her spirits even higher: “My God,” he said again in a reverent whisper. “Was she real?
“Very real,” Alex eagerly assured him, “and very desperately in need of your help, though she mustn’t know what I’ve asked of you. You will help, won’t you?”
Dragging his gaze from the doorway, he shook his head as if to clear it. “Help?” he uttered dryly. “I’m tempted to offer her my very desirable hand in marriage! ~ Judith McNaught,
497:could have sworn that she saw the tip of Douglas’s tail wag. She left Bomber to his odious sister and tripped downstairs into the bright afternoon sunshine. The last thing she heard as she closed the door behind her was from Portia, in an altogether changed, but still unpleasant, wheedling tone: ‘Now, darling, when are you going to publish my book?’ At the corner of Great Russell Street she stopped for a moment, remembering the man she had smiled at. She hoped that the person he was meeting hadn’t left him waiting for too long. Just then, in amongst the dust and dirt at her feet, the glint of gold and glass caught her eye. She stooped down, rescued the small, round object from the gutter and slipped it safely into her pocket. Chapter 4 It was always the same. Looking down and never turning his face to the sky, he searched the pavements and gutters. His back burned and his eyes watered, full of grit and tears. And then he fell; back through the black into the damp and twisted sheets of his own bed. The dream was always the same. Endlessly searching and never finding the one thing that would finally bring him peace. The house was filled with the deep, soft darkness of a summer night. Anthony swung his weary legs out of bed and sat shrugging the stubborn scraps of dream from his head. He would have to get up. Sleep would not return tonight. He padded down the stairs, their creaking wood echoing his aching bones. No light was needed until he reached the kitchen. He made a pot of tea, finding more comfort in the making than the drinking, and took it through to the study. Pale moonlight skimmed across the edges of the shelves and pooled in the centre of the mahogany table. High on a shelf in the corner, the gold lid of the biscuit tin winked at him as he crossed the room. He took it down carefully and set it in the shimmering circle of light on the table. Of all the things that he had ever found, this troubled him the most. Because it was not a ‘something’ but a ‘someone’; of that he was unreasonably sure. Once again, he removed the lid and inspected the contents, as he had done every day for the past week since bringing it home. He had already repositioned the tin in the study several times, placing it higher up or hidden from sight, but its draw remained irresistible. He couldn’t leave it alone. He dipped his hand into the tin and gently rolled the coarse, grey grains across his fingertips. The memory swept through him, snatching his breath and winding him as surely as any punch to the gut. Once again, he was holding death in his hands. The life they could have had together was a self-harming fantasy in which Anthony rarely indulged. They might have been grandparents by now. Therese had never spoken about wanting children, but then they had both assumed that they had ~ Ruth Hogan,
498: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,
499:Give me your hand," she said, pulling at Charles's fingers. "Madam, you already have it." "Yes, but relax." "For God's sake, girl, I don't have time for this nonsense —" "Stop being such an old grouch, you have all the time in the world."  And with that she pulled him forward, and touched his outstretched fingers to the horse's soft, velvety nose. Charles froze, a look of stunned disbelief coming over his face. "Contender?" Amy and Will glanced excitedly between one another, watching, waiting, barely able to breathe. "Contender, old boy . . . is that you?" The horse began stamping impatiently, dancing in place and half-rearing in excitement, only to be brought down by Will's firm hand.  Then he whinnied and lowering his head, drove it straight into Charles's chest, rubbing up and down in delight. Charles closed his eyes, his face rigid with controlled emotion, his Adam's apple moving up, then down.  And Amy, watching this emotional scene, felt tears shimmering in her eyes, and one or two of them sliding down her cheek as Charles stood there with his horse, never moving, only murmuring softly to him as he ran his palm alongside the animal's jaw, up around his ears, and down the long, crested neck, over and over again. "Contender.  Contender, old fellow."  He continued stroking the animal's neck.  "I thought never to see you again . . .  Pray tell, Will, where did you find him?" "My uncle had him.  I went down to Woburn and brought him back for you as a surprise." "You should not have gone to such trouble on my behalf, Will." "I wanted to.  You've had such a rough time of it lately, and we all thought that having your horse back might perk you up a tad.  Besides . . . " Will looked down and began kicking at a loose hank of straw.  "It was the least I could do, after what I did to you back in Concord . . ." Charles, hearing the guilt in the boy's voice, reached out and found his shoulder.  "Will," he said gently.  "You owe me nothing.  You never have.  What happened to me at Concord was a direct result of my own actions, not yours.  You did nothing to bring on my infirmity; instead, you acted as any Christian man would, putting aside the differences between your people and mine, and doing everything in your power to help me.  Anyone else would have finished me off right there — or left me to the angry people of Concord.  You did not.  Instead, you chose to bring me home at great risk to yourself, and endeavored to save my life — for which I shall always be grateful." Will swallowed hard and looked down, both humbled and a little embarrassed by the captain's words.  "Thank you, sir."  He was still kicking at the straw with one foot, a lock of unruly brown hair falling over his brow.  "It makes me feel a whole lot better, hearing you say that." "My only regret is that it should've been said sooner. ~ Danelle Harmon,
500:The Trial By Existence

Even the bravest that are slain
Shall not dissemble their surprise
On waking to find valor reign,
Even as on earth, in paradise;
And where they sought without the sword
Wide fields of asphodel fore’er,
To find that the utmost reward
Of daring should be still to dare.

The light of heaven falls whole and white
And is not shattered into dyes,
The light for ever is morning light;
The hills are verdured pasture-wise;
The angel hosts with freshness go,
And seek with laughter what to brave;—
And binding all is the hushed snow
Of the far-distant breaking wave.

And from a cliff-top is proclaimed
The gathering of the souls for birth,
The trial by existence named,
The obscuration upon earth.
And the slant spirits trooping by
In streams and cross- and counter-streams
Can but give ear to that sweet cry
For its suggestion of what dreams!

And the more loitering are turned
To view once more the sacrifice
Of those who for some good discerned
Will gladly give up paradise.
And a white shimmering concourse rolls
Toward the throne to witness there
The speeding of devoted souls
Which God makes his especial care.

And none are taken but who will,
Having first heard the life read out
That opens earthward, good and ill,
Beyond the shadow of a doubt;
And very beautifully God limns,
And tenderly, life’s little dream,
But naught extenuates or dims,
Setting the thing that is supreme.

Nor is there wanting in the press
Some spirit to stand simply forth,
Heroic in its nakedness,
Against the uttermost of earth.
The tale of earth’s unhonored things
Sounds nobler there than ’neath the sun;
And the mind whirls and the heart sings,
And a shout greets the daring one.

But always God speaks at the end:
’One thought in agony of strife
The bravest would have by for friend,
The memory that he chose the life;
But the pure fate to which you go
Admits no memory of choice,
Or the woe were not earthly woe
To which you give the assenting voice.’

And so the choice must be again,
But the last choice is still the same;
And the awe passes wonder then,
And a hush falls for all acclaim.
And God has taken a flower of gold
And broken it, and used therefrom
The mystic link to bind and hold
Spirit to matter till death come.

‘Tis of the essence of life here,
Though we choose greatly, still to lack
The lasting memory at all clear,
That life has for us on the wrack
Nothing but what we somehow chose;
Thus are we wholly stripped of pride
In the pain that has but one close,
Bearing it crushed and mystified. ~ Robert Frost,
501:Bear fat for the burn. You will lie on your face.”
Their gazes locked, laughter still shimmering in his. Seconds dragged by, measured by the wild thumping of her heart. He wanted to rub her down? Oh, God, what was she going to do? She clutched the fur more tightly.
Hunter shrugged as if her defiance bothered him not at all and tossed down the pouch. “You are sure enough not smart, Blue Eyes. You will lie on your face,” he said softly. “Don’t fight the big fight. If my strong arm fails me, I will call my friends. And in the end, you will lie on your face.”
Loretta imagined sixty warriors swooping down on her. As if he needed more of an advantage. Hatred and helpless rage made her tremble. Hunter watched her, his expression unreadable as he waited. She wanted to fly at him, scratching and biting. Instead she loosened her hold on the buffalo robe and rolled onto her stomach.
As she pressed her face into the stench-ridden buffalo fur, tears streamed down her cheeks, pooling and tickling in the crevices at each side of her nose. She clamped her arms to her sides and lay rigid, expecting him to jerk back the robe. Shame swept over her in hot, rolling waves as she imagined all those horrible men looking at her.
She felt the fur shift and braced herself. His greased palm touched her back and slid downward with such agonizing slowness that her skin shriveled and her buttocks quivered. So focused was she on his touch, on the shame of it, that several seconds passed before she realized he had slipped his arm beneath the fur, that no one, not even he, could see her.
Relief, if she felt any at all, was short-lived, for he laved every inch of her back with grease and then tried to nudge her arms aside to get at the burned skin along her ribs. She resisted him, but in the end his strength won out. When his fingertips grazed the swell of her left breast, her lungs ceased working and her body snapped taut.
He hesitated, then resumed the rubbing, diving his fingertips between her and the fur to graze her nipple. She wasn’t burned there, and she knew he pressed the issue only to drive home his point. She belonged to him, and he would touch her whenever and wherever he pleased. A sob caught in her throat. Once again she felt his hand pause. His gaze burned into the back of her head, tangible in its intensity.
At last he withdrew his arm from under the fur and sat back. Loretta twisted her neck to look up at his dark face, not bothering to wipe away her tears, too defeated to care if he saw them. He set the leather pouch on the pallet beside her. For an instant she thought she glimpsed pity in his eyes.
“You rub the rest, eh? And put yourself into the clothes.”
With that, he rose, presented his broad back to her, and walked away to crouch by the only remaining fire. Loretta clutched the fur to her breasts and sat up, not quite able to believe he had left her alone to dress. ~ Catherine Anderson,
502:The November Pansy
This is not June,--by Autumn's stratagem
Thou hast been ambushed in the chilly air;
Upon thy fragile crest virginal fair
The rime has clustered in a diadem;
The early frost
Has nipped thy roots and tried thy tender stem,
Seared thy gold petals, all thy charm is lost.
Thyself the only sunshine: in obeying
The law that bids thee blossom in the world
Thy little flag of courage is unfurled;
Inherent pansy-memories are saying
That there is sun,
That there is dew and colour and warmth repaying
The rain, the starlight when the light is done.
These are the gaunt forms of the hollyhocks
That shower the seeds from out their withered purses;
Here were the pinks; there the nasturtium nurses
The last of colour in her gaudy smocks;
The ruins yonder
Show but a vestige of the flaming phlox;
The poppies on their faded glory ponder.
Here visited the vagrant humming-bird,
The nebulous darting green, the ruby-throated;
The warm fans of the butterfly here floated;
Those two nests reared the robins, and the third
Was left forlorn
Muffled in lilacs, whence the perfume stirred
The tremulous eyelids of the dewy morn.
Thy sisters of the early summer-time
Were masquers in this carnival of pleasure;
Each in her turn unrolled her golden treasure,
And thou hast but the ashes of the prime;
'Tis life's own malice
That brings the peasant of a race sublime
To feed her flock around her ruined palace.
Yet for withstanding thus the autumn's dart
Some deeper pansy-insight will atone;
It comes to souls neglected and alone,
Something that prodigals in pleasure's mart
Lose in the whirl;
The peasant child will have a purer heart
Than the vain favourite of the vanished earl.
And far above this tragic world of ours
There is a world of a diviner fashion,
A mystic world, a world of dreams and passion
That each aspiring thing creates and dowers
With its own light;
Where even the frail spirits of trees and flowers
Pause, and reach out, and pass from height to height.
Here will we claim for thee another fief,
An upland where a glamour haunts the meadows,
Snow peaks arise enrobed in rosy shadows,
Fairer the under slopes with vine and sheaf
And shimmering lea;
The paradise of a simple old belief,
That flourished in the Islands of the Sea.
A snow-cool cistern in the fairy hills
Shall feed thy roots with moisture clear as dew;
A ferny shield to temper the warm blue
That heaven is; a thrush that thrills
To answer his mate,
And when above the ferns the shadow fills,
Fireflies to render darkness consolate.
Here muse and brood, moulding thy seed and die
And re-create thy form a thousand fold,
Mellowing thy petals to more lucent gold,
Till they expand, tissues of amber sky;
Till the full hour,
And the full light and the fulfilling eye
Shall find amid the ferns the perfect flower.
~ Duncan Campbell Scott,
503:The masses of dense foliage all round became prison walls, impassable circular green ice-walls, surging towards her; just before they closed in, I caught the terrified glint of her eyes.

On a winter day she was in the studio, posing for him in the nude, her arms raised in a graceful position. To hold it for any length of time must have been a strain, I wondered how she managed to keep so still; until I saw the cords attached to her wrists and ankles.

Instead of the darkness, she faced a stupendous sky-conflagration, an incredible glacial dream-scene. Cold coruscations of rainbow fire pulsed overhead, shot through by shafts of pure incandescence thrown out by mountains of solid ice towering all round. Closer, the trees round the house, sheathed in ice, dripped and sparkled with weird prismatic jewels, reflecting the vivid changing cascades above. Instead of the familiar night sky, the aurora borealis formed a blazing, vibrating roof of intense cold and colour, beneath which the earth was trapped with all its inhabitants, walled in by those impassable glittering ice-cliffs. The world had become an arctic prison from which no escape was possible, all its creatures trapped as securely as were the trees, already lifeless inside their deadly resplendent armour.

Frozen by the deathly cold emanating from the ice, dazzled by the blaze of crystalline ice-light, she felt herself becoming part of the polar vision, her structure becoming one with the structure of ice and snow. As her fate, she accepted the world of ice, shining, shimmering, dead; she resigned herself to the triumph of glaciers and the death of her world.

Fear was the climate she lived in; if she had ever known kindness it would have been different. The trees seemed to obstruct her with deliberate malice. All her life she had thought of herself as a foredoomed victim, and now the forest had become the malign force that would destroy her. In desperation she tried to run, but a hidden root tripped her, she almost fell. Branches caught in her hair, tugged her back, lashed out viciously when they were disentangled. The silver hairs torn from her head glittered among black needles; they were the clues her pursuers would follow, leading them to their victim. She escaped from the forest at length only to see the fjord waiting for her. An evil effluence rose from the water, something primitive, savage, demanding victims, hungry for a human victim.

It had been night overhead all along, but below it was still daylight. There were no clouds. I saw islands scattered over the sea, a normal aerial view. Then something extraordinary, out of this world: a wall of rainbow ice jutting up from the sea, cutting right across, pushing a ridge of water ahead of it as it moved, as if the flat pale surface of sea was a carpet being rolled up. It was a sinister, fascinating sight, which did not seem intended for human eyes. I stared down at it, seeing other things at the same time. The ice world spreading over our world. Mountainous walls of ice surrounding the girl. Her moonwhite skin, her hair sparkling with diamond prisms under the moon. The moon’s dead eye watching the death of our world. ~ Anna Kavan,
504:When he got out of the car to do his business, my mother stared straight ahead. But I turned to watch. There was always something wild and charismatically uncaring about my father’s demeanor in these moments, some mysterious abandonment of his frowning and cogitative state that already meant a lot to me, even though at that age I understood almost nothing about him. Paulie had long ago stopped whispering 'perv' to me for observing him as he relieved himself. She of course, kept her head n her novels.
I remember that it was cold that day, and windy but that the sky had been cut from the crackling blue gem field of a late midwestern April. Outside the car, as other families sped past my father stepped to the leeward side of the open door then leaning back from the waist and at the same time forward the ankles. His penis poked out from his zipper for this part, Bernie always stood up at the rear window. My father paused fo a moment rocking slightly while a few indistinct words played on his lips. Then just before his stream stared he tiled back his head as if there were a code written in the sky that allowed the event to begin. This was the moment I waited for, the movement seemed to be a marker of his own private devotion as though despite his unshakable atheism and despite his sour, entirely analytic approach to every affair of life, he nonetheless felt the need to acknowledge the heavens in the regard to this particular function of the body. I don't know perhaps I sensed that he simply enjoyed it in a deep way that I did. It was possible I already recognized that the eye narrowing depth of his physical delight in that moment was relative to that paucity of other delights in his life. But in any case the prayerful uplifting of his cranium always seemed to democratize him for me, to make him for a few minutes at least, a regular man. Bernie let out a bark.

‘’Is he done?’’ asked my mother.

I opened my window. ‘’Almost.’’

In fact he was still in the midst. My father peed like a horse. His urine lowed in one great sweeping dream that started suddenly and stopped just as suddenly, a single, winking arc of shimmering clarity that endured for a prodigious interval and then disappeared in an instant, as though the outflow were a solid object—and arch of glittering ice or a thick band of silver—and not (as it actually approximated) a parabolic, dynamically averaged graph of the interesting functions of gravity, air resistance, and initial velocity on a non-viscous fluid, produced and exhibited by a man who’d just consumed more than a gallon of midwestern beer. The flow was as clear as water. When it struck the edge of the gravel shoulder, the sound was like a bed-sheet being ripped. Beneath this high reverberation, he let out a protracted appreciative whistle that culminated in a tunneled gasp, his lips flapping at the close like a trumpeters. In the tiny topsoil, a gap appeared, a wisp entirely unashamed. Bernie bumped about in the cargo bay. My father moved up close to peer through the windshield, zipping his trousers and smiling through the glass at my mother. I realized that the yellow that should have been in his urine was unmistakable now in his eyes.

‘’Thank goodness,’’ my mother said when the car door closed again. ‘’I was getting a little bored in here. ~ Ethan Canin,
505:When I close my eyes to see, to hear, to smell, to touch a country I have known, I feel my body shake and fill with joy as if a beloved person had come near me.

A rabbi was once asked the following question: ‘When you say that the Jews should return to Palestine, you mean, surely, the heavenly, the immaterial, the spiritual Palestine, our true homeland?’ The rabbi jabbed his staff into the ground in wrath and shouted, ‘No! I want the Palestine down here, the one you can touch with your hands, with its stones, its thorns and its mud!’

Neither am I nourished by fleshless, abstract memories. If I expected my mind to distill from a turbid host of bodily joys and bitternesses an immaterial, crystal-clear thought, I would die of hunger. When I close my eyes in order to enjoy a country again, my five senses, the five mouth-filled tentacles of my body, pounce upon it and bring it to me. Colors, fruits, women. The smells of orchards, of filthy narrow alleys, of armpits. Endless snows with blue, glittering reflections. Scorching, wavy deserts of sand shimmering under the hot sun. Tears, cries, songs, distant bells of mules, camels or troikas. The acrid, nauseating stench of some Mongolian cities will never leave my nostrils. And I will eternally hold in my hands – eternally, that is, until my hands rot – the melons of Bukhara, the watermelons of the Volga, the cool, dainty hand of a Japanese girl…

For a time, in my early youth, I struggled to nourish my famished soul by feeding it with abstract concepts. I said that my body was a slave and that its duty was to gather raw material and bring it to the orchard of the mind to flower and bear fruit and become ideas. The more fleshless, odorless, soundless the world was that filtered into me, the more I felt I was ascending the highest peak of human endeavor. And I rejoiced. And Buddha came to be my greatest god, whom I loved and revered as an example. Deny your five senses. Empty your guts. Love nothing, hate nothing, desire nothing, hope for nothing. Breathe out and the world will be extinguished.

But one night I had a dream. A hunger, a thirst, the influence of a barbarous race that had not yet become tired of the world had been secretly working within me. My mind pretended to be tired. You felt it had known everything, had become satiated, and was now smiling ironically at the cries of my peasant heart. But my guts – praised be God! – were full of blood and mud and craving. And one night I had a dream. I saw two lips without a face – large, scimitar-shaped woman’s lips. They moved. I heard a voice ask, ‘Who if your God?’ Unhesitatingly I answered, ‘Buddha!’ But the lips moved again and said: ‘No, Epaphus.’

I sprang up out of my sleep. Suddenly a great sense of joy and certainty flooded my heart. What I had been unable to find in the noisy, temptation-filled, confused world of wakefulness I had found now in the primeval, motherly embrace of the night. Since that night I have not strayed. I follow my own path and try to make up for the years of my youth that were lost in the worship of fleshless gods, alien to me and my race. Now I transubstantiate the abstract concepts into flesh and am nourished. I have learned that Epaphus, the god of touch, is my god.

All the countries I have known since then I have known with my sense of touch. I feel my memories tingling, not in my head but in my fingertips and my whole skin. And as I bring back Japan to my mind, my hands tremble as if they were touching the breast of a beloved woman. ~ Nikos Kazantzakis,
506:In the center of the room Elizabeth stood stock still, clasping and unclasping her hands, watching the handle turn, unable to breathe with the tension. The door swung open, admitting a blast of frigid air and a tall, broad-shouldered man who glanced at Elizabeth in the firelight and said, “Henry, it wasn’t necess-“
Ian broke off, the door still open, staring at what he momentarily thought was a hallucination, a trick of the flames dancing in the fireplace, and then he realized the vision was real: Elizabeth was standing perfectly still, looking at him. And lying at her feet was a young Labrador retriever.
Trying to buy time, Ian turned around and carefully closed the door as if latching it with precision were the most paramount thing in his life, while he tried to decide whether she’d looked happy or not to see him. In the long lonely nights without her, he’d rehearsed dozens of speeches to her-from stinging lectures to gentle discussions. Now, when the time was finally here, he could not remember one damn word of any of them.
Left with no other choice, he took the only neutral course available. Turning back to the room, Ian looked at the Labrador. “Who’s this?” he asked, walking forward and crouching down to pet the dog, because he didn’t know what the hell to say to his wife.
Elizabeth swallowed her disappointment as he ignored her and stroked the Labrador’s glossy black head. “I-I call her Shadow.”
The sound of her voice was so sweet, Ian almost pulled her down into his arms. Instead, he glanced at her, thinking it encouraging she’d named her dog after his. “Nice name.”
Elizabeth bit her lip, trying to hide her sudden wayward smile. “Original, too.”
The smile hit Ian like a blow to the head, snapping him out of his untimely and unsuitable preoccupation with the dog. Straightening, he backed up a step and leaned his hip against the table, his weight braced on his opposite leg.
Elizabeth instantly noticed the altering of his expression and watched nervously as he crossed his arms over his chest, watching her, his face inscrutable. “You-you look well,” she said, thinking he looked unbearably handsome.
“I’m perfectly fine,” he assured her, his gaze level. “Remarkably well, actually, for a man who hasn’t seen the sun shine in more than three months, or been able to sleep without drinking a bottle of brandy.”
His tone was so frank and unemotional that Elizabeth didn’t immediately grasp what he was saying. When she did, tears of joy and relief sprang to her eyes as he continued: “I’ve been working very hard. Unfortunately, I rarely get anything accomplished, and when I do, it’s generally wrong. All things considered, I would say that I’m doing very well-for a man who’s been more than half dead for three months.”
Ian saw the tears shimmering in her magnificent eyes, and one of them traced unheeded down her smooth cheek.
With a raw ache in his voice he said, “If you would take one step forward, darling, you could cry in my arms. And while you do, I’ll tell you how sorry I am for everything I’ve done-“ Unable to wait, Ian caught her, pulling her tightly against him. “And when I’m finished,” he whispered hoarsely as she wrapped her arms around him and wept brokenly, “you can help me find a way to forgive myself.”
Tortured by her tears, he clasped her tighter and rubbed his jaw against her temple, his voice a ravaged whisper: “I’m sorry,” he told her. He cupped her face between his palms, tipping it up and gazing into her eyes, his thumbs moving over her wet cheeks. “I’m sorry.” Slowly, he bent his head, covering her mouth with his. “I’m so damned sorry. ~ Judith McNaught,
507:From La Pucelle: The Epic Of Joan Of Arc
––Listen my Prince. This is important. I could feel
the dew setting on the leaves and petals of lilies and camellias.
I was aware of the soil’s moisture being
absorbed by the roots of hollies and cedars. I could smell
the aroma of blooming jasmine and carnations. I could
taste the sweetness of wild berries and apples that hadn’t
ripened yet. My finger could already stroke the creeping
ivy that had not yet covered the oaks. And the immense moon
the heart of the vast mother nature, vitality
desire filling the universe from it…by God I was
so terrified to be there, alone, a lost little girl
in the presence of such greatness, and the white circle
was getting larger, expanding, devouring me
I was drowning in the heavenly brightness. What was
happening to me? The moon was now the shape
of an infinitely huge person’s face. No, don’t look at me
like that! By God I’m not lying. I saw this
huge face before me, a ghost, or a fairy, or a monster
whose eyes were a hundred stars, whose smile
the entire horizon, and I was on my knees by now
shivering, about to faint. I was screaming. Brightness
above the thing’s head, I couldn’t tell horns or
halo, glistening. Had a gigantic sword. And I
closed my eyes. I can’t believe how horrified I was. I thought
this thing, a demon, would kill me with its sword
but when I closed my eyes I saw, my Prince, I tell you
the truth: I saw houses burning, cities burning, countries
burning I saw hundreds of hundreds of soldiers of an unholy
empire destroying me, destroying the village, and
the whole world. I can’t remember if I saw anything more
that night before I collapsed after the first visitation
by Catherine of Alexandria herself, Matron Saint of Maidens.
––Well, no, I’m not mad. That’s what Mama thought
after one of my brothers found me passed out. She
became so angry. And vicious. When she found out
I hadn’t been to the stupid ceremony at the Hermitage
she lost her mind. She first broke a wooden ladle
on my back, then started whacking me with a broom
screaming: Jeannette, useless girl. Sick girl.
Shameful girl. After all I’ve done for you. Of course
I didn’t tell her what exactly I’d seen in the woods.
She would’ve said I was possessed by the Devil. I cried
for so many days, weeks, because now beautiful
Marguerite, all my friends, had been confirmed
as young women, started going to the village dances
without their parents, and they never took me. I don’t
know why I was all of a sudden so hated by everyone
and I kept getting so, so many pimples . . . no, I won’t
bore you with that my Prince. But you need to know
that I started going to the church frequently, and
started praying to the statue of Saint Catherine. I took
flowers, bread and wool to the alter, fasted every Friday
and said Pater Noster, Ave Maria and Credo in Mass
every Sunday. I confessed to our priest every week, then
every day. I spoke to Saint Catherine when there was
no one in the church. I knelt on the altar floor in the weak,
shimmering light of the votive candles and begged Her
to guide me. I wanted Mama to love me again. I wanted
Marguerite to stop flirting with idiot boys and ask me
over to her house to spin wool. And the serene statue
of Saint Catherine remained silent and looked on
as I cried. I tried to imagine what it’d be like if Her spirit
could hear me. I didn’t know I had just been visited by
the noble Saint. I was so sad, my Prince, so lonely
~ Ali Alizadeh,
508:Every generation of children instinctively nests itself in nature, no matter matter how tiny a scrap of it they can grasp. In a tale of one city child, the poet Audre Lord remembers picking tufts of grass which crept up through the paving stones in New York City and giving them as bouquets to her mother. It is a tale of two necessities. The grass must grow, no matter the concrete suppressing it. The child must find her way to the green, no matter the edifice which would crush it.

"The Maori word for placenta is the same word for land, so at birth the placenta is buried, put back in the mothering earth. A Hindu baby may receive the sun-showing rite surya-darsana when, with conch shells ringing to the skies, the child is introduced to the sun. A newborn child of the Tonga people 'meets' the moon, dipped in the ocean of Kosi Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. Among some of the tribes of India, the qualities of different aspects of nature are invoked to bless the child, so he or she may have the characteristics of earth, sky and wind, of birds and animals, right down to the earthworm. Nothing is unbelonging to the child.

"'My oldest memories have the flavor of earth,' wrote Frederico García Lorca. In the traditions of the Australian deserts, even from its time in the womb, the baby is catscradled in kinship with the world. Born into a sandy hollow, it is cleaned with sand and 'smoked' by fire, and everything -- insects, birds, plants, and animals -- is named to the child, who is told not only what everything is called but also the relationship between the child and each creature. Story and song weave the child into the subtle world of the Dreaming, the nested knowledge of how the child belongs.

"The threads which tie the child to the land include its conception site and the significant places of the Dreaming inherited through its parents. Introduced to creatures and land features as to relations, the child is folded into the land, wrapped into country, and the stories press on the child's mind like the making of felt -- soft and often -- storytelling until the feeling of the story of the country is impressed into the landscape of the child's mind.

"That the juggernaut of ants belongs to a child, belligerently following its own trail. That the twitch of an animal's tail is part of a child's own tale or storyline, once and now again. That on the papery bark of a tree may be written the songline of a child's name. That the prickles of a thornbush may have dynamic relevance to conscience. That a damp hollow by the riverbank is not an occasional place to visit but a permanent part of who you are. This is the beginning of belonging, the beginning of love.

"In the art and myth of Indigenous Australia, the Ancestors seeded the country with its children, so the shimmering, pouring, circling, wheeling, spinning land is lit up with them, cartwheeling into life....

"The human heart's love for nature cannot ultimately be concreted over. Like Audre Lord's tufts of grass, will crack apart paving stones to grasp the sun.
Children know they are made of the same stuff as the grass, as Walt Whitman describes nature creating the child who becomes what he sees:

There was a child went forth every day
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became...
The early lilacs became part of this child...
And the song of the phoebe-bird...

In Australia, people may talk of the child's conception site as the origin of their selfhood and their picture of themselves. As Whitman wrote of the child becoming aspects of the land, so in Northern Queensland a Kunjen elder describes the conception site as 'the home place for your image.' Land can make someone who they are, giving them fragments of themselves. ~ Jay Griffiths,
509:An Experiment In Translation
Blest husbandmen! if they but knew their bliss!
For whom, from war remote, fair-minded Earth
Teems, to light toil, with ready sustenance.
What though from splendid palace streams at dawn
No servile train, gaping at inlaid gates,
Corinthian bronzes, garments tricked with gold;
What though for them no snow-white wool be stained
By Eastern dyes, nor oil be smeared with nard,
Secure tranquillity is theirs, a life
Of rural wealth, from galling failure free,
Of ample leisure amid broad domains,
Cool grots, and shimmering pools, and shady groves,
Lowing of kine, and, after woodland chase,
Delight of slumber under noonday boughs:
Hard-working hinds to homely fare inured,
Fear of the Gods, and reverence for age.
Justice, deserting Earth, forsook them last.
For me, enamoured of the darling Muse,
Whose badge I bear, may she to me reveal
The secret of the stars, the sun's eclipse,
Moon's endless labour, earthquake, storm, and calm,
Why winter suns subside into the sea
So soon, and summer twilights stay so long.
But if not mine the native fire and force
To find my way to Nature's very heart,
Leave me green vales and irrigating rills,
And soothe my lack of fame with woods and streams.
Where are the braes and burns of Thessaly,
And Spartan maidens wantoning in the woods!
O who will hence now wizard me away
To Haemus' dewy dingles, and with dense
Umbrageous branches curtain my retreat!
Thrice blest indeed is he that apprehends
The root and real significance of things,
Who tramples under foot both fear and fate,
Nor dreads the roar of Acheron's yawning surge.
Nor happy less, who knows the rustic gods,
Pan, old Sylvanus, and the sister nymphs.
To menace of the mob or regal frown,
To Dacian hosts and fratricidal strife,
Future of Rome, and perishable realms,
Insensible alike, his heart is spared
Pain for the poor and envy of the rich.
His wealth the harvest trunk and furrow yield,
Nothing he recks of edicts cast in bronze,
News of the hour, or Senate's wrangling strife.
Some scour the seas in search of war, and storm
The gates of Kings, put cities to the sword,
To drain gemmed goblets, snore in Tyrian sheets;
Some gloat upon their golden hoards, while some
Are dazed by sounding rhetoric or befooled
By cheers repeated from patrician lips
And plebs alike; exult in brother's blood;
Or in sheer lust of exile quit their home
To seek a roof beneath some other sky.
With his curved share the wise swain stirs the soil,
Source of his constant care, and sustenance
Of country, kin, sleek kine, and generous steers.
Respite is none; for still the season teems
With fruits, or lambing flocks; or mellow sheaves
Crest the long furrows, and restock the barns.
Then Winter comes; the olives must be pressed,
The hogs grunt homeward gorged with mast; the grove
Yields arbutus, the Autumn peach and pear,
And the grapes ripen on the warm dry soil.
Meanwhile his children clamber to be kissed,
His honour lives unstained, the foaming pail
Brims with abounding milk, and on the sward
Young kids do mimic battle with their horns.
'Tis he that leads the Feast; and when his folk
Have lit the altar-fire and wreathed the cup,
Thee, Bacchus, with libation he invokes, and then
Tests at the target his head-shepherds' skill,
Or bids them strip and wrestle for the prize.
Such was the life the Sabines led of old,
Such Remus and his twin; and thus it was
Etruria throve; thus seven-hilled Rome became
One with itself, the glory of the world.
Such, too, ere yet unnatural Minos reigned,
And impious mortals banqueted on flesh,
The simple manners of the Golden Age.
~ Alfred Austin,
510:Tristesses De La Lune (Sorrows Of The Moon)
Ce soir, la lune rêve avec plus de paresse;
Ainsi qu'une beauté, sur de nombreux coussins,
Qui d'une main distraite et légère caresse
Avant de s'endormir le contour de ses seins,
Sur le dos satiné des molles avalanches,
Mourante, elle se livre aux longues pâmoisons,
Et promène ses yeux sur les visions blanches
Qui montent dans l'azur comme des floraisons.
Quand parfois sur ce globe, en sa langueur oisive,
Elle laisse filer une larme furtive,
Un poète pieux, ennemi du sommeil,
Dans le creux de sa main prend cette larme pâle,
Aux reflets irisés comme un fragment d'opale,
Et la met dans son coeur loin des yeux du soleil.
Sadness of the Moon
Tonight the moon dreams with more indolence,
Like a lovely woman on a bed of cushions
Who fondles with a light and listless hand
The contour of her breasts before falling asleep;
On the satiny back of the billowing clouds,
Languishing, she lets herself fall into long swoons
And casts her eyes over the white phantoms
That rise in the azure like blossoming flowers.
When, in her lazy listlessness,
She sometimes sheds a furtive tear upon this globe,
A pious poet, enemy of sleep,
In the hollow of his hand catches this pale tear,
With the iridescent reflections of opal,
And hides it in his heart afar from the sun's eyes.
— Translated by William Aggeler
Sorrow of the Moon
More drowsy dreams the moon tonight. She rests
Like a proud beauty on heaped cushions pressing,
With light and absent-minded touch caressing,
Before she sleeps, the contour of her breasts.
On satin-shimmering, downy avalanches
She dies from swoon to swoon in languid change,
And lets her eyes on snowy visions range
That in the azure rise like flowering branches.
When sometimes to this earth her languor calm
Lets streak a stealthy tear, a pious poet,
The enemy of sleep, in his cupped palm,
Takes this pale tear, of liquid opal spun
With rainbow lights, deep in his heart to stow it
Far from the staring eyeballs of the Sun.
— Translated by Roy Campbell
The Sadness of the Moon
Tonight the moon, by languorous memories obsessed,
Lies pensive and awake: a sleepless beauty amid
The tossed and multitudinous cushions of her bed,
Caressing with an abstracted hand the curve of her breast.
Surrendered to her deep sadness as to a lover, for hours
She lolls in the bright luxurious disarray of the sky —
Haggard, entranced — and watches the small clouds float by
Uncurling indolently in the blue air like flowers.
When now and then upon this planet she lets fall,
Out of her idleness and sorrow, a secret tear,
Some poet — an enemy of slumber, musing apart —
Catches in his cupped hands the unearthly tribute, all
Fiery and iridescent like an opal's sphere,
And hides it from the sun for ever in his heart.
— Translated by George Dillon
Tristesses de la lune
the moon tonight, more indolently dreaming,
as on a pillowed bed, a woman seems,
caressing with a hand distraught and gleaming,
her soft curved bosom, ere she sinks in dreams.
against a snowy satin avalanche
she lies entranced and drowned in swooning hours,
her gaze upon the visions born to blanch
those far blue depths with ever-blossoming flowers.
and when in some soft languorous interval,
earthward, she lets a stealthy tear-drop fall,
a poet, foe to slumber, toiling on,
with reverent hollow hand receives the pearl,
where shimmering opalescences unfurl,
and shields it in his heart, far from the sun.
— Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks
Sorrows of the Moon
Tonight the moon dreams in a deeper languidness,
And, like a beauty on her cushions, lies at rest;
While drifting off to sleep, a tentative caress
Seeks, with a gentle hand, the contour of her breast;
As on a crest above her silken avalanche,
Dying, she yields herself to an unending swoon,
And sees a pallid vision everywhere she’d glance,
In the azure sky where blossoms have been strewn.
When sometime, in her weariness, upon her sphere
She might permit herself to sheda furtive tear,
A poet of great piety, a foe of sleep,
Catches in the hollow of his hand that tear,
An opal fragment, iridescent as a star;
Within his heart, far from the sun, it’s buried deep.
Translated by Anonymous
~ Charles Baudelaire,
511:The Sultan's Palace
My spirit only lived to look on Beauty's face,
As only when they clasp the arms seem served aright;
As in their flesh inheres the impulse to embrace,
To gaze on Loveliness was my soul's appetite.
I have roamed far in search; white road and plunging bow
Were keys in the blue doors where my desire was set;
Obedient to their lure, my lips and laughing brow
The hill-showers and the spray of many seas have wet.
Hot are enamored hands, the fragrant zone unbound,
To leave no dear delight unfelt, unfondled o'er,
The will possessed my heart to girdle Earth around
With their insatiate need to wonder and adore.
The flowers in the fields, the surf upon the sands,
The sunset and the clouds it turned to blood and wine,
Were shreds of the thin veil behind whose beaded strands
A radiant visage rose, serene, august, divine.
A noise of summer wind astir in starlit trees,
A song where sensual love's delirium rose and fell,
Were rites that moved my soul more than the devotee's
When from the blazing choir rings out the altar bell.
I woke amid the pomp of a proud palace; writ
In tinted arabesque on walls that gems o'erlay,
The names of caliphs were who once held court in it,
Their baths and bowers were mine to dwell in for a day.
Their robes and rings were mine to draw from shimmering trays--Brocades and broidered silks, topaz and tourmaline-Their turban-cloths to wind in proud capricious ways,
And fasten plumes and pearls and pendent sapphires in.
I rose; far music drew my steps in fond pursuit
Down tessellated floors and towering peristyles:
Through groves of colonnades fair lamps were blushing fruit,
On seas of green mosaic soft rugs were flowery isles.
And there were verdurous courts that scalloped arches wreathed,
Where fountains plashed in bowls of lapis lazuli.
Through enigmatic doors voluptuous accents breathed,
And having Youth I had their Open Sesame.
I paused where shadowy walls were hung with cloths of gold,
And tinted twilight streamed through storied panes above.
In lamplit alcoves deep as flowers when they unfold
Soft cushions called to rest and fragrant fumes to love.
I hungered; at my hand delicious dainties teemed--Fair pyramids of fruit; pastry in sugared piles.
I thirsted; in cool cups inviting vintage beamed--Sweet syrups from the South; brown muscat from the isles.
I yearned for passionate Love; faint gauzes fell away.
Pillowed in rosy light I found my heart's desire.
Over the silks and down her florid beauty lay,
As over orient clouds the sunset's coral fire.
Joys that had smiled afar, a visionary form,
Behind the ranges hid, remote and rainbow-dyed,
Drew near unto my heart, a wonder soft and warm,
To touch, to stroke, to clasp, to sleep and wake beside.
Joy, that where summer seas and hot horizons shone
Had been the outspread arms I gave my youth to seek,
Drew near; awhile its pulse strove sweetly with my own,
Awhile I felt its breath astir upon my cheek.
I was so happy there; so fleeting was my stay,
What wonder if, assailed with vistas so divine,
I only lived to search and sample them the day
When between dawn and dusk the sultan's courts were mine !
Speak not of other worlds of happiness to be,
As though in any fond imaginary sphere
Lay more to tempt man's soul to immortality
Than ripens for his bliss abundant now and here!
Flowerlike I hope to die as flowerlike was my birth.
Rooted in Nature's just benignant law like them,
I want no better joys than those that from green Earth
My spirit's blossom drew through the sweet body's stem.
I see no dread in death, no horror to abhor.
I never thought it else than but to cease to dwell
Spectator, and resolve most naturally once more
Into the dearly loved eternal spectacle.
Unto the fields and flowers this flesh I found so fair
I yield; do you, dear friend, over your rose-crowned wine,
Murmur my name some day as though my lips were there,
And frame your mouth as though its blushing kiss were mine.
Yea, where the banquet-hall is brilliant with young men,
You whose bright youth it might have thrilled my breast to know,
Drink . . . and perhaps my lips, insatiate even then
Of lips to hang upon, may find their loved ones so.
Unto the flush of dawn and evening I commend
This immaterial self and flamelike part of me,--Unto the azure haze that hangs at the world's end,
The sunshine on the hills, the starlight on the sea,--Unto angelic Earth, whereof the lives of those
Who love and dream great dreams and deeply feel may be
The elemental cells and nervules that compose
Its divine consciousness and joy and harmony.
~ Alan Seeger,
512:Chant D'Automne (Song Of Autumn)
Bientôt nous plongerons dans les froides ténèbres;
Adieu, vive clarté de nos étés trop courts!
J'entends déjà tomber avec des chocs funèbres
Le bois retentissant sur le pavé des cours.
Tout l'hiver va rentrer dans mon être: colère,
Haine, frissons, horreur, labeur dur et forcé,
Et, comme le soleil dans son enfer polaire,
Mon coeur ne sera plus qu'un bloc rouge et glacé.
J'écoute en frémissant chaque bûche qui tombe
L'échafaud qu'on bâtit n'a pas d'écho plus sourd.
Mon esprit est pareil à la tour qui succombe
Sous les coups du bélier infatigable et lourd.
II me semble, bercé par ce choc monotone,
Qu'on cloue en grande hâte un cercueil quelque part.
Pour qui? — C'était hier l'été; voici l'automne!
Ce bruit mystérieux sonne comme un départ.
J'aime de vos longs yeux la lumière verdâtre,
Douce beauté, mais tout aujourd'hui m'est amer, Et rien, ni votre amour, ni le
boudoir, ni l'âtre,
Ne me vaut le soleil rayonnant sur la mer.
Et pourtant aimez-moi, tendre coeur! soyez mère,
Même pour un ingrat, même pour un méchant;
Amante ou soeur, soyez la douceur éphémère
D'un glorieux automne ou d'un soleil couchant.
Courte tâche! La tombe attend; elle est avide!
Ah! laissez-moi, mon front posé sur vos genoux,
Goûter, en regrettant l'été blanc et torride,
De l'arrière-saison le rayon jaune et doux!
Song of Autumn
Soon we shall plunge into the cold darkness;
Farewell, vivid brightness of our short-lived summers!
Already I hear the dismal sound of firewood
Falling with a clatter on the courtyard pavements.
All winter will possess my being: wrath,
Hate, horror, shivering, hard, forced labor,
And, like the sun in his polar Hades,
My heart will be no more than a frozen red block.
All atremble I listen to each falling log;
The building of a scaffold has no duller sound.
My spirit resembles the tower which crumbles
Under the tireless blows of the battering ram.
It seems to me, lulled by these monotonous shocks,
That somewhere they're nailing a coffin, in great haste.
For whom? — Yesterday was summer; here is autumn
That mysterious noise sounds like a departure.
I love the greenish light of your long eyes,
Sweet beauty, but today all to me is bitter;
Nothing, neither your love, your boudoir, nor your hearth
Is worth as much as the sunlight on the sea.
Yet, love me, tender heart! be a mother,
Even to an ingrate, even to a scapegrace;
Mistress or sister, be the fleeting sweetness
Of a gorgeous autumn or of a setting sun.
Short task! The tomb awaits; it is avid!
Ah! let me, with my head bowed on your knees,
Taste the sweet, yellow rays of the end of autumn,
While I mourn for the white, torrid summer!
— Translated by William Aggeler
Song of Autumn
Soon into frozen shades, like leaves, we'll tumble.
Adieu, short summer's blaze, that shone to mock.
I hear already the funereal rumble
Of logs, as on the paving-stones they shock.
Winter will enter in my soul to dwell —
Rage, hate, fear, horror, labour forced and dire!
My heart will seem, to sun that polar hell,
A dim, red, frozen block, devoid of fire.
Shuddering I hear the heavy thud of fuel.
The building of a gallows sounds as good!
My spirit, like a tower, reels to the cruel
Battering-ram in every crash of wood.
The ceaseless echoes rock me and appal.
They're nailing up a coffin, I'll be bound,
For whom? — Last night was Summer. Here's the Fall.
There booms a farewell volley in the sound.
I like die greenish light in your long eyes,
Dear: but today all things are sour to me.
And naught, your hearth, your boudoir, nor your sighs
Are worth the sun that glitters on the sea.
Yet love me, tender heart, as mothers cherish
A thankless wretch, Lover or sister, be
Ephemeral sweetness of the suns that perish
Or glory of the autumn swift to flee.
Brief task! The charnel yawns in hunger horrid,
Yet let me with my head upon your knees,
Although I mourn the summer, white and torrid
Taste these last yellow rays before they freeze.
— Translated by Roy Campbell
Chant d'automne
soon shall we plunge 'neath winter's icy pall;
farewell, bright fires of too-brief July!
even now I hear the knell funereal
of falling fire-logs in the court close by.
once more on me shall winter all unroll:
wrath, hatred, shivering dread, Toil's cursèd vise,
and like the sun in his far hell, the pole,
my heart shall be a block of crimson ice.
I wait aghast each loud impending log;
thus, criminals 'neath rising gibbets cower.
o dreadful battering-ram! my soul, agog,
quivers and totters like a crumbling tower,
till to my dream the cradling echoes drum
like hammers madly finishing a bier.
— for whom? — June yesterday; now fall is come!
mysterious dirge, who has departed here?
I love your long green eyes of slumberous fire,
my sweet, but now all things are gall to me,
and naught, your room, your hearth nor your desire
is worth the sunlight shimmering on the sea.
yet love me, tender heart! a mother be
even to an ingrate, or a wicked one;
mistress or sister, be as sweet to me
as some brief autumn or a setting sun.
'twill not be long! the hungering tomb awaits!
ah! let me — brow at peace upon your knees —
savour, regretful of June's parching heats,
this balmy soft October, ere it flees!
— Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks
Soon we will plunge ourselves into cold shadows,
And all of summer's stunning afternoons will be gone.
I already hear the dead thuds of logs below
Falling on the cobblestones and the lawn.
All of winter will return to me
derision, Hate, shuddering, horror, drudgery and vice,
And exiled, like the sun, to a polar prison,
My soul will harden into a block of red ice.
I shiver as I listen to each log crash and slam
The echoes are as dull as executioners' drums.
My mind is like a tower that slowly succumbs
To the blows of a relentless battering ram.
It seems to me, swaying to these shocks, that someone
Is nailing down a coffin in a hurry somewhere.
For whom? It was summer yesterday; now it's autumn.
Echoes of departure keep resounding in the air.
Translated by Anonymous
~ Charles Baudelaire,
513:A Dilettante
Good friend, be patient: goes the world awry?
well, can you groove it straight with all your pains?
and, sigh or scold, and, argue or intreat,
what have you done but waste your part of life
on impotent fool's battles with the winds,
that will blow as they list in spite of you?
Fie, I am weary of your pettish griefs
against the world that's given, like a child
who whines and pules because his bread's not cake,
because the roses have those ugly thorns
that prick if he's not careful of his hands.
Oh foolish spite: what talk you of the world,
and mean the men and women and the sin?
Oh friend, these all pass by, and God remains:
and God has made a world that pleases Him,
and when He wills then He will better it;
let it suffice us as he wills it now.
Nay, hush and look and listen. For this noon,
this summer noon, replies "but be content,"
speaking in voices of a hundred joys.
For lo, we, lying on this mossy knoll,
tasting the vivid musk of sheltering pines,
and balm of odorous flowers and sweet warm air;
feeling the uncadenced music of slow leaves,
and ripples in the brook athwart its stones,
and birds that call each other in the brakes
with sudden questions and smooth long replies,
the gossip of the incessant grasshoppers,
and the contented hum of laden bees;
we, knowing (with the easy restful eye
that, whichsoever way it turns, is filled
with unexacting beauty) this smooth sky,
blue with our English placid silvery blue,
mottled with little lazy clouds, this stretch
of dappled wealds and green and saffron slopes,
and near us these gnarled elm-trunks barred with gold,
and ruddy pine-boles, where the slumbrous beams
have slipped through the translucent leafy net
to break the shimmering dimness of the wood;
we, who, like licensed truants from light tasks
which lightly can be banished out of mind,
have all ourselves to give to idleness,
were more unreasoning, if we make moan
of miseries and toils and barrenness,
than if we sitting at a feast told tales
of famines and for the pity of them starved.
Oh, life is good when, on such summer days,
we linger in the dreamful paradise
that lies at every door where so much space
is left to garner in the languid air
as grass may grow in and some verdurous tree,
and some few yards of blueness and of clouds
may stretch above, making immensity;
when, lost out of our petty unit selves,
the heart grows large in the grave trance of peace,
and all things breathing, growing, are its kin,
and all the fair and blossoming earth is home.
And beauty is our lesson: for, look there,
that exquisite curve and cluster of rich leaves,
emerald and shadow, in that patch of sun,
what is it but a nettle? And that knoll
of woven green, where all fantastic grace
of shaggy stems and lush and trailing shoots
and all a thousand delicate varied tints,
are mingled in a wanton symmetry,
what is it but a thorn and bramble copse?
And that far plain, on which, through all the day,
change still grows lovelier and every cloud
makes different softer dimness, every light
an other-coloured glory, what is it?
a desolate barren waste, marshland and moor.
And in some other moment, when the rain
spurts greyly downwards on the soddening fields,
or the dank, autumn fog veils leaden skies,
or the keen baleful east winds nip the bloom
of frightened spring with bleak and parching chills,
the waste, the thorns, the nettle, each would seem
cursed with the unloveliness of evil things.
So beauty comes and goes: yet beauty is
a message out of Heaven; can it speak
from evil things? I know not; but I know
that waste and thorns and nettle are to-day
teachers of Love, a prospect not to change,
for use, against a fifty miles of corn.
Can we tell good from evil you and I?
Oh, if the men and women of to-day
seem ill or good to us, why, what know we?
to-morrow they, or those who follow them,
will seem another way; and are they changed,
or are the eyes that see them? Let them be;
are we divine that we should judge and rule?
And they are not the world by several selves
but in a gathered whole, and if that whole
drift heavenward or hellward God can see,
not we, who, ants hived in our colonies,
count the world loam or gravel, stocked with flowers
or weeds or cabbages, as we shall find
within our own small ranges, and (being wise
and full of care for all the universe),
wonder, and blame, and theorize, and plan,
by the broad guide of our experiences!
'Twere a neat world if levelled by the ants;
no ridges, no rough gaps, all fined and soft.
But I will rather use my antish wits
in smoothing just my cell and at my doors
than join in such heroic enterprise.
Selfish, you call me? callous? Hear a tale.
There was a little shallow brook that ran
between low banks, scarcely a child's leap wide,
feeding a foot or two of bordering grass
and, here and there, some tufts of waterflowers
and cresses, and tall sedge, rushes and reeds;
and, where it bubbled past a poor man's cot,
he and his household came and drank of it,
and all the children loved it for its flowers
and counted it a playmate made for them:
but, not far off, a sandy arid waste
where, when a winged seed rested, or a bird
would drop a grain in passing, and it grew,
it presently must droop and die athirst,
spread its scorched silent leagues to the fierce sun:
and once a learned man came by and saw,
and "lo," said he, "what space for corn to grow,
could we send vivifying moistures here,
while look, this wanton misdirected brook
watering its useless weeds!" so had it turned,
and made a channel for it through the waste:
but its small waters could not feed that drought,
and, in the wide unshadowed plain, it lagged,
and shrank away, sucked upwards of the sun
and downwards of the sands; so the new bed
lay dry, and dry the old; and the parched reeds
grew brown and dwined, the stunted rushes drooped,
the cresses could not root in that slacked soil,
the blossoms and the sedges died away,
the greenness shrivelled from the dusty banks,
the children missed their playmate and the flowers,
and thirsted in hot noon-tides for the draught
grown over precious now their mother went
a half-mile to the well to fill her pails;
and not two ears of corn the more were green.
Tell me, what should I do? I take my life
as I have found it, and the work it brings;
well, and the life is kind, the work is light,
shall I go fret and scorn myself for that?
and must I sally forth to hack and hew
at giants or at windmills, leave the post
I could have filled, the work I could have wrought,
for some magnificent mad enterprise,
some task to lift a mountain, drain a sea,
tread down a Titan, build a pyramid?
No, let me, like a bird bred in the cage,
that, singing its own self to gladness there,
makes some who hear it gladder, take what part
I have been born to, and make joy of it.
Grumbler, what are you muttering in your beard?
"You've a bird-likeness too, to shew me in;
I take life, as a sea-gull takes the sea,
mere skimmingly." I say no otherwise;
'tis a wise bird the sea-gull, does but taste
the hale and briny freshness of the spray:
what would you have me do? plunge in and drown?
Oh chiding friend, I am not of your kind,
you strenuous souls who cannot think you live
unless you feel your limbs, though 'twere by aches:
great boisterous winds you are, who must rush on
and sweep all on your way or drop and die,
but I am only a small fluttering breeze
to coax the roses open: let me be;
perhaps I have my use no less than you.
Ah well! How strange that you and I, who tread
so same a path, perceive it so unlike.
And which sees justly? Maybe both of us:
or maybe one of us is colour-blind,
and sees the tintings blurred, or sees them false,
or does not see, so misses what they shew.
Or likelier each of us is colour-blind,
and sees the world his own way, fit for him:
doubtless we afterwards shall understand
the beauty and the pain are more alike.
~ Augusta Davies Webster,
514:The Heir Of Linne
Part the First
Lithe and listen, gentlemen,
To sing a song I will beginne:
It is of a lord of faire Scotland,
Which was the unthrifty heire of Linne.
His father was a right good lord,
His mother a lady of high degree;
But they, alas! were dead, him froe,
And he lov'd keeping companie.
To spend the daye with merry cheare,
To drinke and revell every night,
To card and dice from eve to morne,
It was, I ween, his hearts delighte.
To ride, to runne, to rant, to roare,
To alwaye spend and never spare,
I wott, an' it were the king himselfe,
Of gold and fee he mote be bare.
Soe fares the unthrifty Lord of Linne
Till all his gold is gone and spent;
And he maun selle his landes so broad,
His house, and landes, and all his rent.
His father had a keen stewarde,
And John o' the Scales was called hee:
But John is become a gentel-man,
And John has gott both gold and fee.
Sayes, 'Welcome, welcome, Lord of Linne,
Let nought disturb thy merry cheere;
Iff thou wilt sell thy landes soe broad,
Good store of gold Ile give thee heere.'
'My gold is gone, my money is spent;
My lande nowe take it unto thee:
Give me the golde, good John o' the Scales,
And thine for aye my lande shall bee.'
Then John he did him to record draw,
And John he cast him a gods-pennie;
But for every pounde that John agreed,
The lande, I wis, was well worth three.
He told him the gold upon the borde,
He was right glad his land to winne;
'The gold is thine, the land is mine,
And now Ile be the Lord of Linne.'
Thus he hath sold his land soe broad,
Both hill and holt, and moore and fenne,
All but a poore and lonesome lodge,
That stood far off in a lonely glenne.
For soe he to his father hight.
'My sonne, when I am gonne,' sayd hee,
'Then thou wilt spend thy lande soe broad,
And thou wilt spend thy gold so free.
'But sweare me nowe upon the roode,
That lonesome lodge thou'lt never spend!
For when all the world doth frown on thee,
Thou there shalt find a faithful friend.'
The heire of Linne is full of golde:
'And come with me, my friends,' sayd hee,
'Let's drinke, and rant, and merry make,
And he that spares, ne'er mote he thee.'
They ranted, drank, and merry made,
Till all his gold it waxed thinne;
And then his friendes they slunk away;
They left the unthrifty heire of Linne.
He had never a penny left in his purse,
Never a penny left but three,
And one was brass, another was lead,
And another it was white money.
'Nowe well-aday,' sayd the heire of Linne,
'Nowe well-aday, and woe is mee,
For when I was the Lord of Linne,
I never wanted gold nor fee.
'But many a trustye friend have I,
And why shold I feel dole or care?
Ile borrow of them all by turnes,
Soe need I not be never bare.'
But one, I wis, was not at home;
Another had payd his gold away;
Another call'd him thriftless loone,
And bade him sharpely wend his way.
'Now well-aday,' said the heire of Linne,
'Now well-aday, and woe is me;
For when I had my landes so broad,
On me they liv'd right merrilee.
'To bed my bread from door to door,
I wis, it were a brenning shame;
To rob and steal it were a sinne;
To worke, my limbs I cannot frame.
'Now Ile away to lonesome lodge,
For there my father bade me wend:
When all the world should frown on mee
I there shold find a trusty friend.'
Part the Second
Away then hyed the heire of Linne,
Oer hill and holt, and moor and fenne,
Untill he came to lonesome lodge,
That stood so lowe in a lonely glenne.
He looked up, he looked downe,
In hope some comfort for to winne:
But bare and lothly were the walles:
'Here's sorry cheare,' quo' the heire of Linne.
The little windowe, dim and darke,
Was hung with ivy, brere, and yewe;
No shimmering sunn here ever shone,
No halesome breeze here ever blew.
No chair, ne table he mote spye,
No chearful hearth, ne welcome bed,
Nought save a rope with renning noose,
That dangling hung up o'er his head.
And over it in broad letters,
These words were written so plain to see:
'Ah! gracelesse wretch, hast spent thine all,
And brought thyselfe to penurie?
'All this my boding mind misgave,
I therefore left this trusty friend:
Let it now sheeld thy foule disgrace,
And all thy shame and sorrows end.'
Sorely shent wi' this rebuke,
Sorely shent was the heire of Linne;
His heart, I wis, was near to brast
With gilt and sorrowe, shame and sinne.
Never a word spake the heire of Linne,
Never a word he spake but three:
'This is a trusty friend indeed,
And is right welcome unto mee.'
Then round his necke the corde he drewe,
And sprang aloft with his bodie,
When lo! the ceiling burst in twaine,
And to the ground came tumbling hee.
Astonyed lay the heire of Linne,
Ne knewe if he were live or dead:
At length he looked, and sawe a bille,
And in it a key of gold so redd.
He took the bill, and lookt it on,
Strait good comfort found he there:
Itt told him of a hole in the wall,
In which there stood three chests in-fere.
Two were full of the beaten golde,
The third was full of white money;
And over them in broad letters
These words were written so plaine to see.
'Once more, my sonne, I sette thee clere;
Amend thy life and follies past;
For but thou amend thee of thy life,
That rope must be thy end at last.'
'And let it bee,' sayd the heire of Linne,
'And let it bee, but if I amend:
For here I will make mine avow,
This reade shall guide me to the end.'
Away then went with a merry cheare,
Away then went the heire of Linne;
I wis, he neither ceas'd ne blanne,
Till John o' the Scales house he did winne.
And when he came to John o' the Scales,
Upp at the speere then looked hee;
There sate three lords upon a rowe,
Were drinking of the wine so free.
And John himself sate at the bordhead,
Because now Lord of Linne was hee;
'I pray thee,' he said, 'good John o' the Scales,
One forty pence for to lend mee.'
'Away, away, thou thriftless loone;
Away, away, this may not bee:
For Christs curse on my head,' he sayd,
'If ever I trust thee one pennie.'
Then bespake the heire of Linne,
To John o' the Scales wife then spake he:
'Madame, some almes on me bestowe,
I pray for sweet Saint Charitie.'
'Away, away, thou thriftless loone,
I swear thou gettest no almes of mee;
For if we shold hang any losel heere,
The first we wold begin with thee.'
Then bespake a good fellowe,
Which sat at John o' the Scales his bord;
Sayd, 'Turn againe, thou heire of Linne;
Some time thou wast a well good lord.
'Some time a good fellow thou hast been,
And sparedst not thy gold and fee;
Therefore Ile lend thee forty pence,
And other forty if need bee.
'And ever I pray thee, John o' the Scales,
To let him sit in thy companie:
For well I wot thou hadst his land,
And a good bargain it was to thee.'
Up then spake him John o' the Scales,
All wood he answer'd him againe:
'Now Christs curse on my head,' he sayd,
'But I did lose by that bargaine.
'And here I proffer thee, heire of Linne,
Before these lords so faire and free,
Thou shalt have it backe again better cheape
By a hundred markes than I had it of thee.'
'I drawe you to record, lords,' he said,
With that he cast him a gods-pennie:
'Now by my fay,' sayd the heire of Linne,
'And here, good John, is thy money.'
And he pull'd forth three bagges of gold,
And layd them down upon the bord:
All woe begone was John o' the Scales,
Soe shent he cold say never a word.
He told him forth the good red gold.
He told it forth with mickle dinne.
'The gold is thine, the land is mine,
And now Ime againe the Lord of Linne.'
Sayes, 'Have thou here, thou good fellowe,
Forty pence thou didst lend mee:
Now I am againe the Lord of Linne,
And forty pounds I will give thee.
'Ile make thee keeper of my forrest,
Both of the wild deere and the tame;
For but I reward thy bounteous heart,
I wis, good fellowe, I were to blame.'
'Now well-aday!' sayth Joan o' the Scales;
'Now well-aday, and woe is my life!
Yesterday I was Lady of Linne,
Now Ime but John o' the Scales his wife.'
'Now fare thee well,' sayd the heire of Linne,
'Farewell now, John o' the Scales,' said hee:
'Christs curse light on me, if ever again
I bring my lands in jeopardy.'
~ Anonymous Olde English,
[Dedicated to General J.C.F. Fuller]
Velvet soft the night-star glowed
Over the untrodden road,
Through the giant glades of yew
Where its ray fell light as dew
Lighting up the shimmering veil
Maiden pure and aery frail
That the spiders wove to hide
Blushes of the sylvan bride
Earth, that trembled with delight
At the male caress of Night.

Velvet soft the wizard trod
To the Sabbath of his God.
With his naked feet he made
Starry blossoms in the glade,
Softly, softly, as he went
To the sombre sacrament,
Stealthy stepping to the tryst
In his gown of amethyst.

Earlier yet his soul had come
To the Hill of Martyrdom,
Where the charred and crooked stake
Like a black envenomed snake
By the hangman's hands is thrust
Through the wet and writhing dust,
Never black and never dried
Heart's blood of a suicide.

He had plucked the hazel rod
From the rude and goatish god,
Even as the curved moon's waning ray
Stolen from the King of Day.
He had learnt the elvish sign;
Given the Token of the Nine:
Once to rave, and once to revel,
Once to bow before the devil,
Once to swing the thurible,
Once to kiss the goat of hell,
Once to dance the aspen spring,
Once to croak, and once to sing,
Once to oil the savoury thighs
Of the witch with sea-green eyes
With the unguents magical.
Oh the honey and the gall
Of that black enchanter's lips
As he croons to the eclipse
Mingling that most puissant spell
Of the giant gods of hell
With the four ingredients
Of the evil elements;
Ambergris from golden spar,
Musk of ox from Mongol jar,
Civet from a box of jade,
Mixed with fat of many a maid
Slain by the inchauntments cold
Of the witches wild and old.

He had crucified a toad
In the basilisk abode,
Muttering the Runes averse
Mad with many a mocking curse.

He had traced the serpent sigil
In his ghastly virgin vigil.
Sursum cor! the elfin hill,
Where the wind blows deadly chill
From the world that wails beneath
Death's black throat and lipless teeth.
There he had stood - his bosom bare -
Tracing Life upon the Air
With the crook and with the flail
Lashing forward on the gale,
Till its blade that wavereth
Like the flickering of Death
Sank before his subtle fence
To the starless sea of sense.

Now at last the man is come
Haply to his halidom.
Surely as he waves his rod
In a circle on the sod
Springs the emerald chaste and clean
From the duller paler green.
Surely in the circle millions
Of immaculate pavilions
Flash upon the trembling turf
Like the sea-stars in the surf -
Millions of bejewelled tents
For the warrior sacraments.
Vaster, vaster, vaster, vaster,
Grows the stature of the master;
All the ringed encampment vies
With the infinite galaxies.
In the midst a cubic stone
With the Devil set thereon;
Hath a lamb's virginal throat;
Hath the body of a stoat;
Hath the buttocks of a goat;
Hath the sanguine face and rod
Of a goddess and a god!

Spell by spell and pace by pace!
Mystic flashes swing and trace
Velvet soft the sigils stepped
By the silver-starred adept.
Back and front, and to and fro,
Soul and body sway and flow
In vertiginous caresses
To imponderable recesses,
Till at last the spell is woven,
And the faery veil is cloven
That was Sequence, Space, and Stress
Of the soul-sick consciousness.

"Give thy body to the beasts!
Give thy spirit to the priests!
Break in twain the hazel rod
On the virgin lips of God!
Tear the Rosy Cross asunder!
Shatter the black bolt of thunder!
Suck the swart ensanguine kiss
Of the resolute abyss!"
Wonder-weft the wizard heard
This intolerable word.
Smote the blasting hazel rod
On the scarlet lips of God;
Trampled Cross and rosy core;
Brake the thunder-tool of Thor;
Meek and holy acolyte
Of the priestly hells of spite,
Sleek and shameless catamite
Of the beasts that prowl the night!

Like a star that streams from heaven
Through the virgin airs light-riven,
From the lift there shot and fell
An admirable miracle.
Carved minute and clean, a key
Of purest lapis-lazuli
More blue than the blind sky that aches
(Wreathed with the stars, her torturing snakes),
For the dead god's kiss that never wakes;
Shot with golden specks of fire
Like a virgin with desire.
Look, the levers! fern-frail fronds
Of fantastic diamonds,
Glimmering with ethereal azure
In each exquisite embrasure.
On the shaft the letters laced,
As if dryads lunar-chaste
With the satyrs were embraced,
Spelled the secret of the key:
Sic pervenias. And he
Went his wizard way, inweaving
Dreams of things beyond believing.

When he will, the weary world
Of the senses closely curled
Like a serpent round his heart
Shakes herself and stands apart.
So the heart's blood flames, expanding,
Strenuous, urgent, and commanding;
And the key unlocks the door
Where his love lives evermore.

She is of the faery blood;
All smaragdine flows its flood.
Glowing in the amber sky
To ensorcelled porphyry
She hath eyes of glittering flake
Like a cold grey water-snake.
She hath naked breasts of amber
Jetting wine in her bed-chamber,
Whereof whoso stoops and drinks
Rees the riddle of the Sphinx.

She hath naked limbs of amber
Whereupon her children clamber.
She hath five navels rosy-red
From the five wounds of God that bled;
Each wound that mothered her still bleeding,
And on that blood her babes are feeding.
Oh! like a rose-winged pelican
She hath bred blessed babes to Pan!
Oh! like a lion-hued nightingale
She hath torn her breast on thorns to avail
The barren rose-tree to renew
Her life with that disastrous dew,
Building the rose o' the world alight
With music out of the pale moonlight!
O She is like the river of blood
That broke from the lips of the bastard god,
When he saw the sacred mother smile
On the ibis that flew up the foam of Nile
Bearing the limbs unblessed, unborn,
That the lurking beast of Nile had torn!

So (for the world is weary) I
These dreadful souls of sense lay by.
I sacrifice these impure shoon
To the cold ray of the waning moon.
I take the forked hazel staff,
And the rose of no terrene graff,
And the lamp of no olive oil
With heart's blood that alone may boil.
With naked breast and feet unshod
I follow the wizard way to God.

Wherever he leads my foot shall follow;
Over the height, into the hollow,
Up to the caves of pure cold breath,
Down to the deeps of foul hot death,
Across the seas, through the fires,
Past the palace of desires;
Where he will, whether he will or no,
If I go, I care not whither I go.

For in me is the taint of the faery blood.
Fast, fast its emerald flood
Leaps within me, violent rude
Like a bestial faun's beatitude.
In me the faery blood runs hard:
My sires were a druid, a devil, a bard,
A beast, a wizard, a snake and a satyr;
For - as my mother said - what does it matter?
She was a fay, pure of the faery;
Queen Morgan's daughter by an aery
Demon that came to Orkney once
To pay the Beetle his orisons.

So, it is I that writhe with the twitch
Of the faery blood, and the wizard itch
To attain a matter one may not utter
Rather than sink in the greasy splutter
Of Britons munching their bread and butter;
Ailing boys and coarse-grained girls
Grown to sloppy women and brutal churls.
So, I am off with staff in hand
To the endless light of the nameless land.

Darkness spreads its sombre streams,
Blotting out the elfin dreams.
I might haply be afraid,
Were it not the Feather-maid
Leads me softly by the hand,
Whispers me to understand.
Now (when through the world of weeping
Light at last starrily creeping
Steals upon my babe-new sight,
Light - O light that is not light!)
On my mouth the lips of her
Like a stone on my sepulchre
Seal my speech with ecstasy,
Till a babe is born of me
That is silent more than I;
For its inarticulate cry
Hushes as its mouth is pressed
To the pearl, her honey breast;
While its breath divinely ripples
The rose-petals of her nipples,
And the jetted milk he laps
From the soft delicious paps,
Sweeter than the bee-sweet showers
In the chalice of the flowers,
More intoxicating than
All the purple grapes of Pan.

Ah! my proper lips are stilled.
Only, all the world is filled
With the Echo, that drips over
Like the honey from the clover.
Passion, penitence, and pain
Seek their mother's womb again,
And are born the triple treasure,
Peace and purity and pleasure.

- Hush, my child, and come aloft
Where the stars are velvet soft!

~ Aleister Crowley, The Wizard Way
SHE will not sleep, for fear of dreams,
But, rising, quits her restless bed,
And walks where some beclouded beams
Of moonlight through the hall are shed.
Obedient to the goad of grief,
Her steps, now fast, now lingering slow,
In varying motion seek relief
From the Eumenides of woe.
Wringing her hands, at intervals­
But long as mute as phantom dim­
She glides along the dusky walls,
Under the black oak rafters, grim.
The close air of the grated tower
Stifles a heart that scarce can beat,
And, though so late and lone the hour,
Forth pass her wandering, faltering feet;
And on the pavement, spread before
The long front of the mansion grey,
Her steps imprint the night-frost hoar,
Which pale on grass and granite lay.
Not long she stayed where misty moon
And shimmering stars could on her look,
But through the garden arch-way, soon
Her strange and gloomy path she took.
Some firs, coeval with the tower,
Their straight black boughs stretched o'er her head,
Unseen, beneath this sable bower,
Rustled her dress and rapid tread.
There was an alcove in that shade,
Screening a rustic-seat and stand;
Weary she sat her down and laid
Her hot brow on her burning hand.
To solitude and to the night,
Some words she now, in murmurs, said;
And, trickling through her fingers white,
Some tears of misery she shed.
' God help me, in my grievous need,
God help me, in my inward pain;
Which cannot ask for pity's meed,
Which has no license to complain;
Which must be borne, yet who can bear,
Hours long, days long, a constant weight­
The yoke of absolute despair,
A suffering wholly desolate ?
Who can for ever crush the heart,
Restrain its throbbing, curb its life ?
Dissemble truth with ceaseless art,
With outward calm, mask inward strife ?'
She waited­as for some reply;
The still and cloudy night gave none;
Erelong, with deep-drawn, trembling sigh,
Her heavy plaint again begun.
' Unloved­I love; unwept­I weep;
Grief I restrain­hope I repress:
Vain is this anguish­fixed and deep;
Vainer, desires and dreams of bliss.
love awakes no love again,
tears collect, and fall unfelt;
sorrow touches none with pain,
humble hopes to nothing melt.
For me the universe is dumb,
Stone-deaf, and blank, and wholly blind;
Life I must bound, existence sum
In the strait limits of one mind;
That mind my own. Oh ! narrow cell;
Dark­imageless­a living tomb !
There must I sleep, there wake and dwell
Content, with palsy, pain, and gloom.'
Again she paused; a moan of pain,
A stifled sob, alone was heard;
Long silence followed­then again,
Her voice the stagnant midnight stirred.
' Must it be so ? Is this my fate ?
Can I nor struggle, nor contend ?
And am I doomed for years to wait,
Watching death's lingering axe descend ?
And when it falls, and when I die,
What follows ? Vacant nothingness ?
The blank of lost identity ?
Erasure both of pain and bliss ?
I've heard of heaven­I would believe;
For if this earth indeed be all,
Who longest lives may deepest grieve,
Most blest, whom sorrows soonest call.
Oh ! leaving disappointment here,
Will man find hope on yonder coast ?
Hope, which, on earth, shines never clear,
And oft in clouds is wholly lost.
Will he hope's source of light behold,
Fruition's spring, where doubts expire,
And drink, in waves of living gold,
Contentment, full, for long desire ?
Will he find bliss, which here he dreamed ?
Rest, which was weariness on earth ?
Knowledge, which, if o'er life it beamed,
Served but to prove it void of worth ?
Will he find love without lust's leaven,
Love fearless, tearless, perfect, pure,
To all with equal bounty given,
In all, unfeigned, unfailing, sure ?
Will he, from penal sufferings free,
Released from shroud and wormy clod,
All calm and glorious, rise and see
Creation's Sire­Existence' God ?
Then, glancing back on Time's brief woes,
Will he behold them, fading, fly;
Swept from Eternity's repose,
Like sullying cloud, from pure blue sky ?
If so­endure, my weary frame;
And when thy anguish strikes too deep,
And when all troubled burns life's flame,
Think of the quiet, final sleep;
Think of the glorious waking-hour,
Which will not dawn on grief and tears,
But on a ransomed spirit's power,
Certain, and free from mortal fears.
Seek now thy couch, and lie till morn,
Then from thy chamber, calm, descend,
With mind nor tossed, nor anguish-torn,
But tranquil, fixed, to wait the end.
And when thy opening eyes shall see
Mementos, on the chamber wall,
Of one who has forgotten thee,
Shed not the tear of acrid gall.
The tear which, welling from the heart,
Burns where its drop corrosive falls,
And makes each nerve, in torture, start,
At feelings it too well recalls:
When the sweet hope of being loved,
Threw Eden sunshine on life's way;
When every sense and feeling proved
Expectancy of brightest day.
When the hand trembled to receive
A thrilling clasp, which seemed so near,
And the heart ventured to believe,
Another heart esteemed it dear.
When words, half love, all tenderness,
Were hourly heard, as hourly spoken,
When the long, sunny days of bliss,
Only by moonlight nights were broken.
Till drop by drop, the cup of joy
Filled full, with purple light, was glowing,
And Faith, which watched it, sparkling high,
Still never dreamt the overflowing.
It fell not with a sudden crashing,
It poured not out like open sluice;
No, sparkling still, and redly flashing,
Drained, drop by drop, the generous juice.
I saw it sink, and strove to taste it,
My eager lips approached the brim;
The movement only seemed to waste it,
It sank to dregs, all harsh and dim.
These I have drank, and they for ever
Have poisoned life and love for me;
A draught from Sodom's lake could never
More fiery, salt, and bitter, be.
Oh ! Love was all a thin illusion;
Joy, but the desert's flying stream;
And, glancing back on long delusion,
My memory grasps a hollow dream.
Yet, whence that wondrous change of feeling,
I never knew, and cannot learn,
Nor why my lover's eye, congealing,
Grew cold, and clouded, proud, and stern.
Nor wherefore, friendship's forms forgetting,
He careless left, and cool withdrew;
Nor spoke of grief, nor fond regretting,
Nor even one glance of comfort threw.
And neither word nor token sending,
Of kindness, since the parting day,
His course, for distant regions bending,
Went, self-contained and calm, away.
Oh, bitter, blighting, keen sensation,
Which will not weaken, cannot die,
Hasten thy work of desolation,
And let my tortured spirit fly !
Vain as the passing gale, my crying;
Though lightning-struck, I must live on;
I know, at heart, there is no dying
Of love, and ruined hope, alone.
Still strong, and young, and warm with vigour,
Though scathed, I long shall greenly grow,
And many a storm of wildest rigour
Shall yet break o'er my shivered bough.
Rebellious now to blank inertion,
My unused strength demands a task;
Travel, and toil, and full exertion,
Are the last, only boon I ask.
Whence, then, this vain and barren dreaming
Of death, and dubious life to come ?
I see a nearer beacon gleaming
Over dejection's sea of gloom.
The very wildness of my sorrow
Tells me I yet have innate force;
My track of life has been too narrow,
Effort shall trace a broader course.
The world is not in yonder tower,
Earth is not prisoned in that room,
'Mid whose dark pannels, hour by hour,
I've sat, the slave and prey of gloom.
One feeling­turned to utter anguish,
Is not my being's only aim;
When, lorn and loveless, life will languish,
But courage can revive the flame.
He, when he left me, went a roving
To sunny climes, beyond the sea;
And I, the weight of woe removing,
Am free and fetterless as he.
New scenes, new language, skies less clouded,
May once more wake the wish to live;
Strange, foreign towns, astir, and crowded,
New pictures to the mind may give.
New forms and faces, passing ever,
May hide the one I still retain,
Defined, and fixed, and fading never,
Stamped deep on vision, heart, and brain.
And we might meet­time may have changed him;
Chance may reveal the mystery,
The secret influence which estranged him;
Love may restore him yet to me.
False thought­false hope­in scorn be banished !
I am not loved­nor loved have been;
Recall not, then, the dreams scarce vanished,
Traitors ! mislead me not again !
To words like yours I bid defiance,
'Tis such my mental wreck have made;
Of God alone, and self-reliance,
I ask for solace­hope for aid.
Morn comes­and ere meridian glory
O'er these, my natal woods, shall smile,
Both lonely wood and mansion hoary
I'll leave behind, full many a mile.
~ Charlotte Brontë,
517:Le Balcon (The Balcony)
Le Balcon
Mère des souvenirs, maîtresse des maîtresses,
Ô toi, tous mes plaisirs! ô toi, tous mes devoirs!
Tu te rappelleras la beauté des caresses,
La douceur du foyer et le charme des soirs,
Mère des souvenirs, maîtresse des maîtresses!
Les soirs illuminés par l'ardeur du charbon,
Et les soirs au balcon, voilés de vapeurs roses.
Que ton sein m'était doux! que ton coeur m'était bon!
Nous avons dit souvent d'impérissables choses
Les soirs illumines par l'ardeur du charbon.
Que les soleils sont beaux dans les chaudes soirées!
Que l'espace est profond! que le coeur est puissant!
En me penchant vers toi, reine des adorées,
Je croyais respirer le parfum de ton sang.
Que les soleils sont beaux dans les chaudes soirées!
La nuit s'épaississait ainsi qu'une cloison,
Et mes yeux dans le noir devinaient tes prunelles,
Et je buvais ton souffle, ô douceur! ô poison!
Et tes pieds s'endormaient dans mes mains fraternelles.
La nuit s'épaississait ainsi qu'une cloison.
Je sais l'art d'évoquer les minutes heureuses,
Et revis mon passé blotti dans tes genoux.
Car à quoi bon chercher tes beautés langoureuses
Ailleurs qu'en ton cher corps et qu'en ton coeur si doux?
Je sais l'art d'évoquer les minutes heureuses!
Ces serments, ces parfums, ces baisers infinis,
Renaîtront-ils d'un gouffre interdit à nos sondes,
Comme montent au ciel les soleils rajeunis
Après s'être lavés au fond des mers profondes?
— Ô serments! ô parfums! ô baisers infinis!
The Balcony
Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses,
O you, all my pleasure, O you, all my duty!
You'll remember the sweetness of our caresses,
The peace of the fireside, the charm of the evenings.
Mother of memories, mistress of mistresses!
The evenings lighted by the glow of the coals,
The evenings on the balcony, veiled with rose mist;
How soft your breast was to me! how kind was your heart!
We often said imperishable things,
The evenings lighted by the glow of the coals.
How splendid the sunsets are on warm evenings!
How deep space is! how potent is the heart!
In bending over you, queen of adored women,
I thought I breathed the perfume in your blood.
How splendid the sunsets are on warm evenings!
The night was growing dense like an encircling wall,
My eyes in the darkness felt the fire of your gaze
And I drank in your breath, O sweetness, O poison!
And your feet nestled soft in my brotherly hands.
The night was growing dense like an encircling wall.
I know the art of evoking happy moments,
And live again our past, my head laid on your knees,
For what's the good of seeking your languid beauty
Elsewhere than in your dear body and gentle heart?
I know the art of evoking happy moments.
Those vows, those perfumes, those infinite kisses,
Will they be reborn from a gulf we may not sound,
As rejuvenated suns rise in the heavens
After being bathed in the depths of deep seas?
— O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!
— Translated by William Aggeler
The Balcony
Mother of memories, queen of paramours,
Yourself are all my pleasure, all my duty;
You will recall caresses that were yours
And fireside evenings in their warmth and beauty.
Mother of memories, queen of paramours.
On eves illumined by the light of coal,
The balcony beneath a rose-veiled sky,
Your breast how soft! Your heart how good and whole!
We spoke eternal things that cannot die —
On eves illumined by the light of coal!
How splendid sets the sun of a warm evening!
How deep is space! the heart how full of power!
When, queen of the adored, towards you leaning,
I breathed the perfume of your blood in flower.
How splendid sets the sun of a warm evening!
The evening like an alcove seemed to thicken,
And as my eyes astrologised your own,
Drinking your breath, I felt sweet poisons quicken,
And in my hands your feet slept still as stone.
The evening like an alcove seemed to thicken.
I know how to resuscitate dead minutes.
I see my past, its face hid in your knees.
How can I seek your languorous charm save in its
Own source, your heart and body formed to please.
I know how to resuscitate dead minutes.
These vows, these perfumes, and these countless kisses,
Reborn from gulfs that we could never sound,
Will they, like suns, once bathed in those abysses,
Rejuvenated from the deep, rebound —
These vows, these perfumes, and these countless kisses?
— Translated by Roy Campbell
The Balcony
Inspirer of my youth, mistress beyond compare,
You who were all my pleasures, all my hopes and dreams!
Do you recall our cheerful room — our evenings there,
Quiet and passionate? Like yesterday, it seems,
Inspirer of my youth, mistress beyond compare!
The evenings lighted by the hushed flame of the coal,
The warm rose-misted twilights in the early springs,
The balcony! How I adored you, body and soul!
And, darling, we have said imperishable things
The evenings lighted by the hushed flame of the coal.
How splendid were the long slow summer sunsets, too!
How large the world appeared to us! How strong and good
Life ran then in our veins! When I leaned close to you
I thought that I could breathe the perfume of your blood.
How splendid were the long slow summer sunsets, too!
The night would close around us like a dim blue wall,
And your eyes flashed within the darkness, and the sweet
Drug of your breath came over me. Do you recall
How I would love to lie for hours holding your feet?
The night would close around us like a dim blue wall.
I can relive the ecstasy that Time has slain;
At moments I can feel myself between your thighs.
What use to hope for anything like that again
With someone else? What use to seek in any wise?
I can relive the ecstasy that Time has slain.
Those cries, those long embraces, that remembered scent:
Can they be lost for ever? Will they not come round
Like stars, like suns, to blaze upon the firmament
Of future worlds, from the abyss we cannot sound?
— O cries! O long embraces! O remembered scent!
— Translated by George Dillon
The Balcony
Mistress of mistresses, mother of memories,
O you my every pleasure, you my every duty!
You shall recall our blandishments and ecstasies,
The warm peace of our hearth, the evening's placid beauty.
Mistress of mistresses, mother of memories!
Evenings illumined by the glow of coals afire
Or on the balcony, veiled in a rosy mist.
How soft your breast, how kind your heart to my desire!
We said imperishable things the while we kissed,
Evenings illumined by the glow of coals afire.
How glorious the sunset on warm summer nights!
How deep space is! the human heart how competent!
As I bent over you, queen of my soul's delight,
I thought I breathed your blood with its suave acrid scent.
How glorious the sunset on warm summer nights!
The night grew dense, forming a wall to compass us,
Across the dark your eyes bound mine with golden bands,
I drank your breath in deep, O sweet, O poisonous!
Your slender feet slept softly in my gentle hands.
The night grew dense, forming a wall to compass us.
The resurrection of glad moments is an art
I know: I live anew, my head pressed to your knees,
For where, if not in your loved flesh and tender heart,
Can I seek out the wonder of your languidness?
The resurrection of glad moments is an art.
These vows, these fragrant scents, these kisses without end,
Shall they be born again out of infinity?
As suns rejuvenated in the skies ascend,
Having been laved in the unfathomable sea?
— O vows! O fragrant scents! — O kisses without end!
— Translated by Jacques LeClercq
Le Balcon
mother of memories, mistress of mistresses
— thou, all my pleasure, thou, my fealties all!
thou shalt recall each kiss how soft it is,
how warm our hearth, the night how magical,
mother of memories, mistress of mistresses!
long hours illumined by the glowing fire
long balcony-hours veiled with misty rose;
soft pillowing breast! heart warm to my desire!
and all the imperishable things we whispered, those
long hours illumined by the glowing fire
how softly shone the golden, shimmering sun!
how deep the skyey space! how rich love's power!
for bending toward thee, most belovèd one,
I seemed to breathe thy pulses like a flower.
how softly shone the golden, shimmering sun!
Night with her thickening wall imprisoned us,
eyes groped for widening eyes the black withheld,
I drank thy breath, o sweet, o poisonous!
thy feet slept in my hands fraternal held;
Night with her thickening wall imprisoned us.
my magic art evoked a rapture perished,
for in thy clasp I saw my youth afresh,
could others yield the languorous charm I cherished,
thy gentle heart, thy dear and lovely flesh?
my magic art evoked a rapture perished!
but — vows and fragrance, infinite desire —
shall they arise from gulfs too deep to plumb,
as morn by morn new suns of rosier fire
mount, laved in some dark sea Elysium?
o vows! o fragrance! infinite desire!
— Translated by Lewis Piaget Shanks
~ Charles Baudelaire,
Not under foreign skies
Nor under foreign wings protected I shared all this with my own people
There, where misfortune had abandoned us.
During the frightening years of the Yezhov terror, I
spent seventeen months waiting in prison queues in
Leningrad. One day, somehow, someone 'picked me out'.
On that occasion there was a woman standing behind me,
her lips blue with cold, who, of course, had never in
her life heard my name. Jolted out of the torpor
characteristic of all of us, she said into my ear
(everyone whispered there) - 'Could one ever describe
this?' And I answered - 'I can.' It was then that
something like a smile slid across what had previously
been just a face.
[The 1st of April in the year 1957. Leningrad]
Mountains fall before this grief,
A mighty river stops its flow,
But prison doors stay firmly bolted
Shutting off the convict burrows
And an anguish close to death.
Fresh winds softly blow for someone,
Gentle sunsets warm them through; we don't know this,
We are everywhere the same, listening
To the scrape and turn of hateful keys
And the heavy tread of marching soldiers.
Waking early, as if for early mass,
Walking through the capital run wild, gone to seed,
We'd meet - the dead, lifeless; the sun,
Lower every day; the Neva, mistier:
But hope still sings forever in the distance.
The verdict. Immediately a flood of tears,
Followed by a total isolation,
As if a beating heart is painfully ripped out, or,
Thumped, she lies there brutally laid out,
But she still manages to walk, hesitantly, alone.
Where are you, my unwilling friends,
Captives of my two satanic years?
What miracle do you see in a Siberian blizzard?
What shimmering mirage around the circle of the moon?
I send each one of you my salutation, and farewell.
[March 1940]
It happened like this when only the dead
Were smiling, glad of their release,
That Leningrad hung around its prisons
Like a worthless emblem, flapping its piece.
Shrill and sharp, the steam-whistles sang
Short songs of farewell
To the ranks of convicted, demented by suffering,
As they, in regiments, walked along Stars of death stood over us
As innocent Russia squirmed
Under the blood-spattered boots and tyres
Of the black marias.
You were taken away at dawn. I followed you
As one does when a corpse is being removed.
Children were crying in the darkened house.
A candle flared, illuminating the Mother of God. . .
The cold of an icon was on your lips, a death-cold
On your brow - I will never forget this; I will gather
To wail with the wives of the murdered streltsy (1)
Inconsolably, beneath the Kremlin towers.
[1935. Autumn. Moscow]
Silent flows the river Don
A yellow moon looks quietly on
Swanking about, with cap askew
It sees through the window a shadow of you
Gravely ill, all alone
The moon sees a woman lying at home
Her son is in jail, her husband is dead
Say a prayer for her instead.
It isn't me, someone else is suffering. I couldn't.
Not like this. Everything that has happened,
Cover it with a black cloth,
Then let the torches be removed. . .
Giggling, poking fun, everyone's darling,
The carefree sinner of Tsarskoye Selo (2)
If only you could have foreseen
What life would do with you That you would stand, parcel in hand,
Beneath the Crosses (3), three hundredth in
Burning the new year's ice
With your hot tears.
Back and forth the prison poplar sways
With not a sound - how many innocent
Blameless lives are being taken away. . .
For seventeen months I have been screaming,
Calling you home.
I've thrown myself at the feet of butchers
For you, my son and my horror.
Everything has become muddled forever I can no longer distinguish
Who is an animal, who a person, and how long
The wait can be for an execution.
There are now only dusty flowers,
The chinking of the thurible,
Tracks from somewhere into nowhere
And, staring me in the face
And threatening me with swift annihilation,
An enormous star.
Weeks fly lightly by. Even so,
I cannot understand what has arisen,
How, my son, into your prison
White nights stare so brilliantly.
Now once more they burn,
Eyes that focus like a hawk,
And, upon your cross, the talk
Is again of death.
[1939. Spring]
The word landed with a stony thud
Onto my still-beating breast.
Nevermind, I was prepared,
I will manage with the rest.
I have a lot of work to do today;
I need to slaughter memory,
Turn my living soul to stone
Then teach myself to live again. . .
But how. The hot summer rustles
Like a carnival outside my window;
I have long had this premonition
Of a bright day and a deserted house.
[22 June 1939. Summer. Fontannyi Dom (4)]
You will come anyway - so why not now?
I wait for you; things have become too hard.
I have turned out the lights and opened the door
For you, so simple and so wonderful.
Assume whatever shape you wish. Burst in
Like a shell of noxious gas. Creep up on me
Like a practised bandit with a heavy weapon.
Poison me, if you want, with a typhoid exhalation,
Or, with a simple tale prepared by you
(And known by all to the point of nausea), take me
Before the commander of the blue caps and let me
The house administrator's terrified white face.
I don't care anymore. The river Yenisey
Swirls on. The Pole star blazes.
The blue sparks of those much-loved eyes
Close over and cover the final horror.
[19 August 1939. Fontannyi Dom]
Madness with its wings
Has covered half my soul
It feeds me fiery wine
And lures me into the abyss.
That's when I understood
While listening to my alien delirium
That I must hand the victory
To it.
However much I nag
However much I beg
It will not let me take
One single thing away:
Not my son's frightening eyes A suffering set in stone,
Or prison visiting hours
Or days that end in storms
Nor the sweet coolness of a hand
The anxious shade of lime trees
Nor the light distant sound
Of final comforting words.
[14 May 1940. Fontannyi Dom]
Weep not for me, mother.
I am alive in my grave.
A choir of angels glorified the greatest hour,
The heavens melted into flames.
To his father he said, 'Why hast thou forsaken me!'
But to his mother, 'Weep not for me. . .'
[1940. Fontannyi Dom]
Magdalena smote herself and wept,
The favourite disciple turned to stone,
But there, where the mother stood silent,
Not one person dared to look.
[1943. Tashkent]
I have learned how faces fall,
How terror can escape from lowered eyes,
How suffering can etch cruel pages
Of cuneiform-like marks upon the cheeks.
I know how dark or ash-blond strands of hair
Can suddenly turn white. I've learned to recognise
The fading smiles upon submissive lips,
The trembling fear inside a hollow laugh.
That's why I pray not for myself
But all of you who stood there with me
Through fiercest cold and scorching July heat
Under a towering, completely blind red wall.
The hour has come to remember the dead.
I see you, I hear you, I feel you:
The one who resisted the long drag to the open window;
The one who could no longer feel the kick of familiar
soil beneath her feet;
The one who, with a sudden flick of her head, replied,
'I arrive here as if I've come home!'
I'd like to name you all by name, but the list
Has been removed and there is nowhere else to look.
I have woven you this wide shroud out of the humble
I overheard you use. Everywhere, forever and always,
I will never forget one single thing. Even in new
Even if they clamp shut my tormented mouth
Through which one hundred million people scream;
That's how I wish them to remember me when I am dead
On the eve of my remembrance day.
If someone someday in this country
Decides to raise a memorial to me,
I give my consent to this festivity
But only on this condition - do not build it
By the sea where I was born,
I have severed my last ties with the sea;
Nor in the Tsar's Park by the hallowed stump
Where an inconsolable shadow looks for me;
Build it here where I stood for three hundred hours
And no-one slid open the bolt.
Listen, even in blissful death I fear
That I will forget the Black Marias,
Forget how hatefully the door slammed and an old woman
Howled like a wounded beast.
Let the thawing ice flow like tears
From my immovable bronze eyelids
And let the prison dove coo in the distance
While ships sail quietly along the river.
[March 1940. Fontannyi Dom]
1 An elite guard which rose up in rebellion
against Peter the Great in 1698. Most were either
executed or exiled.
2 The imperial summer residence outside St
Petersburg where Ahmatova spent her early years.
3 A prison complex in central Leningrad near the
Finland Station, called The Crosses because of the
shape of two of the buildings.
4 The Leningrad house in which Ahmatova lived.
~ Anna Akhmatova,
519:La Chevelure (Her Hair)
Ô toison, moutonnant jusque sur l'encolure!
Ô boucles! Ô parfum chargé de nonchaloir!
Extase! Pour peupler ce soir l'alcôve obscure
Des souvenirs dormant dans cette chevelure,
Je la veux agiter dans l'air comme un mouchoir!
La langoureuse Asie et la brûlante Afrique,
Tout un monde lointain, absent, presque défunt,
Vit dans tes profondeurs, forêt aromatique!
Comme d'autres esprits voguent sur la musique,
Le mien, ô mon amour! nage sur ton parfum.
J'irai là-bas où l'arbre et l'homme, pleins de sève,
Se pâment longuement sous l'ardeur des climats;
Fortes tresses, soyez la houle qui m'enlève!
Tu contiens, mer d'ébène, un éblouissant rêve
De voiles, de rameurs, de flammes et de mâts:
Un port retentissant où mon âme peut boire
À grands flots le parfum, le son et la couleur
Où les vaisseaux, glissant dans l'or et dans la moire
Ouvrent leurs vastes bras pour embrasser la gloire
D'un ciel pur où frémit l'éternelle chaleur.
Je plongerai ma tête amoureuse d'ivresse
Dans ce noir océan où l'autre est enfermé;
Et mon esprit subtil que le roulis caresse
Saura vous retrouver, ô féconde paresse,
Infinis bercements du loisir embaumé!
Cheveux bleus, pavillon de ténèbres tendues
Vous me rendez l'azur du ciel immense et rond;
Sur les bords duvetés de vos mèches tordues
Je m'enivre ardemment des senteurs confondues
De l'huile de coco, du musc et du goudron.
Longtemps! toujours! ma main dans ta crinière lourde
Sèmera le rubis, la perle et le saphir,
Afin qu'à mon désir tu ne sois jamais sourde!
N'es-tu pas l'oasis où je rêve, et la gourde
Où je hume à longs traits le vin du souvenir?
Head of Hair
O fleecy hair, falling in curls to the shoulders!
O black locks! O perfume laden with nonchalance!
Ecstasy! To people the dark alcove tonight
With memories sleeping in that thick head of hair.
I would like to shake it in the air like a scarf!
Sweltering Africa and languorous Asia,
A whole far-away world, absent, almost defunct,
Dwells in your depths, aromatic forest!
While other spirits glide on the wings of music,
Mine, O my love! floats upon your perfume.
I shall go there, where trees and men, full of vigor,
Are plunged in a deep swoon by the heat of the land;
Heady tresses be the billows that carry me away!
Ebony sea, you hold a dazzling dream
Of rigging, of rowers, of pennons and of masts:
A clamorous harbor where my spirit can drink
In great draughts the perfume, the sound and the color;
Where the vessels gliding through the gold and the moire
Open wide their vast arms to embrace the glory
Of a clear sky shimmering with everlasting heat.
I shall bury my head enamored with rapture
In this black sea where the other is imprisoned;
And my subtle spirit caressed by the rolling
Will find you once again, O fruitful indolence,
Endless lulling of sweet-scented leisure!
Blue-black hair, pavilion hung with shadows,
You give back to me the blue of the vast round sky;
In the downy edges of your curling tresses
I ardently get drunk with the mingled odors
Of oil of coconut, of musk and tar.
A long time! Forever! my hand in your thick mane
Will scatter sapphires, rubies and pearls,
So that you will never be deaf to my desire!
Aren't you the oasis of which I dream, the gourd
From which I drink deeply, the wine of memory?
— Translated by William Aggeler
Her Hair
O fleece that down her nape rolls, plume on plume!
O curls! O scent of nonchalance and ease!
What ecstasy! To populate this room
With memories it harbours in its gloom,
I'd shake it like a banner on the breeze.
Hot Africa and languid Asia play
(An absent world, defunct, and far away)
Within that scented forest, dark and dim.
As other souls on waves of music swim,
Mine on its perfume sails, as on the spray.
I'll journey there, where man and sap-filled tree
Swoon in hot light for hours. Be you my sea,
Strong tresses! Be the breakers and gales
That waft me. Your black river holds, for me,
A dream of masts and rowers, flames and sails.
A port, resounding there, my soul delivers
With long deep draughts of perfumes, scent, and clamour,
Where ships, that glide through gold and purple rivers,
Fling wide their vast arms to embrace the glamour
Of skies wherein the heat forever quivers.
I'll plunge my head in it, half drunk with pleasure —
In this black ocean that engulfs her form.
My soul, caressed with wavelets there may measure
Infinite rocking& in embalmed leisure,
Creative idleness that fears no storm!
Blue tresses, like a shadow-stretching tent,
You shed the blue of heavens round and far.
Along its downy fringes as I went
I reeled half-drunken to confuse the scent
Of oil of coconuts, with musk and tar.
My hand forever in your mane so dense,
Rubies and pearls and sapphires there will sow,
That you to my desire be never slow —
Oasis of my dreams, and gourd from whence
Deep-draughted wines of memory will flow.
— Translated by Roy Campbell
The Fleece
O shadowy fleece that falls and curls upon those bare
Lithe shoulders! O rich perfume of forgetfulness!
O ecstasy! To loose upon the midnight air
The memories asleep in this tumultuous hair,
I long to rake it in my fingers, tress by tress!
Asia the languorous, the burning solitude
Of Africa — a whole world, distant, all but dead —
Survives in thy profundities, O odorous wood!
My soul, as other souls put forth on the deep flood
Of music, sails away upon thy scent instead.
There where the sap of life mounts hot in man and tree,
And lush desire untamed swoons in the torrid zone,
Undulant tresses, wild strong waves, oh, carry me!
Dream, like a dazzling sun, from out this ebony sea
Rises; and sails and banks of rowers propel me on.
All the confusion, all the mingled colors, cries,
Smells of a busy port, upon my senses beat;
Where smoothly on the golden streakèd ripples flies
The barque, its arms outspread to gather in the skies,
Against whose glory trembles the unabating heat.
In this black ocean where the primal ocean roars,
Drunken, in love with drunkenness, I plunge and drown;
Over my dubious spirit the rolling tide outpours
Its peace — oh, fruitful indolence, upon thy shores,
Cradled in languor, let me drift and lay me down!
Blue hair, darkness made palpable, like the big tent
Of desert sky all glittering with many a star
Thou coverest me — oh, I am drugged as with the blent
Effluvia of a sleeping caravan, the scent
Of coco oil impregnated with musk and tar.
Fear not! Upon this savage mane for ever thy lord
Will sow pearls, sapphires, rubies, every stone that gleams,
To keep thee faithful! Art not thou the sycamored
Oasis whither my thoughts journey, and the dark gourd
Whereof I drink in long slow draughts the wine of dreams?
— Translated by George Dillon
Of Her Hair
O fleece, billowing on her neck! O ecstasy!
O curls, O perfume rich with nonchalance, O rare!.
Tonight to fill the alcove's warm obscurity,
To make that hair evoke each dormant memory,
I long to wave it like a kerchief in the air.
Africa smoldering and Asia languorous,
A whole far distant world, absent and almost spent,
Dwells in your forest depths, mystic and odorous!
As others lose themselves in the harmonious,
So, love, my heart floats lost upon your haunting scent.
I shall go where both man and tree, albeit strong,
Swoon deep beneath the rays of sunlight's blazing fires.
Thick tresses, be the waves to bear my dreams along!
Ebony sea, your dazzling dream contains a throng
Of sails, of wafts, of oarsmen, and of masts like spires.
A noisy harbor where my thirsty soul may drain
Hues, sounds and fragrances, in draughts heavy and sweet,
Where vessels gliding down a moiré-and-gold sea lane
Open their vast arms wide to clutch at the domain
Of a pure sky ashimmer with eternal beat.
Deep shall I plunge my head, avid of drunkenness,
In this black sea wherein the other sea lies captured,
And my soul buoyant at its undulant caress
Shall find you once again, O fruitful idleness,
O long lullings of ease, soft, honeyed and enraptured.
O blue-black hair, pennon with sheen and shadow fraught,
You give me back the vast blue skies of dawn and dusk,
As on the downy edges of your tresses, caught
In your soft curls, I grow drunken and hot, distraught
By mingled scents of cocoanut and tar and musk.
Sapphires, rubies, pearls — my hand shall never tire
Of strewing these through your thick mane — how lavishly! —
Lest Life should ever turn you deaf to my desire!
You are the last oasis where I dream, afire,
The gourd whence deep I quaff the wine of memory.
— Translated by Jacques LeClercq
The Head of Hair
O Fleece, foaming to the neck!
O curls! O scent of laziness!
Ecstasy! This evening, to people the dark comers
Of memories that are sleeping in these locks,
I would wave them in the air like a handkerchief!
Languorous Asia and burning Africa,
A whole world, distant, absent, almost extinct,
Lives in the depths of your perfumed jungle;
As other souls sail along on music,
So mine, O my love, swims on your scent.
I shall go over there where trees and men, full of sap,
Faint away slowly in the passionate climate;
O strong locks, be the sea-swell that transports me!
You keep, O sea of ebony, a dazzling dream
Of sails and sailormen, flames and masts:
A resounding haven where in great waves
My soul can drink the scent, the sound and color;
Where ships, sliding in gold and watered silk,
Part their vast arms to embrace the glory
Of the pure sky shuddering with eternal heat
I shall plunge my head, adoring drunkenness,
Into this black ocean where the other is imprisoned;
And my subtle spirit caressed by the sway
Will know how to find you, O pregnant idleness!
In an infinite cradle of scented leisure!
Blue hair, house of taut darkness,
You make the blue of the sky seem huge and round for me;
On the downy edges of your twisted locks
I hungrily get drunk on the muddled fragrances
Of coconut oil, of musk and tar
For a long time! For ever! Amongst your heavy mane
My hand will strew the ruby, pearl and sapphire
To make you never deaf to my desire!
For are you not the oasis where I dream, the gourd
Where in great draughts I gulp the wine of memory?
— Translated by Geoffrey Wagner
O fleece, that down the neck waves to the nape!
O curls! O perfume nonchalant and rare!
O ecstasy! To fill this alcove shape
With memories that in these tresses sleep,
I would shake them like penions in the air!
Languorous Asia, burning Africa,
And a far world, defunct almost, absent,
Within your aromatic forest stay!
As other souls on music drift away,
Mine, O my love! still floats upon your scent.
I shall go there where, full of sap, both tree
And man swoon in the heat of the southern climates;
Strong tresses be the swell that carries me!
I dream upon your sea of amber
Of dazzling sails, of oarsmen, masts, and flames:
A sun-drenched and reverberating port,
Where I imbibe colour and sound and scent;
Where vessels, gliding through the gold and moiré,
Open their vast arms as they leave the shore
To clasp the pure and shimmering firmament.
I'll plunge my head, enamored of its pleasure,
In this black ocean where the other hides;
My subtle spirit then will know a measure
Of fertile idleness and fragrant leisure,
Lulled by the infinite rhythm of its tides!
Pavilion, of autumn-shadowed tresses spun,
You give me back the azure from afar;
And where the twisted locks are fringed with down
Lurk mingled odors I grow drunk upon
Of oil of coconut, of musk, and tar.
A long time! always! my hand in your hair
Will sow the stars of sapphire, pearl, ruby,
That you be never deaf to my desire,
My oasis and my gourd whence I aspire
To drink deep of the wine of memory.
Translated by Anonymous
~ Charles Baudelaire,
520:Custer: Book Third
As in the long dead days marauding hosts
Of Indians came from far Siberian coasts,
And drove the peaceful Aztecs from their grounds,
Despoiled their homes (but left their tell-tale mounds),
So has the white man with the Indians done.
Now with their backs against the setting sun
The remnants of a dying nation stand
And view the lost domain, once their beloved land.
Upon the vast Atlantic's leagues of shore
The happy red man's tent is seen no more;
And from the deep blue lakes which mirror heaven
His bounding bark canoe was long since driven.
The mighty woods, those temples where his God
Spoke to his soul, are leveled to the sod;
And in their place tall church spires point above,
While priests proclaim the law of Christ, the King of Love.
The avaricious and encroaching rail
Seized the wide fields which knew the Indians' trail.
Back to the reservations in the West
The native owners of the land were pressed,
And selfish cities, harbingers of want,
Shut from their vision each accustomed haunt.
Yet hungry Progress, never satisfied,
Gazed on the western plains, and gazing, longed and sighed.
As some strange bullock in a pasture field
Compels the herds to fear him, and to yield
The juicy grass plots and the cooling shade
Until, despite their greater strength, afraid,
They huddle in some corner spot and cower
Before the monarch's all controlling power,
So has the white man driven from its place
By his aggressive greed, Columbia's native race.
Yet when the bull pursues the herds at bay,
Incensed they turn, and dare dispute his sway.
And so the Indians turned, when men forgot
Their sacred word, and trespassed on the spot,
The lonely little spot of all their lands,
The reservation of the peaceful bands.
But lust for gold all conscience kills in man,
'Gold in the Black Hills, gold!' the cry arose and ran
From lip to lip, as flames from tree to tree
Leap till the forest is one fiery sea,
And through the country surged that hot unrest
Which thirst for riches wakens in the breast.
In mighty throngs the fortune hunters came,
Despoiled the red man's lands and slew his game,
Broke solemn treaties and defied the law.
And all these ruthless acts the Nation knew and saw.
Man is the only animal that kills
Just for the wanton love of slaughter; spills
The blood of lesser things to see it flow;
Lures like a friend, to murder like a foe
The trusting bird and beast; and, coward like,
Deals covert blows he dare not boldly strike.
The brutes have finer souls, and only slay
When torn by hunger's pangs, or when to fear a prey.
The pale-faced hunter, insolent and bold,
Pursued the bison while he sought for gold.
And on the hungry red man's own domains
He left the rotting and unused remains
To foul with sickening stench each passing wind
And rouse the demon in the savage mind,
Save in the heart where virtues dominate
Injustice always breeds its natural offspring-hate.
The chieftain of the Sioux, great Sitting Bull,
Mused o'er their wrongs, and felt his heart swell full
Of bitter vengeance. Torn with hate's unrest
He called a council and his braves addressed.
'From fair Wisconsin's shimmering lakes of blue
Long years ago the white man drove the Sioux.
Made bold by conquest, and inflamed by greed,
He still pursues our tribes, and still our ranks recede.
'Fair are the White Chief's promises and words,
But dark his deeds who robs us of our herds.
He talks of treaties, asks the right to buy,
Then takes by force, not waiting our reply.
He grants us lands for pastures and abodes
To devastate them by his iron roads.
But now from happy Spirit Lands, a friend
Draws near the hunted Sioux, to strengthen and defend.
'While walking in the fields I saw a star;
Unconsciously I followed it afarIt led me on to valleys filled with light,
Where danced our noble chieftains slain in fight.
Black Kettle, first of all that host I knew,
He whom the strong armed Custer foully slew.
And then a spirit took me by the hand,
The Great Messiah King who comes to free the land.
'Suns were his eyes, a speaking tear his voice,
Whose rainbow sounds made listening hearts rejoice
And thus he spake: 'The red man's hour draws near
When all his lost domains shall reappear.
The elk, the deer, the bounding antelope,
Shall here return to grace each grassy slope.'
He waved his hand above the fields, and lo!
Down through the valleys came a herd of buffalo.
'The wondrous vision vanished, but I knew
That Sitting Bull must make the promise true.
Great Spirits plan what mortal man achieves,
The hand works magic when the heart believes.
Arouse, ye braves! let not the foe advance.
Arm for the battle and begin the danceThe sacred dance in honor of our slain,
Who will return to earth, ere many moons shall wane.'
Thus Sitting Bull, the chief of wily knaves,
Worked on the superstitions of his braves.
Mixed truth with lies; and stirred to mad unrest
The warlike instinct in each savage breast.
A curious product of unhappy times,
The natural offspring of unnumbered crimes,
He used low cunning and dramatic arts
To startle and surprise those crude untutored hearts.
Out from the lodges pour a motley throng,
Slow measures chanting of a dirge-like song.
In one great circle dizzily they swing,
A squaw and chief alternate in the ring.
Coarse raven locks stream over robes of white,
Their deep set orbs emit a lurid light,
And as through pine trees moan the winds refrains,
So swells and dies away, the ghostly graveyard strains.
Like worded wine is music to the ear,
And long indulged makes mad the hearts that hear.
The dancers, drunken with the monotone
Of oft repeated notes, now shriek and groan
And pierce their ruddy flesh with sharpened spears;
Still more excited when the blood appears,
With warlike yells, high in the air they bound,
Then in a deathlike trance fall prostrate on the ground.
They wake to tell weird stories of the dead,
While fresh performers to the ring are led.
The sacred nature of the dance is lost,
War is their cry, red war, at any cost.
Insane for blood they wait for no command,
But plunge marauding through the frightened land.
Their demon hearts on devils' pleasures bent,
For each new foe surprised, new torturing deaths invent.
Staked to the earth one helpless creature lies,
Flames at his feet and splinters in his eyes.
Another groans with coals upon his breast,
While 'round the pyre the Indians dance and jest.
A crying child is brained upon a tree,
The swooning mother saved from death, to be
The slave and plaything of a filthy knave,
Whose sins would startle hell, whose clay defile a grave.
Their cause was right, their methods all were wrong.
Pity and censure both to them belong.
Their woes were many, but their crimes were more.
The soulless Satan holds not in his store
Such awful tortures as the Indians' wrath
Keeps for the hapless victim in his path.
And if the last lone remnants of that race
Were by the white man swept from off the earth's fair face,
Were every red man slaughtered in a day,
Still would that sacrifice but poorly pay
For one insulted woman captive's woes.
Again great Custer in his strength arose,
More daring, more intrepid than of old.
The passing years had touched and turned to gold
The ever widening aureole of fame
That shone upon his brow, and glorified his name.
Wise men make laws, then turn their eyes away,
While fools and knaves ignore them day by day;
And unmolested, fools and knaves at length
Induce long wars which sap a country's strength.
The sloth of leaders, ruling but in name,
Has dragged full many a nation down to shame.
A word unspoken by the rightful lips
Has dyed the land with blood, and blocked the sea with ships.
The word withheld, when Indians asked for aid,
Came when the red man started on his raid.
What Justice with a gesture might have done
Was left for noisy war with bellowing gun.
And who save Custer and his gallant men
Could calm the tempest into peace again?
What other hero in the land could hope
With Sitting Bull, the fierce and lawless one to cope?
What other warrior skilled enough to dare
Surprise that human tiger in his lair?
Sure of his strength, unconscious of his fame
Out from the quiet of the camp he came;
And stately as Diana at his side
Elizabeth, his wife and alway bride,
And Margaret, his sister, rode apace;
Love's clinging arms he left to meet death's cold embrace.
As the bright column wound along its course,
The smiling leader turned upon his horse
To gaze with pride on that superb command.
Twelve hundred men, the picked of all the land,
Innured to hardship and made strong by strife
Their lithe limbed bodies breathed of out-door life;
While on their faces, resolute and brave,
Hope stamped its shining seal, although their thoughts were grave.
The sad eyed women halted in the dawn,
And waved farewell to dear ones riding on.
The modest mist picked up her robes and ran
Before the Sun god's swift pursuing van.
And suddenly there burst on startled eyes,
The sight of soldiers, marching in the skies;
That phantom host, a phantom Custer led;
Mirage of dire portent, forecasting days ahead.
The soldiers' children, flaunting mimic flags,
Played by the roadside, striding sticks for nags.
Their mothers wept, indifferent to the crowd
Who saw their tears and heard them sob aloud.
Old Indian men and squaws crooned forth a rhyme
Sung by their tribes from immemorial time;
And over all the drums' incessant beat
Mixed with the scout's weird rune, and tramp of myriad feet.
So flawless was the union of each part
The mighty column (moved as by one heart)
Pulsed through the air, like some sad song well sung,
Which gives delight, although the soul is wrung.
Farther and fainter to the sight and sound
The beautiful embodied poem wound;
Till like a ribbon, stretched across the land
Seemed the long narrow line of that receding band.
The lot of those who in the silence wait
Is harder than the fighting soldiers' fate.
Back to the lonely post two women passed,
With unaccustomed sorrow overcast.
Two sad for sighs, too desolate for tears,
The dark forebodings of long widowed years
In preparation for the awful blow
Hung on the door of hope the sable badge of woe.
Unhappy Muse! for thee no song remains,
Save the sad miséréré of the plains.
Yet though defeat, not triumph, ends the tale,
Great victors sometimes are the souls that fail.
All glory lies not in the goals we reach,
But in the lessons which our actions teach.
And he who, conquered, to the end believes
In God and in himself, though vanquished, still achieves.
Ah, grand as rash was that last fatal raid
The little group of daring heroes made.
Two hundred and two score intrepid men
Rode out to war; not one came back again.
Like fiends incarnate from the depths of hell
Five thousand foemen rose with deafening yell,
And swept that vale as with a simoon's breath,
But like the gods of old, each martyr met his death.
Like gods they battled and like gods they died.
Hour following hour that little band defied
The hordes of red men swarming o'er the plain,
Till scarce a score stood upright 'mid the slain.
Then in the lull of battle, creeping near,
A scout breathed low in Custer's listening ear:
'Death lies before, dear life remains behind
Mount thy sure-footed steed, and hasten with the wind.'
A second's silence. Custer dropped his head,
His lips slow moving as when prayers are saidTwo words he breathed-'God and Elizabeth,'
Then shook his long locks in the face of death,
And with a final gesture turned away
To join that fated few who stood at bay.
Ah! deeds like that the Christ in man reveal
Let Fame descend her throne at Custer's shrine to kneel.
Too late to rescue, but in time to weep,
His tardy comrades came. As if asleep
He lay, so fair, that even hellish hate
Withheld its hand and dared not mutilate.
By fiends who knew not honor, honored still,
He smiled and slept on that far western hill.
Cast down thy lyre, oh Muse! thy song is done!
Let tears complete the tale of him who failed, yet won.
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
521:Senlin: His Dark Origins
Senlin sits before us, and we see him.
He smokes his pipe before us, and we hear him.
Is he small, with reddish hair,
Does he light his pipe with meditative stare,
And a pointed flame reflected in both eyes?
Is he sad and happy and foolish and wise?
Did no one see him enter the doors of the city,
Looking above him at the roofs and trees and skies?
'I stepped from a cloud', he says, 'as evening fell;
I walked on the sound of a bell;
I ran with winged heels along a gust;
Or is it true that I laughed and sprang from dust? . . .
Has no one, in a great autumnal forest,
When the wind bares the trees,
Heard the sad horn of Senlin slowly blown?
Has no one, on a mountain in the spring,
Heard Senlin sing?
Perhaps I came alone on a snow-white horse,-Riding alone from the deep-starred night.
Perhaps I came on a ship whose sails were music,-Sailing from moon or sun on a river of light.'
He lights his pipe with a pointed flame.
'Yet, there were many autumns before I came,
And many springs. And more will come, long after
There is no horn for me, or song, or laughter.
The city dissolves about us, and its walls
Become an ancient forest. There is no sound
Except where an old twig tires and falls;
Or a lizard among the dead leaves crawls;
Or a flutter is heard in darkness along the ground.
Has Senlin become a forest? Do we walk in Senlin?
Is Senlin the wood we walk in, --ourselves,--the world?
Senlin! we cry . . . Senlin! again . . . No answer,
Only soft broken echoes backward whirled . . .
Yet we would say: this is no wood at all,
But a small white room with a lamp upon the wall;
And Senlin, before us, pale, with reddish hair,
Lights his pipe with a meditative stare.
Senlin, walking beside us, swings his arms
And turns his head to look at walls and trees.
The wind comes whistling from shrill stars of winter,
The lights are jewels, black roots freeze.
'Did I, then, stretch from the bitter earth like these,
Reaching upward with slow and rigid pain
To seek, in another air, myself again?'
(Immense and solitary in a desert of rocks
Behold a bewildered oak
With white clouds screaming through its leafy brain.)
'Or was I the single ant, or tinier thing,
That crept from the rocks of buried time
And dedicated its holy life to climb
From atom to beetling atom, jagged grain to grain,
Patiently out of the darkness we call sleep
Into a hollow gigantic world of light
Thinking the sky to be its destined shell,
Hoping to fit it well!--'
The city dissolves about us, and its walls
Are mountains of rock cruelly carved by wind.
Sand streams down their wasting sides, sand
Mounts upward slowly about them: foot and hand
We crawl and bleed among them! Is this Senlin?
In the desert of Senlin must we live and die?
We hear the decay of rocks, the crash of boulders,
Snarling of sand on sand. 'Senlin!' we cry.
'Senlin!' again . . . Our shadows revolve in silence
Under the soulless brilliance of blue sky.
Yet we would say: there are no rocks at all,
Nor desert of sand . . . here by a city wall
White lights jewell the evening, black roots freeze,
And Senlin turns his head to look at trees.
It is evening, Senlin says, and in the evening,
By a silent shore, by a far distant sea,
White unicorns come gravely down to the water.
In the lilac dusk they come, they are white and stately,
Stars hang over the purple waveless sea;
A sea on which no sail was ever lifted,
Where a human voice was never heard.
The shadows of vague hills are dark on the water,
The silent stars seem silently to sing.
And gravely come white unicorns down to the water,
One by one they come and drink their fill;
And daisies burn like stars on the darkened hill.
It is evening Senlin says, and in the evening
The leaves on the trees, abandoned by the light,
Look to the earth, and whisper, and are still.
The bat with horned wings, tumbling through the darkness,
Breaks the web, and the spider falls to the ground.
The starry dewdrop gathers upon the oakleaf,
Clings to the edge, and falls without a sound.
Do maidens spread their white palms to the starlight
And walk three steps to the east and clearly sing?
Do dewdrops fall like a shower of stars from willows?
Has the small moon a ghostly ring? . . .
White skeletons dance on the moonlit grass,
Singing maidens are buried in deep graves,
The stars hang over a sea like polished glass . . .
And solemnly one by one in the darkness there
Neighing far off on the haunted air
White unicorns come gravely down to the water.
No silver bells are heard. The westering moon
Lights the pale floors of caverns by the sea.
Wet weed hangs on the rock. In shimmering pools
Left on the rocks by the receding sea
Starfish slowly turn their white and brown
Or writhe on the naked rocks and drown.
Do sea-girls haunt these caves--do we hear faint singing?
Do we hear from under the sea a faint bell ringing?
Was that a white hand lifted among the bubbles
And fallen softly back?
No, these shores and caverns are all silent,
Dead in the moonlight; only, far above,
On the smooth contours of these headlands,
White amid the eternal black,
One by one in the moonlight there
Neighing far off on the haunted air
The unicorns come down to the sea.
Senlin, walking before us in the sunlight,
Bending his small legs in a peculiar way,
Goes to his work with thoughts of the universe.
His hands are in his pockets, he smokes his pipe,
He is happily conscious of roofs and skies;
And, without turning his head, he turns his eyes
To regard white horses drawing a small white hearse.
The sky is brilliant between the roofs,
The windows flash in the yellow sun,
On the hard pavement ring the hoofs,
The light wheels softly run.
Bright particles of sunlight fall,
Quiver and flash, gyrate and burn,
Honey-like heat flows down the wall,
The white spokes dazzle and turn.
Senlin, walking before us in the sunlight,
Regards the hearse with an introspective eye.
'Is it my childhood there,' he asks,
'Sealed in a hearse and hurrying by?'
He taps his trowel against a stone;
The trowel sings with a silver tone.
'Nevertheless I know this well.
Bury it deep and toll a bell,
Bury it under land or sea,
You cannot bury it save in me.'
It is as if his soul had become a city,
With noisily peopled streets, and through these streets
Senlin himself comes driving a small white hearse . . .
'Senlin!' we cry. He does not turn his head.
But is that Senlin?--Or is this city Senlin,-Quietly watching the burial of the dead?
Dumbly observing the cortège of its dead?
Yet we would say that all this is but madness:
Around a distant corner trots the hearse.
And Senlin walks before us in the sunlight
Happily conscious of his universe.
In the hot noon, in an old and savage garden,
The peach-tree grows. Its cruel and ugly roots
Rend and rifle the silent earth for moisture.
Above, in the blue, hang warm and golden fruits.
Look, how the cancerous roots crack mould and stone!
Earth, if she had a voice, would wail her pain.
Is she the victim, or is the tree the victim?
Delicate blossoms opened in the rain,
Black bees flew among them in the sunlight,
And sacked them ruthlessly; and no a bird
Hangs, sharp-eyed, in the leaves, and pecks the fruit;
And the peach-tree dreams, and does not say a word.
. . . Senlin, tapping his trowel against a stone,
Observes this tree he planted: it is his own.
'You will think it strange,' says Senlin, 'but this tree
Utters profound things in this garden;
And in its silence speaks to me.
I have sensations, when I stand beneath it,
As if its leaves looked at me, and could see;
And those thin leaves, even in windless air,
Seem to be whispering me a choral music,
Insubstantial but debonair.
"Regard," they seem to say,
"Our idiot root, which going its brutal way
Has cracked your garden wall!
Ugly, is it not?
A desecration of this place . . .
And yet, without it, could we exist at all?"
Thus, rustling with importance, they seem to me
To make their apology;
Yet, while they apologize,
Ask me a wary question with their eyes.
Yes, it is true their origin is low-Brutish and dull and cruel . . . and it is true
Their roots have cracked the wall. But do we know
The leaves less cruel--the root less beautiful?
Sometimes it seems as if there grew
In the dull garden of my mind
A tree like this, which, singing with delicate leaves,
Yet cracks the wall with cruel roots and blind.
Sometimes, indeed, it appears to me
That I myself am such a tree . . .'
. . . And as we hear from Senlin these strange words
So, slowly, in the sunlight, he becomes this tree:
And among the pleasant leaves hang sharp-eyed birds
While cruel roots dig downward secretly.
Rustling among his odds and ends of knowledge
Suddenly, to his wonder, Senlin finds
How Cleopatra and Senebtisi
Were dug by many hands from ancient tombs.
Cloth after scented cloth the sage unwinds:
Delicious to see our futile modern sunlight
Dance like a harlot among these Dogs and Dooms!
First, the huge pyramid, with rock on rock
Bloodily piled to heaven; and under this
A gilded cavern, bat festooned;
And here in rows on rows, with gods about them,
Cloudily lustrous, dim, the sacred coffins,
Silver starred and crimson mooned.
What holy secret shall we now uncover?
Inside the outer coffin is a second;
Inside the second, smaller, lies a third.
This one is carved, and like a human body;
And painted over with fish and bull and bird.
Here are men walking stiffly in procession,
Blowing horns or lifting spears.
Where do they march to? Where do they come from?
Soft whine of horns is in our ears.
Inside, the third, a fourth . . . and this the artist,-A priest, perhaps--did most to make resemble
The flesh of her who lies within.
The brown eyes widely stare at the bat-hung ceiling.
The hair is black, The mouth is thin.
Princess! Secret of life! We come to praise you!
The torch is lowered, this coffin too we open,
And the dark air is drunk with musk and myrrh.
Here are the thousand white and scented wrappings,
The gilded mask, and jeweled eyes, of her.
And now the body itself, brown, gaunt, and ugly,
And the hollow scull, in which the brains are withered,
Lie bare before us. Princess, is this all?
Something there was we asked that is not answered.
Soft bats, in rows, hang on the lustered wall.
And all we hear is a whisper sound of music,
Of brass horns dustily raised and briefly blown,
And a cry of grief; and men in a stiff procession
Marching away and softly gone.
'And am I then a pyramid?' says Senlin,
'In which are caves and coffins, where lies hidden
Some old and mocking hieroglyph of flesh?
Or am I rather the moonlight, spreading subtly
Above those stones and times?
Or the green blade of grass that bravely grows
Between to massive boulders of black basalt
Year after year, and fades and blows?
Senlin, sitting before us in the lamplight,
Laughs, and lights his pipe. The yellow flame
Minutely flares in his eyes, minutely dwindles.
Does a blade of grass have Senlin for a name?
Yet we would say that we have seen him somewhere,
A tiny spear of green beneath the blue,
Playing his destiny in a sun-warmed crevice
With the gigantic fates of frost and dew.
Does a spider come and spin his gossamer ladder
Rung by silver rung,
Chaining it fast to Senlin? Its faint shadow
Flung, waveringly, where his is flung?
Does a raindrop dazzle starlike down his length
Trying his futile strength?
A snowflake startle him? The stars defeat him?
Through aeons of dusk have birds above him sung?
Time is a wind, says Senlin; time, like music,
Blows over us its mournful beauty, passes,
And leaves behind a shadowy reflection,-A helpless gesture of mist above the grasses.
In cold blue lucid dusk before the sunrise,
One yellow star sings over a peak of snow,
And melts and vanishes in a light like roses.
Through slanting mist, black rocks appear and glow.
The clouds flow downward, slowly as grey glaciers,
Or up to a pale rose-azure pass.
Blue streams tinkle down from snow to boulders,
From boulders to white grass.
Icicles on the pine tree melt
And softly flash in the sun:
In long straight lines the star-drops fall
One by one.
Is a voice heard while the shadows still are long,
Borne slowly down on the sparkling air?
Is a thin bell heard from the peak of silence?
Is someone among the high snows there?
Where the blue stream flows coldly among the meadows
And mist still clings to rock and tree
Senlin walks alone; and from that twilight
Looks darkly up, to see
The calm unmoving peak of snow-white silence,
The rocks aflame with ice, the rose-blue sky . . .
Ghost-like, a cloud descends from twinkling ledges,
To nod before the dwindling sun and die.
'Something there is,' says Senlin, 'in that mountain,
Something forgotten now, that once I knew . . .'
We walk before a sun-tipped peak in silence,
Our shadows descend before us, long and blue.
~ Conrad Potter Aiken,
522:The House Of Dust: Part 04: 03: Palimpsest: A
Deceitful Portrait
Well, as you say, we live for small horizons:
We move in crowds, we flow and talk together,
Seeing so many eyes and hands and faces,
So many mouths, and all with secret meanings,—
Yet know so little of them; only seeing
The small bright circle of our consciousness,
Beyond which lies the dark. Some few we know—
Or think we know. . . Once, on a sun-bright morning,
I walked in a certain hallway, trying to find
A certain door: I found one, tried it, opened,
And there in a spacious chamber, brightly lighted,
A hundred men played music, loudly, swiftly,
While one tall woman sent her voice above them
In powerful sweetness. . . .Closing then the door
I heard it die behind me, fade to whisper,—
And walked in a quiet hallway as before.
Just such a glimpse, as through that opened door,
Is all we know of those we call our friends. . . .
We hear a sudden music, see a playing
Of ordered thoughts—and all again is silence.
The music, we suppose, (as in ourselves)
Goes on forever there, behind shut doors,—
As it continues after our departure,
So, we divine, it played before we came . . .
What do you know of me, or I of you? . . .
Little enough. . . .We set these doors ajar
Only for chosen movements of the music:
This passage, (so I think—yet this is guesswork)
Will please him,—it is in a strain he fancies,—
More brilliant, though, than his; and while he likes it
He will be piqued . . . He looks at me bewildered
And thinks (to judge from self—this too is guesswork)
The music strangely subtle, deep in meaning,
Perplexed with implications; he suspects me
Of hidden riches, unexpected wisdom. . . .
Or else I let him hear a lyric passage,—
Simple and clear; and all the while he listens
I make pretence to think my doors are closed.
This too bewilders him. He eyes me sidelong
Wondering 'Is he such a fool as this?
Or only mocking?'—There I let it end. . . .
Sometimes, of course, and when we least suspect it—
When we pursue our thoughts with too much passion,
Talking with too great zeal—our doors fly open
Without intention; and the hungry watcher
Stares at the feast, carries away our secrets,
And laughs. . . .but this, for many counts, is seldom.
And for the most part we vouchsafe our friends,
Our lovers too, only such few clear notes
As we shall deem them likely to admire:
'Praise me for this' we say, or 'laugh at this,'
Or 'marvel at my candor'. . . .all the while
Withholding what's most precious to ourselves,—
Some sinister depth of lust or fear or hatred,
The sombre note that gives the chord its power;
Or a white loveliness—if such we know—
Too much like fire to speak of without shame.
Well, this being so, and we who know it being
So curious about those well-locked houses,
The minds of those we know,—to enter softly,
And steal from floor to floor up shadowy stairways,
From room to quiet room, from wall to wall,
Breathing deliberately the very air,
Pressing our hands and nerves against warm darkness
To learn what ghosts are there,—
Suppose for once I set my doors wide open
And bid you in. . . .Suppose I try to tell you
The secrets of this house, and how I live here;
Suppose I tell you who I am, in fact. . . .
Deceiving you—as far as I may know it—
Only so much as I deceive myself.
If you are clever you already see me
As one who moves forever in a cloud
Of warm bright vanity: a luminous cloud
Which falls on all things with a quivering magic,
Changing such outlines as a light may change,
Brightening what lies dark to me, concealing
Those things that will not change . . . I walk sustained
In a world of things that flatter me: a sky
Just as I would have had it; trees and grass
Just as I would have shaped and colored them;
Pigeons and clouds and sun and whirling shadows,
And stars that brightening climb through mist at nightfall,—
In some deep way I am aware these praise me:
Where they are beautiful, or hint of beauty,
They point, somehow, to me. . . .This water says,—
Shimmering at the sky, or undulating
In broken gleaming parodies of clouds,
Rippled in blue, or sending from cool depths
To meet the falling leaf the leaf's clear image,—
This water says, there is some secret in you
Akin to my clear beauty, silently responsive
To all that circles you. This bare tree says,—
Austere and stark and leafless, split with frost,
Resonant in the wind, with rigid branches
Flung out against the sky,—this tall tree says,
There is some cold austerity in you,
A frozen strength, with long roots gnarled on rocks,
Fertile and deep; you bide your time, are patient,
Serene in silence, bare to outward seeming,
Concealing what reserves of power and beauty!
What teeming Aprils!—chorus of leaves on leaves!
These houses say, such walls in walls as ours,
Such streets of walls, solid and smooth of surface,
Such hills and cities of walls, walls upon walls;
Motionless in the sun, or dark with rain;
Walls pierced with windows, where the light may enter;
Walls windowless where darkness is desired;
Towers and labyrinths and domes and chambers,—
Amazing deep recesses, dark on dark,—
All these are like the walls which shape your spirit:
You move, are warm, within them, laugh within them,
Proud of their depth and strength; or sally from them,
When you are bold, to blow great horns at the world. .
This deep cool room, with shadowed walls and ceiling,
Tranquil and cloistral, fragrant of my mind,
This cool room says,—just such a room have you,
It waits you always at the tops of stairways,
Withdrawn, remote, familiar to your uses,
Where you may cease pretence and be yourself. . . .
And this embroidery, hanging on this wall,
Hung there forever,—these so soundless glidings
Of dragons golden-scaled, sheer birds of azure,
Coilings of leaves in pale vermilion, griffins
Drawing their rainbow wings through involutions
Of mauve chrysanthemums and lotus flowers,—
This goblin wood where someone cries enchantment,—
This says, just such an involuted beauty
Of thought and coiling thought, dream linked with dream,
Image to image gliding, wreathing fires,
Soundlessly cries enchantment in your mind:
You need but sit and close your eyes a moment
To see these deep designs unfold themselves.
And so, all things discern me, name me, praise me—
I walk in a world of silent voices, praising;
And in this world you see me like a wraith
Blown softly here and there, on silent winds.
'Praise me'—I say; and look, not in a glass,
But in your eyes, to see my image there—
Or in your mind; you smile, I am contented;
You look at me, with interest unfeigned,
And listen—I am pleased; or else, alone,
I watch thin bubbles veering brightly upward
From unknown depths,—my silver thoughts ascending;
Saying now this, now that, hinting of all things,—
Dreams, and desires, velleities, regrets,
Faint ghosts of memory, strange recognitions,—
But all with one deep meaning: this is I,
This is the glistening secret holy I,
This silver-winged wonder, insubstantial,
This singing ghost. . . .And hearing, I am warmed.
You see me moving, then, as one who moves
Forever at the centre of his circle:
A circle filled with light. And into it
Come bulging shapes from darkness, loom gigantic,
Or huddle in dark again. . . .A clock ticks clearly,
A gas-jet steadily whirs, light streams across me;
Two church bells, with alternate beat, strike nine;
And through these things my pencil pushes softly
To weave grey webs of lines on this clear page.
Snow falls and melts; the eaves make liquid music;
Black wheel-tracks line the snow-touched street; I turn
And look one instant at the half-dark gardens,
Where skeleton elm-trees reach with frozen gesture
Above unsteady lamps,—with black boughs flung
Against a luminous snow-filled grey-gold sky.
'Beauty!' I cry. . . .My feet move on, and take me
Between dark walls, with orange squares for windows.
Beauty; beheld like someone half-forgotten,
Remembered, with slow pang, as one neglected . . .
Well, I am frustrate; life has beaten me,
The thing I strongly seized has turned to darkness,
And darkness rides my heart. . . .These skeleton elm-trees—
Leaning against that grey-gold snow filled sky—
Beauty! they say, and at the edge of darkness
Extend vain arms in a frozen gesture of protest . . .
A clock ticks softly; a gas-jet steadily whirs:
The pencil meets its shadow upon clear paper,
Voices are raised, a door is slammed. The lovers,
Murmuring in an adjacent room, grow silent,
The eaves make liquid music. . . .Hours have passed,
And nothing changes, and everything is changed.
Exultation is dead, Beauty is harlot,—
And walks the streets. The thing I strongly seized
Has turned to darkness, and darkness rides my heart.
If you could solve this darkness you would have me.
This causeless melancholy that comes with rain,
Or on such days as this when large wet snowflakes
Drop heavily, with rain . . . whence rises this?
Well, so-and-so, this morning when I saw him,
Seemed much preoccupied, and would not smile;
And you, I saw too much; and you, too little;
And the word I chose for you, the golden word,
The word that should have struck so deep in purpose,
And set so many doors of wish wide open,
You let it fall, and would not stoop for it,
And smiled at me, and would not let me guess
Whether you saw it fall. . . These things, together,
With other things, still slighter, wove to music,
And this in time drew up dark memories;
And there I stand. This music breaks and bleeds me,
Turning all frustrate dreams to chords and discords,
Faces and griefs, and words, and sunlit evenings,
And chains self-forged that will not break nor lengthen,
And cries that none can answer, few will hear.
Have these things meaning? Or would you see more clearly
If I should say 'My second wife grows tedious,
Or, like gay tulip, keeps no perfumed secret'?
Or 'one day dies eventless as another,
Leaving the seeker still unsatisfied,
And more convinced life yields no satisfaction'?
Or 'seek too hard, the sight at length grows callous,
And beauty shines in vain'?—
These things you ask for,
These you shall have. . . So, talking with my first wife,
At the dark end of evening, when she leaned
And smiled at me, with blue eyes weaving webs
Of finest fire, revolving me in scarlet,—
Calling to mind remote and small successions
Of countless other evenings ending so,—
I smiled, and met her kiss, and wished her dead;
Dead of a sudden sickness, or by my hands
Savagely killed; I saw her in her coffin,
I saw her coffin borne downstairs with trouble,
I saw myself alone there, palely watching,
Wearing a masque of grief so deeply acted
That grief itself possessed me. Time would pass,
And I should meet this girl,—my second wife—
And drop the masque of grief for one of passion.
Forward we move to meet, half hesitating,
We drown in each others' eyes, we laugh, we talk,
Looking now here, now there, faintly pretending
We do not hear the powerful pulsing prelude
Roaring beneath our words . . . The time approaches.
We lean unbalanced. The mute last glance between us,
Profoundly searching, opening, asking, yielding,
Is steadily met: our two lives draw together . . .
. . . .'What are you thinking of?'. . . .My first wife's voice
Scattered these ghosts. 'Oh nothing—nothing much—
Just wondering where we'd be two years from now,
And what we might be doing . . . ' And then remorse
Turned sharply in my mind to sudden pity,
And pity to echoed love. And one more evening
Drew to the usual end of sleep and silence.
And, as it is with this, so too with all things.
The pages of our lives are blurred palimpsest:
New lines are wreathed on old lines half-erased,
And those on older still; and so forever.
The old shines through the new, and colors it.
What's new? What's old? All things have double meanings,—
All things return. I write a line with passion
(Or touch a woman's hand, or plumb a doctrine)
Only to find the same thing, done before,—
Only to know the same thing comes to-morrow. . . .
This curious riddled dream I dreamed last night,—
Six years ago I dreamed it just as now;
The same man stooped to me; we rose from darkness,
And broke the accustomed order of our days,
And struck for the morning world, and warmth, and freedom. . . .
What does it mean? Why is this hint repeated?
What darkness does it spring from, seek to end?
You see me, then, pass up and down these stairways,
Now through a beam of light, and now through shadow,—
Pursuing silent ends. No rest there is,—
No more for me than you. I move here always,
From quiet room to room, from wall to wall,
Searching and plotting, weaving a web of days.
This is my house, and now, perhaps, you know me. . .
Yet I confess, for all my best intentions,
Once more I have deceived you. . . .I withhold
The one thing precious, the one dark thing that guides me;
And I have spread two snares for you, of lies.
~ Conrad Potter Aiken,
523:The Shadow
Paul Jannes was working very late,
For this watch must be done by eight
To-morrow or the Cardinal
Would certainly be vexed. Of all
His customers the old prelate
Was the most important, for his state
Descended to his watches and rings,
And he gave his mistresses many things
To make them forget his age and smile
When he paid visits, and they could while
The time away with a diamond locket
Exceedingly well. So they picked his pocket,
And he paid in jewels for his slobbering kisses.
This watch was made to buy him blisses
From an Austrian countess on her way
Home, and she meant to start next day.
Paul worked by the pointed, tulip-flame
Of a tallow candle, and became
So absorbed, that his old clock made him wince
Striking the hour a moment since.
Its echo, only half apprehended,
Lingered about the room. He ended
Screwing the little rubies in,
Setting the wheels to lock and spin,
Curling the infinitesimal springs,
Fixing the filigree hands. Chippings
Of precious stones lay strewn about.
The table before him was a rout
Of splashes and sparks of coloured light.
There was yellow gold in sheets, and quite
A heap of emeralds, and steel.
Here was a gem, there was a wheel.
And glasses lay like limpid lakes
Shining and still, and there were flakes
Of silver, and shavings of pearl,
And little wires all awhirl
With the light of the candle. He took the watch
And wound its hands about to match
The time, then glanced up to take the hour
From the hanging clock.
Good, Merciful Power!
How came that shadow on the wall,
No woman was in the room! His tall
Chiffonier stood gaunt behind
His chair. His old cloak, rabbit-lined,
Hung from a peg. The door was closed.
Just for a moment he must have dozed.
He looked again, and saw it plain.
The silhouette made a blue-black stain
On the opposite wall, and it never wavered
Even when the candle quavered
Under his panting breath. What made
That beautiful, dreadful thing, that shade
Of something so lovely, so exquisite,
Cast from a substance which the sight
Had not been tutored to perceive?
Paul brushed his eyes across his sleeve.
Clear-cut, the Shadow on the wall
Gleamed black, and never moved at all.
Paul's watches were like amulets,
Wrought into patterns and rosettes;
The cases were all set with stones,
And wreathing lines, and shining zones.
He knew the beauty in a curve,
And the Shadow tortured every nerve
With its perfect rhythm of outline
Cutting the whitewashed wall. So fine
Was the neck he knew he could have spanned
It about with the fingers of one hand.
The chin rose to a mouth he guessed,
But could not see, the lips were pressed
Loosely together, the edges close,
And the proud and delicate line of the nose
Melted into a brow, and there
Broke into undulant waves of hair.
The lady was edged with the stamp of race.
A singular vision in such a place.
He moved the candle to the tall
Chiffonier; the Shadow stayed on the wall.
He threw his cloak upon a chair,
And still the lady's face was there.
From every corner of the room
He saw, in the patch of light, the gloom
That was the lady. Her violet bloom
Was almost brighter than that which came
From his candle's tulip-flame.
He set the filigree hands; he laid
The watch in the case which he had made;
He put on his rabbit cloak, and snuffed
His candle out. The room seemed stuffed
With darkness. Softly he crossed the floor,
And let himself out through the door.
The sun was flashing from every pin
And wheel, when Paul let himself in.
The whitewashed walls were hot with light.
The room was the core of a chrysolite,
Burning and shimmering with fiery might.
The sun was so bright that no shadow could fall
From the furniture upon the wall.
Paul sighed as he looked at the empty space
Where a glare usurped the lady's place.
He settled himself to his work, but his mind
Wandered, and he would wake to find
His hand suspended, his eyes grown dim,
And nothing advanced beyond the rim
Of his dreaming. The Cardinal sent to pay
For his watch, which had purchased so fine a day.
But Paul could hardly touch the gold,
It seemed the price of his Shadow, sold.
With the first twilight he struck a match
And watched the little blue stars hatch
Into an egg of perfect flame.
He lit his candle, and almost in shame
At his eagerness, lifted his eyes.
The Shadow was there, and its precise
Outline etched the cold, white wall.
The young man swore, 'By God! You, Paul,
There's something the matter with your brain.
Go home now and sleep off the strain.'
The next day was a storm, the rain
Whispered and scratched at the window-pane.
A grey and shadowless morning filled
The little shop. The watches, chilled,
Were dead and sparkless as burnt-out coals.
The gems lay on the table like shoals
Of stranded shells, their colours faded,
Mere heaps of stone, dull and degraded.
Paul's head was heavy, his hands obeyed
No orders, for his fancy strayed.
His work became a simple round
Of watches repaired and watches wound.
The slanting ribbons of the rain
Broke themselves on the window-pane,
But Paul saw the silver lines in vain.
Only when the candle was lit
And on the wall just opposite
He watched again the coming of IT,
Could he trace a line for the joy of his soul
And over his hands regain control.
Paul lingered late in his shop that night
And the designs which his delight
Sketched on paper seemed to be
A tribute offered wistfully
To the beautiful shadow of her who came
And hovered over his candle flame.
In the morning he selected all
His perfect jacinths. One large opal
Hung like a milky, rainbow moon
In the centre, and blown in loose festoon
The red stones quivered on silver threads
To the outer edge, where a single, fine
Band of mother-of-pearl the line
Completed. On the other side,
The creamy porcelain of the face
Bore diamond hours, and no lace
Of cotton or silk could ever be
Tossed into being more airily
Than the filmy golden hands; the time
Seemed to tick away in rhyme.
When, at dusk, the Shadow grew
Upon the wall, Paul's work was through.
Holding the watch, he spoke to her:
'Lady, Beautiful Shadow, stir
Into one brief sign of being.
Turn your eyes this way, and seeing
This watch, made from those sweet curves
Where your hair from your forehead swerves,
Accept the gift which I have wrought
With your fairness in my thought.
Grant me this, and I shall be
Honoured overwhelmingly.'
The Shadow rested black and still,
And the wind sighed over the window-sill.
Paul put the despised watch away
And laid out before him his array
Of stones and metals, and when the morning
Struck the stones to their best adorning,
He chose the brightest, and this new watch
Was so light and thin it seemed to catch
The sunlight's nothingness, and its gleam.
Topazes ran in a foamy stream
Over the cover, the hands were studded
With garnets, and seemed red roses, budded.
The face was of crystal, and engraved
Upon it the figures flashed and waved
With zircons, and beryls, and amethysts.
It took a week to make, and his trysts
At night with the Shadow were his alone.
Paul swore not to speak till his task was done.
The night that the jewel was worthy to give.
Paul watched the long hours of daylight live
To the faintest streak; then lit his light,
And sharp against the wall's pure white
The outline of the Shadow started
Into form. His burning-hearted
Words so long imprisoned swelled
To tumbling speech. Like one compelled,
He told the lady all his love,
And holding out the watch above
His head, he knelt, imploring some
Littlest sign.
The Shadow was dumb.
Weeks passed, Paul worked in fevered haste,
And everything he made he placed
Before his lady. The Shadow kept
Its perfect passiveness. Paul wept.
He wooed her with the work of his hands,
He waited for those dear commands
She never gave. No word, no motion,
Eased the ache of his devotion.
His days passed in a strain of toil,
His nights burnt up in a seething coil.
Seasons shot by, uncognisant
He worked. The Shadow came to haunt
Even his days. Sometimes quite plain
He saw on the wall the blackberry stain
Of his lady's picture. No sun was bright
Enough to dazzle that from his sight.
There were moments when he groaned to see
His life spilled out so uselessly,
Begging for boons the Shade refused,
His finest workmanship abused,
The iridescent bubbles he blew
Into lovely existence, poor and few
In the shadowed eyes. Then he would curse
Himself and her! The Universe!
And more, the beauty he could not make,
And give her, for her comfort's sake!
He would beat his weary, empty hands
Upon the table, would hold up strands
Of silver and gold, and ask her why
She scorned the best which he could buy.
He would pray as to some high-niched saint,
That she would cure him of the taint
Of failure. He would clutch the wall
With his bleeding fingers, if she should fall
He could catch, and hold her, and make her live!
With sobs he would ask her to forgive
All he had done. And broken, spent,
He would call himself impertinent;
Presumptuous; a tradesman; a nothing; driven
To madness by the sight of Heaven.
At other times he would take the things
He had made, and winding them on strings,
Hang garlands before her, and burn perfumes,
Chanting strangely, while the fumes
Wreathed and blotted the shadow face,
As with a cloudy, nacreous lace.
There were days when he wooed as a lover, sighed
In tenderness, spoke to his bride,
Urged her to patience, said his skill
Should break the spell. A man's sworn will
Could compass life, even that, he knew.
By Christ's Blood! He would prove it true!
The edge of the Shadow never blurred.
The lips of the Shadow never stirred.
He would climb on chairs to reach her lips,
And pat her hair with his finger-tips.
But instead of young, warm flesh returning
His warmth, the wall was cold and burning
Like stinging ice, and his passion, chilled,
Lay in his heart like some dead thing killed
At the moment of birth. Then, deadly sick,
He would lie in a swoon for hours, while thick
Phantasmagoria crowded his brain,
And his body shrieked in the clutch of pain.
The crisis passed, he would wake and smile
With a vacant joy, half-imbecile
And quite confused, not being certain
Why he was suffering; a curtain
Fallen over the tortured mind beguiled
His sorrow. Like a little child
He would play with his watches and gems, with glee
Calling the Shadow to look and see
How the spots on the ceiling danced prettily
When he flashed his stones. 'Mother, the green
Has slid so cunningly in between
The blue and the yellow. Oh, please look down!'
Then, with a pitiful, puzzled frown,
He would get up slowly from his play
And walk round the room, feeling his way
From table to chair, from chair to door,
Stepping over the cracks in the floor,
Till reaching the table again, her face
Would bring recollection, and no solace
Could balm his hurt till unconsciousness
Stifled him and his great distress.
One morning he threw the street door wide
On coming in, and his vigorous stride
Made the tools on his table rattle and jump.
In his hands he carried a new-burst clump
Of laurel blossoms, whose smooth-barked stalks
Were pliant with sap. As a husband talks
To the wife he left an hour ago,
Paul spoke to the Shadow. 'Dear, you know
To-day the calendar calls it Spring,
And I woke this morning gathering
Asphodels, in my dreams, for you.
So I rushed out to see what flowers blew
Their pink-and-purple-scented souls
Across the town-wind's dusty scrolls,
And made the approach to the Market Square
A garden with smells and sunny air.
I feel so well and happy to-day,
I think I shall take a Holiday.
And to-night we will have a little treat.
I am going to bring you something to eat!'
He looked at the Shadow anxiously.
It was quite grave and silent. He
Shut the outer door and came
And leant against the window-frame.
'Dearest,' he said, 'we live apart
Although I bear you in my heart.
We look out each from a different world.
At any moment we may be hurled
Asunder. They follow their orbits, we
Obey their laws entirely.
Now you must come, or I go there,
Unless we are willing to live the flare
Of a lighted instant and have it gone.'
A bee in the laurels began to drone.
A loosened petal fluttered prone.
'Man grows by eating, if you eat
You will be filled with our life, sweet
Will be our planet in your mouth.
If not, I must parch in death's wide drouth
Until I gain to where you are,
And give you myself in whatever star
May happen. O You Beloved of Me!
Is it not ordered cleverly?'
The Shadow, bloomed like a plum, and clear,
Hung in the sunlight. It did not hear.
Paul slipped away as the dusk began
To dim the little shop. He ran
To the nearest inn, and chose with care
As much as his thin purse could bear.
As rapt-souled monks watch over the baking
Of the sacred wafer, and through the making
Of the holy wine whisper secret prayers
That God will bless this labour of theirs;
So Paul, in a sober ecstasy,
Purchased the best which he could buy.
Returning, he brushed his tools aside,
And laid across the table a wide
Napkin. He put a glass and plate
On either side, in duplicate.
Over the lady's, excellent
With loveliness, the laurels bent.
In the centre the white-flaked pastry stood,
And beside it the wine flask. Red as blood
Was the wine which should bring the lustihood
Of human life to his lady's veins.
When all was ready, all which pertains
To a simple meal was there, with eyes
Lit by the joy of his great emprise,
He reverently bade her come,
And forsake for him her distant home.
He put meat on her plate and filled her glass,
And waited what should come to pass.
The Shadow lay quietly on the wall.
From the street outside came a watchman's call
'A cloudy night. Rain beginning to fall.'
And still he waited. The clock's slow tick
Knocked on the silence. Paul turned sick.
He filled his own glass full of wine;
From his pocket he took a paper. The twine
Was knotted, and he searched a knife
From his jumbled tools. The cord of life
Snapped as he cut the little string.
He knew that he must do the thing
He feared. He shook powder into the wine,
And holding it up so the candle's shine
Sparked a ruby through its heart,
He drank it. 'Dear, never apart
Again! You have said it was mine to do.
It is done, and I am come to you!'
Paul Jannes let the empty wine-glass fall,
And held out his arms. The insentient wall
Stared down at him with its cold, white glare
Unstained! The Shadow was not there!
Paul clutched and tore at his tightening throat.
He felt the veins in his body bloat,
And the hot blood run like fire and stones
Along the sides of his cracking bones.
But he laughed as he staggered towards the door,
And he laughed aloud as he sank on the floor.
The Coroner took the body away,
And the watches were sold that Saturday.
The Auctioneer said one could seldom buy
Such watches, and the prices were high.
~ Amy Lowell,
ALL valor died not on the plains of Troy.
Awake, my Muse, awake! be thine the joy
To sing of deeds as dauntless and as brave
As e'er lent luster to a warrior's grave.
Sing of that noble soldier, nobler man,
Dear to the heart of each American.
Sound forth his praise from sea to listening seaGreece her Achilles claimed, immortal Custer, we.
Intrepid are earth's heroes now as when
The gods came down to measure strength with men.
Let danger threaten or let duty call,
And self surrenders to the needs of all;
Incurs vast perils, or, to save those dear,
Embraces death without one sigh or tear.
Life's martyrs still the endless drama play
Though no great Homer lives to chant their worth to-day.
And if he chanted, who would list his songs,
So hurried now the world's gold-seeking throngs?
And yet shall silence mantle mighty deeds?
Awake, dear Muse, and sing though no ear heeds!
Extol the triumphs, and bemoan the end
Of that true hero, lover, son and friend
Whose faithful heart in his last choice was shownDeath with the comrades dear, refusing flight alone.
He who was born for battle and for strife
Like some caged eagle frets in peaceful life;
So Custer fretted when detained afar
From scenes of stirring action and of war.
And as the captive eagle in delight,
When freedom offers, plumes himself for flight
And soars away to thunder clouds on high,
With palpitating wings and wild exultant cry,
So lion-hearted Custer sprang to arms,
And gloried in the conflict's loud alarms.
But one dark shadow marred his bounding joy;
And then the soldier vanished, and the boy,
The tender son, clung close, with sobbing breath,
To her from whom each parting was new death;
That mother who like goddesses of old,
Gave to the mighty Mars, three warriors brave and bold,
Yet who, unlike those martial dames of yore,
Grew pale and shuddered at the sight of gore.
A fragile being, born to grace the hearth,
Untroubled by the conflicts of the earth.
Some gentle dove who reared young eaglets, might,
In watching those bold birdlings take their flight,
Feel what that mother felt who saw her sons
Rush from her loving arms, to face death-dealing guns.
But ere thy lyre is strung to martial strains
Of wars which sent our hero o'er the plains,
To add the cypress to his laureled brow,
Be brave, my Muse, and darker truths avow.
Let Justice ask a preface to thy songs,
Before the Indian's crimes declare his wrongs;
Before effects, wherein all horrors blend,
Declare the shameful cause, precursor of the end.
When first this soil the great Columbus trod,
He was less like the image of his God
Than those ingenuous souls, unspoiled by art,
Who lived so near to Mother Nature's heart;
Those simple children of the wood and wave,
As frank as trusting, and as true as brave;
Savage they were, when on some hostile raid
(For where is he so high, whom war does not degrade?) .
But dark deceit and falsehood's shameless shame
They had not learned, until the white man came.
He taught them, too, the lurking devil's joy
In liquid lies, that lure but to destroy.
With wily words, as false as they were sweet,
He spread his snares for unsuspecting feet;
Paid truth with guile, and trampled in the dust
Their gentle childlike faith and unaffected trust.
And for the sport of idle kings and knaves
Of Nature's greater noblemen, made slaves.
Alas, the hour, when the wronged Indian knows
His seeming benefactors are but foes.
His kinsmen kidnapped and his lands possessed,
The demon woke in that untutored breast.
Four hundred years have rolled upon their wayThe ruthless demon rules the red man to this day.
If, in the morning of success, that grand
Invincible discoverer of our land
Had made no lodge or wigwam desolate
To carry trophies to the proud and great;
If on our history's page there were no blot
Left by the cruel rapine of Cabot,
Of Verrazin, and Hudson, dare we claim
The Indian of the plains, to-day had been same?
For in this brief existence, not alone
Do our lives gather what our hands have sown,
But we reap, too, what others long ago
Sowed, careless of the harvests that might grow.
Thus hour by hour the humblest human souls
Inscribe in cipher on unending scrolls,
The history of nations yet to be;
Incite fierce bloody wars, to rage from sea to sea,
Or pave the way to peace. There is no past,
So deathless are events-results so vast.
And he who strives to make one act or hour
Stand separate and alone, needs first the power
To look upon the breaking wave and say,
'These drops were bosomed by a cloud to-day,
And those from far mid-ocean's crest were sent.'
So future, present, past, in one wide sea are blent.
Oh, for the power to call to aid, of mine
Own humble Muse, the famed and sacred nine.
Then might she fitly sing, and only then,
Of those intrepid and unflinching men
Who knew no homes save ever moving tents,
And who 'twixt fierce unfriendly elements
And wild barbarians warred. Yet unfraid,
Since love impels thy strains, sing, sing, my modest maid.
Relate how Custer in midwinter sought
Far Washita's cold shores; tell why he fought
With savage nomads fortressed in deep snows.
Woman, thou source of half the sad world's woes
And all its joys, what sanguinary strife
Has vexed the earth and made contention rife
Because of thee! For, hidden in man's heart,
Ay, in his very soul, of his true self a part,
The natural impulse and the wish belongs
To win thy favor and redress thy wrongs.
Alas! for woman, and for man, alas!
If that dread hour should ever come to pass,
When, through her new-born passion for control,
She drives that beauteous impulse from his soul.
What were her vaunted independence worth
If to obtain she sells her sweetest rights of birth?
God formed fair woman for her true estateMan's tender comrade, and his equal mate,
Not his competitor in toil and trade.
While coarser man, with greater strength was made
To fight her battles and her rights protect.
Ay! to protect the rights of earth's elect
(The virgin maiden and the spotless wife)
From immemorial time has man laid down his life.
And now brave Custer's valiant army pressed
Across the dangerous desert of the West,
To rescue fair white captives from the hands
Of brutal Cheyenne and Comanche bands,
On Washita's bleak banks. Nine hundred strong
It moved its slow determined way along,
Past frontier homes left dark and desolate
By the wild Indians' fierce and unrelenting hate;
Past forts where ranchmen, strong of heart and bold,
Wept now like orphaned children as they told,
With quivering muscles and with anguished breath,
Of captured wives, whose fate was worse than death;
Past naked bodies whose disfiguring wounds
Spoke of the hellish hate of human hounds;
Past bleaching skeleton and rifled grave,
On pressed th' avenging host, to rescue and to save.
Uncertain Nature, like a fickle friend,
(Worse than the foe on whom we may depend)
Turned on these dauntless souls a brow of wrath
And hurled her icy jav'lins in their path.
With treacherous quicksands, and with storms that blight,
Entrapped their footsteps and confused their sight.
'Yet on, ' urged Custer, 'on at any cost,
No hour is there to waste, no moment to be lost.'
Determined, silent, on they rode, and on,
Like fabled Centaurs, men and steeds seemed one.
No bugle echoed and no voice spoke near,
Lest on some lurking Indian's list'ning ear
The sound might fall. Through swift descending snow
The stealthy guides crept, tracing out the foe;
No fire was lighted, and no halt was made
From haggard gray-lipped dawn till night lent friendly shade.
Then, by the shelt'ring river's bank at last,
The weary warriors paused for their repast.
A couch of ice and falling shows for spread
Made many a suffering soldier's chilling bed.
They slept to dream of glory and delight,
While the pale fingers of the pitying night
Wove ghostly winding sheets for that doomed score
Who, ere another eve, should sleep to wake no more.
But those who slept not, saw with startled eyes
Far off, athwart dim unprotecting skies,
Ascending slowly with majestic grace,
A lustrous rocket, rising out of space.
'Behold the signal of the foe, ' cried one,
The field is lost before the strife's begun.
Yet no! for see! yon rays spread near and far;
It is the day's first smile, the radiant morning star.
The long hours counting till the daylight broke,
In whispered words the restless warriors spoke.
They talked of battles, but they thought of home
(For hearts are faithful though the feet may roam) .
Brave Hamilton, all eager for the strife,
Mused o'er that two-fold mystery-death and life;
'And when I die, ' quoth he, ' mine be the part
To fall upon the field, a bullet in my heart.'
At break of dawn the scouts crept in to say
The foe was camped a rifle shot away.
The baying of a dog, an infant's cry
Pierced through the air; sleep fled from every eye.
To horse! to arms! the dead demand the dead!
Let the grand charge upon the lodge be led!
Let the Mosaic law, life for a life
Pay the long standing debt of blood. War to the knife!
So spake each heart in that unholy rage
Which fires the brain, when war the thoughts engage.
War, hideous war, appealing to the worst
In complex man, and waking that wild thirst
For human blood which blood alone can slake.
Yet for their country's safety, and the sake
Of tortured captives moaning in alarm
The Indian must be made to fear the law's strong arm.
A noble vengeance burned in Custer's breast,
But, as he led his army to the crest,
Above the wigwams, ready for the charge
He felt the heart within him, swelling large
With human pity, as an infant's wail
Shrilled once again above the wintry gale.
Then hosts of murdered children seemed to rise;
And shame his halting thought with sad accusing eyes,
And urge him on to action. Stern of brow
The just avenger, and the General now,
He gives the silent signal to the band
Which, all impatient, waits for his command.
Cold lips to colder metal press; the air
Echoes those merry strains which mean despair
For sleeping chieftain and for toiling squaw,
But joy to those stern hearts which glory in the law
Of murder paying murder's awful debt.
And now four squadrons in one charge are met.
From east and west, from north and south they come,
At call of bugle and at roll of drum.
Their rifles rain hot hail upon the foe,
Who flee from danger in death's jaws to go.
The Indians fight like maddened bulls at bay,
And dying shriek and groan, wound the young ear of day.
A pallid captive and a white-browed boy
Add to the tumult piercing cries of joy,
As forth they fly, with high hope animate.
A hideous squaw pursues them with her hate;
Her knife descends with sickening force and sound;
Their bloody entrails stain the snow-clad ground.
She shouts with glee, then yells with rage and falls
Dead by her victims' side, pierced by avenging balls.
Now war runs riot, carnage reigns supreme.
All thoughts of mercy fade from Custer's scheme.
Inhuman methods for inhuman foes,
Who feed on horrors and exult in woes.
To conquer and subdue alone remains
In dealing with the red man on the plains.
The breast that knows no conscience yields to fear,
Strike! let the Indian meet his master now and here,
With thoughts like these was Custer's mind engaged.
The gentlest are the sternest when enraged.
All felt the swift contagion of his ire,
For he was one who could arouse and fire
The coldest heart, so ardent was his own.
His fearless eye, his calm intrepid tone,
Bespoke the leader, strong with conscious power,
Whom following friends will bless, while foes will curse and cower.
Again they charge! and now among the killed
Lies Hamilton, his wish so soon fulfilled,
Brave Elliott pursues across the field
The flying foe, his own young life to yield.
But like the leaves in some autumnal gale
The red men fall in Washita's wild vale.
Each painted face and black befeathered head
Still more repulsive seems with death's grim pallor wed.
New forces gather on surrounding knolls,
And fierce and fiercer war's red river rolls.
With bright-hued pennants flying from each lance
The gayly costumed Kiowas advance.
And bold Comanches (Bedouins of the land)
Infuse fresh spirit in the Cheyenne band.
While from the ambush of some dark ravine
Flash arrows aimed by hands, unerring and unseen.
The hours advance; the storm clouds roll away;
Still furious and more furious grows the fray.
The yellow sun makes ghastlier still the sight
Of painted corpses, staring in its light.
No longer slaves, but comrades of their griefs,
The squaws augment the forces of their chiefs.
They chant weird dirges in a minor key,
While from the narrow door of wigwam and tepee
Cold glittering eyes above cold glittering steel
Their deadly purpose and their hate reveal.
The click of pistols and the crack of guns
Proclaim war's daughters dangerous as her sons.
She who would wield the soldier's sword and lance
Must be prepared to take the soldier's chance.
She who would shoot must serve as target, too;
The battle-frenzied men, infuriate now pursue.
And blood of warrior, woman and papoose,
Flow free as waters when some dam breaks loose;
Consuming fire, the wanton friend of war
(Whom allies worship and whom foes abhor)
Now trails her crimson garments through the street,
And ruin marks the passing of her feet.
Full three-score lodges smoke upon the plain,
And all the vale is strewn with bodies of the slain.
And those who are not numbered with the dead
Before all-conquering Custer now are led.
To soothe their woes, and calm their fears he seeks;
An Osage guide interprets while he speaks.
The vanquished captives, humbled, cowed and spent
Read in the victor's eye his kind intent.
The modern victor is as kind as brave;
His captive is his guest, not his insulted slave.
Mahwissa, sister of the slaughtered chief
Of all the Cheyennes, listens; and her grief
Yields now to hope; and o'er her withered face
There flits the stealthy cunning of her race.
Then forth she steps, and thus begins to speak:
'To aid the fallen and support the weak
Is man's true province; and to ease the pain
Of those o'er whom it is his purpose now to reign.
'Let the strong chief unite with theirs his life,
And take this black-eyed maiden for a wife.'
Then, moving with an air of proud command,
She leads a dusky damsel by the hand,
And places her at wondering Custer's side,
Invoking choicest blessings on the bride
And all unwilling groom, who thus replies.
'Fair is the Indian maid, with bright bewildering eyes,
'But fairer still is one who, year on year,
Has borne man's burdens, conquered woman's fear;
And at my side rode mile on weary mile,
And faced all deaths, all dangers, with a smile,
Wise as Minerva, as Diana brave,
Is she whom generous gods in kindness gave
To share the hardships of my wandering life,
Companion, comrade, friend, my loved and loyal wife.
'The white chief weds but one. Take back thy maid.'
He ceased, and o'er Mahwissa's face a shade
Of mingled scorn and pity and surprise
Sweeps as she slow retreats, and thus replies:
'Rich is the pale-faced chief in battle fame,
But poor is he who but one wife may claim.
Wives are the red-skinned heroes' rightful spoil;
In war they prove his strength, in times of peace they toil.'
But hark! The bugle echoes o'er the plains
And sounds again those merry Celtic strains
Which oft have called light feet to lilting dance,
But now they mean the order to advance.
Along the river's bank, beyond the hill
Two thousand foemen lodge, unconquered still.
Ere falls night's curtain on this bloody play,
The army must proceed, with feint of further fray.
The weary warriors mount their foam-flecked steeds,
With flags unfurled the dauntless host proceeds.
What though the foe outnumbers two to one?
Boldness achieves what strength oft leaves undone;
A daring mein will cause brute force to cower,
And courage is the secret source of power.
As Custer's column wheels upon their sight
The frightened red men yield the untried field by flight.
Yet when these conquering heroes sink to rest,
Dissatisfaction gnaws the leader's breast,
For far away across vast seas of snows
Held prisoners still by hostile Arapahoes
And Cheyennes unsubdued, two captives wait.
On God and Custer hangs their future fate.
May the Great Spirit nerve the mortal's arm
To rescue suffering souls from worse than death's alarm.
But ere they seek to rescue the oppressed,
The valiant dead, in state, are laid to rest.
Mourned Hamilton, the faithful and the brave,
Nine hundred comrades follow to the grave;
And close behind the banner-hidden corse
All draped in black, walks mournfully his horse;
While tears of sound drip through the sunlit day.
A soldier may not weep, but drums and bugles may.
Now, Muse, recount, how after long delays
And dangerous marches through untrodden ways,
Where cold and hunger on each hour attend,
At last the army gains the journey's end.
An Indian village bursts upon the eye;
Two hundred lodges, sleep-encompassed lie,
There captives moan their anguished prayers through tears,
While in the silent dawn the armied answer nears.
To snatch two fragile victims from the foe
Nine hundred men have traversed leagues of snow.
Each woe they suffered in a hostile land
The flame of vengeance in their bosoms fanned.
They thirst for slaughter, and the signal wait
To wrest the captives from their horrid fate.
Each warrior's hand upon his rifle falls,
Each savage soldier's heart for awful bloodshed calls.
And one, in years a youth, in woe a man,
Sad Brewster, scarred by sorrow's blighting ban,
Looks, panting, where his captive sister sleeps,
And o'er his face the shade of murder creeps.
His nostrils quiver like a hungry beast
Who scents anear the bloody carnal feast.
He longs to leap down in that slumbering vale
And leave no foe alive to tell the awful tale.
Not so, calm Custer. Sick of gory strife,
He hopes for rescue with no loss of life;
And plans that bloodless battle of the plains
Where reasoning mind outwits mere savage brains.
The sullen soldiers follow where he leads;
No gun is emptied, and no foeman bleeds.
Fierce for the fight and eager for the fray
They look upon their Chief in undisguised dismay.
He hears the murmur of their discontent,
But sneers can never change a strong mind's bent.
He knows his purpose and he does not swerve,
And with a quiet mien and steady nerve
He meets dark looks where'er his steps may go,
And silence that is bruising as a blow,
Where late were smiles and words of ardent praise.
So pass the lagging weeks of wearying delays.
Inaction is not always what it seems,
And Custer's mind with plan and project teems.
Fixed in his peaceful purpose he abides
With none takes counsel and in none confides;
But slowly weaves about the foe a net
Which leaves them wholly at his mercy, yet
He strikes no fateful blow; he takes no life,
And holds in check his men, who pant for bloody strife.
Intrepid warrior and skilled diplomate,
In his strong hands he holds the red man's fate.
The craftiest plot he checks with counterplot,
Till tribe by tribe the tricky foe is brought
To fear his vengeance and to know his power.
As man's fixed gaze will make a wild beast cower,
So these crude souls feel that unflinching will
Which draws them by its force, yet does not deign to kill.
And one by one the hostile Indians send
Their chiefs to seek a peaceful treaty's end.
Great councils follow; skill with cunning copes
And conquers it; and Custer sees his hopes
So long delayed, like stars storm hidden, rise
To radiate with splendor all his skies.
The stubborn Cheyennes, cowed at last by fear,
Leading the captive pair, o'er spring-touched hills appear.
With breath suspended, now the whole command
Waits the approach of that equestrian band.
Nearer it comes, still nearer, then a cry,
Half sob, half shriek, goes piercing God's blue sky,
And Brewster, like a nimble-footed doe,
Or like an arrow hurrying from a bow,
Shoots swiftly through the intervening space
And that lost sister clasps, in sorrowing love's embrace.
And men who leaned o'er Hamilton's rude bier
And saw his dead dear face without a tear,
Strong souls who early learned the manly art
Of keeping from the eye what's in the heart,
Soldiers who look unmoved on death's pale brow,
Avert their eyes, to hide their moisture now.
The briny flood forced back from shores of woe,
Needs but to touch the strands of joy to overflow.
About the captives welcoming warriors crowd,
All eyes are wet, and Brewster sobs aloud.
Alas, the ravage wrought by toil and woe
On faces that were fair twelve moons ago.
Bronzed by exposure to the heat and cold,
Still young in years, yet prematurely old,
By insults humbled and by labor worn,
They stand in youth's bright hour, of all youth's graces shorn.
A scanty garment rudely made of sacks
Hangs from their loins; bright blankets drape their backs;
About their necks are twisted tangled strings
Of gaudy beads, while tinkling wire and rings
Of yellow brass on wrists and fingers glow.
Thus, to assuage the anger of the foe
The cunning Indians decked the captive pair
Who in one year have known a lifetime of despair.
But love can resurrect from sorrow's tomb
The vanished beauty and the faded bloom,
As sunlight lifts the bruised flower from the sod,
Can lift crushed hearts to hope, for love is God.
Already now in freedom's glad release
The hunted look of fear gives place to peace,
And in their eyes at thought of home appears
That rainbow light of joy which brightest shines through tears.
About the leader thick the warriors crowd;
Late loud in censure, now in praises loud,
They laud the tactics, and the skill extol
Which gained a bloodless yet a glorious goal.
Alone and lonely in the path of right
Full many a brave soul walks. When gods requite
And crown his actions as their worth demands,
Among admiring throngs the hero always stands.
A row of six asterisks is on the page at this point
Back to the East the valorous squadrons sweep;
The earth, arousing from her long, cold sleep,
Throws from her breast the coverlet of snow,
Revealing Spring's soft charms which lie below.
Suppressed emotions in each heart arise,
The wooer wakens and the warrior dies.
The bird of prey is vanquished by the dove,
And thoughts of bloody strife give place to thoughts of love.
The mighty plains, devoid of whispering trees,
Guard well the secrets of departed seas.
Where once great tides swept by with ebb and flow
The scorching sun looks down in tearless woe.
And fierce tornadoes in ungoverned pain
Mourn still the loss of that mysterious main.
Across this ocean bed the soldiers flyHome is the gleaming goal that lures each eager eye.
Like some elixir which the gods prepare,
They drink the viewless tonic of the air,
Sweet with the breath of startled antelopes
Which speed before them over swelling slopes.
Now like a serpent writhing o'er the moor,
The column curves and makes a slight detour,
As Custer leads a thousand men away
To save a ground bird's nest which in the footpath lay.
Mile following mile, against the leaning skies
Far off they see a dull dark cloud arise.
The hunter's instinct in each heart is stirred,
Beholding there in one stupendous herd
A hundred thousand buffaloes. Oh great
Unwieldy proof of Nature's cruder state,
Rough remnant of a prehistoric day,
Thou, with the red man, too, must shortly pass away.
Upon those spreading plains is there not room
For man and bison, that he seals its doom?
What pleasure lies and what seductive charm
In slaying with no purpose but to harm?
Alas, that man, unable to create,
Should thirst forever to exterminate,
And in destruction find his fiercest joy.
The gods alone create, gods only should destroy.
The flying hosts a straggling bull pursue;
Unerring aim, the skillful Custer drew.
The wounded beast turns madly in despair
And man and horse are lifted high in air.
The conscious steed needs not the guiding rein;
Back with a bound and one quick cry of pain
He springs, and halts, well knowing where must fall
In that protected frame, the sure death dealing ball.
With minds intent upon the morrow's feast,
The men surround the carcass of the beast.
Rolled on his back, he lies with lolling tongue,
Soon to the saddle savory steaks are hung.
And from his mighty head, great tufts of hair
Are cut as trophies for some lady fair.
To vultures then they leave the torn remains
Of what an hour ago was monarch of the plains.
Far off, two bulls in jealous war engage,
Their blood-shot eye balls roll in furious rage;
With maddened hoofs they mutilate the ground
And loud their angry bellowings resound;
With shaggy heads bent low they plunge and roar,
Till both broad bellies drip with purple gore.
Meanwhile, the heifer, whom the twain desire,
Stands browsing near the pair, indifferent to their ire.
At last she lifts her lazy head and heeds
The clattering hoofs of swift advancing steeds.
Off to the herd with cumb'rous gait she runs
And leaves the bulls to face the threatening guns.
No more for them the free life of the plains,
Its mating pleasures and its warring pains.
Their quivering flesh shall feed unnumbered foes,
Their tufted tails adorn the soldiers' saddle bows.
Now into camp the conquering hosts advance;
On burnished arms the brilliant sunbeams glance.
Brave Custer leads, blonde as the gods of old;
Back from his brow blow clustering locks of gold,
And, like a jewel in a brook, there lies,
Far in the depths of his blue guarded eyes,
The thought of one whose smiling lips upcurled,
Mean more of joy to him than plaudits of the world.
The troops in columns of platoons appear
Close to the leader following. Ah, here
The poetry of war is fully seen,
Its prose forgotten; as against the green
Of Mother Nature, uniformed in blue,
The soldiers pass for Sheridan's review.
The motion-music of the moving throng,
Is like a silent tune, set to a wordless song.
The guides and trailers, weird in war's array,
Precede the troops along the grassy way.
They chant wild songs, and, with loud noise and stress,
In savage manner savage joy express.
The Indian captives, blanketed in red,
On ponies mounted, by the scouts are led.
Like sumach bushes, etched on evening skies,
Against the blue-clad troops, this patch of color lies.
High o'er the scene vast music billows bound,
And all the air is liquid with the sound
Of those invisible compelling waves.
Perchance they reach the low and lonely graves
Where sleep brave Elliott and Hamilton,
And whisper there the tale of victory won;
Or do the souls of soldiers tried and true
Come at the bugle call, and march in grand review?
The pleased Commander watches in surprise
This splendid pageant surge before his eyes.
Not in those mighty battle days of old
Did scenes like this upon his sight unfold.
But now it passes. Drums and bugles cease
To dash war billows on the shores of Peace.
The victors smile on fair broad bosomed Sleep
While in her soothing arms, the vanquished cease to weep.
There is an interval of eight years between Books Second and Third.
As in the long dead days marauding hosts
Of Indians came from far Siberian coasts,
And drove the peaceful Aztecs from their grounds,
Despoiled their homes (but left their tell-tale mounds) ,
So has the white man with the Indians done.
Now with their backs against the setting sun
The remnants of a dying nation stand
And view the lost domain, once their beloved land.
Upon the vast Atlantic's leagues of shore
The happy red man's tent is seen no more;
And from the deep blue lakes which mirror heaven
His bounding bark canoe was long since driven.
The mighty woods, those temples where his God
Spoke to his soul, are leveled to the sod;
And in their place tall church spires point above,
While priests proclaim the law of Christ, the King of Love.
The avaricious and encroaching rail
Seized the wide fields which knew the Indians' trail.
Back to the reservations in the West
The native owners of the land were pressed,
And selfish cities, harbingers of want,
Shut from their vision each accustomed haunt.
Yet hungry Progress, never satisfied,
Gazed on the western plains, and gazing, longed and sighed.
As some strange bullock in a pasture field
Compels the herds to fear him, and to yield
The juicy grass plots and the cooling shade
Until, despite their greater strength, afraid,
They huddle in some corner spot and cower
Before the monarch's all controlling power,
So has the white man driven from its place
By his aggressive greed, Columbia's native race.
Yet when the bull pursues the herds at bay,
Incensed they turn, and dare dispute his sway.
And so the Indians turned, when men forgot
Their sacred word, and trespassed on the spot.
The lonely little spot of all their lands,
The reservation of the peaceful bands.
But lust for gold all conscience kills in man,
'Gold in the Black Hills, gold! ' the cry arose and ran
From lip to lip, as flames from tree to tree
Leap till the forest is one fiery sea,
And through the country surged that hot unrest
Which thirst for riches wakens in the breast.
In mighty throngs the fortune hunters came,
Despoiled the red man's lands and slew his game,
Broke solemn treaties and defied the law.
And all these ruthless acts the Nation knew and saw.
Man is the only animal that kills
Just for the wanton love of slaughter; spills
The blood of lesser things to see it flow;
Lures like a friend, to murder like a foe
The trusting bird and beast; and, coward like,
Deals covert blows he dare not boldly strike.
The brutes have finer souls, and only slay
When torn by hunger's pangs, or when to fear a prey.
The pale-faced hunter, insolent and bold,
Pursued the bison while he sought for gold.
And on the hungry red man's own domains
He left the rotting and unused remains
To foul with sickening stench each passing wind
And rouse the demon in the savage mind,
Save in the heart where virtues dominate
Injustice always breeds its natural offspring- hate.
The chieftain of the Sioux, great Sitting Bull,
Mused o'er their wrongs, and felt his heart swell full
Of bitter vengeance. Torn with hate's unrest
He called a council and his braves addressed.
'From fair Wisconsin's shimmering lakes of blue
Long years ago the white man drove the Sioux.
Made bold by conquest, and inflamed by greed,
He still pursues our tribes, and still our ranks recede.
'Fair are the White Chief's promises and words,
But dark his deeds who robs us of our herds.
He talks of treaties, asks the right to buy,
Then takes by force, not waiting our reply.
He grants us lands for pastures and abodes
To devastate them by his iron roads.
But now from happy Spirit Lands, a friend
Draws near the hunted Sioux, to strengthen and defend.
'While walking in the fields I saw a star;
Unconsciously I followed it afarIt led me on to valleys filled with light,
Where danced our noble chieftains slain in fight.
Black Kettle, first of all that host I knew,
He whom the strong armed Custer foully slew.
And then a spirit took me by the hand,
The Great Messiah King who comes to free the land.
'Suns were his eyes, a speaking tear his voice,
.Whose rainbow sounds made listening hearts rejoice
And thus he spake: 'The red man's hour draws near
When all his lost domains shall reappear.
The elk, the deer, the bounding antelope,
Shall here return to grace each grassy slope.'
He waved his hand above the fields, and lo!
Down through the valleys came a herd of buffalo.
'The wondrous vision vanished, but I knew
That Sitting Bull must make the promise true.
Great Spirits plan what mortal man achieves,
The hand works magic when the heart believes.
Arouse, ye braves! let not the foe advance.
Arm for the battle and begin the danceThe sacred dance in honor of our slain,
Who will return to earth, ere many moons shall wane.'
Thus Sitting Bull, the chief of wily knaves,
Worked on the superstitions of his braves.
Mixed truth with lies; and stirred to mad unrest
The warlike instinct in each savage breast.
A curious product of unhappy times,
The natural offspring of unnumbered crimes,
He used low cunning and dramatic arts
To startle and surprise those crude untutored hearts.
Out from the lodges pour a motley throng,
Slow measures chanting of a dirge-like song.
In one great circle dizzily they swing,
A squaw and chief alternate in the ring.
Coarse raven locks stream over robes of white,
Their deep set orbs emit a lurid light,
And as through pine trees moan the winds refrains,
So swells and dies away, the ghostly graveyard strains.
Like worded wine is music to the ear,
And long indulged makes mad the hearts that hear.
The dancers, drunken with the monotone
Of oft repeated notes, now shriek and groan
And pierce their ruddy flesh with sharpened spears;
Still more excited when the blood appears,
With warlike yells, high in the air they bound,
Then in a deathlike trance fall prostrate on the ground.
They wake to tell weird stories of the dead,
While fresh performers to the ring are led.
The sacred nature of the dance is lost,
War is their cry, red war, at any cost.
Insane for blood they wait for no command,
But plunge marauding through the frightened land.
Their demon hearts on devils' pleasures bent,
For each new foe surprised, new torturing deaths invent.
Staked to the earth one helpless creature lies,
Flames at his feet and splinters in his eyes.
Another groans with coals upon his breast,
While 'round the pyre the Indians dance and jest.
A crying child is brained upon a tree,
The swooning mother saved from death, to be
The slave and plaything of a filthy knave,
Whose sins would startle hell, whose clay defile a grave.
Their cause was right, their methods all were wrong.
Pity and censure both to them belong.
Their woes were many, but their crimes were more.
The soulless Satan holds not in his store
Such awful tortures as the Indians' wrath
Keeps for the hapless victim in his path.
And if the last lone remnants of that race
Were by the white man swept from off the earth's fair face,
Were every red man slaughtered in a day,
Still would that sacrifice but poorly pay
For one insulted woman captive's woes.
Again great Custer in his strength arose,
More daring, more intrepid than of old.
The passing years had touched and turned to gold
The ever widening aureole of fame
That shone upon his brow, and glorified his name.
Wise men make laws, then turn their eyes away,
While fools and knaves ignore them day by day;
And unmolested, fools and knaves at length
Induce long wars which sap a country's strength.
The sloth of leaders, ruling but in name,
Has dragged full many a nation down to shame.
A word unspoken by the rightful lips
Has dyed the land with blood, and blocked the sea with ships.
The word withheld, when Indians asked for aid,
Came when the red man started on his raid.
What Justice with a gesture might have done
Was left for noisy war with bellowing gun.
And who save Custer and his gallant men
Could calm the tempest into peace again?
What other hero in the land could hope
With Sitting Bull, the fierce and lawless one to cope?
What other warrior skilled enough to dare
Surprise that human tiger in his lair?
Sure of his strength, unconscious of his fame
Out from the quiet of the camp he came;
And stately as Diana at his side
Elizabeth, his wife and alway bride,
And Margaret, his sister, rode apace;
Love's clinging arms he left to meet death's cold embrace.
As the bright column wound along its course,
The smiling leader turned upon his horse
To gaze with pride on that superb command.
Twelve hundred men, the picked of all the land,
Innured to hardship and made strong by strife
Their lithe limbed bodies breathed of out-door life;
While on their faces, resolute and brave,
Hope stamped its shining seal, although their thoughts were grave.
The sad eyed women halted in the dawn,
And waved farewell to dear ones riding on.
The modest mist picked up her robes and ran
Before the Sun god's swift pursuing van.
And suddenly there burst on startled eyes,
The sight of soldiers, marching in the skies;
That phantom host, a phantom Custer led;
Mirage of dire portent, forecasting days ahead.
The soldiers' children, flaunting mimic flags,
Played by the roadside, striding sticks for nags.
Their mothers wept, indifferent to the crowd
Who saw their tears and heard them sob aloud.
Old Indian men and squaws crooned forth a rhyme
Sung by their tribes from immemorial time;
And over all the drums' incessant beat
Mixed with the scout's weird rune, and tramp of myriad feet.
So flawless was the union of each part
The mighty column (moved as by one heart)
Pulsed through the air, like some sad song well sung,
Which gives delight, although the soul is wrung.
Farther and fainter to the sight and sound
The beautiful embodied poem wound;
Till like a ribbon, stretched across the land
Seemed the long narrow line of that receding band.
The lot of those who in the silence wait
Is harder than the fighting soldiers' fate.
Back to the lonely post two women passed,
With unaccustomed sorrow overcast.
Two sad for sighs, too desolate for tears,
The dark forebodings of long widowed years
In preparation for the awful blow
Hung on the door of hope the sable badge of woe.
Unhappy Muse! for thee no song remains,
Save the sad miséréré of the plains.
Yet though defeat, not triumph, ends the tale,
Great victors sometimes are the souls that fail.
All glory lies not in the goals we reach,
But in the lessons which our actions teach.
And he who, conquered, to the end believes
In God and in himself, though vanquished, still achieves.
Ah, grand as rash was that last fatal raid
The little group of daring heroes made.
Two hundred and two score intrepid men
Rode out to war; not one came back again.
Like fiends incarnate from the depths of hell
Five thousand foemen rose with deafening yell,
And swept that vale as with a simoon's breath,
But like the gods of old, each martyr met his death.
Like gods they battled and like gods they died.
Hour following hour that little band defied
The hordes of red men swarming o'er the plain,
Till scarce a score stood upright 'mid the slain.
Then in the lull of battle, creeping near,
A scout breathed low in Custer's listening ear:
'Death lies before, dear life remains behind
Mount thy sure-footed steed, and hasten with the wind.'
A second's silence. Custer dropped his head,
His lips slow moving as when prayers are saidTwo words he breathed-'God and Elizabeth, '
Then shook his long locks in the face of death
And with a final gesture turned away
To join that fated few who stood at bay.
Ah! deeds like that the Christ in man reveal
Let Fame descend her throne at Custer's shrine to kneel.
Too late to rescue, but in time to weep,
His tardy comrades came. As if asleep
He lay, so fair, that even hellish hate
Withheld its hand and dared not mutilate.
By fiends who knew not honor, honored still,
He smiled and slept on that far western hill.
Cast down thy lyre, oh Muse! thy song is done!
Let tears complete the tale of him who failed, yet won.
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
525:The Cremona Violin
Part First
Frau Concert-Meister Altgelt shut the door.
A storm was rising, heavy gusts of wind
Swirled through the trees, and scattered leaves before
Her on the clean, flagged path. The sky behind
The distant town was black, and sharp defined
Against it shone the lines of roofs and towers,
Superimposed and flat like cardboard flowers.
A pasted city on a purple ground,
Picked out with luminous paint, it seemed. The cloud
Split on an edge of lightning, and a sound
Of rivers full and rushing boomed through bowed,
Tossed, hissing branches. Thunder rumbled loud
Beyond the town fast swallowing into gloom.
Frau Altgelt closed the windows of each room.
She bustled round to shake by constant moving
The strange, weird atmosphere. She stirred the fire,
She twitched the supper-cloth as though improving
Its careful setting, then her own attire
Came in for notice, tiptoeing higher and higher
She peered into the wall-glass, now adjusting
A straying lock, or else a ribbon thrusting
This way or that to suit her. At last sitting,
Or rather plumping down upon a chair,
She took her work, the stocking she was knitting,
And watched the rain upon the window glare
In white, bright drops. Through the black glass a flare
Of lightning squirmed about her needles. 'Oh!'
She cried. 'What can be keeping Theodore so!'
A roll of thunder set the casements clapping.
Frau Altgelt flung her work aside and ran,
Pulled open the house door, with kerchief flapping
She stood and gazed along the street. A man
Flung back the garden-gate and nearly ran
Her down as she stood in the door. 'Why, Dear,
What in the name of patience brings you here?
Quick, Lotta, shut the door, my violin
I fear is wetted. Now, Dear, bring a light.
This clasp is very much too worn and thin.
I'll take the other fiddle out to-night
If it still rains. Tut! Tut! my child, you're quite
Clumsy. Here, help me, hold the case while I Give me the candle. No, the inside's dry.
Thank God for that! Well, Lotta, how are you?
A bad storm, but the house still stands, I see.
Is my pipe filled, my Dear? I'll have a few
Puffs and a snooze before I eat my tea.
What do you say? That you were feared for me?
Nonsense, my child. Yes, kiss me, now don't talk.
I need a rest, the theatre's a long walk.'
Her needles still, her hands upon her lap
Patiently laid, Charlotta Altgelt sat
And watched the rain-run window. In his nap
Her husband stirred and muttered. Seeing that,
Charlotta rose and softly, pit-a-pat,
Climbed up the stairs, and in her little room
Found sighing comfort with a moon in bloom.
But even rainy windows, silver-lit
By a new-burst, storm-whetted moon, may give
But poor content to loneliness, and it
Was hard for young Charlotta so to strive
And down her eagerness and learn to live
In placid quiet. While her husband slept,
Charlotta in her upper chamber wept.
Herr Concert-Meister Altgelt was a man
Gentle and unambitious, that alone
Had kept him back. He played as few men can,
Drawing out of his instrument a tone
So shimmering-sweet and palpitant, it shone
Like a bright thread of sound hung in the air,
Afloat and swinging upward, slim and fair.
Above all things, above Charlotta his wife,
Herr Altgelt loved his violin, a fine
Cremona pattern, Stradivari's life
Was flowering out of early discipline
When this was fashioned. Of soft-cutting pine
The belly was. The back of broadly curled
Maple, the head made thick and sharply whirled.
The slanting, youthful sound-holes through
The belly of fine, vigorous pine
Mellowed each note and blew
It out again with a woody flavour
Tanged and fragrant as fir-trees are
When breezes in their needles jar.
The varnish was an orange-brown
Lustered like glass that's long laid down
Under a crumbling villa stone.
Purfled stoutly, with mitres which point
Straight up the corners. Each curve and joint
Clear, and bold, and thin.
Such was Herr Theodore's violin.
Seven o'clock, the Concert-Meister gone
With his best violin, the rain being stopped,
Frau Lotta in the kitchen sat alone
Watching the embers which the fire dropped.
The china shone upon the dresser, topped
By polished copper vessels which her skill
Kept brightly burnished. It was very still.
An air from `Orfeo' hummed in her head.
Herr Altgelt had been practising before
The night's performance. Charlotta had plead
With him to stay with her. Even at the door
She'd begged him not to go. 'I do implore
You for this evening, Theodore,' she had said.
'Leave them to-night, and stay with me instead.'
'A silly poppet!' Theodore pinched her ear.
'You'd like to have our good Elector turn
Me out I think.' 'But, Theodore, something queer
Ails me. Oh, do but notice how they burn,
My cheeks! The thunder worried me. You're stern,
And cold, and only love your work, I know.
But Theodore, for this evening, do not go.'
But he had gone, hurriedly at the end,
For she had kept him talking. Now she sat
Alone again, always alone, the trend
Of all her thinking brought her back to that
She wished to banish. What would life be? What?
For she was young, and loved, while he was moved
Only by music. Each day that was proved.
Each day he rose and practised. While he played,
She stopped her work and listened, and her heart
Swelled painfully beneath her bodice. Swayed
And longing, she would hide from him her smart.
'Well, Lottchen, will that do?' Then what a start
She gave, and she would run to him and cry,
And he would gently chide her, 'Fie, Dear, fie.
I'm glad I played it well. But such a taking!
You'll hear the thing enough before I've done.'
And she would draw away from him, still shaking.
Had he but guessed she was another one,
Another violin. Her strings were aching,
Stretched to the touch of his bow hand, again
He played and she almost broke at the strain.
Where was the use of thinking of it now,
Sitting alone and listening to the clock!
She'd best make haste and knit another row.
Three hours at least must pass before his knock
Would startle her. It always was a shock.
She listened - listened - for so long before,
That when it came her hearing almost tore.
She caught herself just starting in to listen.
What nerves she had: rattling like brittle sticks!
She wandered to the window, for the glisten
Of a bright moon was tempting. Snuffed the wicks
Of her two candles. Still she could not fix
To anything. The moon in a broad swath
Beckoned her out and down the garden-path.
Against the house, her hollyhocks stood high
And black, their shadows doubling them. The night
Was white and still with moonlight, and a sigh
Of blowing leaves was there, and the dim flight
Of insects, and the smell of aconite,
And stocks, and Marvel of Peru. She flitted
Along the path, where blocks of shadow pitted
The even flags. She let herself go dreaming
Of Theodore her husband, and the tune
From `Orfeo' swam through her mind, but seeming
Changed - shriller. Of a sudden, the clear moon
Showed her a passer-by, inopportune
Indeed, but here he was, whistling and striding.
Lotta squeezed in between the currants, hiding.
'The best laid plans of mice and men,' alas!
The stranger came indeed, but did not pass.
Instead, he leant upon the garden-gate,
Folding his arms and whistling. Lotta's state,
Crouched in the prickly currants, on wet grass,
Was far from pleasant. Still the stranger stayed,
And Lotta in her currants watched, dismayed.
He seemed a proper fellow standing there
In the bright moonshine. His cocked hat was laced
With silver, and he wore his own brown hair
Tied, but unpowdered. His whole bearing graced
A fine cloth coat, and ruffled shirt, and chased
Sword-hilt. Charlotta looked, but her position
Was hardly easy. When would his volition
Suggest his walking on? And then that tune!
A half-a-dozen bars from `Orfeo'
Gone over and over, and murdered. What Fortune
Had brought him there to stare about him so?
'Ach, Gott im Himmel! Why will he not go!'
Thought Lotta, but the young man whistled on,
And seemed in no great hurry to be gone.
Charlotta, crouched among the currant bushes,
Watched the moon slowly dip from twig to twig.
If Theodore should chance to come, and blushes
Streamed over her. He would not care a fig,
He'd only laugh. She pushed aside a sprig
Of sharp-edged leaves and peered, then she uprose
Amid her bushes. 'Sir,' said she, 'pray whose
Garden do you suppose you're watching? Why
Do you stand there? I really must insist
Upon your leaving. 'Tis unmannerly
To stay so long.' The young man gave a twist
And turned about, and in the amethyst
Moonlight he saw her like a nymph half-risen
From the green bushes which had been her prison.
He swept his hat off in a hurried bow.
'Your pardon, Madam, I had no idea
I was not quite alone, and that is how
I came to stay. My trespass was not sheer
Impertinence. I thought no one was here,
And really gardens cry to be admired.
To-night especially it seemed required.
And may I beg to introduce myself?
Heinrich Marohl of Munich. And your name?'
Charlotta told him. And the artful elf
Promptly exclaimed about her husband's fame.
So Lotta, half-unwilling, slowly came
To conversation with him. When she went
Into the house, she found the evening spent.
Theodore arrived quite wearied out and teased,
With all excitement in him burned away.
It had gone well, he said, the audience pleased,
And he had played his very best to-day,
But afterwards he had been forced to stay
And practise with the stupid ones. His head
Ached furiously, and he must get to bed.
Part Second
Herr Concert-Meister Altgelt played,
And the four strings of his violin
Were spinning like bees on a day in Spring.
The notes rose into the wide sun-mote
Which slanted through the window,
They lay like coloured beads a-row,
They knocked together and parted,
And started to dance,
Skipping, tripping, each one slipping
Under and over the others so
That the polychrome fire streamed like a lance
Or a comet's tail,
Behind them.
Then a wail arose - crescendo And dropped from off the end of the bow,
And the dancing stopped.
A scent of lilies filled the room,
Long and slow. Each large white bloom
Breathed a sound which was holy perfume from a blessed censer,
And the hum of an organ tone,
And they waved like fans in a hall of stone
Over a bier standing there in the centre, alone.
Each lily bent slowly as it was blown.
Like smoke they rose from the violin Then faded as a swifter bowing
Jumbled the notes like wavelets flowing
In a splashing, pashing, rippling motion
Between broad meadows to an ocean
Wide as a day and blue as a flower,
Where every hour
Gulls dipped, and scattered, and squawked, and squealed,
And over the marshes the Angelus pealed,
And the prows of the fishing-boats were spattered
With spray.
And away a couple of frigates were starting
To race to Java with all sails set,
Topgallants, and royals, and stunsails, and jibs,
And wide moonsails; and the shining rails
Were polished so bright they sparked in the sun.
All the sails went up with a run:
'They call me Hanging Johnny,
They call me Hanging Johnny,
So hang, boys, hang.'
And the sun had set and the high moon whitened,
And the ship heeled over to the breeze.
He drew her into the shade of the sails,
And whispered tales
Of voyages in the China seas,
And his arm around her
Held and bound her.
She almost swooned,
With the breeze and the moon
And the slipping sea,
And he beside her,
Touching her, leaning The ship careening,
With the white moon steadily shining over
Her and her lover,
Theodore, still her lover!
Then a quiver fell on the crowded notes,
And slowly floated
A single note which spread and spread
Till it filled the room with a shimmer like gold,
And noises shivered throughout its length,
And tried its strength.
They pulled it, and tore it,
And the stuff waned thinner, but still it bore it.
Then a wide rent
Split the arching tent,
And balls of fire spurted through,
Spitting yellow, and mauve, and blue.
One by one they were quenched as they fell,
Only the blue burned steadily.
Paler and paler it grew, and - faded - away.
Herr Altgelt stopped.
'Well, Lottachen, my Dear, what do you say?
I think I'm in good trim. Now let's have dinner.
What's this, my Love, you're very sweet to-day.
I wonder how it happens I'm the winner
Of so much sweetness. But I think you're thinner;
You're like a bag of feathers on my knee.
Why, Lotta child, you're almost strangling me.
I'm glad you're going out this afternoon.
The days are getting short, and I'm so tied
At the Court Theatre my poor little bride
Has not much junketing I fear, but soon
I'll ask our manager to grant a boon.
To-night, perhaps, I'll get a pass for you,
And when I go, why Lotta can come too.
Now dinner, Love. I want some onion soup
To whip me up till that rehearsal's over.
You know it's odd how some women can stoop!
Fraeulein Gebnitz has taken on a lover,
A Jew named Goldstein. No one can discover
If it's his money. But she lives alone
Practically. Gebnitz is a stone,
Pores over books all day, and has no ear
For his wife's singing. Artists must have men;
They need appreciation. But it's queer
What messes people make of their lives, when
They should know more. If Gebnitz finds out, then
His wife will pack. Yes, shut the door at once.
I did not feel it cold, I am a dunce.'
Frau Altgelt tied her bonnet on and went
Into the streets. A bright, crisp Autumn wind
Flirted her skirts and hair. A turbulent,
Audacious wind it was, now close behind,
Pushing her bonnet forward till it twined
The strings across her face, then from in front
Slantingly swinging at her with a shunt,
Until she lay against it, struggling, pushing,
Dismayed to find her clothing tightly bound
Around her, every fold and wrinkle crushing
Itself upon her, so that she was wound
In draperies as clinging as those found
Sucking about a sea nymph on the frieze
Of some old Grecian temple. In the breeze
The shops and houses had a quality
Of hard and dazzling colour; something sharp
And buoyant, like white, puffing sails at sea.
The city streets were twanging like a harp.
Charlotta caught the movement, skippingly
She blew along the pavement, hardly knowing
Toward what destination she was going.
She fetched up opposite a jeweller's shop,
Where filigreed tiaras shone like crowns,
And necklaces of emeralds seemed to drop
And then float up again with lightness. Browns
Of striped agates struck her like cold frowns
Amid the gaiety of topaz seals,
Carved though they were with heads, and arms, and wheels.
A row of pencils knobbed with quartz or sard
Delighted her. And rings of every size
Turned smartly round like hoops before her eyes,
Amethyst-flamed or ruby-girdled, jarred
To spokes and flashing triangles, and starred
Like rockets bursting on a festal day.
Charlotta could not tear herself away.
With eyes glued tightly on a golden box,
Whose rare enamel piqued her with its hue,
Changeable, iridescent, shuttlecocks
Of shades and lustres always darting through
Its level, superimposing sheet of blue,
Charlotta did not hear footsteps approaching.
She started at the words: 'Am I encroaching?'
'Oh, Heinrich, how you frightened me! I thought
We were to meet at three, is it quite that?'
'No, it is not,' he answered, 'but I've caught
The trick of missing you. One thing is flat,
I cannot go on this way. Life is what
Might best be conjured up by the word: `Hell'.
Dearest, when will you come?' Lotta, to quell
His effervescence, pointed to the gems
Within the window, asked him to admire
A bracelet or a buckle. But one stems
Uneasily the burning of a fire.
Heinrich was chafing, pricked by his desire.
Little by little she wooed him to her mood
Until at last he promised to be good.
But here he started on another tack;
To buy a jewel, which one would Lotta choose.
She vainly urged against him all her lack
Of other trinkets. Should she dare to use
A ring or brooch her husband might accuse
Her of extravagance, and ask to see
A strict accounting, or still worse might be.
But Heinrich would not be persuaded. Why
Should he not give her what he liked? And in
He went, determined certainly to buy
A thing so beautiful that it would win
Her wavering fancy. Altgelt's violin
He would outscore by such a handsome jewel
That Lotta could no longer be so cruel!
Pity Charlotta, torn in diverse ways.
If she went in with him, the shopman might
Recognize her, give her her name; in days
To come he could denounce her. In her fright
She almost fled. But Heinrich would be quite
Capable of pursuing. By and by
She pushed the door and entered hurriedly.
It took some pains to keep him from bestowing
A pair of ruby earrings, carved like roses,
The setting twined to represent the growing
Tendrils and leaves, upon her. 'Who supposes
I could obtain such things! It simply closes
All comfort for me.' So he changed his mind
And bought as slight a gift as he could find.
A locket, frosted over with seed pearls,
Oblong and slim, for wearing at the neck,
Or hidden in the bosom; their joined curls
Should lie in it. And further to bedeck
His love, Heinrich had picked a whiff, a fleck,
The merest puff of a thin, linked chain
To hang it from. Lotta could not refrain
From weeping as they sauntered down the street.
She did not want the locket, yet she did.
To have him love her she found very sweet,
But it is hard to keep love always hid.
Then there was something in her heart which chid
Her, told her she loved Theodore in him,
That all these meetings were a foolish whim.
She thought of Theodore and the life they led,
So near together, but so little mingled.
The great clouds bulged and bellied overhead,
And the fresh wind about her body tingled;
The crane of a large warehouse creaked and jingled;
Charlotta held her breath for very fear,
About her in the street she seemed to hear:
'They call me Hanging Johnny,
They call me Hanging Johnny,
So hang, boys, hang.'
And it was Theodore, under the racing skies,
Who held her and who whispered in her ear.
She knew her heart was telling her no lies,
Beating and hammering. He was so dear,
The touch of him would send her in a queer
Swoon that was half an ecstasy. And yearning
For Theodore, she wandered, slowly turning
Street after street as Heinrich wished it so.
He had some aim, she had forgotten what.
Their progress was confused and very slow,
But at the last they reached a lonely spot,
A garden far above the highest shot
Of soaring steeple. At their feet, the town
Spread open like a chequer-board laid down.
Lotta was dimly conscious of the rest,
Vaguely remembered how he clasped the chain
About her neck. She treated it in jest,
And saw his face cloud over with sharp pain.
Then suddenly she felt as though a strain
Were put upon her, collared like a slave,
Leashed in the meshes of this thing he gave.
She seized the flimsy rings with both her hands
To snap it, but they held with odd persistence.
Her eyes were blinded by two wind-blown strands
Of hair which had been loosened. Her resistance
Melted within her, from remotest distance,
Misty, unreal, his face grew warm and near,
And giving way she knew him very dear.
For long he held her, and they both gazed down
At the wide city, and its blue, bridged river.
From wooing he jested with her, snipped the blown
Strands of her hair, and tied them with a sliver
Cut from his own head. But she gave a shiver
When, opening the locket, they were placed
Under the glass, commingled and enlaced.
'When will you have it so with us?' He sighed.
She shook her head. He pressed her further. 'No,
No, Heinrich, Theodore loves me,' and she tried
To free herself and rise. He held her so,
Clipped by his arms, she could not move nor go.
'But you love me,' he whispered, with his face
Burning against her through her kerchief's lace.
Frau Altgelt knew she toyed with fire, knew
That what her husband lit this other man
Fanned to hot flame. She told herself that few
Women were so discreet as she, who ran
No danger since she knew what things to ban.
She opened her house door at five o'clock,
A short half-hour before her husband's knock.
Part Third
The `Residenz-Theater' sparked and hummed
With lights and people. Gebnitz was to sing,
That rare soprano. All the fiddles strummed
With tuning up; the wood-winds made a ring
Of reedy bubbling noises, and the sting
Of sharp, red brass pierced every ear-drum; patting
From muffled tympani made a dark slatting
Across the silver shimmering of flutes;
A bassoon grunted, and an oboe wailed;
The 'celli pizzicato-ed like great lutes,
And mutterings of double basses trailed
Away to silence, while loud harp-strings hailed
Their thin, bright colours down in such a scatter
They lost themselves amid the general clatter.
Frau Altgelt in the gallery, alone,
Felt lifted up into another world.
Before her eyes a thousand candles shone
In the great chandeliers. A maze of curled
And powdered periwigs past her eyes swirled.
She smelt the smoke of candles guttering,
And caught the glint of jewelled fans fluttering
All round her in the boxes. Red and gold,
The house, like rubies set in filigree,
Filliped the candlelight about, and bold
Young sparks with eye-glasses, unblushingly
Ogled fair beauties in the balcony.
An officer went by, his steel spurs jangling.
Behind Charlotta an old man was wrangling
About a play-bill he had bought and lost.
Three drunken soldiers had to be ejected.
Frau Altgelt's eyes stared at the vacant post
Of Concert-Meister, she at once detected
The stir which brought him. But she felt neglected
When with no glance about him or her way,
He lifted up his violin to play.
The curtain went up? Perhaps. If so,
Charlotta never saw it go.
The famous Fraeulein Gebnitz' singing
Only came to her like the ringing
Of bells at a festa
Which swing in the air
And nobody realizes they are there.
They jingle and jangle,
And clang, and bang,
And never a soul could tell whether they rang,
For the plopping of guns and rockets
And the chinking of silver to spend, in one's pockets,
And the shuffling and clapping of feet,
And the loud flapping
Of flags, with the drums,
As the military comes.
It's a famous tune to walk to,
And I wonder where they're off to.
Step-step-stepping to the beating of the drums.
But the rhythm changes as though a mist
Were curling and twisting
Over the landscape.
For a moment a rhythmless, tuneless fog
Encompasses her. Then her senses jog
To the breath of a stately minuet.
Herr Altgelt's violin is set
In tune to the slow, sweeping bows, and retreats and advances,
To curtsies brushing the waxen floor as the Court dances.
Long and peaceful like warm Summer nights
When stars shine in the quiet river. And against the lights
Blundering insects knock,
And the `Rathaus' clock
Booms twice, through the shrill sounds
Of flutes and horns in the lamplit grounds.
Pressed against him in the mazy wavering
Of a country dance, with her short breath quavering
She leans upon the beating, throbbing
Music. Laughing, sobbing,
Feet gliding after sliding feet;
His - hers The ballroom blurs She feels the air
Lifting her hair,
And the lapping of water on the stone stair.
He is there! He is there!
Twang harps, and squeal, you thin violins,
That the dancers may dance, and never discover
The old stone stair leading down to the river
With the chestnut-tree branches hanging over
Her and her lover.
Theodore, still her lover!
The evening passed like this, in a half faint,
Delirium with waking intervals
Which were the entr'acts. Under the restraint
Of a large company, the constant calls
For oranges or syrops from the stalls
Outside, the talk, the passing to and fro,
Lotta sat ill at ease, incognito.
She heard the Gebnitz praised, the tenor lauded,
The music vaunted as most excellent.
The scenery and the costumes were applauded,
The latter it was whispered had been sent
From Italy. The Herr Direktor spent
A fortune on them, so the gossips said.
Charlotta felt a lightness in her head.
When the next act began, her eyes were swimming,
Her prodded ears were aching and confused.
The first notes from the orchestra sent skimming
Her outward consciousness. Her brain was fused
Into the music, Theodore's music! Used
To hear him play, she caught his single tone.
For all she noticed they two were alone.
Part Fourth
Frau Altgelt waited in the chilly street,
Hustled by lackeys who ran up and down
Shouting their coachmen's names; forced to retreat
A pace or two by lurching chairmen; thrown
Rudely aside by linkboys; boldly shown
The ogling rapture in two bleary eyes
Thrust close to hers in most unpleasant wise.
Escaping these, she hit a liveried arm,
Was sworn at by this glittering gentleman
And ordered off. However, no great harm
Came to her. But she looked a trifle wan
When Theodore, her belated guardian,
Emerged. She snuggled up against him, trembling,
Half out of fear, half out of the assembling
Of all the thoughts and needs his playing had given.
Had she enjoyed herself, he wished to know.
'Oh! Theodore, can't you feel that it was Heaven!'
'Heaven! My Lottachen, and was it so?
Gebnitz was in good voice, but all the flow
Of her last aria was spoiled by Klops,
A wretched flutist, she was mad as hops.'
He was so simple, so matter-of-fact,
Charlotta Altgelt knew not what to say
To bring him to her dream. His lack of tact
Kept him explaining all the homeward way
How this thing had gone well, that badly. 'Stay,
Theodore!' she cried at last. 'You know to me
Nothing was real, it was an ecstasy.'
And he was heartily glad she had enjoyed
Herself so much, and said so. 'But it's good
To be got home again.' He was employed
In looking at his violin, the wood
Was old, and evening air did it no good.
But when he drew up to the table for tea
Something about his wife's vivacity
Struck him as hectic, worried him in short.
He talked of this and that but watched her close.
Tea over, he endeavoured to extort
The cause of her excitement. She arose
And stood beside him, trying to compose
Herself, all whipt to quivering, curdled life,
And he, poor fool, misunderstood his wife.
Suddenly, broken through her anxious grasp,
Her music-kindled love crashed on him there.
Amazed, he felt her fling against him, clasp
Her arms about him, weighing down his chair,
Sobbing out all her hours of despair.
'Theodore, a woman needs to hear things proved.
Unless you tell me, I feel I'm not loved.'
Theodore went under in this tearing wave,
He yielded to it, and its headlong flow
Filled him with all the energy she gave.
He was a youth again, and this bright glow,
This living, vivid joy he had to show
Her what she was to him. Laughing and crying,
She asked assurances there's no denying.
Over and over again her questions, till
He quite convinced her, every now and then
She kissed him, shivering as though doubting still.
But later when they were composed and when
She dared relax her probings, 'Lottachen,'
He asked, 'how is it your love has withstood
My inadvertence? I was made of wood.'
She told him, and no doubt she meant it truly,
That he was sun, and grass, and wind, and sky
To her. And even if conscience were unruly
She salved it by neat sophistries, but why
Suppose her insincere, it was no lie
She said, for Heinrich was as much forgot
As though he'd never been within earshot.
But Theodore's hands in straying and caressing
Fumbled against the locket where it lay
Upon her neck. 'What is this thing I'm pressing?'
He asked. 'Let's bring it to the light of day.'
He lifted up the locket. 'It should stay
Outside, my Dear. Your mother has good taste.
To keep it hidden surely is a waste.'
Pity again Charlotta, straight aroused
Out of her happiness. The locket brought
A chilly jet of truth upon her, soused
Under its icy spurting she was caught,
And choked, and frozen. Suddenly she sought
The clasp, but with such art was this contrived
Her fumbling fingers never once arrived
Upon it. Feeling, twisting, round and round,
She pulled the chain quite through the locket's ring
And still it held. Her neck, encompassed, bound,
Chafed at the sliding meshes. Such a thing
To hurl her out of joy! A gilded string
Binding her folly to her, and those curls
Which lay entwined beneath the clustered pearls!
Again she tried to break the cord. It stood.
'Unclasp it, Theodore,' she begged. But he
Refused, and being in a happy mood,
Twitted her with her inefficiency,
Then looking at her very seriously:
'I think, Charlotta, it is well to have
Always about one what a mother gave.
As she has taken the great pains to send
This jewel to you from Dresden, it will be
Ingratitude if you do not intend
To carry it about you constantly.
With her fine taste you cannot disagree,
The locket is most beautifully designed.'
He opened it and there the curls were, twined.
Charlotta's heart dropped beats like knitting-stitches.
She burned a moment, flaming; then she froze.
Her face was jerked by little, nervous twitches,
She heard her husband asking: 'What are those?'
Put out her hand quickly to interpose,
But stopped, the gesture half-complete, astounded
At the calm way the question was propounded.
'A pretty fancy, Dear, I do declare.
Indeed I will not let you put it off.
A lovely thought: yours and your mother's hair!'
Charlotta hid a gasp under a cough.
'Never with my connivance shall you doff
This charming gift.' He kissed her on the cheek,
And Lotta suffered him, quite crushed and meek.
When later in their room she lay awake,
Watching the moonlight slip along the floor,
She felt the chain and wept for Theodore's sake.
She had loved Heinrich also, and the core
Of truth, unlovely, startled her. Wherefore
She vowed from now to break this double life
And see herself only as Theodore's wife.
Part Fifth
It was no easy matter to convince
Heinrich that it was finished. Hard to say
That though they could not meet (he saw her wince)
She still must keep the locket to allay
Suspicion in her husband. She would pay
Him from her savings bit by bit - the oath
He swore at that was startling to them both.
Her resolution taken, Frau Altgelt
Adhered to it, and suffered no regret.
She found her husband all that she had felt
His music to contain. Her days were set
In his as though she were an amulet
Cased in bright gold. She joyed in her confining;
Her eyes put out her looking-glass with shining.
Charlotta was so gay that old, dull tasks
Were furbished up to seem like rituals.
She baked and brewed as one who only asks
The right to serve. Her daily manuals
Of prayer were duties, and her festivals
When Theodore praised some dish, or frankly said
She had a knack in making up a bed.
So Autumn went, and all the mountains round
The city glittered white with fallen snow,
For it was Winter. Over the hard ground
Herr Altgelt's footsteps came, each one a blow.
On the swept flags behind the currant row
Charlotta stood to greet him. But his lip
Only flicked hers. His Concert-Meistership
Was first again. This evening he had got
Important news. The opera ordered from
Young Mozart was arrived. That old despot,
The Bishop of Salzburg, had let him come
Himself to lead it, and the parts, still hot
From copying, had been tried over. Never
Had any music started such a fever.
The orchestra had cheered till they were hoarse,
The singers clapped and clapped. The town was made,
With such a great attraction through the course
Of Carnival time. In what utter shade
All other cities would be left! The trade
In music would all drift here naturally.
In his excitement he forgot his tea.
Lotta was forced to take his cup and put
It in his hand. But still he rattled on,
Sipping at intervals. The new catgut
Strings he was using gave out such a tone
The 'Maestro' had remarked it, and had gone
Out of his way to praise him. Lotta smiled,
He was as happy as a little child.
From that day on, Herr Altgelt, more and more,
Absorbed himself in work. Lotta at first
Was patient and well-wishing. But it wore
Upon her when two weeks had brought no burst
Of loving from him. Then she feared the worst;
That his short interest in her was a light
Flared up an instant only in the night.
`Idomeneo' was the opera's name,
A name that poor Charlotta learnt to hate.
Herr Altgelt worked so hard he seldom came
Home for his tea, and it was very late,
Past midnight sometimes, when he knocked. His state
Was like a flabby orange whose crushed skin
Is thin with pulling, and all dented in.
He practised every morning and her heart
Followed his bow. But often she would sit,
While he was playing, quite withdrawn apart,
Absently fingering and touching it,
The locket, which now seemed to her a bit
Of some gone youth. His music drew her tears,
And through the notes he played, her dreading ears
Heard Heinrich's voice, saying he had not changed;
Beer merchants had no ecstasies to take
Their minds off love. So far her thoughts had ranged
Away from her stern vow, she chanced to take
Her way, one morning, quite by a mistake,
Along the street where Heinrich had his shop.
What harm to pass it since she should not stop!
It matters nothing how one day she met
Him on a bridge, and blushed, and hurried by.
Nor how the following week he stood to let
Her pass, the pavement narrowing suddenly.
How once he took her basket, and once he
Pulled back a rearing horse who might have struck
Her with his hoofs. It seemed the oddest luck
How many times their business took them each
Right to the other. Then at last he spoke,
But she would only nod, he got no speech
From her. Next time he treated it in joke,
And that so lightly that her vow she broke
And answered. So they drifted into seeing
Each other as before. There was no fleeing.
Christmas was over and the Carnival
Was very near, and tripping from each tongue
Was talk of the new opera. Each book-stall
Flaunted it out in bills, what airs were sung,
What singers hired. Pictures of the young
'Maestro' were for sale. The town was mad.
Only Charlotta felt depressed and sad.
Each day now brought a struggle 'twixt her will
And Heinrich's. 'Twixt her love for Theodore
And him. Sometimes she wished to kill
Herself to solve her problem. For a score
Of reasons Heinrich tempted her. He bore
Her moods with patience, and so surely urged
Himself upon her, she was slowly merged
Into his way of thinking, and to fly
With him seemed easy. But next morning would
The Stradivarius undo her mood.
Then she would realize that she must cleave
Always to Theodore. And she would try
To convince Heinrich she should never leave,
And afterwards she would go home and grieve.
All thought in Munich centered on the part
Of January when there would be given
`Idomeneo' by Wolfgang Mozart.
The twenty-ninth was fixed. And all seats, even
Those almost at the ceiling, which were driven
Behind the highest gallery, were sold.
The inches of the theatre went for gold.
Herr Altgelt was a shadow worn so thin
With work, he hardly printed black behind
The candle. He and his old violin
Made up one person. He was not unkind,
But dazed outside his playing, and the rind,
The pine and maple of his fiddle, guarded
A part of him which he had quite discarded.
It woke in the silence of frost-bright nights,
In little lights,
Like will-o'-the-wisps flickering, fluttering,
Here - there Spurting, sputtering,
Fading and lighting,
Together, asunder Till Lotta sat up in bed with wonder,
And the faint grey patch of the window shone
Upon her sitting there, alone.
For Theodore slept.
The twenty-eighth was last rehearsal day,
'Twas called for noon, so early morning meant
Herr Altgelt's only time in which to play
His part alone. Drawn like a monk who's spent
Himself in prayer and fasting, Theodore went
Into the kitchen, with a weary word
Of cheer to Lotta, careless if she heard.
Lotta heard more than his spoken word.
She heard the vibrating of strings and wood.
She was washing the dishes, her hands all suds,
When the sound began,
Long as the span
Of a white road snaking about a hill.
The orchards are filled
With cherry blossoms at butterfly poise.
Hawthorn buds are cracking,
And in the distance a shepherd is clacking
His shears, snip-snipping the wool from his sheep.
The notes are asleep,
Lying adrift on the air
In level lines
Like sunlight hanging in pines and pines,
Strung and threaded,
All imbedded
In the blue-green of the hazy pines.
Lines - long, straight lines!
And stems,
Long, straight stems
Pushing up
To the cup of blue, blue sky.
Stems growing misty
With the many of them,
Red-green mist
Of the trees,
And these
Wood-flavoured notes.
The back is maple and the belly is pine.
The rich notes twine
As though weaving in and out of leaves,
Broad leaves
Flapping slowly like elephants' ears,
Waving and falling.
Another sound peers
Through little pine fingers,
And lingers, peeping.
Ping! Ping! pizzicato, something is cheeping.
There is a twittering up in the branches,
A chirp and a lilt,
And crimson atilt on a swaying twig.
Wings! Wings!
And a little ruffled-out throat which sings.
The forest bends, tumultuous
With song.
The woodpecker knocks,
And the song-sparrow trills,
Every fir, and cedar, and yew
Has a nest or a bird,
It is quite absurd
To hear them cutting across each other:
Peewits, and thrushes, and larks, all at once,
And a loud cuckoo is trying to smother
A wood-pigeon perched on a birch,
'Roo - coo - oo - oo -'
'Cuckoo! Cuckoo! That's one for you!'
A blackbird whistles, how sharp, how shrill!
And the great trees toss
And leaves blow down,
You can almost hear them splash on the ground.
The whistle again:
It is double and loud!
The leaves are splashing,
And water is dashing
Over those creepers, for they are shrouds;
And men are running up them to furl the sails,
For there is a capful of wind to-day,
And we are already well under way.
The deck is aslant in the bubbling breeze.
'Theodore, please.
Oh, Dear, how you tease!'
And the boatswain's whistle sounds again,
And the men pull on the sheets:
'My name is Hanging Johnny,
They call me Hanging Johnny,
So hang, boys, hang.'
The trees of the forest are masts, tall masts;
They are swinging over
Her and her lover.
Almost swooning
Under the ballooning canvas,
She lies
Looking up in his eyes
As he bends farther over.
Theodore, still her lover!
The suds were dried upon Charlotta's hands,
She leant against the table for support,
Wholly forgotten. Theodore's eyes were brands
Burning upon his music. He stopped short.
Charlotta almost heard the sound of bands
Snapping. She put one hand up to her heart,
Her fingers touched the locket with a start.
Herr Altgelt put his violin away
Listlessly. 'Lotta, I must have some rest.
The strain will be a hideous one to-day.
Don't speak to me at all. It will be best
If I am quiet till I go.' And lest
She disobey, he left her. On the stairs
She heard his mounting steps. What use were prayers!
He could not hear, he was not there, for she
Was married to a mummy, a machine.
Her hand closed on the locket bitterly.
Before her, on a chair, lay the shagreen
Case of his violin. She saw the clean
Sun flash the open clasp. The locket's edge
Cut at her fingers like a pushing wedge.
A heavy cart went by, a distant bell
Chimed ten, the fire flickered in the grate.
She was alone. Her throat began to swell
With sobs. What kept her here, why should she wait?
The violin she had begun to hate
Lay in its case before her. Here she flung
The cover open. With the fiddle swung
Over her head, the hanging clock's loud ticking
Caught on her ear. 'Twas slow, and as she paused
The little door in it came open, flicking
A wooden cuckoo out: 'Cuckoo!' It caused
The forest dream to come again. 'Cuckoo!'
Smashed on the grate, the violin broke in two.
'Cuckoo! Cuckoo!' the clock kept striking on;
But no one listened. Frau Altgelt had gone.
~ Amy Lowell,
526: Ilion

Book I: The Book of the Herald

Dawn in her journey eternal compelling the labour of mortals,
Dawn the beginner of things with the night for their rest or their ending,
Pallid and bright-lipped arrived from the mists and the chill of the Euxine.
Earth in the dawn-fire delivered from starry and shadowy vastness
Woke to the wonder of life and its passion and sorrow and beauty,
All on her bosom sustaining, the patient compassionate Mother.
Out of the formless vision of Night with its look on things hidden
Given to the gaze of the azure she lay in her garment of greenness,
Wearing light on her brow. In the dawn-ray lofty and voiceless
Ida climbed with her god-haunted peaks into diamond lustres,
Ida first of the hills with the ranges silent beyond her
Watching the dawn in their giant companies, as since the ages
First began they had watched her, upbearing Time on their summits.
Troas cold on her plain awaited the boon of the sunshine.
There, like a hope through an emerald dream sole-pacing for ever,
Stealing to wideness beyond, crept Simois lame in his currents,
Guiding his argent thread mid the green of the reeds and the grasses.
Headlong, impatient of Space and its boundaries, Time and its slowness,
Xanthus clamoured aloud as he ran to the far-surging waters,
Joining his call to the many-voiced roar of the mighty Aegean,
Answering Oceans limitless cry like a whelp to its parent.
Forests looked up through their rifts, the ravines grew aware of their shadows.
Closer now gliding glimmered the golden feet of the goddess.
Over the hills and the headlands spreading her garment of splendour,
Fateful she came with her eyes impartial looking on all things,
Bringer to man of the day of his fortune and day of his downfall.
Full of her luminous errand, careless of eve and its weeping,
Fateful she paused unconcerned above Ilions mysteried greatness,
Domes like shimmering tongues of the crystal flames of the morning,
Opalesque rhythm-line of tower-tops, notes of the lyre of the sungod.
High over all that a nation had built and its love and its laughter,
Lighting the last time highway and homestead, market and temple,
Looking on men who must die and women destined to sorrow,
Looking on beauty fire must lay low and the sickle of slaughter,
Fateful she lifted the doom-scroll red with the script of the Immortals,
Deep in the invisible air that folds in the race and its morrows
Fixed it, and passed on smiling the smile of the griefless and deathless,
Dealers of death though death they know not, who in the morning
Scatter the seed of the event for the reaping ready at nightfall.
Over the brooding of plains and the agelong trance of the summits
Out of the sun and its spaces she came, pausing tranquil and fatal,
And, at a distance followed by the golden herds of the sungod,
Carried the burden of Light and its riddle and danger to Hellas.
Even as fleets on a chariot divine through the gold streets of ether,
Swiftly when Life fleets, invisibly changing the arc of the soul-drift,
And, with the choice that has chanced or the fate man has called and now suffers
Weighted, the moment travels driving the past towards the future,
Only its face and its feet are seen, not the burden it carries.
Weight of the event and its surface we bear, but the meaning is hidden.
Earth sees not; lifes clamour deafens the ear of the spirit:
Man knows not; least knows the messenger chosen for the summons.
Only he listens to the voice of his thoughts, his hearts ignorant whisper,
Whistle of winds in the tree-tops of Time and the rustle of Nature.
Now too the messenger hastened driving the car of the errand:
Even while dawn was a gleam in the east, he had cried to his coursers.
Half yet awake in lights turrets started the scouts of the morning
Hearing the jar of the wheels and the throb of the hooves exultation,
Hooves of the horses of Greece as they galloped to Phrygian Troya.
Proudly they trampled through Xanthus thwarting the foam of his anger,
Whinnying high as in scorn crossed Simois tangled currents,
Xanthus reed-girdled twin, the gentle and sluggard river.
One and unarmed in the car was the driver; grey was he, shrunken,
Worn with his decades. To Pergama cinctured with strength Cyclopean
Old and alone he arrived, insignificant, feeblest of mortals,
Carrying Fate in his helpless hands and the doom of an empire.
Ilion, couchant, saw him arrive from the sea and the darkness.
Heard mid the faint slow stirrings of life in the sleep of the city,
Rapid there neared a running of feet, and the cry of the summons
Beat round the doors that guarded the domes of the splendour of Priam.
Wardens charged with the night, ye who stand in Laomedons gateway,
Waken the Ilian kings. Talthybius, herald of Argos,
Parleying stands at the portals of Troy in the grey of the dawning.
High and insistent the call. In the dimness and hush of his chamber
Charioted far in his dreams amid visions of glory and terror,
Scenes of a vivider world,though blurred and deformed in the brain-cells,
Vague and inconsequent, there full of colour and beauty and greatness,
Suddenly drawn by the pull of the conscious thread of the earth-bond
And of the needs of Time and the travail assigned in the transience
Warned by his body, Deiphobus, reached in that splendid remoteness,
Touched through the nerve-ways of life that branch to the brain of the dreamer,
Heard the terrestrial call and slumber startled receded
Sliding like dew from the mane of a lion. Reluctant he travelled
Back from the light of the fields beyond death, from the wonderful kingdoms
Where he had wandered a soul among souls in the countries beyond us,
Free from the toil and incertitude, free from the struggle and danger:
Now, compelled, he returned from the respite given to the time-born,
Called to the strife and the wounds of the earth and the burden of daylight.
He from the carven couch upreared his giant stature.
Haste-spurred he laved his eyes and regained earths memories, haste-spurred
Donning apparel and armour strode through the town of his fathers,
Watched by her gods on his way to his fate, towards Pergamas portals.
Nine long years had passed and the tenth now was wearily ending,
Years of the wrath of the gods, and the leaguer still threatened the ramparts
Since through a tranquil morn the ships came past Tenedos sailing
And the first Argive fell slain as he leaped on the Phrygian beaches;
Still the assailants attacked, still fought back the stubborn defenders.
When the reward is withheld and endlessly leng thens the labour,
Weary of fruitless toil grows the transient heart of the mortal.
Weary of battle the invaders warring hearthless and homeless
Prayed to the gods for release and return to the land of their fathers:
Weary of battle the Phrygians beset in their beautiful city
Prayed to the gods for an end of the danger and mortal encounter.
Long had the high-beached ships forgotten their measureless ocean.
Greece seemed old and strange to her children camped on the beaches,
Old like a life long past one remembers hardly believing
But as a dream that has happened, but as the tale of another.
Time with his tardy touch and Nature changing our substance
Slowly had dimmed the faces loved and the scenes once cherished:
Yet was the dream still dear to them longing for wife and for children,
Longing for hearth and glebe in the far-off valleys of Hellas.
Always like waves that swallow the shingles, lapsing, returning,
Tide of the battle, race of the onset relentlessly thundered
Over the Phrygian corn-fields. Trojan wrestled with Argive,
Caria, Lycia, Thrace and the war-lord mighty Achaia
Joined in the clasp of the fight. Death, panic and wounds and disaster,
Glory of conquest and glory of fall, and the empty hearth-side,
Weeping and fortitude, terror and hope and the pang of remembrance,
Anguish of hearts, the lives of the warriors, the strength of the nations
Thrown were like weights into Destinys scales, but the balance wavered
Pressed by invisible hands. For not only the mortal fighters,
Heroes half divine whose names are like stars in remoteness,
Triumphed and failed and were winds or were weeds on the dance of the surges,
But from the peaks of Olympus and shimmering summits of Ida
Gleaming and clanging the gods of the antique ages descended.
Hidden from human knowledge the brilliant shapes of Immortals
Mingled unseen in the mellay, or sometimes, marvellous, maskless,
Forms of undying beauty and power that made tremble the heart-strings
Parting their deathless secrecy crossed through the borders of vision,
Plain as of old to the demigods out of their glory emerging,
Heard by mortal ears and seen by the eyeballs that perish.
Mighty they came from their spaces of freedom and sorrowless splendour.
Sea-vast, trailing the azure hem of his clamorous waters,
Blue-lidded, maned with the Night, Poseidon smote for the future,
Earth-shaker who with his trident releases the coils of the Dragon,
Freeing the forces unborn that are locked in the caverns of Nature.
Calm and unmoved, upholding the Word that is Fate and the order
Fixed in the sight of a Will foreknowing and silent and changeless,
Hera sent by Zeus and Athene lifting his aegis
Guarded the hidden decree. But for Ilion, loud as the surges,
Ares impetuous called to the fire in mens hearts, and his passion
Woke in the shadowy depths the forms of the Titan and demon;
Dumb and coerced by the grip of the gods in the abyss of the being,
Formidable, veiled they sit in the grey subconscient darkness
Watching the sleep of the snake-haired Erinnys. Miracled, haloed,
Seer and magician and prophet who beholds what the thought cannot witness,
Lifting the godhead within us to more than a human endeavour,
Slayer and saviour, thinker and mystic, leaped from his sun-peaks
Guarding in Ilion the wall of his mysteries Delphic Apollo.
Heavens strengths divided swayed in the whirl of the Earth-force.
All that is born and destroyed is reborn in the sweep of the ages;
Life like a decimal ever recurring repeats the old figure;
Goal seems there none for the ball that is chased throughout Time by the Fate-teams;
Evil once ended renews and no issue comes out of living:
Only an Eye unseen can distinguish the thread of its workings.
Such seemed the rule of the pastime of Fate on the plains of the Troad;
All went backwards and forwards tossed in the swing of the death-game.
Vain was the toil of the heroes, the blood of the mighty was squandered,
Spray as of surf on the cliffs when it moans unappeased, unrequited
Age after fruitless age. Day hunted the steps of the nightfall;
Joy succeeded to grief; defeat only greatened the vanquished,
Victory offered an empty delight without guerdon or profit.
End there was none of the effort and end there was none of the failure.
Triumph and agony changing hands in a desperate measure
Faced and turned as a man and a maiden trampling the grasses
Face and turn and they laugh in their joy of the dance and each other.
These were gods and they trampled lives. But though Time is immortal,
Mortal his works are and ways and the anguish ends like the rapture.
Artists of Nature content with their work in the plan of the transience,
Beautiful, deathless, august, the Olympians turned from the carnage,
Leaving the battle already decided, leaving the heroes
Slain in their minds, Troy burned, Greece left to her glory and downfall.
Into their heavens they rose up mighty like eagles ascending
Fanning the world with their wings. As the great to their luminous mansions
Turn from the cry and the strife, forgetting the wounded and fallen,
Calm they repose from their toil and incline to the joy of the banquet,
Watching the feet of the wine-bearers rosily placed on the marble,
Filling their hearts with ease, so they to their sorrowless ether
Passed from the wounded earth and its air that is ploughed with mens anguish;
Calm they reposed and their hearts inclined to the joy and the silence.
Lifted was the burden laid on our wills by their starry presence:
Man was restored to his smallness, the world to its inconscient labour.
Life felt a respite from height, the winds breathed freer delivered;
Light was released from their blaze and the earth was released from their greatness.
But their immortal content from the struggle titanic departed.
Vacant the noise of the battle roared like the sea on the shingles;
Wearily hunted the spears their quarry; strength was disheartened;
Silence increased with the march of the months on the tents of the leaguer.
But not alone on the Achaians the steps of the moments fell heavy;
Slowly the shadow deepened on Ilion mighty and scornful:
Dragging her days went by; in the rear of the hearts of her people
Something that knew what they dared not know and the mind would not utter,
Something that smote at her soul of defiance and beauty and laughter,
Darkened the hours. For Doom in her sombre and giant uprising
Neared, assailing the skies: the sense of her lived in all pastimes;
Time was pursued by unease and a terror woke in the midnight:
Even the ramparts felt her, stones that the gods had erected.
Now no longer she dallied and played, but bounded and hastened,
Seeing before her the end and, imagining massacre calmly,
Laughed and admired the flames and rejoiced in the cry of the captives.
Under her, dead to the watching immortals, Deiphobus hastened
Clanging in arms through the streets of the beautiful insolent city,
Brilliant, a gleaming husk but empty and left by the daemon.
Even as a star long extinguished whose light still travels the spaces,
Seen in its form by men, but itself goes phantom-like fleeting
Void and null and dark through the uncaring infinite vastness,
So now he seemed to the sight that sees all things from the Real.
Timeless its vision of Time creates the hour by things coming.
Borne on a force from the past and no more by a power for the future
Mighty and bright was his body, but shadowy the shape of his spirit
Only an eidolon seemed of the being that had lived in him, fleeting
Vague like a phantom seen by the dim Acherontian waters.
But to the guardian towers that watched over Pergamas gateway
Out of the waking city Deiphobus swiftly arriving
Called, and swinging back the huge gates slowly, reluctant,
Flung Troy wide to the entering Argive. Ilions portals
Parted admitting her destiny, then with a sullen and iron
Cry they closed. Mute, staring, grey like a wolf descended
Old Talthybius, propping his steps on the staff of his errand;
Feeble his body, but fierce still his glance with the fire within him;
Speechless and brooding he gazed on the hated and coveted city.
Suddenly, seeking heaven with her buildings hewn as for Titans,
Marvellous, rhythmic, a child of the gods with marble for raiment,
Smiting the vision with harmony, splendid and mighty and golden,
Ilion stood up around him entrenched in her giant defences.
Strength was uplifted on strength and grandeur supported by grandeur;
Beauty lay in her lap. Remote, hieratic and changeless,
Filled with her deeds and her dreams her gods looked out on the Argive,
Helpless and dumb with his hate as he gazed on her, they too like mortals
Knowing their centuries past, not knowing the morrow before them.
Dire were his eyes upon Troya the beautiful, his face like a doom-mask:
All Greece gazed in them, hated, admired, grew afraid, grew relentless.
But to the Greek Deiphobus cried and he turned from his passion
Fixing his ominous eyes with the god in them straight on the Trojan:
Messenger, voice of Achaia, wherefore confronting the daybreak
Comest thou driving thy car from the sleep of the tents that besiege us?
Fateful, I deem, was the thought that, conceived in the silence of midnight,
Raised up thy aged limbs from the couch of their rest in the stillness,
Thoughts of a mortal but forged by the Will that uses our members
And of its promptings our speech and our acts are the tools and the image.
Oft from the veil and the shadow they leap out like stars in their brightness,
Lights that we think our own, yet they are but tokens and counters,
Signs of the Forces that flow through us serving a Power that is secret.
What in the dawning bringst thou to Troya the mighty and dateless
Now in the ending of Time when the gods are weary of struggle?
Sends Agamemnon challenge or courtesy, Greek, to the Trojans?
High like the northwind answered the voice of the doom from Achaia:
Trojan Deiphobus, daybreak, silence of night and the evening
Sink and arise and even the strong sun rests from his splendour.
Not for the servant is rest nor Time is his, only his death-pyre.
I have not come from the monarch of men or the armoured assembly
Held on the wind-swept marge of the thunder and laughter of ocean.
One in his singleness greater than kings and multitudes sends me.
I am a voice out of Phthia, I am the will of the Hellene.
Peace in my right I bring to you, death in my left hand. Trojan,
Proudly receive them, honour the gifts of the mighty Achilles.
Death accept, if Ate deceives you and Doom is your lover,
Peace if your fate can turn and the god in you chooses to hearken.
Full is my heart and my lips are impatient of speech undelivered.
It was not made for the streets or the market, nor to be uttered
Meanly to common ears, but where counsel and majesty harbour
Far from the crowd in the halls of the great and to wisdom and foresight
Secrecy whispers, there I will speak among Ilions princes.
Envoy, answered the Laomedontian, voice of Achilles,
Vain is the offer of peace that sets out with a threat for its prelude.
Yet will we hear thee. Arise who are fleetest of foot in the gateway,
Thou, Thrasymachus, haste. Let the domes of the mansion of Ilus
Wake to the bruit of the Hellene challenge. Summon Aeneas.
Even as the word sank back into stillness, doffing his mantle
Started to run at the bidding a swift-footed youth of the Trojans
First in the race and the battle, Thrasymachus son of Aretes.
He in the dawn disappeared into swiftness. Deiphobus slowly,
Measuring Fate with his thoughts in the troubled vasts of his spirit,
Back through the stir of the city returned to the house of his fathers,
Taming his mighty stride to the pace infirm of the Argive.
But with the god in his feet Thrasymachus rapidly running
Came to the halls in the youth of the wonderful city by Ilus
Built for the joy of the eye; for he rested from war and, triumphant,
Reigned adored by the prostrate nations. Now when all ended,
Last of its mortal possessors to walk in its flowering gardens,
Great Anchises lay in that luminous house of the ancients
Soothing his restful age, the far-warring victor Anchises,
High Bucoleons son and the father of Rome by a goddess;
Lonely and vagrant once in his boyhood divine upon Ida
White Aphrodite ensnared him and she loosed her ambrosial girdle
Seeking a mortals love. On the threshold Thrasymachus halted
Looking for servant or guard, but felt only a loneness of slumber
Drawing the souls sight within away from its life and things human;
Soundless, unheeding, the vacant corridors fled into darkness.
He to the shades of the house and the dreams of the echoing rafters
Trusted his high-voiced call, and from chambers still dim in their twilight
Strong Aeneas armoured and mantled, leonine striding,
Came, Anchises son; for the dawn had not found him reposing,
But in the night he had left his couch and the clasp of Cresa,
Rising from sleep at the call of his spirit that turned to the waters
Prompted by Fate and his mother who guided him, white Aphrodite.
Still with the impulse of speed Thrasymachus greeted Aeneas:
Hero Aeneas, swift be thy stride to the Ilian hill-top.
Dardanid, haste! for the gods are at work; they have risen with the morning,
Each from his starry couch, and they labour. Doom, we can see it,
Glows on their anvils of destiny, clang we can hear of their hammers.
Something they forge there sitting unknown in the silence eternal,
Whether of evil or good it is they who shall choose who are masters
Calm, unopposed; they are gods and they work out their iron caprices.
Troy is their stage and Argos their background; we are their puppets.
Always our voices are prompted to speech for an end that we know not,
Always we think that we drive, but are driven. Action and impulse,
Yearning and thought are their engines, our will is their shadow and helper.
Now too, deeming he comes with a purpose framed by a mortal,
Shaft of their will they have shot from the bow of the Grecian leaguer,
Lashing themselves at his steeds, Talthybius sent by Achilles.
Busy the gods are always, Thrasymachus son of Aretes,
Weaving Fate on their looms, and yesterday, now and tomorrow
Are but the stands they have made with Space and Time for their timber,
Frame but the dance of their shuttle. What eye unamazed by their workings
Ever can pierce where they dwell and uncover their far-stretching purpose?
Silent they toil, they are hid in the clouds, they are wrapped with the midnight.
Yet to Apollo I pray, the Archer friendly to mortals,
Yet to the rider on Fate I abase myself, wielder of thunder,
Evil and doom to avert from my fatherland. All night Morpheus,
He who with shadowy hands heaps error and truth upon mortals,
Stood at my pillow with images. Dreaming I erred like a phantom
Helpless in Ilions streets with the fire and the foeman around me.
Red was the smoke as it mounted triumphant the house-top of Priam,
Clang of the arms of the Greeks was in Troya, and thwarting the clangour
Voices were crying and calling me over the violent Ocean
Borne by the winds of the West from a land where Hesperus harbours.
Brooding they ceased, for their thoughts grew heavy upon them and voiceless.
Then, in a farewell brief and unthought and unconscious of meaning,
Parting they turned to their tasks and their lives now close but soon severed:
Destined to perish even before his perishing nation,
Back to his watch at the gate sped Thrasymachus rapidly running;
Large of pace and swift, but with eyes absorbed and unseeing,
Driven like a car of the gods by the whip of his thoughts through the highways,
Turned to his mighty future the hero born of a goddess.
One was he chosen to ascend into greatness through fall and disaster,
Loser of his world by the will of a heaven that seemed ruthless and adverse,
Founder of a newer and greater world by daring adventure.
Now, from the citadels rise with the townships crowding below it
High towards a pondering of domes and the mystic Palladium climbing,
Fronted with the morning ray and joined by the winds of the ocean,
Fate-weighed up Troys slope strode musing strong Aeneas.
Under him silent the slumbering roofs of the city of Ilus
Dreamed in the light of the dawn; above watched the citadel, sleepless
Lonely and strong like a goddess white-limbed and bright on a hill-top,
Looking far out at the sea and the foe and the prowling of danger.
Over the brow he mounted and saw the palace of Priam,
Home of the gods of the earth, Laomedons marvellous vision
Held in the thought that accustomed his will to unearthly achievement
And in the blaze of his spirit compelling heaven with its greatness,
Dreamed by the harp of Apollo, a melody caught into marble.
Out of his mind it arose like an epic canto by canto;
Each of its halls was a strophe, its chambers lines of an epode,
Victor chant of Ilions destiny. Absent he entered,
Voiceless with thought, the brilliant megaron crowded with paintings,
Paved with a splendour of marble, and saw Deiphobus seated,
Son of the ancient house by the opulent hearth of his fathers,
And at his side like a shadow the grey and ominous Argive.
Happy of light like a lustrous star when it welcomes the morning,
Brilliant, beautiful, glamoured with gold and a fillet of gem-fire,
Paris, plucked from the song and the lyre by the Grecian challenge,
Came with the joy in his face and his eyes that Fate could not alter.
Ever a child of the dawn at play near a turn of the sun-roads,
Facing destinys look with the careless laugh of a comrade,
He with his vision of delight and beauty brightening the earth-field
Passed through its peril and grief on his way to the ambiguous Shadow.
Last from her chamber of sleep where she lay in the Ilian mansion
Far in the heart of the house with the deep-bosomed daughters of Priam,
Noble and tall and erect in a nimbus of youth and of glory,
Claiming the world and life as a fief of her strength and her courage,
Dawned through a doorway that opened to distant murmurs and laughter,
Capturing the eye like a smile or a sunbeam, Penthesilea.
She from the threshold cried to the herald, crossing the marble,
Regal and fleet, with her voice that was mighty and dire in its sweetness.
What with such speed has impelled from the wind-haunted beaches of Troas,
Herald, thy car though the sun yet hesitates under the mountains?
Comest thou humbler to Troy, Talthybius, now than thou camest
Once when the streams of my East sang low to my ear, not this Ocean
Loud, and I roamed in my mountains uncalled by the voice of Apollo?
Bringest thou dulcet-eyed peace or, sweeter to Penthesilea,
Challenge of war when the spears fall thick on the shields of the fighters,
Lightly the wheels leap onward chanting the anthem of Ares,
Death is at work in his fields and the heart is enamoured of danger?
What says Odysseus, the baffled Ithacan? what Agamemnon?
Are they then weary of war who were rapid and bold and triumphant,
Now that their gods are reluctant, now victory darts not from heaven
Down from the clouds above Ida directing the luminous legions
Armed by Fate, now Pallas forgets, now Poseidon slumbers?
Bronze were their throats to the battle like bugles blaring in chorus;
Mercy they knew not, but shouted and ravened and ran to the slaughter
Eager as hounds when they chase, till a woman met them and stayed them,
Loud my war-shout rang by Scamander. Herald of Argos,
What say the vaunters of Greece to the virgin Penthesilea?
High was the Argives answer confronting the mighty in Troya.
Princes of Pergama, whelps of the lion who roar for the mellay,
Suffer my speech! It shall ring like a spear on the hearts of the mighty.
Blame not the herald; his voice is an impulse, an echo, a channel
Now for the timbrels of peace and now for the drums of the battle.
And I have come from no cautious strength, from no half-hearted speaker,
But from the Phthian. All know him! Proud is his soul as his fortunes,
Swift as his sword and his spear are the speech and the wrath from his bosom.
I am his envoy, herald am I of the conquering Argives.
Has not one heard in the night when the breezes whisper and shudder,
Dire, the voice of a lion unsatisfied, gnawed by his hunger,
Seeking his prey from the gods? For he prowls through the glens of the mountains,
Errs a dangerous gleam in the woodlands, fatal and silent.
So for a while he endures, for a while he seeks and he suffers
Patient yet in his terrible grace as assured of his banquet;
But he has lacked too long and he lifts his head and to heaven
Roars in his wonder, incensed, impatiently. Startled the valleys
Shrink from the dreadful alarum, the cattle gallop to shelter.
Arming the herdsmen cry to each other for comfort and courage.
So Talthybius spoke, as a harper voicing his prelude
Touches his strings to a varied music, seeks for a concord;
Long his strain he prepares. But one broke in on the speaker,
Sweet was his voice like a harps though heard in the front of the onset,
One of the sons of Fate by the people loved whom he ruined,
Leader in counsel and battle, the Priamid, he in his beauty
Carelessly walking who scattered the seeds of Titanic disaster.
Surely thou dreamedst at night and awaking thy dreams have not left thee!
Hast thou not woven thy words to intimidate children in Argos
Sitting alarmed in the shadows who listen pale to their nurses?
Greek, thou art standing in Ilion now and thou facest her princes.
Use not thy words but thy kings. If friendship their honey-breathed burden,
Friendship we clasp from Achilles, but challenge outpace with our challenge
Meeting the foe ere he moves in his will to the clash of encounter.
Such is the way of the Trojans since Phryx by the Hellespont halting
Seated Troy on her hill with the Ocean for comrade and sister.
Shaking in wrath his filleted head Talthybius answered:
Princes, ye speak their words who drive you! Thus said Achilles:
Rise, Talthybius, meet in her spaces the car of the morning;
Challenge her coursers divine as they bound through the plains of the Troad.
Hasten, let not the day wear gold ere thou stand in her ramparts.
Herald charged with my will to a haughty and obstinate nation,
Speak in the palace of Priam the word of the Phthian Achilles.
Freely and not as his vassal who leads, Agamemnon, the Argive,
But as a ruler in Hellas I send thee, king of my nations.
Long I have walked apart from the mellay of gods in the Troad,
Long has my listless spear leaned back on the peace of my tent-side,
Deaf to the talk of the trumpets, the whine of the chariots speeding;
Sole with my heart I have lived, unheeding the Hellene murmur,
Chid when it roared for the hunt the lion pack of the war-god,
Day after day I walked at dawn and in blush of the sunset,
Far by the call of the seas and alone with the gods and my dreaming,
Leaned to the unsatisfied chant of my heart and the rhythms of ocean,
Sung to by hopes that were sweet-lipped and vain. For Polyxenas brothers
Still are the brood of the Titan Laomedon slain in his greatness,
Engines of God unable to bear all the might that they harbour.
Awe they have chid from their hearts, nor our common humanity binds them,
Stay have they none in the gods who approve, giving calmness to mortals:
But like the Titans of old they have hugged to them grandeur and ruin.
Seek then the race self-doomed, the leaders blinded by heaven
Not in the agora swept by the winds of debate and the shoutings
Lion-voiced, huge of the people! In Troyas high-crested mansion
Speak out my word to the hero Deiphobus, head of the mellay,
Paris the racer of doom and the stubborn strength of Aeneas.
Herald of Greece, when thy feet shall be pressed on the gold and the marble,
Rise in the Ilian megaron, curb not the cry of the challenge.
Thus shalt thou say to them striking the ground with the staff of defiance,
Fronting the tempests of war, the insensate, the gamblers with downfall.
Princes of Troy, I have sat in your halls, I have slept in your chambers;
Not in the battle alone as a warrior glad of his foemen,
Glad of the strength that mates with his own, in peace we encountered.
Marvelling I sat in the halls of my enemies, close to the bosoms
Scarred by the dints of my sword and the eyes I had seen through the battle,
Ate rejoicing the food of the East at the tables of Priam
Served by the delicatest hands in the world, by Hecubas daughter,
Or with our souls reconciled in some careless and rapturous midnight
Drank of the sweetness of Phrygian wine, admiring your bodies
Shaped by the gods indeed, and my spirit revolted from hatred,
Softening it yearned in its strings to the beauty and joy of its foemen,
Yearned from the death that oertakes and the flame that cries and desires
Even at the end to save and even on the verge to deliver
Troy and her wonderful works and her sons and her deep-bosomed daughters.
Warned by the gods who reveal to the heart what the mind cannot hearken
Deaf with its thoughts, I offered you friendship, I offered you bridal,
Hellas for comrade, Achilles for brother, the world for enjoyment
Won by my spear. And one heard my call and one turned to my seeking.
Why is it then that the war-cry sinks not to rest by the Xanthus?
We are not voices from Argolis, Lacedaemonian tricksters,
Splendid and subtle and false; we are speakers of truth, we are Hellenes,
Men of the northl and faithful in friendship and noble in anger,
Strong like our fathers of old. But you answered my truth with evasion
Hoping to seize what I will not yield and you flattered your people.
Long have I waited for wisdom to dawn on your violent natures.
Lonely I paced oer the sands by the thousand-throated waters
Praying to Pallas the wise that the doom might turn from your mansions,
Buildings delightful, gracious as rhythms, lyrics in marble,
Works of the transient gods, and I yearned for the end of the war-din
Hoping that Death might relent to the beautiful sons of the Trojans.
Far from the cry of the spears, from the speed and the laughter of axles,
Heavy upon me like iron the intolerable yoke of inaction
Weighed like a load on a runner. The war-cry rose by Scamander;
Xanthus was crossed on a bridge of the fallen, not by Achilles.
Often I stretched out my hand to the spear, for the Trojan beaches
Rang with the voice of Deiphobus shouting and slaying the Argives;
Often my heart like an anxious mother for Greece and her children
Leaped, for the air was full of the leonine roar of Aeneas.
Always the evening fell or the gods protected the Argives.
Then by the moat of the ships, on the hither plain of the Xanthus
New was the voice that climbed through the din and sailed on the breezes,
High, insistent, clear, and it shouted an unknown war-cry
Threatening doom to the peoples. A woman had come in to aid you,
Regal and insolent, fair as the morning and fell as the northwind,
Freed from the distaff who grasps at the sword and she spurns at subjection
Breaking the rule of the gods. She is turbulent, swift in the battle.
Clanging her voice of the swan as a summons to death and disaster,
Fleet-footed, happy and pitiless, laughing she runs to the slaughter;
Strong with the gait that allures she leaps from her car to the slaying,
Dabbles in blood smooth hands like lilies. Europe astonished
Reels from her shock to the Ocean. She is the panic and mellay,
War is her paean, the chariots thunder of Penthesilea.
Doom was her coming, it seems, to the men of the West and their legions;
Ajax sleeps for ever, Meriones lies on the beaches.
One by one they are falling before you, the great in Achaia.
Ever the wounded are borne like the stream of the ants when they forage
Past my ships, and they hush their moans as they near and in silence
Gaze at the legions inactive accusing the fame of Achilles.
Still have I borne with you, waited a little, looked for a summons,
Longing for bridal torches, not flame on the Ilian housetops,
Blood in the chambers of sweetness, the golden amorous city
Swallowed by doom. Not broken I turned from the wrestle Titanic,
Hopeless, weary of toil in the ebb of my glorious spirit,
But from my stress of compassion for doom of the kindred nations,
But for her sake whom my soul desires, for the daughter of Priam.
And for Polyxenas sake I will speak to you yet as your lover
Once ere the Fury, abrupt from Erebus, deaf to your crying,
Mad with the joy of the massacre, seizes on wealth and on women
Calling to Fire as it strides and Ilion sinks into ashes.
Yield; for your doom is impatient. No longer your helpers hasten,
Legions swift to your call; the yoke of your pride and your splendour
Lies not now on the nations of earth as when Fortune desired you,
Strength was your slave and Troya the lioness hungrily roaring
Threatened the western world from her ramparts built by Apollo.
Gladly released from the thraldom they hated, the insolent shackles
Curbing their manhood the peoples arise and they pray for your ruin;
Piled are their altars with gifts; their blessings help the Achaians.
Memnon came, but he sleeps, and the faces swart of his nation
Darken no more like a cloud over thunder and surge of the onset.
Wearily Lycia fights; far fled are the Carian levies.
Thrace retreats to her plains preferring the whistle of stormwinds
Or on the banks of the Strymon to wheel in her Orphean measure,
Not in the revel of swords and fronting the spears of the Hellenes.
Princes of Pergama, open your gates to our Peace who would enter,
Life in her gracious clasp and forgetfulness, grave of earths passions,
Healer of wounds and the past. In a comity equal, Hellenic,
Asia join with Greece, one world from the frozen rivers
Trod by the hooves of the Scythian to farthest undulant Ganges.
Tyndarid Helen resign, the desirable cause of your danger,
Back to Greece that is empty long of her smile and her movements.
Broider with riches her coming, pomp of her slaves and the waggons
Endlessly groaning with gold that arrive with the ransom of nations.
So shall the Fury be pacified, she who exultant from Sparta
Breathed in the sails of the Trojan ravisher helping his oarsmen.
So shall the gods be appeased and the thoughts of their wrath shall be cancelled,
Justice contented trace back her steps and for brands of the burning
Torches delightful shall break into Troy with the swords of the bridal.
I like a bridegroom will seize on your city and clasp and defend her
Safe from the envy of Argos, from Lacedaemonian hatred,
Safe from the hunger of Crete and the Locrians violent rapine.
But if you turn from my voice and you hearken only to Ares
Crying for battle within you deluded by Hera and Pallas,
Swiftly the fierce deaths surges shall close over Troy and her ramparts
Built by the gods shall be stubble and earth to the tread of the Hellene.
For to my tents I return not, I swear it by Zeus and Apollo,
Master of Truth who sits within Delphi fathomless brooding
Sole in the caverns of Nature and hearkens her underground murmur,
Giving my oath to his keeping mute and stern who forgets not,
Not from the panting of Ares toil to repose, from the wrestle
Locked of hope and death in the ruthless clasp of the mellay
Leaving again the Trojan ramparts unmounted, leaving
Greece unavenged, the Aegean a lake and Europe a province.
Choosing from Hellas exile, from Peleus and Deidamia,
Choosing the field for my chamber of sleep and the battle for hearthside
I shall go warring on till Asia enslaved to my footsteps
Feels the tread of the God in my sandal pressed on her bosom.
Rest shall I then when the borders of Greece are fringed with the Ganges;
Thus shall the past pay its Titan ransom and, Fate her balance
Changing, a continent ravished suffer the fortune of Helen.
This I have sworn allying my will to Zeus and Ananke.
So was it spoken, the Phthian challenge. Silent the heroes
Looked back amazed on their past and into the night of their future.
Silent their hearts felt a grasp from gods and had hints of the heavens.
Hush was awhile in the room, as if Fate were trying her balance
Poised on the thoughts of her mortals. At length with a musical laughter
Sweet as the jangling of bells upon anklets leaping in measure
Answered aloud to the gods the virgin Penthesilea.
Long I had heard in my distant realms of the fame of Achilles,
Ignorant still while I played with the ball and ran in the dances
Thinking not ever to war; but I dreamed of the shock of the hero.
So might a poet inland who imagines the rumour of Ocean,
Yearn with his lust for the giant upheaval, the dance as of hill-tops,
Toss of the yellow mane and the tawny march and the voices
Lionlike claiming earth as a prey for the clamorous waters.
So have I longed as I came for the cry and the speed of Achilles.
But he has lurked in his ships, he has sulked like a boy that is angry.
Glad am I now of his soul that arises hungry for battle,
Glad, whether victor I live or defeated travel the shadows.
Once shall my spear have rung on the shield of the Phthian Achilles.
Peace I desire not. I came to a haughty and resolute nation,
Honour and fame they cherish, not life by the gift of a foeman.
Sons of the ancient house on whom Ilion looks as on Titans,
Chiefs whom the world admires, do you fear then the shock of the Phthian?
Gods, it is said, have decided your doom. Are you less in your greatness?
Are you not gods to reverse their decrees or unshaken to suffer?
Memnon is dead and the Carians leave you? Lycia lingers?
But from the streams of my East I have come to you, Penthesilea.
Virgin of Asia, answered Talthybius, doom of a nation
Brought thee to Troy and her haters Olympian shielded thy coming,
Vainly who feedest mens hearts with a hope that the gods have rejected.
Doom in thy sweet voice utters her counsels robed like a woman.
Answered the virgin disdainfully, wroth at the words of the Argive:
Hast thou not ended the errand they gave thee, envoy of Hellas?
Not, do I think, as our counsellor camst thou elected from Argos,
Nor as a lover to Troy hast thou hastened with amorous footing
Hurting thy heart with her frowardness. Hatred and rapine sent thee,
Greed of the Ilian gold and lust of the Phrygian women,
Voice of Achaian aggression! Doom am I truly; let Gnossus
Witness it, Salamis speak of my fatal arrival and Argos
Silent remember her wounds. But the Argive answered the virgin:
Hearken then to the words of the Hellene, Penthesilea.
Virgin to whom earths strongest are corn in the sweep of thy sickle,
Lioness vain of thy bruit who besiegest the paths of the battle!
Art thou not satiate yet? hast thou drunk then so little of slaughter?
Death has ascended thy car; he has chosen thy hand for his harvest.
But I have heard of thy pride and disdain, how thou scornest the Argives
And of thy fate thou complainest that ever averse to thy wishes
Cloisters the Phthian and matches with weaklings Penthesilea.
Not of the Ithacan boar nor the wild-cat littered in Locris
Nor of the sleek-coat Argive wild-bulls sates me the hunting;
So hast thou said, I would bury my spear in the lion of Hellas.
Blind and infatuate, art thou not beautiful, bright as the lightning?
Were not thy limbs made cunningly linking sweetness to sweetness?
Is not thy laughter an arrow surprising hearts imprudent?
Charm is the seal of the gods upon woman. Distaff and girdle,
Work of the jar at the well and the hush of our innermost chambers,
These were appointed thee, but thou hast scorned them, O Titaness, grasping
Rather the shield and the spear. Thou, obeying thy turbulent nature,
Tramplest oer laws that are old to the pleasure thy heart has demanded.
Rather bow to the ancient Gods who are seated and constant.
But for thyself thou passest and what hast thou gained for the aeons
Mingled with men in their works and depriving the age of thy beauty?
Fair art thou, woman, but fair with a bitter and opposite sweetness
Clanging in war when thou matchest thy voice with the shout of assemblies.
Not to this end was thy sweetness made and the joy of thy members,
Not to this rhythm Heaven tuned its pipe in thy throat of enchantment,
Armoured like men to go warring forth and with hardness and fierceness
Mix in the strife and the hate while the varied meaning of Nature
Perishes hurt in its heart and life is emptied of music.
Long have I marked in your world a madness. Monarchs descending
Court the imperious mob of their slaves and their suppliant gesture
Shameless and venal offends the majestic tradition of ages:
Princes plead in the agora; spurred by the tongue of a coward,
Heroes march to an impious war at a priestly bidding.
Gold is sought by the great with the chaffering heart of the trader.
Asia fails and the Gods are abandoning Ida for Hellas.
Why must thou come here to perish, O noble and exquisite virgin,
Here in a cause not thine, in a quarrel remote from thy beauty,
Leaving a land that is lovely and far to be slain among strangers?
Girl, to thy rivers go back and thy hills where the grapes are aspirant.
Trust not a fate that indulges; for all things, Penthesilea,
Break with excess and he is the wisest who walks by a measure.
Yet, if thou wilt, thou shalt meet me today in the shock of the battle:
There will I give thee the fame thou desirest; captive in Hellas,
Men shall point to thee always, smiling and whispering, saying,
This is the woman who fought with the Greeks, overthrowing their heroes;
This is the slayer of Ajax, this is the slave of Achilles.
Then with her musical laughter the fearless Penthesilea:
Well do I hope that Achilles enslaved shall taste of that glory
Or on the Phrygian fields lie slain by the spear of a woman.
But to the herald Achaian the Priamid, leader of Troya:
Rest in the halls of thy foes and ease thy fatigue and thy winters.
Herald, abide till the people have heard and reply to Achilles.
Not as the kings of the West are Ilions princes and archons,
Monarchs of men who drive their nations dumb to the battle.
Not in the palace of Priam and not in the halls of the mighty
Whispered councils prevail and the few dispose of the millions;
But with their nation consulting, feeling the hearts of the commons
Ilions princes march to the war or give peace to their foemen.
Lightning departs from her kings and the thunder returns from her people
Met in the ancient assembly where Ilus founded his columns
And since her famous centuries, names that the ages remember
Leading her, Troya proclaims her decrees to obedient nations.
Ceasing he cried to the thralls of his house and they tended the Argive.
Brought to a chamber of rest in the luminous peace of the mansion,
Grey he sat and endured the food and the wine of his foemen,
Chiding his spirit that murmured within him and gazed undelighted,
Vexed with the endless pomps of Laomedon. Far from those glories
Memory winged it back to a sward half-forgotten, a village
Nestling in leaves and low hills watching it crowned with the sunset.
So for his hour he abode in earths palace of lordliest beauty,
But in its caverns his heart was weary and, hurt by the splendours,
Longed for Greece and the smoke-darkened roof of a cottage in Argos,
Eyes of a woman faded and children crowding the hearthside.
Joyless he rose and eastward expected the sunrise on Ida.
~ Sri Aurobindo, 1 - The Book of the Herald
The Landgrave Hermann held a gathering
Of minstrels, minnesingers, troubadours,
At Wartburg in his palace, and the knight,
Sir Tannhauser of France, the greatest bard,
Inspired with heavenly visions, and endowed
With apprehension and rare utterance
Of noble music, fared in thoughtful wise
Across the Horsel meadows. Full of light,
And large repose, the peaceful valley lay,
In the late splendor of the afternoon,
And level sunbeams lit the serious face
Of the young knight, who journeyed to the west,
Towards the precipitous and rugged cliffs,
Scarred, grim, and torn with savage rifts and chasms,
That in the distance loomed as soft and fair
And purple as their shadows on the grass.
The tinkling chimes ran out athwart the air,
Proclaiming sunset, ushering evening in,
Although the sky yet glowed with yellow light.
The ploughboy, ere he led his cattle home,
In the near meadow, reverently knelt,
And doffed his cap, and duly crossed his breast,
Whispering his 'Ave Mary,' as he heard
The pealing vesper-bell. But still the knight,
Unmindful of the sacred hour announced,
Disdainful or unconscious, held his course.
'Would that I also, like yon stupid wight,
Could kneel and hail the Virgin and believe!'
He murmured bitterly beneath his breath.
'Were I a pagan, riding to contend
For the Olympic wreath, O with what zeal,
What fire of inspiration, would I sing
The praises of the gods! How may my lyre
Glorify these whose very life I doubt?
The world is governed by one cruel God,
Who brings a sword, not peace. A pallid Christ,
Unnatural, perfect, and a virgin cold,
They give us for a heaven of living gods,
Beautiful, loving, whose mere names were song;
A creed of suffering and despair, walled in
On every side by brazen boundaries,
That limit the soul's vision and her hope
To a red hell or and unpeopled heaven.
Yea, I am lost already,-even now
Am doomed to flaming torture for my thoughts.
O gods! O gods! where shall my soul find peace?'
He raised his wan face to the faded skies,
Now shadowing into twilight; no response
Came from their sunless heights; no miracle,
As in the ancient days of answering gods.
With a long, shuddering sigh he glanced to earth,
Finding himself among the Horsel cliffs.
Gray, sullen, gaunt, they towered on either side;
Scant shrubs sucked meagre life between the rifts
Of their huge crags, and made small darker spots
Upon their wrinkled sides; the jaded horse
Stumbled upon loose, rattling, fallen stones,
Amidst the gathering dusk, and blindly fared
Through the weird, perilous pass. As darkness waxed,
And an oppressive mystery enwrapped
The roadstead and the rocks, Sir Tannhauser
Fancied he saw upon the mountain-side
The fluttering of white raiment. With a sense
Of wild joy and horror, he gave pause,
For his sagacious horse that reeked of sweat,
Trembling in every limb, confirmed his thought,
That nothing human scaled that haunted cliff.
The white thing seemed descending,-now a cloud
It looked, and now a rag of drifted mist,
Torn in the jagged gorge precipitous,
And now an apparition clad in white,
Shapely and real,-then he lost it quite,
Gazing on nothing with blank, foolish face.
As with wide eyes he stood, he was aware
Of a strange splendor at his very side,
A presence and a majesty so great,
That ere he saw, he felt it was divine.
He turned, and, leaping from his horse, fell prone,
In speechless adoration, on the earth,
Before the matchless goddess, who appeared
With no less freshness of immortal youth
Than when first risen from foam of Paphian seas.
He heard delicious strains of melody,
Such as his highest muse had ne'er attained,
Float in the air, while in the distance rang,
Harsh and discordant, jarring with those tones,
The gallop of his frightened horse's hoofs,
Clattering in sudden freedom down the pass.
A voice that made all music dissonance
Then thrilled through heart and flesh of that prone knight,
Triumphantly: 'The gods need but appear,
And their usurped thrones are theirs again!'
Then tenderly: 'Sweet knight, I pray thee, rise;
Worship me not, for I desire thy love.
Look on me, follow me, for I am fain
Of thy fair, human face.' He rose and looked,
Stirred by that heavenly flattery to the soul.
Her hair, unbraided and unfilleted,
Rained in a glittering shower to the ground,
And cast forth lustre. Round her zone was clasped
The scintillant cestus, stiff with flaming gold,
Thicker with restless gems than heaven with stars.
She might have flung the enchanted wonder forth;
Her eyes, her slightest gesture would suffice
To bind all men in blissful slavery.
She sprang upon the mountain's dangerous side,
With feet that left their print in flowers divine,Flushed amaryllis and blue hyacinth,
Impurpled amaranth and asphodel,
Dewy with nectar, and exhaling scents
Richer than all the roses of mid-June.
The knight sped after her, with wild eyes fixed
Upon her brightness, as she lightly leapt
From crag to crag, with flying auburn hair,
Like a gold cloud, that lured him ever on,
Higher and higher up the haunted cliff.
At last amidst a grove of pines she paused,
Until he reached her, breathing hard with haste,
Delight, and wonder. Then upon his hand
She placed her own, and all his blood at once
Tingled and hotly rushed to brow and cheek,
At the supreme caress; but the mere touch
Infused fresh life, and when she looked at him
With gracious tenderness, he felt himself
Strong suddenly to bear the blinding light
Of those great eyes. 'Dear knight,' she murmured low,
'For love of me, wilt thou accord this boon,To grace my weary home in banishment?'
His hungry eyes gave answer ere he spoke,
In tones abrupt that startled his own ears
With their strange harshness; but with thanks profuse
She guided him, still holding his cold hand
In her warm, dainty palm, unto a cave,
Whence a rare glory issued, and a smell
Of spice and roses, frankincense and balm.
They entering stood within a marble hall,
With straight, slim pillars, at whose farther end
The goddess led him to a spiral flight
Of stairs, descending always 'midst black gloom
Into the very bowels of the earth.
Down these, with fearful swiftness, they made way,
The knight's feet touching not the solid stair,
But sliding down as in a vexing dream,
Blind, feeling but that hand divine that still
Empowered him to walk on empty air.
Then he was dazzled by a sudden blaze,
In vast palace filled with reveling folk.
Cunningly pictured on the ivory walls
Were rolling hills, cool lakes, and boscage green,
And all the summer landscape's various pomp.
The precious canopy aloft was carved
In semblance of the pleached forest trees,
Enameled with the liveliest green, wherethrough
A light pierced, more resplendent than the day.
O'er the pale, polished jasper of the floor
Of burnished metal, fretted and embossed
With all the marvelous story of her birth
Painted in prodigal splendor of rich tincts,
And carved by heavenly artists,-crystal seas,
And long-haired Nereids in their pearly shells,
And all the wonder of her lucent limbs
Sphered in a vermeil mist. Upon the throne
She took her seat, the knight beside her still,
Singing on couches of fresh asphodel,
And the dance ceased, and the flushed revelers came
In glittering phalanx to adore their queen.
Beautiful girls, with shining delicate heads,
Crested with living jewels, fanned the air
With flickering wings from naked shoulders soft.
Then with preluding low, a thousand harps,
And citherns, and strange nameless instruments,
Sent through the fragrant air sweet symphonies,
And the winged dancers waved in mazy rounds,
With changing lustres like a summer sea.
Fair boys, with charming yellow hair crisp-curled,
And frail, effeminate beauty, the knight saw,
But of strong, stalwart men like him were none.
He gazed thereon bewitched, until the hand
Of Venus, erst withdrawn, now fell again
Upon his own, and roused him from his trance.
He looked on her, and as he looked, a cloud
Auroral, flaming as at sunrising,
Arose from nothing, floating over them
In luminous folds, like that vermilion mist
Penciled upon the throne, and as it waxed
In density and brightness, all the throng
Of festal dancers, less and less distinct,
Grew like pale spirits in a vague, dim dream,
And vanished altogether; and these twain,
Shut from the world in that ambrosial cloud,
Now with a glory inconceivable,
Vivid and conflagrant, looked each on each.
All hours came laden with their own delights
In that enchanted place, wherein Time
Knew no divisions harsh of night and day,
But light was always, and desire of sleep
Was satisfied at once with slumber soft,
Desire of food with magical repast,
By unseen hands on golden tables spread.
But these the knight accepted like a god,
All less was lost in that excess of joy,
The crowning marvel of her love for him,
Assuring him of his divinity.
Meanwhile remembrance of the earth appeared
Like the vague trouble of a transient dream,The doubt, the scruples, the remorse for thoughts
Beyond his own control, the constant thirst
For something fairer than his life, more real
Than airy revelations of his Muse.
Here was his soul's desire satisfied.
All nobler passions died; his lyre he flung
Recklessly forth, with vows to dedicate
His being to herself. She knew and seized
The moment of her mastery, and conveyed
The lyre beyond his sight and memory.
With blandishment divine she changed for him,
Each hour, her mood; a very woman now,
Fantastic, voluble, affectionate,
And jealous of the vague, unbodied air,
Exacting, penitent, and pacified,
All in a breath. And often she appeared
Majestic with celestial wrath, with eyes
That shot forth fire, and a heavy brow,
Portentous as the lowering front of heaven,
When the reverberant, sullen thunder rolls
Among the echoing clouds. Thus she denounced
Her ancient, fickle worshippers, who left
Her altars desecrate, her fires unfed,
Her name forgotten. 'But I reign, I reign!'
She would shrill forth, triumphant; 'yea, I reign.
Men name me not, but worship me unnamed,
Beauty and Love within their heart of hearts;
Not with bent knees and empty breath of words,
But with devoted sacrifice of lives.'
Then melting in a moment, she would weep
Ambrosial tears, pathetic, full of guile,
Accusing her own base ingratitude,
In craving worship, when she had his heart,
Her priceless knight, her peerless paladin,
Her Tannhauser; then, with an artful glance
Of lovely helplessness, entreated him
Not to desert her, like the faithless world,
For these unbeautiful and barbarous gods,
Or she would never cease her prayers to Jove,
Until he took from her the heavy curse
Of immortality. With closer vows,
The knight then sealed his worship and forswore
All other aims and deeds to serve her cause.
Thus passed unnoted seven barren years
Of reckless passion and voluptuous sloth,
Undignified by any lofty thought
In his degraded mind, that sometime was
Endowed with noble capability.
From revelry to revelry he passed,
Craving more pungent pleasure momently,
And new intoxications, and each hour
The siren goddess answered his desires.
Once when she left him with a weary sense
Of utter lassitude, he sat alone,
And, raising listless eyes, he saw himself
In a great burnished mirror, wrought about
With cunning imagery of twisted vines.
He scarcely knew those sunken, red-rimmed eyes,
For his who in the flush of manhood rode
Among the cliffs, and followed up the crags
The flying temptress; and there fell on him
A horror of her beauty, a disgust
For his degenerate and corrupted life,
With irresistible, intense desire,
To feel the breath of heaven on his face.
Then as Fate willed, who rules above the gods,
He saw, within the glass, behind him glide
The form of Venus. Certain of her power,
She had laid by, in fond security,
The enchanted cestus, and Sir Tannhauser,
With surfeited regard, beheld her now,
No fairer than the women of the earth,
Whom with serenity and health he left,
Duped by a lovely witch. Before he moved,
She knew her destiny; and when he turned,
He seemed to drop a mask, disclosing thus
An alien face, and eyes with vision true,
That for long time with glamour had been blind.
Hiding the hideous rage within her breast,
With girlish simpleness of folded hands,
Auroral blushes, and sweet, shamefast mien,
She spoke: 'Behold, my love, I have cast forth
All magic, blandishments and sorcery,
For I have dreamed a dream so terrible,
That I awoke to find my pillow stained
With tears as of real woe. I thought my belt,
By Vulcan wrought with matchless skill and power,
Was the sole bond between us; this being doffed,
I seemed to thee an old, unlovely crone,
Wrinkled by every year that I have seen.
Thou turnedst from me with a brutal sneer,
So that I woke with weeping. Then I rose,
And drew the glittering girdle from my zone,
Jealous thereof, yet full of fears, and said,
'If it be this he loves, then let him go!
I have no solace as a mortal hath,
No hope of change or death to comfort me
Through all eternity; yet he is free,
Though I could hold him fast with heavy chains,
Bound in perpetual imprisonment.'
Tell me my vision was a baseless dream;
See, I am kneeling, and kiss thy hands,In pity, look on me, before thy word
Condemns me to immortal misery!'
As she looked down, the infernal influence
Worked on his soul again; for she was fair
Beyond imagination, and her brow
Seemed luminous with high self-sacrifice.
He bent and kissed her head, warm, shining, soft,
With its close-curling gold, and love revived.
But ere he spoke, he heard the distant sound
Of one sweet, smitten lyre, and a gleam
Of violent anger flashed across the face
Upraised to his in feigned simplicity
And singleness of purpose. Then he sprang,
Well-nigh a god himself, with sudden strength
to vanquish and resist, beyond her reach,
Crying, 'My old Muse calls me, and I hear!
Thy fateful vision is no baseless dream;
I will be gone from this accursed hall!'
Then she, too, rose, dilating over him,
And sullen clouds veiled all her rosy limbs,
Unto her girdle, and her head appeared
Refulgent, and her voice rang wrathfully:
'Have I cajoled and flattered thee till now,
To lose thee thus! How wilt thou make escape?
Yea, not my love, but my poor slave and fool.'
But he, with both hands pressed upon his eyes,
Against that blinding lustre, heeded not
Her thundered words, and cried in sharp despair,
'Help me, O Virgin Mary! and thereat,
The very bases of the hall gave way,
The roof was rived, the goddess disappeared,
And Tannhauser stood free upon the cliff,
Amidst the morning sunshine and fresh air.
Around him were the tumbled blocks and crags,
Huge ridges and sharp juts of flinty peaks,
Black caves, and masses of the grim, bald rock.
The ethereal, unfathomable sky,
Hung over him, the valley lay beneath,
Dotted with yellow hayricks, that exhaled
Sweet, healthy odors to the mountain-top.
He breathed intoxicate the infinite air,
And plucked the heather blossoms where they blew,
Reckless with light and dew, in crannies green,
And scarcely saw their darling bells for tears.
No sounds of labor reached him from the farms
And hamlets trim, nor from the furrowed glebe;
But a serene and sabbath stillness reigned,
Till broken by the faint, melodious chimes
Of the small village church that called to prayer.
He hurried down the rugged, scarped cliff,
And swung himself from shelving granite slopes
To narrow foot-holds, near wide-throated chasms,
Tearing against the sharp stones his bleeding hands,
With long hair flying from his dripping brow,
Uncovered head, and white, exalted face.
No memory had he of his smooth ascent,
No thought of fear upon those dreadful hills;
He only heard the bell, inviting him
To satisfy the craving of his heart,
For worship 'midst his fellow men. He reached
The beaten, dusty road, and passed thereon
The pious peasants faring towards the church,
And scarce refrained from greeting them like friends
Dearly beloved, after long absence met.
How more than fair the sunburnt wenches looked,
In their rough, homespun gowns and coifs demure,
After the beauty of bare, rosy limbs,
And odorous, loose hair! He noted not
Suspicious glances on his garb uncouth,
His air extravagant and face distraught,
With bursts of laughter from the red-cheeked boys,
And prudent crossings of the women's breasts.
He passed the flowering close about the church,
And trod the well worn-path, with throbbing heart,
The little heather-bell between his lips,
And his eyes fastened on the good green grass.
Thus entered he the sanctuary, lit
With frequent tapers, and with sunbeams stained
Through painted glass. How pure and innocent
The waiting congregation seemed to him,
Kneeling, or seated with calm brows upraised!
With faltering strength, he cowered down alone,
And held sincere communion with the Lord,
For one brief moment, in a sudden gush
Of blessed tears. The minister of God
Rose to invoke a blessing on his flock,
And then began the service,-not in words
To raise the lowly, and to heal the sick,
But an alien tongue, with phrases formed,
And meaningless observances. The knight,
Unmoved, yet thirsting for the simple word
That might have moved him, held his bitter thoughts,
But when in his own speech a new priest spake,
Looked up with hope revived, and heard the text:
'Go, preach the Gospel unto all the world.
He that believes and is baptized, is saved.
He that believeth not, is damned in hell!'
He sat with neck thrust forth and staring eyes;
The crowded congregation disappeared;
He felt alone in some black sea of hell,
While a great light smote one exalted face,
Vivid already with prophetic fire,
Whose fatal mouth now thundered forth his doom.
He longed in that void circle to cry out,
With one clear shriek, but sense and voice seemed bound,
And his parched tongue clave useless to his mouth.
As the last words resounded through the church,
And once again the pastor blessed his flock,
Who, serious and subdued, passed slowly down
The arrow aisle, none noted, near the wall,
A fallen man with face upon his knees,
A heap of huddled garments and loose hair,
Unconscious 'mid the rustling, murmurous stir,
'Midst light and rural smell of grass and flowers,
Let in athwart the doorway. One lone priest,
Darkening the altar lights, moved noiselessly,
Now with the yellow glow upon his face,
Now a black shadow gliding farther on,
Amidst the smooth, slim pillars of hewn ash.
But from the vacant aisles he heard at once
A hollow sigh, heaved from a depth profound.
Upholding his last light above his head,
And peering eagerly amidst the stalls,
He cried, 'Be blest who cometh in God's name.'
Then the gaunt form of Tannhauser arose.
'Father, I am a sinner, and I seek
Forgiveness and help, by whatso means
I can regain the joy of peace with God.'
'The Lord hath mercy on the penitent.
'Although thy sins be scarlet,' He hath said,
'Will I not make them white as wool?' Confess,
And I will shrive you.' Thus the good priest moved
Towards the remorseful knight and pressed his hand.
But shrinking down, he drew his fingers back
From the kind palm, and kissed the friar's feet.
'Thy pure hand is anointed, and can heal.
The cool, calm pressure brings back sanity,
And what serene, past joys! yet touch me not,
My contact is pollution,-hear, O hear,
While I disburden my charged soul.' He lay,
Casting about for words and strength to speak.
'O father, is there help for such a one,'
In tones of deep abasement he began,
'Who hath rebelled against the laws of God,
With pride no less presumptuous than his
Who lost thereby his rank in heaven?' 'My son,
There is atonement for all sins,-or slight
Or difficult, proportioned to the crime.
Though this may be the staining of thy hands
With blood of kinsmen or of fellow-men.'
'My hands are white,-my crime hath found no name,
This side of hell; yet though my heart-strings snap
To live it over, let me make the attempt.
I was a knight and bard, with such a gift
Of revelation that no hour of life
Lacked beauty and adornment, in myself
The seat and centre of all happiness.
What inspiration could my lofty Muse
Draw from those common and familiar themes,
Painted upon the windows and the walls
Of every church,-the mother and her child,
The miracle and mystery of the birth,
The death, the resurrection? Fool and blind!
That saw not symbols of eternal truth
In that grand tragedy and victory,
Significant and infinite as life.
What tortures did my skeptic soul endure,
At war against herself and all mankind!
The restless nights of feverish sleeplessness,
With balancing of reasons nicely weighed;
The dawn that brought no hope nor energy,
The blasphemous arraignment of the Lord,
Taxing His glorious divinity
With all the grief and folly of the world.
Then came relapses into abject fear,
And hollow prayer and praise from craven heart.
Before a sculptured Venus I would kneel,
Crown her with flowers, worship her, and cry,
'O large and noble type of our ideal,
At least my heart and prayer return to thee,
Amidst a faithless world of proselytes.
Madonna Mary, with her virgin lips,
And eyes that look perpetual reproach,
Insults and is a blasphemy on youth.
Is she to claim the worship of a man
Hot with the first rich flush of ripened life?'
Realities, like phantoms, glided by,
Unnoted 'midst the torment and delights
Of my conflicting spirit, and I doffed
the modest Christian weeds of charity
And fit humility, and steeled myself
In pagan panoply of stoicism
And self-sufficing pride. Yet constantly
I gained men's charmed attention and applause,
With the wild strains I smote from out my lyre,
To me the native language of my soul,
To them attractive and miraculous,
As all things whose solution and whose source
Remain a mystery. Then came suddenly
The summons to attend the gathering
Of minstrels at the Landgrave Hermann's court.
Resolved to publish there my pagan creed
In harmonies so high and beautiful
That all the world would share my zeal and faith,
I journeyed towards the haunted Horsel cliffs.
O God! how may I tell you how SHE came,
The temptress of a hundred centuries,
Yet fresh as April? She bewitched my sense,
Poisoned my judgment with sweet flatteries,
And for I may not guess how many years
Held me a captive in degrading bonds.
There is no sin of lust so lewd and foul,
Which I learned not in that alluring hell,
Until this morn, I snapped the ignoble tie,
By calling on the Mother of our Lord.
O for the power to stand again erect,
And look men in the eyes! What penitence,
What scourging of the flesh, what rigid fasts,
What terrible privations may suffice
To cleanse me in the sight of God and man?'
Ill-omened silence followed his appeal.
Patient and motionless he lay awhile,
Then sprang unto his feet with sudden force,
Confronting in his breathless vehemence,
With palpitating heart, the timid priest.
'Answer me, as you hope for a response,
One day, at the great judgment seat yourself.'
'I cannot answer,' said the timid priest,
'I have not understood.' 'Just God! is this
The curse Thou layest upon me? I outstrip
The sympathy and brotherhood of men,
So far removed is my experience
From their clean innocence. Inspire me,
Prompt me to words that bring me near to them!
Father,' in gentler accents he resumed,
'Thank Heaven at your every orison
That sin like mine you cannot apprehend.
More than the truth perchance I have confessed,
But I have sinned, and darkly,-this is true;
And I have suffered, and am suffering now.
Is there no help in your great Christian creed
Of liberal charity, for such a one?'
'My son,' the priest replied, 'your speech distraught
Hath quite bewildered me. I fain would hope
That Christ's large charity can reach your sin,
But I know naught. I cannot but believe
That the enchantress who first tempted you
Must be the Evil one,-your early doubt
Was the possession of your soul by him.
Travel across the mountain to the town,
The first cathedral town upon the road
That leads to Rome,-a sage and reverend priest,
The Bishop Adrian, bides there. Say you have come
From his leal servant, Friar Lodovick;
He hath vast lore and great authority,
And may absolve you freely of your sin.'
Over the rolling hills, through summer fields,
By noisy villages and lonely lanes,
Through glowing days, when all the landscape stretched
Shimmering in the heat, a pilgrim fared
Towards the cathedral town. Sir Tannhauser
Had donned the mournful sackcloth, girt his loins
With a coarse rope that ate into his flesh,
Muffled a cowl about his shaven head,
Hung a great leaden cross around his neck;
And bearing in his hands a knotty staff,
With swollen, sandaled feet he held his course.
He snatched scant rest at twilight or at dawn,
When his forced travel was least difficult.
But most he journeyed when the sky, o'ercast,
Uprolled its threatening clouds of dusky blue,
And angry thunder grumbled through the hills,
And earth grew dark at noonday, till the flash
Of the thin lightning through the wide sky leapt.
And tumbling showers scoured along the plain.
Then folk who saw the pilgrim penitent,
Drenched, weird, and hastening as as to some strange doom,
Swore that the wandering Jew had crossed their land,
And the Lord Christ had sent the deadly bolt
Harmless upon his cursed, immortal head.
At length the hill-side city's spires and roofs,
With all its western windows smitten red
By a rich sunset, and with massive towers
Of its cathedral overtopping all,
greeted his sight. Some weary paces more,
And as the twilight deepened in the streets,
He stood within the minster. How serene,
In sculptured calm of centuries, it seemed!
How cool and spacious all the dim-lit aisles,
Still hazy with fumes of frankincense!
The vesper had been said, yet here and there
A wrinkled beldam, or mourner veiled,
Or burly burgher on the cold floor knelt,
And still the organist, with wandering hands,
Drew from the keys mysterious melodies,
And filled the church with flying waifs of song,
That with ethereal beauty moved the soul
To a more tender prayer and gentler faith
Than choral anthems and the solemn mass.
A thousand memories, sweet to bitterness,
Rushed on the knight and filled his eyes with tears;
Youth's blamelessness and faith forever lost,
The love of his neglected lyre, his art,
Revived by these aerial harmonies.
He was unworthy now to touch the strings,
Too base to stir men's soul to ecstasy
And high resolves, as in the days agone;
And yet, with all his spirit's earnestness,
He yearned to feel the lyre between his hands,
To utter all the trouble of his life
Unto the Muse who understands and helps.
Outworn with travel, soothed to drowsiness
By dying music and sweet-scented air,
His limbs relaxed, and sleep possessed his frame.
Auroral light the eastern oriels touched,
When with delicious sense of rest he woke,
Amidst the cast and silent empty aisles.
'God's peace hath fallen upon me in this place;
This is my Bethel; here I feel again
A holy calm, if not of innocence,
Yet purest after that, the calm serene
Of expiation and forgiveness.'
He spake, and passed with staff and wallet forth
Through the tall portal to the open square,
And turning, paused to look upon the pile.
The northern front against the crystal sky
Loomed dark and heavy, full of sombre shade,
With each projecting buttress, carven cross,
Gable and mullion, tipped with laughing light
By the slant sunbeams of the risen morn.
The noisy swallows wheeled above their nests,
Builded in hidden nooks about the porch.
No human life was stirring in the square,
Save now and then a rumbling market-team,
Fresh from the fields and farms without the town.
He knelt upon the broad cathedral steps,
And kissed the moistened stone, while overhead
The circling swallows sang, and all around
The mighty city lay asleep and still.
To stranger's ears must yet again be made
The terrible confession; yet again
A deathly chill, with something worse than fear,
Seized the knight's heart, who knew his every word
Widened the gulf between his kind and him.
The Bishop sat with pomp of mitred head,
In pride of proven virtue, hearkening to all
With cold, official apathy, nor made
A sign of pity nor encouragement.
The friar understood the pilgrim's grief,
The language of his eyes; his speech alone
Was alien to these kind, untutored ears.
But this was truly to be misconstrued,
To tear each palpitating word alive
From out the depths of his remorseful soul,
And have it weighed with the precision cool
And the nice logic of a reasoning mind.
This spiritual Father judged his crime
As the mad mischief of a reckless boy,
That call for strict, immediate punishment.
But Tannhauser, who felt himself a man,
Though base, yet fallen through passions and rare gifts
Of an exuberant nature rankly rich,
And knew his weary head was growing gray
With a life's terrible experience,
Found his old sense of proper worth revive;
But modestly he ended: 'Yet I felt,
O holy Father, in the church, this morn,
A strange security, a peace serene,
As though e'en yet the Lord regarded me
With merciful compassion; yea, as though
Even so vile a worm as I might work
Mine own salvation, through repentant prayers.'
'Presumptuous man, it is no easy task
To expiate such sin; a space of prayer
That deprecates the anger of the Lord,
A pilgrimage through pleasant summer lands,
May not atone for years of impious lust;
Thy heart hath lied to thee in offering hope.'
'Is there no hope on earth?' the pilgrim sighed.
'None through thy penance,' said the saintly man.
'Yet there may be through mediation, help.
There is a man who by a blameless life
Hath won the right to intercede with God.
No sins of his own flesh hath he to purge,The Cardinal Filippo,-he abides,
Within the Holy City. Seek him out;
This is my only counsel,-through thyself
Can be no help and no forgiveness.'
How different from the buoyant joy of morn
Was this discouraged sense of lassitude,
The Bishop's words were ringing in his ears,
Measured and pitiless, and blent with these,
The memory of the goddess' last wild cry,'ONCE BEING MINE, THOU ART FOREVER MINE.'
Was it the truth, despite his penitence,
And the dedication of his thought to God,
That still some portion of himself was hers,
Some lust survived, some criminal regret,
For her corrupted love? He searched his heart:
All was remorse, religious and sincere,
And yet her dreadful curse still haunted him;
For all men shunned him, and denied him help,
Knowing at once in looking on his face,
Ploughed with deep lines and prematurely old,
That he had struggled with some deadly fiend,
And that he was no longer kin to them.
Just past the outskirts of the town, he stopped,
To strengthen will and courage to proceed.
The storm had broken o'er the sultry streets,
But now the lessening clouds were flying east,
And though the gentle shower still wet his face,
The west was cloudless while the sun went down,
And the bright seven-colored arch stood forth,
Against the opposite dull gray. There was
A beauty in the mingled storm and peace,
Beyond clear sunshine, as the vast, green fields
Basked in soft light, though glistening yet with rain.
The roar of all the town was now a buzz
Less than the insects' drowsy murmuring
That whirred their gauzy wings around his head.
The breeze that follows on the sunsetting
Was blowing whiffs of bruised and dripping grass
Into the heated city. But he stood,
Disconsolate with thoughts of fate and sin,
Still wrestling with his soul to win it back
From her who claimed it to eternity.
Then on the delicate air there came to him
The intonation of the minster bells,
Chiming the vespers, musical and faint.
He knew not what of dear and beautiful
There was in those familiar peals, that spake
Of his first boyhood and his innocence,
Leading him back, with gracious influence,
To pleasant thoughts and tender memories,
And last, recalling the fair hour of hope
He passed that morning in the church. Again,
The glad assurance of God's boundless love
Filled all his being, and he rose serene,
And journeyed forward with a calm content.
Southward he wended, and the landscape took
A warmer tone, the sky a richer light.
The gardens of the graceful, festooned with hops,
With their slight tendrils binding pole to pole,
Gave place to orchards and the trellised grape,
The hedges were enwreathed with trailing vines,
With clustering, shapely bunches, 'midst the growth
Of tangled greenery. The elm and ash
Less frequent grew than cactus, cypresses,
And golden-fruited or large-blossomed trees.
The far hills took the hue of the dove's breast,
Veiled in gray mist of olive groves. No more
He passed dark, moated strongholds of grim knights,
But terraces with marble-paven steps,
With fountains leaping in the sunny air,
And hanging gardens full of sumptuous bloom.
Then cloisters guarded by their dead gray walls,
Where now and then a golden globe of fruit
Or full-flushed flower peered out upon the road,
Nodding against the stone, and where he heard
Sometimes the voices of the chanting monks,
Sometimes the laugh of children at their play,
Amidst the quaint, old gardens. But these sights
Were in the suburbs of the wealthy towns.
For many a day through wildernesses rank,
Or marshy, feverous meadow-lands he fared,
The fierce sun smiting his close-muffled head;
Or 'midst the Alpine gorges faced the storm,
That drave adown the gullies melted snow
And clattering boulders from the mountain-tops.
At times, between the mountains and the sea
Fair prospects opened, with the boundless stretch
Of restless, tideless water by his side,
And their long wash upon the yellow sand.
Beneath this generous sky the country-folk
Could lead a freer life,-the fat, green fields
Offered rich pasturage, athwart the air
Rang tinkling cow-bells and the shepherds' pipes.
The knight met many a strolling troubadour,
Bearing his cithern, flute, or dulcimer;
And oft beneath some castle's balcony,
At night, he heard their mellow voices rise,
Blent with stringed instruments or tambourines,
Chanting some lay as natural as a bird's.
Then Nature stole with healthy influence
Into his thoughts; his love of beauty woke,
His Muse inspired dreams as in the past.
But after this came crueler remorse,
And he would tighten round his loins the rope,
And lie for hours beside some wayside cross,
And feel himself unworthy to enjoy
The splendid gift and privilege of life.
Then forth he hurried, spurred by his desire
To reach the City of the Seven Hills,
And gain his absolution. Some leagues more
Would bring him to the vast Campagna land,
When by a roadside well he paused to rest.
'T was noon, and reapers in the field hard by
Lay neath the trees upon the sun-scorched grass.
But from their midst one came towards the well,
Not trudging like a man forespent with toil,
But frisking like a child at holiday,
With light steps. The pilgrim watched him come,
And found him scarcely older than a child,
A large-mouthed earthen pitcher in his hand,
And a guitar upon his shoulder slung.
A wide straw hat threw all his face in shade,
But doffing this, to catch whatever breeze
Might stir among the branches, he disclosed
A charming head of rippled, auburn hair,
A frank, fair face, as lovely as a girls,
With great, soft eyes, as mild and grave as kine's.
Above his head he slipped the instrument,
And laid it with his hat upon the turf,
Lowered his pitcher down the well-head cool,
And drew it dripping upward, ere he saw
The watchful pilgrim, craving (as he thought)
The precious draught. 'Your pardon, holy sir,
Drink first,' he cried, 'before I take the jar
Unto my father in the reaping-field.'
Touched by the cordial kindness of the lad,
The pilgrim answered,-'Thanks, my thirst is quenched
From mine own palm.' The stranger deftly poised
The brimming pitcher on his head, and turned
Back to the reaping-folk, while Tannhauser
Looked after him across the sunny fields,
Clasping each hand about his waist to bear
The balanced pitcher; then, down glancing, found
The lad's guitar near by, and fell at once
To striking its tuned string with wandering hands,
And pensive eyes filled full of tender dreams.
'Yea, holy sir, it is a worthless thing,
And yet I love it, for I make it speak.'
The boy again stood by him and dispelled
His train of fantasies half sweet, half sad.
'That was not in my thought,' the knight replied.
'Its worth is more than rubies; whoso hath
The art to make this speak is raised thereby
Above all loneliness or grief or fear.'
More to himself than to the lad he spake,
Who, understanding not, stood doubtfully
At a loss for answer; but the knight went on:
'How came it in your hands, and who hath tuned
your voice to follow it.' 'I am unskilled,
Good father, but my mother smote its strings
To music rare.' Diverted from one theme,
Pleased with the winsome candor of the boy,
The knight encouraged him to confidence;
Then his own gift of minstrelsy revealed,
And told bright tales of his first wanderings,
When in lords' castles and kings' palaces
Men still made place for him, for in his land
The gift was rare and valued at its worth,
And brought great victory and sounding fame.
Thus, in retracing all his pleasant youth,
His suffering passed as though it had not been.
Wide-eyed and open-mouthed the boy gave ear,
His fair face flushing with the sudden thoughts
That went and came,-then, as the pilgrim ceased,
Drew breath and spake: 'And where now is your lyre?'
The knight with both hands hid his changed, white face,
Crying aloud, 'Lost! lost! forever lost!'
Then, gathering strength, he bared his face again
Unto the frightened, wondering boy, and rose
With hasty fear. 'Ah, child, you bring me back
Unwitting to remembrance of my grief,
For which I donned eternal garb of woe;
And yet I owe you thanks for one sweet hour
Of healthy human intercourse and peace.
'T is not for me to tarry by the way.
Farewell!' The impetuous, remorseful boy,
Seeing sharp pain on that kind countenance,
Fell at his feet and cried, 'Forgive my words,
Witless but innocent, and leave me not
Without a blessing.' Moved unutterably,
The pilgrim kissed with trembling lips his head,
And muttered, 'At this moment would to God
That I were worthy!' Then waved wasted hands
Over the youth in act of blessing him,
But faltered, 'Cleanse me through his innocence,
O heavenly Father!' and with quickening steps
Hastened away upon the road to Rome.
The noon was past, the reapers drew broad swaths
With scythes sun-smitten 'midst the ripened crop.
Thin shadows of the afternoon slept soft
On the green meadows as the knight passed forth.
He trudged amidst the sea of poisonous flowers
On the Campagna's undulating plain,
With Rome, the many-steepled, many-towered,
Before him regnant on her throne of hills.
A thick blue cloud of haze o'erhung the town,
But the fast-sinking sun struck fiery light
From shining crosses, roofs, and flashing domes.
Across his path an arching bridge of stone
Was raised above a shrunken yellow stream,
Hurrying with the light on every wave
Towards the great town and outward to the sea.
Upon the bridge's crest he paused, and leaned
Against the barrier, throwing back his cowl,
And gazed upon the dull, unlovely flood
That was the Tiber. Quaggy banks lay bare,
Muddy and miry, glittering in the sun,
And myriad insects hovered o'er the reeds,
Whose lithe, moist tips by listless airs were stirred.
When the low sun had dropped behind the hills,
He found himself within the streets of Rome,
Walking as in a sleep, where naught seemed real.
The chattering hubbub of the market-place
Was over now; but voices smote his ear
Of garrulous citizens who jostled past.
Loud cries, gay laughter, snatches of sweet song,
The tinkling fountains set in gardens cool
About the pillared palaces, and blent
With trickling of the conduits in the squares,
The noisy teams within the narrow streets,All these the stranger heard and did not hear,
While ringing bells pealed out above the town,
And calm gray twilight skies stretched over it.
Wide open stood the doors of every church,
And through the porches pressed a streaming throng.
Vague wonderment perplexed him, at the sight
Of broken columns raised to Jupiter
Beside the cross, immense cathedrals reared
Upon a dead faith's ruins; all the whirl
And eager bustle of the living town
Filling the storied streets, whose very stones
Were solemn monuments, and spake of death.
Although he wrestled with himself, the thought
Of that poor, past religion smote his heart
With a huge pity and deep sympathy,
Beyond the fervor which the Church inspired.
Where was the noble race who ruled the world,
Moulded of purest elements, and stuffed
With sternest virtues, every man a king,
Wearing the purple native in his heart?
These lounging beggars, stealthy monks and priests,
And womanish patricians filled their place.
Thus Tannhauser, still half an infidel,
Pagan through mind and Christian through the heart,
Fared thoughtfully with wandering, aimless steps,
Till in the dying glimmer of the day
He raised his eyes and found himself alone
Amid the ruined arches, broken shafts,
And huge arena of the Coliseum.
He did not see it as it was, dim-lit
By something less than day and more than night,
With wan reflections of the rising moon
Rather divined than seen on ivied walls,
And crumbled battlements, and topless columnsBut by the light of all the ancient days,
Ringed with keen eager faces, living eyes,
Fixed on the circus with a savage joy,
Where brandished swords flashed white, and human blood
Streamed o'er the thirsty dust, and Death was king.
He started, shuddering, and drew breath to see
The foul pit choked with weeds and tumbled stones,
The cross raised midmost, and the peaceful moon
Shining o'er all; and fell upon his knees,
Restored to faith in one wise, loving God.
Day followed day, and still he bode in Rome,
Waiting his audience with the Cardinal,
And from the gates, on pretext frivolous,
Passed daily forth,-his Eminency slept,Again, his Eminency was fatigued
By tedious sessions of the Papal court,
And thus the patient pilgrim was referred
Unto a later hour. At last the page
Bore him a missive with Filippo's seal,
That in his name commended Tannhauser
Unto the Pope. The worn, discouraged knight
Read the brief scroll, then sadly forth again,
Along the bosky alleys of the park,
Passed to the glare and noise of summer streets.
'Good God!' he muttered, 'Thou hast ears for all,
And sendest help and comfort; yet these men,
Thy saintly ministers, must deck themselves
With arrogance, and from their large delight
In all the beauty of the beauteous earth,
And peace of indolent, untempted souls,
Deny the hungry outcast a bare word.'
Yet even as he nourished bitter thoughts,
He felt a depth of clear serenity,
Unruffled in his heart beneath it all.
No outward object now had farther power
To wound him there, for the brooding o'er those deeps
Of vast contrition was boundless hope.
Yet not to leave a human chance untried,
He sought the absolution of the Pope.
In a great hall with airy galleries,
Thronged with high dignitaries of the Church,
He took his seat amidst the humblest friars.
Through open windows came sweet garden smells,
Bright morning light, and twittered song of birds.
Around the hall flashed gold and sunlit gems,
And splendid wealth of color,-white-stoled priests,
And scarlet cardinals, and bishops clad
In violet vestments,-while beneath the shade
Of the high gallery huddled dusky shapes,
With faded, travel-tattered, sombre smocks,
And shaven heads, and girdles of coarse hemp;
Some, pilgrims penitent like Tannhauser;
Some, devotees to kiss the sacred feet.
The brassy blare of trumpets smote the air,
Shrill pipes and horns with swelling clamor came,
And through the doorway's wide-stretched tapestries
Passed the Pope's trumpeters and mace-bearers,
His vergers bearing slender silver wands,
Then mitred bishops, red-clad cardinals,
The stalwart Papal Guard with halberds raised,
And then, with white head crowned with gold ingemmed,
The vicar of the lowly Galilean,
Holding his pastoral rod of smooth-hewn wood,
With censer swung before and peacock fans
Waved constantly by pages, either side.
Attended thus, they bore him to his throne,
And priests and laymen fell upon their knees.
Then, after pause of brief and silent prayer,
The pilgrims singly through the hall defiled,
To kiss the borders of the papal skirts,
Smiting their foreheads on the paven stone;
Some silent, abject, some accusing them
Of venial sins in accents of remorse,
Craving his grace, and passing pardoned forth.
Sir Tannhauser came last, no need for him
To cry 'Peccavi,' and crook suppliant knees.
His gray head rather crushed than bowed, his face
Livid and wasted, his deep thoughtful eyes,
His tall gaunt form in those unseemly weeds,
Spake more than eloquence. His hollow voice
Brake silence, saying, 'I am Tannhauser.
For seven years I lived apart from men,
Within the Venusberg.' A horror seized
The assembled folk; some turbulently rose;
Some clamored, 'From the presence cast him forth!'
But the knight never ceased his steady gaze
Upon the Pope. At last,-'I have not spoken
To be condemned,' he said, 'by such as these.
Thou, spiritual Father, answer me.
Look thou upon me with the eyes of Christ.
Can I through expiation gain my shrift,
And work mine own redemption?' 'Insolent man!'
Thundered the outraged Pope, 'is this the tone
Wherewith thou dost parade thy loathsome sin?
Down on thy knees, and wallow on the earth!
Nay, rather go! there is no ray of hope,
No gleam, through cycles of eternity,
For the redemption of a soul like thine.
Yea, sooner shall my pastoral rod branch forth
In leaf and blossom, and green shoots of spring,
Than Christ will pardon thee.' And as he spoke,
He struck the rod upon the floor with force
That gave it entrance 'twixt two loosened tiles,
So that it stood, fast-rooted and alone.
The knight saw naught, he only heard his judge
Ring forth his curses, and the court cry out
'Anathema!' and loud, and blent therewith,
Derisive laughter in the very hall,
And a wild voice that thrilled through flesh and heart:
Half-mad he clasped both hands upon his brow,
Amidst the storm of voices, till they died,
And all was silence, save the reckless song
Of a young bird upon a twig without.
Then a defiant, ghastly face he raised,
And shrieked, ''T is false! I am no longer thine!'
And through the windows open to the park,
Rushed forth, beyond the sight and sound of men.
By church nor palace paused he, till he passed
All squares and streets, and crossed the bridge of stone,
And stood alone amidst the broad expanse
Of the Campagna, twinkling in the heat.
He knelt upon a knoll of turf, and snapped
The cord that held the cross about his neck,
And far from him the leaden burden flung.
'O God! I thank Thee, that my faith in Thee
Subsists at last, through all discouragements.
Between us must no type nor symbol stand,
No mediator, were he more divine
Than the incarnate Christ. All forms, all priests,
I part aside, and hold communion free
Beneath the empty sky of noon, with naught
Between my nothingness and thy high heavensSpirit with spirit. O, have mercy, God!
Cleanse me from lust and bitterness and pride,
Have mercy in accordance with my faith.'
Long time he lay upon the scorching grass,
With his face buried in the tangled weeds.
Ah! who can tell the struggles of his soul
Against its demons in that sacred hour,
The solitude, the anguish, the remorse?
When shadows long and thin lay on the ground,
Shivering with fever, helpless he arose,
But with a face divine, ineffable,
Such as we dream the face of Israel,
When the Lord's wrestling angel, at gray dawn,
Blessed him, and disappeared.
Upon the marsh,
All night, he wandered, striving to emerge
From the wild, pathless plain,-now limitless
And colorless beneath the risen moon;
Outstretching like a sea, with landmarks none,
Save broken aqueducts and parapets,
And ruined columns glinting 'neath the moon.
His dress was dank and clinging with the dew;
A thousand insects fluttered o'er his head,
With buzz and drone; unseen cicadas chirped
Among the long, rank grass, and far and near
The fire-flies flickered through the summer air.
Vague thoughts and gleams prophetic filled his brain.
'Ah, fool!' he mused, 'to look for help from men.
Had they the will to aid, they lack the power.
In mine own flesh and soul the sin had birth,
Through mine own anguish it must be atoned.
Our saviours are not saints and ministers,
But tear-strung women, children soft of heart,
Or fellow-sufferers, who, by some chance word,
Some glance of comfort, save us from despair.
These I have found, thank heaven! to strengthen trust
In mine own kind, when all the world grew dark.
Make me not proud in spirit, O my God!
Yea, in thy sight I am one mass of sin,
One black and foul corruption, yet I know
My frailty is exceeded by thy love.
Neither is this the slender straw of hope,
Whereto I, drowning, cling, but firm belief,
That fills my inmost soul with vast content.
As surely as the hollow faiths of old
Shriveled to dust before one ray of Truth,
So will these modern temples pass away,
Piled upon rotten doctrines, baseless forms,
And man will look in his own breast for help,
Yea, search for comfort his own inward reins,
Revere himself, and find the God within.
Patience and patience!' Through the sleepless night
He held such thoughts; at times before his eyes
Flashed glimpses of the Church that was to be,
Sublimely simple in the light serene
Of future ages; then the vision changed
To the Pope's hall, thronged with high priests, who hurled
Their curses on him. Staggering, he awoke
Unto the truth, and found himself alone,
Beneath the awful stars. When dawn's first chill
Crept though the shivering grass and heavy leaves,
Giddy and overcome, he fell and slept
Upon the dripping weeds, nor dreamed nor stirred,
Until the wide plain basked in noon's broad light.
He dragged his weary frame some paces more,
Unto a solitary herdsman's hut,
Which, in the vagueness of the moonlit night,
Was touched with lines of beauty, till it grew
Fair as the ruined works of ancient art,
Now squat and hideous with its wattled roof,
Decaying timbers, and loose door wide oped,
Half-fallen from the hinge. A drowsy man,
Bearded and burnt, in shepherd habit lay,
Stretched on the floor, slow-munching, half asleep,
His frugal fare; for thus, at blaze of noon,
The shepherds sought a shelter from the sun,
Leaving their vigilant dogs beside their flock.
The knight craved drink and bread, and with respect
For pilgrim weeds, the Roman herdsman stirred
His lazy length, and shared with him his meal.
Refreshed and calm, Sir Tannhauser passed forth,
Yearning with morbid fancy once again
To see the kind face of the minstrel boy
He met beside the well. At set of sun
He reached the place; the reaping-folk were gone,
The day's toil over, yet he took his seat.
A milking-girl with laden buckets full,
Came slowly from the pasture, paused and drank.
From a near cottage ran a ragged boy,
And filled his wooden pail, and to his home
Returned across the fields. A herdsman came,
And drank and gave his dog to drink, and passed,
Greeting the holy man who sat there still,
Awaiting. But his feeble pulse beat high
When he descried at last a youthful form,
Crossing the field, a pitcher on his head,
Advancing towards the well. Yea, this was he,
The same grave eyes, and open, girlish face.
But he saw not, amidst the landscape brown,
The knight's brown figure, who, to win his ear,
Asked the lad's name. 'My name is Salvator,
To serve you, sir,' he carelessly replied,
With eyes and hands intent upon his jar,
Brimming and bubbling. Then he cast one glance
Upon his questioner, and left the well,
Crying with keen and sudden sympathy,
'Good Father, pardon me, I knew you not.
Ah! you have travelled overmuch: your feet
Are grimed with mud and wet, your face is changed,
Your hands are dry with fever.' But the knight:
'Nay, as I look on thee, I think the Lord
Wills not that I should suffer any more.'
'Then you have suffered much,' sighed Salvator,
With wondering pity. 'You must come with me;
My father knows of you, I told him all.
A knight and minstrel who cast by his lyre,
His health and fame, to give himself to God,Yours is a life indeed to be desired!
If you will lie with us this night, our home
Will verily be blessed.' By kindness crushed,
Wandering in sense and words, the broken knight
Resisted naught, and let himself be led
To the boy's home. The outcast and accursed
Was welcomed now by kindly human hands;
Once more his blighted spirit was revived
By contact with refreshing innocence.
There, when the morning broke upon the world,
The humble hosts no longer knew their guest.
His fleshly weeds of sin forever doffed,
Tannhauser lay and smiled, for in the night
The angel came who brings eternal peace.
Far into Wartburg, through all Italy,
In every town the Pope sent messengers,
Riding in furious haste; among them, one
Who bore a branch of dry wood burst in bloom;
The pastoral rod had borne green shoots of spring,
And leaf and blossom. God is merciful.
~ Emma Lazarus,
528:The Door Of Humility
We lead the blind by voice and hand,
And not by light they cannot see;
We are not framed to understand
The How and Why of such as He;
But natured only to rejoice
At every sound or sign of hope,
And, guided by the still small voice,
In patience through the darkness grope;
Until our finer sense expands,
And we exchange for holier sight
The earthly help of voice and hands,
And in His light behold the Light.
Let there be Light! The self-same Power
That out of formless dark and void
Endued with life's mysterious dower
Planet, and star, and asteroid;
That moved upon the waters' face,
And, breathing on them His intent,
Divided, and assigned their place
To, ocean, air, and firmament;
That bade the land appear, and bring
Forth herb and leaf, both fruit and flower,
Cattle that graze, and birds that sing,
Ordained the sunshine and the shower;
That, moulding man and woman, breathed
In them an active soul at birth
In His own image, and bequeathed
To them dominion over Earth;
That, by whatever is, decreed
His Will and Word shall be obeyed,
From loftiest star to lowliest seed;The worm and me He also made.
And when, for nuptials of the Spring
With Summer, on the vestal thorn
The bridal veil hung flowering,
A cry was heard, and I was born.
To be by blood and long descent
A member of a mighty State,
Whose greatness, sea-girt, but unpent
By ocean, makes the world more great;
That, ranging limitless, hath won
A Rule more wide than that of Rome,
And, journeying onward with the sun,
In every zone hath found a home;
That, keeping old traditions fast,
Still hails the things that are to be,
And, firmly rooted in the Past,
On Law hath grafted Liberty;That is a birthright nobler far
Than princely claim or Right Divine
From far-off rapine, wanton war,
And I could feel this birthright mine.
And not the lowliest hand that drives
Or share or loom, if so it be
Of British strain, but thence derives
A patent of nobility.
The guiding of the infant years
Onward to good, away from guile,
A mother's humanising tears,
A father's philosophic smile;
Refining beauty, gentle ways,
The admonitions of the wise,
The love that watches, helps, and prays,
And pities, but doth ne'er despise;
An ancient Faith, abiding hope,
The charity that suffers long,
But flames with sacred zeal to cope
With man's injustice, nature's wrong;
Melodious leisure, learnëd shelf,
Discourse of earnest, temperate mind,
The playful wit that of itself
Flashes, but leaves no wound behind;
The knowledge gleaned from Greece and Rome,
From studious Teuton, sprightly Gaul,
The lettered page, the mellow tome,
And poets' wisdom more than all;These, when no lips severe upbraid,
But counsel rather than control,
In budding boyhood lend their aid
To sensibility of soul.
But, more than mentor, mother, sire,
Can lend to shape the future man
With help of learning or of lyre,
Of ancient rule, or modern plan,
Is that which with our breath we bring
Into the world, we know not whence,
That needs nor care nor fostering,
Because an instinct and a sense.
And days and years are all forgot
When Nature's aspect, growth, and grace,
And veering moods, to me were not
The features of the Loved One's face.
cloud whose shadow skims the lake,
shimmering haze of summer noon,
voice of April in the brake,
silence of the mounting moon,
Swaying of bracken on the hill,
The murmur of the vagrant stream,
These motions of some unseen Will,
These babblings of some heavenly dream,
Seemed tokens of divine desire
To hold discourse with me, and so
To touch my lips with hallowed fire,
And tell me things I ought to know.
I gazed and listened, all intent,
As to the face and voice of Fate,
But what they said, or what they meant,
I could surmise not, nor translate.
They did but lure me to unrest,
Unanswered questioning, longings vain,
As when one scans some palimpsest
No erudition can explain;
But left me with a deep distaste
For common speech, that still did seem
More meaningless than mountain waste,
Less human than the far-off stream.
So that a stranger in the land
Wherein I moved, where'er I went,
I dwelt, whom none could understand,
Or exorcise my discontent.
And I to them, and they to me
Seemed from two different planets come,
And, save to flower and wild-bird's glee,
My heart was deaf, my soul was dumb.
But slowly dawned a happier time
When I began to apprehend,
And catch, as in some poet's rhyme,
The intimations of a friend;
When Nature spake no unknown tongue,
But language kindred to my thought,
Till everything She said, I sung,
In notes unforced, in words unsought.
And I to Her so closely drew,
The seasons round, in mind and mood,
I felt at length as if we knew
Self-same affection, self-same feud:
That both alike scorned worldly aim,
Profit, applause, parade, and pride,
Whereby the love of generous fame
And worthy deeds grows petrified.
I did as yet not understand
Nature is far more vast than I,
Deep as the ocean, wide as land,
And overarching as the sky;
And but responded to my call,
And only felt and fed my need,
Because She doth the same for all
Who to her pity turn and plead.
Shall man have mind, and Nature none,
Shall I, not she, have soul and heart?
Nay, rather, if we be not one,
Each is of each the counterpart.
She too may have within her breast
A conscience, if not like to yours,
A sense of rightness ill at rest,
Long as her waywardness endures.
And hence her thunder, earthquakes, hail,
Her levin bolts, her clouds' discharge:
She sins upon a larger scale,
Because She is herself more large.
Hence, too, when She hath pierced with pain
The heart of man, and wrecked his years,
The pity of the April rain,
And late repentance of her tears.
She is no better, worse, than we;
We can but say she seems more great,
That half her will, like ours, is free,
And half of it is locked in Fate.
Nor need we fear that we should err
Beyond our scope in reasoning thus,That there must be a God for Her,
If that there be a God for us.
The chiming of the Sabbath bell,
The silence of the Sabbath fields,
Over the hamlet cast a spell
To which the gracious spirit yields.
Sound is there none of wheel or wain,
Husht stands the anvil, husht the forge,
No shout is heard in rustic lane,
No axe resounds in timbered gorge.
No flail beats time on granary floor,
The windmill's rushing wings are stayed,
And children's glee rings out no more
From hedgerow bank or primrose glade.
The big-boned team that firm and slow
Draw yoked, are free to couch or stray;
The basking covey seem to know
None will invade their peace to-day.
And speckless swains, and maidens neat,
Through rustic porch, down cottage stair,
Demurely up the village street
Stream onward to the House of Prayer.
They kneel as they were taught to kneel
In childhood, and demand not why,
But, as they chant or answer, feel
A vague communion with the sky.
But when the impetuous mind is spurred
To range through epochs great but gone,
And, heedless of dogmatic word,
With fearless ardour presses on,
Confronting pulpit, sceptre, shrine,
With point by Logic beaten out,
And, questioning tenets deemed divine
With human challenge, human doubt,
Hoists Reason's sail, and for the haze
Of ocean quits Tradition's shore,
Awhile he comes, and kneels, and prays,
Then comes and kneels, but prays no more;
And only for the love he bears
To those who love him, and who reared
His frame to genuflexion, shares
In ritual, vain, if still revered.
His Gods are many or are none,
Saturn and Mithra, Christ and Jove,
Consorting, as the Ages run,
With Vestal choir or Pagan drove.
Abiding still by Northern shores,
He sees far off on Grecian coast
Veiled Aphrodite, but adores
Minerva and Apollo most.
Beauty of vision, voice, and mind,
Enthrall him so, that unto him
All Creeds seem true, if he but find
Siren, or saint, or seraphim.
And thus once more he dwells apart,
His inward self enswathed in mist,
Blending with poet's pious heart
The dreams of pagan Hedonist.
If Beauty be the Spirit's quest,
Its adoration, creed, and shrine,
Wherein its restlessness finds rest,
And earthly type of the Divine,
Must there for such not somewhere be
A blending of all beauteous things
In some one form wherein we see
The sum of our imaginings?
The smile on mountain's musing brow,
Sunrise and sunset, moon and star,
Wavelets around the cygnet's prow,
Glamour anear and charm afar;
The silence of the silvery pool,
Autumn's reserve and Summer's fire,
Slow vanishings of Winter's rule
To free full voice of April's choir;The worshippers of Beauty find
In maiden form, and face, and tress;
Faint intimations of her mind
And undulating loveliness.
Bound, runnels, bound, bound on, and flow!
Sing, merle and mavis, pair and sing!
Gone is the Winter, fled the snow,
And all that lives is flushed with Spring.
Harry the woods, young truant folk,
For flowers to deck your cottage sills,
And, underneath my orchard oak,
Cluster, ye golden daffodils!
Unfettered by domestic vow,
Cuckoo, proclaim your vagrant loves,
And coo upon the self-same bough,
Inseparable turtle-doves.
Soar, laverock, soar on song to sky,
And with the choir of Heaven rejoice!
You cannot be more glad than I,
Who feel Her gaze, and hear Her voice:
Who see Her cheek more crimson glow,
And through Her veins love's current stream,
And feel a fear She doth but know
Is kin to joy and dawning dream.
Bound, rivulets, bound, bound on, and flow!
Sing, merle and mavis, pair and sing!
Gone from the world are want and woe,
And I myself am one with Spring.
They err who say that Love is blind,
Or, if it be, 'tis but in part,
And that, if for fair face it find
No counterpart in mind and heart,
It dwells on that which it beholds,
Fair fleshly vision void of soul,
Deeming, illusioned, this enfolds,
Longing's fulfilment, end, and whole.
Were such my hapless carnal lot,
I too might evanescent bliss
Embrace, fierce-fancied, fast forgot,
Then leave for some fresh loveliness.
But April gaze, and Summer tress,
With something of Autumnal thought,
In Her seem blent to crown and bless
A bond I long in dreams have sought.
She looks as though She came to grace
The earth, from world less soiled than this,
Around her head and virgin face
Halo of heavenly holiness.
He who hath roamed through various lands,
And, wheresoe'er his steps are set,
The kindred meaning understands
Of spire, and dome, and minaret;
By Roman river, Stamboul's sea,
In Peter's or Sophia's shrine,
Acknowledges with reverent knee
The presence of the One Divine;
Who, to the land he loves so well
Returning, towards the sunset hour
Wends homeward, feels yet stronger spell
In lichened roof and grey church-tower;
Round whose foundations, side by side,
Sleep hamlet wit and village sage,
While loud the blackbird cheers his bride
Deep in umbrageous Vicarage.
Was it that sense which some aver
Foreshadows Fate it doth not see,
That gave unwittingly to Her
The name, for ever dear to me,
Borne by that tearful Mother whom,
Nigh unto Ostia's shelving sand,
Augustine laid in lonely tomb,
Ere sailing for his Afric land?
But I at least should have foreseen,
When Monica to me had grown
Familiar word, that names may mean
More than by word and name is shown;
That nought can keep two lives apart
More than divorce 'twixt mind and mind,
Even though heart be one with heart;Alas! Alas! Yes, Love is blind.
How could I think of jarring Creeds,
And riddles that unread remain,
Or ask if Heaven's indulgence heeds
Broils born of man's polemic brain,
And pause because my venturous mind
Had roamed through tracks of polar thought,
Whence mightiest spirits turn back blind,
Since finding not the thing they sought,
When Love, with luring gifts in hand,
Beauty, refinement, smile, caress,
Heart to surmise and understand,
And crowning grace of holiness,
Stood there before me, and, with gaze
I had been purblind not to see,
Said, ``I to you will, all my days,
Give what you yearn to give to me''?
Must both then sorrow, while we live,
Because, rejoicing, I forgot
Something there was I could not give,
Because, alas! I had it not.
She comes from Vicarage Garden, see!
Radiant as morning, lithe and tall,
Fresh lilies in her hand, but She
The loveliest lily of them all.
The thrushes in their fluting pause,
The bees float humming round her head,
Earth, air, and heaven shine out because
They hear her voice, and feel her tread.
Up in the fretted grey church-tower,
That rustic gaze for miles can see,
The belfry strikes the silvery hour,
Announcing her propinquity.
And I who, fearful to be late,
Passed long since through the deerpark pale,
And loitered by the churchyard gate,
Once more exclaim, ``Hail! loved one! hail!''
We pass within, and up the nave,
Husht, because Heaven seems always there,
Wend choirward, where, devoutly grave,
She kneels, to breathe a silent prayer.
She takes the flowers I too have brought,
Blending them deftly with her own,
And ranges them, as quick as thought,
Around the white-draped altar-throne.
How could she know my gaze was not
On things unseen, but fixed on Her,
That, as She prayed, I all forgot
The worship in the worshipper?While She beheld, as in a glass,
The Light Divine, that I but sought
Sight of her soul?-Alas! Alas!
Love is yet blinder than I thought.
Who hath not seen a little cloud
Up from the clear horizon steal,
And, mounting lurid, mutter loud
Premonitory thunder-peal?
Husht grows the grove, the summer leaf
Trembles and writhes, as if in pain,
And then the sky, o'ercharged with grief,
Bursts into drenching tears of rain.
I through the years had sought to hide
My darkening doubts from simple sight.
'Tis sacrilegious to deride
Faith of unquestioning neophyte.
And what, methought, is Doubt at best?
A sterile wind through seeded sedge
Blowing for nought, an empty nest
That lingers in a leafless hedge.
Pain, too, there is we should not share
With others lest it mar their joy;
There is a quiet bliss in prayer
None but the heartless would destroy.
But just as Love is quick divined
From heightened glow or visage pale,
The meditations of the Mind
Disclose themselves through densest veil.
And 'tis the unloving and least wise
Who through life's inmost precincts press,
And with unsympathetic eyes
Outrage our sacred loneliness.
Then, when their sacrilegious gaze
The mournful void hath half surmised,
To some more tender soul they raise
The veil of ignorance it prized.
`What though I write farewell I could
Not utter, lest your gaze should chide,
'Twill by your love be understood
My love is still, dear, at your side.
``Nor must we meet to speak goodbye,
Lest that my Will should lose its choice,
And conscience waver, for then I
Should see your face and hear your voice.
``But, when you find yourself once more,
Come back, come back and look for me,
Beside the little lowly door,
The Doorway of Humility.''
There! Peace at last! The far-off roar
Of human passion dies away.
``Welcome to our broad shade once more,''
The waning woodlands seem to say:
The music of the vagrant wind,
That wandered aimlessly, is stilled;
The songless branches all remind
That Summer's glory is fulfilled.
The fluttering of the falling leaves
Dimples the leaden pool awhile;
So Age impassively receives
Youth's tale of troubles with a smile.
Thus, as the seasons steal away,
How much is schemed, how little done,
What splendid plans at break of day!
What void regrets at set of sun!
The world goes round, for you, for me,
For him who sleeps, for him who strives,
And the cold Fates indifferent see
Crowning or failure of our lives.
Then fall, ye leaves, fade, summer breeze!
Grow, sedges, sere on every pool!
Let each old glowing impulse freeze,
Let each old generous project cool!
It is not wisdom, wit, nor worth,
Self-sacrifice nor friendship true,
Makes venal devotees of earth
Prostrate themselves and worship you.
The consciousness of sovran powers,
The stubborn purpose, steadfast will,
Have ever, in this world of ours,
Achieved success, achieve it still.
Farewell, ye woods! No more I sit;
Great voices in the distance call.
If this be peace, enough of it!
I go. Fall, unseen foliage, fall!
Nay, but repress rebellious woe!
In grief 'tis not that febrile fool,
Passion, that can but overthrow,
But Resignation, that should rule.
In patient sadness lurks a gift
To purify the life it stings,
And, as the days move onward, lift
The lonely heart to loftier things;
Bringing within one's ripening reach
The sceptre of majestic Thought,
Wherefrom one slowly learns to teach
The Wisdom to oneself it taught.
And unto what can man aspire,
On earth, more worth the striving for,
Than to be Reason's loftier lyre,
And reconciling monitor;
To strike a more resounding string
And deeper notes of joy and pain,
Than such as but lamenting sing,
Or warble but a sensuous strain:
So, when my days are nearly sped,
And my last harvest labours done,
That I may have around my head
The halo of a setting sun.
Yet even if be heard above
Such selfish hope, presumptuous claim,
Better one hour of perfect love
Than an eternity of Fame!
Where then for grief seek out the cure?
What scenes will bid my smart to cease?
High peaks should teach one to endure,
And lakes secluded bring one peace.
Farewell awhile, then, village bells,
Autumnal wood and harvest wain!
And welcome, as it sinks or swells,
The music of the mighty main,
That seems to say, now loud, now low,
Rising or falling, sweet or shrill,
``I pace, a sentry, to and fro,
To guard your Island fortress still.''
The roses falter on their stalk,
The late peach reddens on the wall,
The flowers along the garden walk
Unheeded fade, unheeded fall.
My gates unopened drip with rain,
The wolf-hound wends from floor to floor,
And, listening for my voice in vain,
Waileth along the corridor.
Within the old accustomed place
Where we so oft were wont to be,
Kneeling She prays, while down her face
The fruitless tears fall silently.
Rain, wind, and rain. The writhing lake
Scuds to and fro to scape their stroke:
The mountains veil their heads, and make
Of cloud and mist a wintry cloak.
Through where the arching pinewoods make
Dusk cloisters down the mountain side,
The loosened avalanches take
Valeward their way, with death for guide,
And toss their shaggy manes and fling
To air their foam and tawny froth,
From ledge and precipice bound and spring,
With hungry roar and deepening wrath;
Till, hamlet homes and orchards crushed,
And, rage for further ravin stayed,
They slumber, satiated, husht,
Upon the ruins they have made.
I rise from larch-log hearth, and, lone,
Gaze on the spears of serried rain,
That faster, nigher, still are blown,
Then stream adown the window pane.
The peasant's goatskin garments drip,
As home he wends with lowered head,
Shakes off the drops from lid and lip,
Then slinks within his châlet shed.
The cattle bells sound dull and hoarse,
The boats rock idly by the shore;
Only the swollen torrents course
With faster feet and fuller roar.
Mournful, I shape a mournful song,
And ask the heavens, but ask in vain,
``How long, how long?'' Ah! not so long
As, in my heart, rain, wind, and rain.
I ask the dark, the dawn, the sun,
The domeward-pointing peaks of snow,
Lofty and low alike, but none
Will tell me what I crave to know.
My mind demands, ``Whence, Whither, Why?''
From mountain slope and green defile,
And wait the answer. The replyA far-off irresponsive smile.
I ask the stars, when mortals sleep,
The pensive moon, the lonely winds;
But, haply if they know, they keep
The secret of secluded minds.
Shall I in
Where in
Where in
vain, then, strive to find,
towards merely fancied goal?
the lily lurks the mind,
the rose discern the soul?
More mindless still, stream, pasture, lake,
The mountains yet more heartless seem,
And life's unceasing quest and ache
Only a dream within a dream.
We know no more, though racked with thought
Than he who, in yon châlet born,
Gives not the riddle, Life, a thought,
But lays him down and sleeps till morn.
Sometimes he kneels; I cannot kneel,
So suffer from a wider curse
Than Eden's outcasts, for I feel
An exile in the universe.
The rudeness of his birth enures
His limbs to every season's stings,
And, never probing, so endures
The sadness at the heart of things.
When lauwine growls, and thunder swells,
Their far-off clamour sounds to me
But as the noise of clanging bells
Above a silent sanctuary.
It is their silence that appals,
Their aspect motionless that awes,
When searching spirit vainly calls
On the effect to bare the Cause.
I get no answer, near or far;
The mountains, though they soar so high,
And scale the pathless ether, are
No nearer unto God than I.
There dwells nor mystery nor veil
Round the clear peaks no foot hath trod;
I, gazing on their frontage pale,
See but the waning ghost of God.
Is Faith then but a drug for sleep,
And Hope a fondly soothing friend
That bids us, when it sees us weep,
Wait for the End that hath no end?
Then do I hear voice unforgot
Wailing across the distance dim,
``Think, dear! If God existeth not,
Why are you always seeking Him?''
Like glowing furnace of the forge,
How the winds rise and roar, as they
Up twisting valley, craggy gorge,
Seek, and still seek, to storm their way;
Then, baffled, up the open slope
With quickening pulses scale and pant,
Indomitably bent to cope
With bristling fronts of adamant.
All through the day resounds the strife,
Then doth at sunset hour subside:
So the fierce passions of our life
Slowly expire at eventide.
By Nature we are ne'er misled;
We see most truly when we dream.
A singer wise was he who said,
``Follow the gleam! Follow the gleam!''
I dreamed, last night, again I stood,
Silent, without the village shrine,
While She in modest maidenhood
Left, fondly clasped, her hand in mine.
And, with a face as cerecloth white,
And tears like those that by the bier
Of loved one lost make dim the sight,
She poured her sorrows in mine ear.
``I love your voice, I love your gaze,
But there is something dearer still,
The faith that kneels, the hope that prays,
And bows before the Heavenly Will.
``Not where hills rise, or torrents roll,
Seek Him, nor yet alone, apart;
He dwells within the troubled soul,
His home is in the human heart.
``Withal, the peaceful mountains may
'Twixt doubt and yearning end the strife:
So ponder, though you cannot pray,
And think some meaning into life:
``Nor like to those that cross the main
To wander witless through strange land,
Hearing unmastered tongues, disdain
The speech they do not understand.
``Firm stands my faith that they who sound
The depths of doubt Faith yet will save:
They are like children playing round
A still remembered mother's grave;
``Not knowing, when they wax more old,
And somewhat can her vision share,
She will the winding-sheet unfold,
And beckon them to evening prayer.''
Then, with my hand betwixt her hands,
She laid her lips upon my brow,
And, as to one who understands,
Said, ``Take once more my vestal vow.
``No other gaze makes mine to glow,
No other footstep stirs my heart,
To me you only dearer grow,
Dearer and nearer, more apart.
``Whene'er you come with humble mind,
The little Door stands open wide,
And, bending low, you still will find
Me waiting on the other side.''
Her silence woke me. . . . To your breast
Fold me, O sleep! and seal mine ears;
That She may roam through my unrest
Till all my dreams are drenched with tears!
Why linger longer, subject, here,
Where Nature sits and reigns alone,
Inspiring love not, only fear,
Upon her autocratic throne?
Her edicts are the rigid snow,
The wayward winds, the swaying branch;
She hath no pity to bestow,
Her law the lawless avalanche.
Though soon cascades will bound and sing,
That now but drip with tears of ice,
And upland meadows touched by Spring
Blue gentian blend with edelweiss,
Hence to the Land of youthful dreams,
The Land that taught me all I know.
Farewell, lone mountain-peaks and streams;
Yet take my thanks before I go.
You gave me shelter when I fled,
But sternly bade me stem my tears,
Nor aimless roam with rustling tread
'Mong fallen leaves of fruitless years.
Upon the topmost wheel-track steep,
The parting of two nations' ways,
Athwart stone cross engraven deep,
The name ``Italia'' greets the gaze!
I trembled, when I saw it first,
With joy, my boyish longings fed,
The headspring of my constant thirst,
The altar of my pilgrim tread.
Now once again the magic word,
So faintly borne to Northern home,
Sounds like a silvery trumpet heard
Beneath some universal dome.
The forests soften to a smile,
A smile the very mountains wear,
Through mossy gorge and grassed defile
Torrents race glad and debonair.
From casement, balcony and door,
Hang golden gourds, droops tear-tipped vine,
And sun-bronzed faces bask before
Thin straw-swathed flasks of last year's wine.
Unyoked, the patient sleek-skinned steers
Take, like their lords, no heed of time.
Hark! now the evening star appears,
Ave Maria belfries chime.
The maidens knit, and glance, and sing,
With glowing gaze 'neath ebon tress,
And, like to copse-buds sunned by Spring,
Seem burgeoning into tenderness.
On waveless lake where willows weep,
The Borromean Islands rest
As motionless as babe asleep
Upon a slumbering Mother's breast.
O Land of sunshine, song, and Love!
Whether thy children reap or sow,
Of Love they chant on hills above,
Of Love they sing in vale below.
But what avail the love-linked hands,
And love-lit eyes, to them that roam
Passionless through impassioned lands,
Since they have left their heart at home!
Among my dreams, now known as dreams
In this my reawakened life,
I thought that by historic streams,
Apart from stress, aloof from strife,
By rugged paths that twist and twine
Through olive slope and chesnut wood
Upward to mediaeval shrine,
Or high conventual brotherhood,
Along the mountain-curtained track
Round peaceful lake where wintry bands
Halt briefly but to bivouac
Ere blustering on to Northern lands;Through these, through all I first did see,
With me to share my raptures none,
That nuptialled Monica would be
My novice and companion:
That we should float from mere to mere,
And sleep within some windless cove,
With nightingales to lull the ear,
From ilex wood and orange grove;
Linger at hamlets lost to fame,
That still wise-wandering feet beguile,
To gaze on frescoed wall or frame
Lit by Luini's gracious smile.
Now, but companioned by my pain,
Among each well-remembered scene
I can but let my Fancy feign
The happiness that might have been;
Imagine that I hear her voice,
Imagine that I feel her hand,
And I, enamoured guide, rejoice
To see her swift to understand.
Alack! Imagination might
As lief with rustic Virgil roam,
Reverent, or, welcomed guest, alight
At Pliny's philosophic home;
Hear one majestically trace
Rome's world-wide sway from wattled wall,
And read upon the other's face
The omens of an Empire's fall.
Like moonlight seen through forest leaves,
She shines upon me from afar,
What time men reap the ripened sheaves,
And Heaven rains many a falling star.
I gaze up to her lofty height,
And feel how far we dwell apart:
O if I could, this night, this night,
Fold her full radiance to my heart!
But She in Heaven, and I on earth,
Still journey on, but each alone;
She, maiden Queen of sacred birth,
Who with no consort shares her throne.
What if She ever thought She saw
The self within myself prefer
Communion with the silent awe
Of far-off mountains more than Her;
That Nature hath the mobile grace
To make life with our moods agree,
And so had grown the Loved One's face,
Since it nor checked nor chided me;
Or from the tasks that irk and tire
I sought for comfort from the Muse,
Because it grants the mind's desire
All that familiar things refuse.
How vain such thought! The face, the form,
Of mountain summits but express,
Clouded or clear, in sun or storm,
Feebly Her spirit's loftiness.
Did I explore from pole to pole,
In Nature's aspect I should find
But faint reflections of Her soul,
Dim adumbrations of Her mind.
O come and test with lake, with stream,
With mountain, which the stronger be,
Thou, my divinest dearest dream,
My Muse, and more than Muse, to me!
They tell me that Jehovah speaks
In silent grove, on lonely strand,
And summit of the mountain peaks;
Yet there I do not understand.
The stars, disdainful of my thought,
Majestic march toward their goal,
And to my nightly watch have brought
No explanation to my soul.
The truth I seek I cannot find,
In air or sky, on land or sea;
If the hills have their secret mind,
They will not yield it up to me:
Like one who lost mid lonely hills
Still seeks but cannot find his way,
Since guide is none save winding rills,
That seem themselves, too, gone astray.
And so from rise to set of sun,
At glimmering dawn, in twilight haze,
I but behold the face of One
Who veils her face, and weeps, and prays.
What know I that She doth not know?
What I know not, She understands:
With heavenly gifts She overflows,
While I have only empty hands.
O weary wanderer! Best forego
This questioning of wind and wave.
For you the sunshine and the snow,
The womb, the cradle, and the grave.
How blest, when organ concords swell,
And anthems are intoned, are they
Who neither reason nor rebel,
But meekly bow their heads and pray.
And such the peasants mountain-bred,
Who hail to-day with blithe accord
Her Feast Who to the Angel said,
``Behold the Handmaid of the Lord!''
Downward they wind from pastoral height,
Or hamlet grouped round shattered towers,
To wend to shrine more richly dight,
And bring their gift of wilding flowers;
Their gifts, their griefs, their daily needs,
And lay these at Her statue's base,
Who never, deem they, intercedes
Vainly before the Throne of Grace.
Shall I, because I stand apart,
A stranger to their pious vows,
Scorn their humility of heart
That pleads before the Virgin Spouse,
Confiding that the Son will ne'er,
If in His justice wroth with them,
Refuse to harken to Her prayer
Who suckled Him in Bethlehem?
Of all the intercessors born
By man's celestial fancy, none
Hath helped the sorrowing, the forlorn,
Lowly and lone, as She hath done.
The maiden faithful to Her shrine
Bids demons of temptation flee,
And mothers fruitful as the vine
Retain their vestal purity.
Too trustful love, by lust betrayed,
And by cold worldlings unforgiven,
Unto Her having wept and prayed,
Faces its fate, consoled and shriven.
The restless, fiercely probing mind
No honey gleans, though still it stings.
What comfort doth the spirit find
In Reason's endless reasonings?
They have no solace for my grief,
Compassion none for all my pain:
They toss me like the fluttering leaf,
And leave me to the wind and rain.
If Conscience be God's Law to Man,
Then Conscience must perforce arraign
Whatever falls beneath the ban
Of that allotted Suzerain.
And He, who bids us not to swerve,
Whither the wayward passions draw,
From its stern sanctions, must observe
The limits of the self-same Law.
Yet, if obedient Conscience scan
The sum of wrongs endured and done
Neither by act nor fault of Man,
They rouse it to rebellion.
Life seems of life by life bereft
Through some immitigable curse,
And Man sole moral being left
In a non-moral Universe.
My Conscience would my Will withstand,
Did Will project a world like this:
Better Eternal vacuum still,
Than murder, lust, and heartlessness!
If Man makes Conscience, then being good
Is only being worldly wise,
And universal brotherhood
A comfortable compromise.
O smoke of War! O blood-steeped sod!
O groans of fratricidal strife!
Who will explain the ways of God,
That I may be at peace with life!
The moral riddle 'tis that haunts,
Primeval and unending curse,
Racking the mind when pulpit vaunts
A Heaven-created Universe.
Yet whence came Life, and how begin?
Rolleth the globe by choice or chance?
Dear Lord! Why longer shut me in
This prison-house of ignorance!
City acclaimed ere Dante's days
Fair, and baptized in field of flowers,
Once more I scan with tender gaze
Your glistening domes, your storied towers.
I feel as if long years had flown
Since first with eager heart I came,
And, girdled by your mountain zone,
Found you yet fairer than your fame.
It was the season purple-sweet
When figs are plump, and grapes are pressed,
And all your sons with following feet
Bore a dead Poet to final rest.
You seemed to fling your gates ajar,
And softly lead me by the hand,
Saying, ``Behold! henceforth you are
No stranger in the Tuscan land.''
And though no love my love can wean
From native crag and cradling sea,
Yet Florence from that hour hath been
More than a foster-nurse to me.
When mount I terraced slopes arrayed
In bridal bloom of peach and pear,
While under olive's phantom shade
Lupine and beanflower scent the air,
The wild-bees hum round golden bay,
The green frog sings on fig-tree bole,
And, see! down daisy-whitened way
Come the slow steers and swaying pole.
The fresh-pruned vine-stems, curving, bend
Over the peaceful wheaten spears,
And with the glittering sunshine blend
Their transitory April tears.
O'er wall and trellis trailed and wound,
Hang roses blushing, roses pale;
And, hark! what was that silvery sound?
The first note of the nightingale.
Curtained, I close my lids and dream
Of Beauty seen not but surmised,
And, lulled by scent and song, I seem
Immortally imparadised.
When from the deep sweet swoon I wake
And gaze past slopes of grape and grain,
Where Arno, like some lonely lake,
Silvers the far-off seaward plain,
I see celestial sunset fires
That lift us from this earthly leaven,
And darkly silent cypress spires
Pointing the way from hill to Heaven.
Then something more than mortal steals
Over the wavering twilight air,
And, messenger of nightfall, peals
From each crowned peak a call to prayer.
And now the last meek prayer is said,
And, in the hallowed hush, there is
Only a starry dome o'erhead,
Propped by columnar cypresses.
Re-roaming through this palaced town,
I suddenly, 'neath grim-barred pile,
Catch sight of Dante's awful frown,
Or Leonardo's mystic smile;
Then, swayed by memory's fancy, stroll
To where from May-day's flaming pyre
Savonarola's austere soul
Went up to Heaven in tongues of fire;
Or Buonarroti's plastic hand
Made marble block from Massa's steep
Dawn into Day at his command,
Then plunged it into Night and Sleep.
No later wanderings can dispel
The glamour of the bygone years;
And, through the streets I know so well,
I scarce can see my way for tears.
A sombre shadow seems to fall
On comely altar, transept fair;
The saints are still on frescoed wall,
But who comes thither now for prayer?
Men throng from far-off stranger land,
To stare, to wonder, not to kneel,
With map and guide-book in their hand
To tell them what to think and feel.
They scan, they prate, they marvel why
The figures still expressive glow,
Oblivious they were painted by
Adoring Frà Angelico.
Did Dante from his tomb afar
Return, his wrongs redressed at last,
And see you, Florence, as you are,
Half alien to your gracious Past,
Finding no Donatello now,
No reverent Giotto 'mong the quick,
To glorify ascetic vow
Of Francis or of Dominic;
Self-exiled by yet sterner fate
Than erst, he would from wandering cease,
And, ringing at monastic gate,
Plead, ``I am one who craves for peace.''
And what he sought but ne'er could find,
Shall I, less worthy, hope to gain,
The freedom of the tranquil mind,
The lordship over loss and pain?
More than such peace I found when I
Did first, in unbound youth, repair
To Tuscan shrine, Ausonian sky.
I found it, for I brought it there.
Yet Art brings peace, itself is Peace,
And, as I on these frescoes gaze,
I feel all fretful tumults cease
And harvest calm of mellower days.
For Soul too hath its seasons. Time,
That leads Spring, Summer, Autumn, round,
Makes our ephemeral passions chime
With something permanent and profound.
And, as in Nature, April oft
Strives to revert to wintry hours,
But shortly upon garth and croft
Re-sheds warm smiles and moistening showers,
Or, for one day, will Autumn wear
The gayer garments of the Spring,
And then athwart the wheatfields bare
Again her graver shadows fling;
So, though the Soul hath moods that veer,
And seem to hold no Rule in awe,
Like the procession of the year,
It too obeys the sovran Law.
Nor Art itself brings settled peace,
Until the mind is schooled to know
That gusts subside and tumults cease
Only in sunset's afterglow.
Life's contradictions vanish then,
Husht thought replacing clashing talk
Among the windy ways of men.
'Tis in the twilight Angels walk.
The last warm gleams of sunset fade
From cypress spire and stonepine dome,
And, in the twilight's deepening shade,
Lingering, I scan the wrecks of Rome.
Husht the Madonna's Evening Bell;
The steers lie loosed from wain and plough;
The vagrant monk is in his cell,
The meek nun-novice cloistered now.
Pedant's presumptuous voice no more
Vexes the spot where Caesar trod,
And o'er the pavement's soundless floor
Come banished priest and exiled God.
The lank-ribbed she-wolf, couched among
The regal hillside's tangled scrubs,
With doting gaze and fondling tongue
Suckles the Vestal's twin-born cubs.
Yet once again Evander leads
Æneas to his wattled home,
And, throned on Tiber's fresh-cut reeds,
Talks of burnt Troy and rising Rome.
From out the tawny dusk one hears
The half-feigned scream of Sabine maids,
The rush to arms, then swift the tears
That separate the clashing blades.
The Lictors with their fasces throng
To quell the Commons' rising roar,
As Tullia's chariot flames along,
Splashed with her murdered father's gore.
Her tresses free from band or comb,
Love-dimpled Venus, lithe and tall,
And fresh as Fiumicino's foam,
Mounts her pentelic pedestal.
With languid lids, and lips apart,
And curving limbs like wave half-furled,
Unarmed she dominates the heart,
And without sceptre sways the world.
Nerved by her smile, avenging Mars
Stalks through the Forum's fallen fanes,
Or, changed of mien and healed of scars,
Threads sylvan slopes and vineyard plains.
With waves of song from wakening lyre
Apollo routs the wavering night,
While, parsley-crowned, the white-robed choir
Wind chanting up the Sacred Height,
Where Jove, with thunder-garlands wreathed,
And crisp locks frayed like fretted foam,
Sits with his lightnings half unsheathed,
And frowns against the foes of Rome.
You cannot kill the Gods. They still
Reclaim the thrones where once they reigned,
Rehaunt the grove, remount the rill,
And renovate their rites profaned.
Diana's hounds still lead the chase,
Still Neptune's Trident crests the sea,
And still man's spirit soars through space
On feathered heels of Mercury.
No flood can quench the Vestals' Fire;
The Flamen's robes are still as white
As ere the Salii's armoured choir
Were drowned by droning anchorite.
The saint may seize the siren's seat,
The shaveling frown where frisked the Faun;
Ne'er will, though all beside should fleet,
The Olympian Presence be withdrawn.
Here, even in the noontide glare,
The Gods, recumbent, take their ease;
Go look, and you will find them there,
Slumbering behind some fallen frieze.
But most, when sunset glow hath paled,
And come, as now, the twilight hour,
In vesper vagueness dimly veiled
I feel their presence and their power.
What though their temples strew the ground,
And to the ruin owls repair,
Their home, their haunt, is all around;
They drive the cloud, they ride the air.
And, when the planets wend their way
Along the never-ageing skies,
``Revere the Gods'' I hear them say;
``The Gods are old, the Gods are wise.''
Build as man may, Time gnaws and peers
Through marble fissures, granite rents;
Only Imagination rears
Imperishable monuments.
Let Gaul and Goth pollute the shrine,
Level the altar, fire the fane:
There is no razing the Divine;
The Gods return, the Gods remain.
Christ is arisen. The place wherein
They laid Him shows but cerements furled,
And belfry answers belfry's din
To ring the tidings round the world.
Grave Hierarchs come, an endless band,
In jewelled mitre, cope embossed,
Who bear Rome's will to every land
In all the tongues of Pentecost.
Majestic, along marble floor,
Walk Cardinals in blood-red robe,
Martyrs for Faith and Christ no more,
Who gaze as though they ruled the globe.
With halberds bare and doublets slashed,
Emblems that war will never cease,
Come martial guardians, unabashed,
And march afront the Prince of Peace.
Then, in his gestatorial Chair
See Christ's vicegerent, bland, benign,
To crowds all prostrate as in prayer
Lean low, and make the Holy Sign.
Then trumpets shrill, and organ peals,
Throughout the mighty marble pile,
Whileas a myriad concourse kneels
In dense-packed nave and crowded aisle.
Hark to the sudden hush! Aloft
From unseen source in empty dome
Swells prayerful music silvery-soft,
Borne from far-off celestial Home.
Then, when the solemn rite is done,
The worshippers stream out to where
Dance fountains glittering in the sun,
While expectation fills the air.
Now on high balcony He stands,
And-save for the Colonna curse,Blesses with high-uplifted hands
The City and the Universe.
Christ is arisen! But scarce as when,
On the third day of death and gloom,
Came ever-loving Magdalen
With tears and spices to His tomb.
The Tiber winds its sluggish way
Through niggard tracts whence Rome's command
Once cast the shadow of her sway,
O'er Asian city, Afric sand.
Nor even yet doth She resign
Her sceptre. Still the spell is hers,
Though she may seem a rifled shrine
'Mid circumjacent sepulchres.
One after one, they came, they come,
Gaul, Goth, Savoy, to work their will;
She answers, when She most seems dumb,
``I wore the Crown, I wear it still.
``From Jove I first received the gift,
I from Jehovah wear it now,
Nor shall profane invader lift
The diadem from off my brow.
``The Past is mine, and on the Past
The Future builds; and Time will rear
The next strong structure on the last,
Where men behold but shattered tier.
``The Teuton hither hies to teach,
To prove, disprove, to delve and probe.
Fool! Pedant! Does he think to reach
The deep foundations of the globe?''
For me, I am content to tread
On Sabine dust and Gothic foe.
Leave me to deepening silent dread
Of vanished Empire's afterglow.
In this Imperial wilderness
Why rashly babble and explore?
O, let me know a little less,
So I may feel a little more!
For upward of one thousand years,
Here men and women prayed to Jove,
With smiles and incense, gifts and tears,
In secret shrine, or civic grove;
And, when Jove did not seem to heed,
Sought Juno's mediatorial power,
Or begged fair Venus intercede
And melt him in his amorous hour.
Sages invoked Minerva's might;
The Poet, ere he struck the lyre,
Prayed to the God of Song and Light
To touch the strings with hallowed fire.
With flaming herbs were altars smoked
Sprinkled with blood and perfumed must,
And gods and goddesses invoked
To second love or sanction lust.
And did they hear and heed the prayer,
Or, through that long Olympian reign,
Were they divinities of air
Begot of man's fantastic brain?
In Roman halls their statues still
Serenely stand, but no one now
Ascends the Capitolian Hill,
To render thanks, or urge the vow.
Through now long centuries hath Rome
Throned other God, preached other Creed,
That here still have their central home,
And feed man's hope, content his need.
Against these, too, will Time prevail?
No! Let whatever gestates, be,
Secure will last the tender tale
From Bethlehem to Calvary.
Throughout this world of pain and loss,
Man ne'er will cease to bend his knee
To Crown of Thorns, to Spear, to Cross,
And Doorway of Humility.
If Reason be the sole safe guide
In man implanted from above,
Why crave we for one only face,
Why consecrate the name of Love?
Faces there are no whit less fair,
Yet ruddier lip, more radiant eye,
Same rippling smile, same auburn hair,
But not for us. Say, Reason, why.
Why bound our hearts when April pied
Comes singing, or when hawthorn blows?
Doth logic in the lily hide,
And where's the reason in the rose?
Why weld our keels and launch our ships,
If Reason urge some wiser part,
Kiss England's Flag with dying lips
And fold its glories to the heart?
In this gross world we touch and see,
If Reason be no trusty guide,
For world unseen why should it be
The sole explorer justified?
The homing swallow knows its nest,
Sure curves the comet to its goal,
Instinct leads Autumn to its rest,
And why not Faith the homing soul?
Is Reason so aloof, aloft,
It doth not 'gainst itself rebel,
And are not Reason's reasonings oft
By Reason proved unreasonable?
He is perplexed no more, who prays,
``Hail, Mary Mother, full of grace!''
O drag me from Doubt's endless maze,
And let me see my Loved One's face!
``Upon this rock!'' Yet even here
Where Christian God ousts Pagan wraith,
Rebellious Reason whets its spear,
And smites upon the shield of Faith.
On sacred mount, down seven-hilled slopes,
Fearless it faces foe and friend,
Saying to man's immortal hopes,
``Whatso began, perforce must end.''
Not men alone, but gods too, die;
Fanes are, like hearths, left bare and lone;
This earth will into fragments fly,
And Heaven itself be overthrown.
Why then should Man immortal be?
He is but fleeting form, to fade,
Like momentary cloud, or sea
Of waves dispersed as soon as made.
Yet if 'tis Force, not Form, survives,
Meseems therein that one may find
Some comfort for distressful lives;
For, if Force ends not, why should Mind?
Is Doubt more forceful than Belief?
The doctor's cap than friar's cowl?
O ripeness of the falling leaf!
O wisdom of the moping owl!
Man's Mind will ever stand apart
From Science, save this have for goal
The evolution of the heart,
And sure survival of the Soul.
The Umbilicum lonely stands
Where once rose porch and vanished dome;
But he discerns who understands
That every road may lead to Rome.
Enthroned in Peter's peaceful Chair,
The spiritual Caesar sways
A wider Realm of earth and air
Than trembled at Octavian's gaze.
His universal arms embrace
The saint, the sinner, and the sage,
And proffer refuge, comfort, grace
To tribulation's pilgrimage.
Here scientific searchers find
Precursors for two thousand years,
Who in a drouthy world divined
Fresh springs for human doubts and fears.
Here fair chaste Agnes veils her face
From prowlers of the sensual den,
And pity, pardon, and embrace
Await repentant Magdalen.
Princess and peasant-mother wend
To self-same altar, self-same shrine,
And Cardinal and Patriarch bend
Where lepers kneel, and beggars whine.
And is there then, in my distress,
No road, no gate, no shrine, for me?
The answer comes, ``Yes, surely, yes!
The Doorway of Humility.''
O rival Faiths! O clamorous Creeds!
Would you but hush your strife in prayer,
And raise one Temple for our needs,
Then, then, we all might worship there.
But dogma new with dogma old
Clashes to soothe the spirit's grief,
And offer to the unconsoled
Polyglot Babel of Belief!
The billows roll, and rise, and break,
Around me; fixedly shine the stars
In clear dome overhead, and take
Their course, unheeding earthly jars.
Yet if one's upward gaze could be
But stationed where the planets are,
The star were restless as the sea,
The sea be tranquil as the star.
Hollowed like cradle, then like grave,
Now smoothly curved, now shapeless spray,
Withal the undirected wave
Forms, and reforms, and knows its way.
Then, waters, bear me on where He,
Ere death absolved at Christian font,
Removed Rome's menaced majesty
Eastward beyond the Hellespont.
Foreseeing not what Fate concealed,
But Time's caprice would there beget,
That Cross would unto Crescent yield,
Caesar and Christ to Mahomet.
Is it then man's predestined state
To search for, ne'er to find, the Light?
Arise, my Star, illuminate
These empty spaces of the Night!
Last night I heard the cuckoo call
Among the moist green glades of home,
And in the Chase around the Hall
Saw the May hawthorn flower and foam.
Deep in the wood where primrose stars
Paled before bluebell's dazzling reign,
The nightingale's sad sobbing bars
Rebuked the merle's too joyful strain.
The kine streamed forth from stall and byre,
The foal frisked round its mother staid,
The meads, by sunshine warmed, took fire,
And lambs in pasture, bleating, played.
The uncurbed rivulets raced to where
The statelier river curled and wound,
And trout, of human step aware,
Shot through the wave without a sound.
Adown the village street, as clear
As in one's wakeful mid-day hours,
Beheld I Monica drawing near,
Her vestal lap one crib of flowers.
Lending no look to me, she passed
By the stone path, as oft before,
Between old mounds Spring newly grassed,
And entered through the Little Door.
Led by her feet, I hastened on,
But, ere my feverish steps could get
To the low porch, lo! Morning shone
On Moslem dome and minaret!
Now Vesper brings the sunset hour,
And, where crusading Knighthood trod,
Muezzin from his minaret tower
Proclaims, ``There is no God but God!''
Male God who shares his godhead with
No Virgin Mother's sacred tear,
But finds on earth congenial kith
In wielders of the sword and spear:
Male God who on male lust bestows
The ruddy lip, the rounded limb,
And promises, at battle's close,
Houri, not saint nor seraphim.
Swift through the doubly-guarded stream,
Shoots the caïque 'neath oarsmen brisk,
While from its cushioned cradle gleam
The eyes of yashmaked odalisque.
Unchanged adown the changing years,
Here where the Judas blossoms blaze,
Against Sophia's marble piers
The scowling Muslim lean and gaze;
And still at sunset's solemn hour,
Where Christ's devout Crusader trod,
Defiant from the minaret's tower
Proclaim, ``There is no God but God!''
Three rival Rituals. One revered
In that loved English hamlet where,
With flowers in Vicarage garden reared,
She decks the altar set for prayer:
Another, where majestic Rome,
With fearless Faith and flag unfurled
'Gainst Doubt's ephemeral wave and foam,
Demands obedience from the world.
The third, where now I stand, and where
Two hoary Continents have met,
And Islam guards from taint and tare
Monistic Creed of Mahomet.
Yet older than all three, but banned
To suffer still the exile's doom
From shrine where Turkish sentries stand,
And Christians wrangle round Christ's tomb.
Where then find Creed, divine or dead,
All may embrace, and none contemn?Remember Who it was that said,
``Not here, nor at Jerusalem!''
To Acrocorinth's brow I climb,
And, lulled in retrospective bliss,
Descry, as through the mists of time,
Faintly the far Acropolis.
Below me, rivers, mountains, vales,
Wide stretch of ancient Hellas lies:
Symbol of Song that never fails,
Parnassus communes with the skies.
I linger, dream-bound by the Past,
Till sundown joins time's deep abyss,
Then skirt, through shadows moonlight-cast,
Lone strand of sailless Salamis,
Until Eleusis gleams through dawn,
Where, though a suppliant soul I come,
The veil remains still unwithdrawn,
And all the Oracles are dumb.
So onward to the clear white Light,
Where, though the worshippers be gone,
Abides on unmysterious height
The calm unquestioning Parthenon.
Find I, now there I stand at last,
That naked Beauty, undraped Truth,
Can satisfy our yearnings vast,
The doubts of age, the dreams of youth;
That, while we ask, in futile strife,
From altar, tripod, fount, or well,
Form is the secret soul of life,
And Art the only Oracle;
That Hera and Athena, linked
With Aphrodite, hush distress,
And, in their several gifts distinct,
Withal are Triune Goddesses?
That mortal wiser then was He
Who gave the prize to Beauty's smile,
Divides his gifts among the Three,
And thuswise baffles Discord's guile?
But who is wise? The nobler twain,
Who the restraining girdle wear,
Contend too often all in vain
With sinuous curve and frolic hair.
Just as one sees in marble, still,
Pan o'er Apollo's shoulder lean,
Suggesting to the poet's quill
The sensual note, the hint obscene.
Doth then the pure white Light grow dim,
And must it be for ever thus?
Listen! I hear a far-off Hymn,
Veni, Creator, Spiritus!
The harvest of Hymettus drips
As sweet as when the Attic bees
Swarmed round the honey-laden lips
Of heavenly-human Sophocles.
The olives are as green in grove
As in the days the poets bless,
When Pallas with Poseidon strove
To be the City's Patroness.
The wine-hued main, white marble frieze,
Dome of blue ether over all,
One still beholds, but nowhere sees
Panathenaic Festival.
O'erhead, no Zeus or frowns or nods,
Olympus none in air or skies;
Below, a sepulchre of Gods,
And tombs of dead Divinities.
Yet, are they dead? Still stricken blind,
Tiresiaslike, are they that see,
With bold uncompromising mind,
Wisdom in utter nudity;
Experiencing a kindred fate
With the First Parents of us all,
Jehovah thrust through Eden's Gate,
When Knowledge brought about their Fall.
Hath Aphrodite into foam,
Whence She first flowered, sunk back once more,
And doth She nowhere find a home,
Or worship, upon Christian shore?
Her shrine is in the human breast,
To find her none need soar or dive.
Goodness or Loveliness our quest,
The ever-helpful Gods survive.
Hellas retorts, when Hebrew gibes
At Gods of levity and lust,
``God of Judaea's wandering tribes
Was jealous, cruel, and unjust.''
Godhead, withal, remains the same,
And Art embalms its symbols still;
As Poets, when athirst for Fame,
Still dream of Aganippe's rill.
Why still pursue a bootless quest,
And wander heartsore farther East,
Because unanswered, south or west,
By Pagan seer or Christian priest?
Brahma and Buddha, what have they
To offer to my shoreless search?
``Let Contemplation be,'' they say,
``Your ritual, Nothingness your Church.
``Passion and purpose both forsake,
Echoes from non-existent wall;
We do but dream we are awake,
Ourselves the deepest dream of all.
``We dream we think, feel, touch, and see,
And what these are, still dreaming, guess,
Though there is no Reality
Behind their fleeting semblances.''
Thus the East answers my appeal,
Denies, and so illudes, my want.
Alas! Could I but cease to feel,
Brahma should be my Hierophant.
But, hampered by my Western mind,
I cannot set the Spirit free
From Matter, but Illusion find,
Of all, the most illusory.
The morning mists that hid the bay
And curtained mountains fast asleep,
Begin to feel the touch of day,
And roll from off both wave and steep.
In floating folds they curve and rise,
Then slowly melt and merge in air,
Till high above me glow the skies,
And cloudless sunshine everywhere.
Parnassus wears nor veil nor frown,
Windless the eagle wings his way,
As I from Delphi gaze adown
On Salona and Amphissa.
It was the sovran Sun that drew
Aloft and scattered morning haze,
And now fills all the spacious blue
With its own glorifying rays.
And, no less sovran than the sun,
Imagination brings relief
Of morning light to shadows dun,
To heart's distress, and spirit's grief.
Parnassus boasts no loftier peak
Than Poet's heavenward song; which, though
Harbouring among the sad and weak,
Lifteth aloft man's griefs below.
Though sun-bronzed Phocian maidens lave
Their kerchiefs in Castalia's spring,
The Muses linger round its wave,
And aid the pilgrim sent to sing.
And, listening there, I seem to hear
The unseen Oracle say, ``Be strong:
Subdue the sigh, repress the tear,
And let not sorrow silence Song.
``You now have learnt enough from pain;
And, if worse anguish lurk behind,
Breathe in it some unselfish strain,
And with grief's wisdom aid your kind.
``Who but of his own suffering sings,
Is like an eagle, robbed, distressed,
That vainly shrieks and beats its wings,
Because it cannot find its nest.
``Let male Imagination wed
The orphan, Sorrow, to console
Its virgin loneness, whence are bred
Serenity and self-control.
``Hence let the classic breezes blow
You to your Land beyond the sea,
That you may make, for others' woe,
Your own a healing melody;
``To wintry woe no more a slave,
But, having dried your April tears,
Behold a helpful harvest wave
From ridges of the fallow years.''
Rebuked thus by the stately Past,
Whose solemn choruses endure
Through voices new and visions vast,
And centuries of sepulture,
Because, serene, it never blinked
At sheen or shadow of the sun,
But Hades and Olympus linked
With Salamis and Marathon;
Which held despondency at bay
And, while revering Fate's decree,
Reconciled with majestic lay
Man to the Human Tragedy;
To Gods of every land I vowed,
Judaea, Hellas, Mecca, Rome,
No more to live by sorrow bowed,
But, wending backward to my home,
Thenceforth to muse on woe more wide
Than individual distress,
The loftier Muses for my guide,
Minerva for my monitress;
Nor yet to scorn the tender aid
Of Christian martyr, virgin, sage,
And, meekly pondering in the shade,
Proffer ripe counsel to my Age.
And, haply, since 'tis Song alone
Can baffle death, and conquer time,
Maiden unborn in days unknown,
Under the leaves of fragrant lime,
Scanning the verse that here is writ,
While cherishing some secret smart
Of love or loss, may glean from it
Some comfort for her weary heart;
And, gently warned, grave minds may own
The world hath more to bear than they,
And, while I dream 'neath mossy stone,
Repeat my name, and love my lay.
Scarce to the all-indwelling Power
That vow was uttered, ere there came
A messenger in boyhood's flower,
Winged with his search, his face aflame.
From Amphissa he straight had clomb,
Thridding that devious mountain land,
With letter from my far-off home,
And written by my Loved One's hand.
``Come to me where I drooping lie.
None yet have died of Love, they say:
Withal, I sometimes think that I
Have prayed and sighed my life away.
``I want your absolution, dear,
For whatso wrong I may have done;
My conscience waneth less severe,
In softness of the setting sun.
``'Twas I, 'twas I, far more than you,
That stood in need, as now I see,
Stooping, to enter meekly through
The Doorway of Humility.
``In vain I turn to Throne of Grace,
Where sorrows cease, and tears are dry;
I fain once more would see your face,
And hear your voice, before I die.''
The oak logs smoulder on my hearth,
Though round them hums no household talk;
The roses in the garden-garth
Hang mournfully on curving stalk.
My wolf-hound round me leaps and bays,
That wailed lost footsteps when I went:
He little knows the grief that weighs
On my return from banishment.
Half Autumn now, half Summer yet,
For Nature hath a human heart,
It seems as though they, having met,
To take farewell, are loth to part.
The splendour of the Year's decline
Hath not yet come. One still can see
Late honeysuckle intertwine
With Maiden's-Bower and briony.
The bracken-fronds, fast yellowing, tower
From out sere needles of the pine;
Now hawkweed blooms where foxgloves flower,
And bramble where once eglantine.
And, as I wend with hurrying feet
Across the park, along the lane
That leads unto the hamlet street,
And cradle of my bliss and bane,
In cottage plots on either side,
O'er mignonette and fragrant stock
Soar tiger-lilies lithe and tall,
And homely-sheltered hollyhock.
And when I reach the low grey wall
That skirts God's-acre on the hill,
I see, awaiting my recall,
The Little Door stand open still.
A dip, a slight descent, and then
Into the Vicarage Walk I passed;
It seemed as though the tongues of men
Had left it since I saw it last.
Round garden-plot, in westering sun,
Her agëd parents slowly stepped:
Her Mother had the face of one
Who oft hath prayed, and oft hath wept.
She wore the silent plaintive grace
Of Autumn just before its close,
And on her slowly fading face
The pathos of November rose.
With pitying gaze and accents kind,
``Go in,'' she said, ``and mount the stair;
And you through open door will find
That Monica awaits you there.''
I mounted. At half-open door
Pausing, I softly called her name,
As one would pause and halt before
Heaven's Gateway. But no answer came.
She lies, methought, in Sleep's caress,
So, passing in, I seemed to see,
So saintly white the vision, less
A chamber than a Sanctuary.
Vestured in white, on snow-white bed,
She lay, as dreaming something sweet,
Madonna lilies at her head,
Madonna lilies at her feet.
A thought, I did not dare to speak,``Is this the sleep of life or death?''
And, with my cheek against her cheek,
Listening, I seemed to hear her breath.
'Twas Love's last blindness not to see
Her sinless soul had taken wing
Unto the Land, if such there be,
Where saints adore, and Seraphs sing.
And yet I felt within my heart,
Though lids were closed and lips were dumb,
That, for Love's sake, her soul in part
Had lingered here, till I should come.
I kissed her irresponsive hand,
I laid my lips on her cold brow,
That She, like me, should understand
'Twas thus I sealed our nuptial vow.
And then I saw upon her breast
A something writ, she fain had said
Had I been near, to me addressed,
Which, kneeling down, I took and read.
``I prayed I might prolong my years
Till you could come and hush my sighs,
And dry my penitential tears;
But Heaven hath willed it otherwise:
``That I may expiate the wrong
By me inflicted on us both,
When, yet Love's novice, feebly strong,
I sinned against Love's sovran troth.
``Now Death, the mirror unto Life,
Shows me that nought should keep apart
Those who, though sore perplexed by strife
'Twixt Faith and Doubt, are one in heart.
``For Doubt is one with Faith when they,
Who doubt, for Truth's sake suffering live;
And Faith meanwhile should hope and pray,
Withholding not what Love can give.
``We lead the blind by voice and hand,
And not by light they cannot see;
We are not framed to understand
The How and Why of such as He,
``But natured only to rejoice
At every sound or sign of hope,
And, guided by the still small voice,
In patience through the darkness grope;
``Until our finer sense expands,
And we exchange for holier sight
The earthly help of voice and hands,
And in His light behold the Light.
``Had my poor Love but been more wise,
I should have ta'en you to my breast,
Striving to hush your plaintive cries,
And rock your Reason back to rest.
``But, though alone you now must tread
Where we together should have trod,
In loneliness you may be led,
Through faith in me, to Faith in God.
``With tranquil purpose, fervent mind,
Foster, while you abide on earth,
And humbly proffer to your kind,
The gift assigned to you at birth.
``As in the far-off boyish year
When did your singing voice awake,
Disinterestedly revere
And love it for its own great sake.
``And when life takes autumnal hues,
With fervent reminiscence woo
All the affections of the Muse,
And write the poem lived by you.
``And should, until your days shall end,
You still the lyric voice retain,
With its seductive music blend
A graver note, a loftier strain.
``While buoyant youth and manhood strong
Follow where Siren sounds entice,
The Deities of Love and Song,
Rapture and loveliness, suffice.
``But when decay, and pain, and loss,
Remind one of the Goal forgot,
And we in turn must bear the Cross,
The Pagan Gods can help us not.
``Nor need you then seek, far and near,
More sumptuous shrines on alien strand,
But with domestic mind revere
The Ritual of your native Land.
``The Little Door stands open wide,
And, if you meekly pass therethrough,
Though I no longer kneel inside,
I shall be hovering near to you.
``Farewell! till you shall learn the whole
Of what we here but see in part.
Now I to God commend my soul,
And unto you I leave my heart.''
I wended up the slope once more
To where the Church stands lone and still,
And passed beneath the Little Door,
My will the subject of Her will.
The sunset rays through pictured pane
Fell, fretted into weft and woof,
On transept, nave, and aisle, to wane
On column cold and vaulted roof.
Within the carven altar screen
Were lilies tall, and white, and fair,
So like to those I late had seen,
It seemed She must be sleeping there.
Mutely I knelt, with bended brow
And shaded eyes, but heart intent,
To learn, should any teach me now,
What Life, and Love, and Sorrow meant.
And there remained until the shroud
Of dusk foretold the coming night;
And then I rose, and prayed aloud,
``Let there be Light! Let there be Light!''
~ Alfred Austin,


   11 Fiction
   7 Poetry
   5 Occultism
   5 Integral Yoga
   3 Psychology
   1 Zen
   1 Philosophy
   1 Christianity
   1 Buddhism
   1 Alchemy

   18 Sri Aurobindo
   12 H P Lovecraft
   3 Carl Jung
   2 The Mother
   2 Satprem
   2 Aleister Crowley

   12 Lovecraft - Poems
   10 Savitri
   2 Mysterium Coniunctionis
   2 Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2E

01.02 - The Issue, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  Carried on canvas-strips of shimmering Time,
  The impunity of unborn Mights was hers.

01.03 - The Yoga of the King - The Yoga of the Souls Release, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  Above the golden Overmind's shimmering ridge.
  Even were caught as through a cunning veil

01.05 - The Yoga of the King - The Yoga of the Spirits Freedom and Greatness, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  A long road of shimmering discoveries.
  The worlds of a marvellous Unknown were near,

0 1961-07-28, #Agenda Vol 02, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   All at once, as I gaze above me, I glimpse something roseate; I draw nearer and discern what appears to be a shrub, as large as a tree, held fast to a blue reef. The denizens of the waters glide to and fro, myriad and diverse. Now I find myself standing upon fine, shining sand. I gaze about me in wonder. There are mountains and valleys, fantastic forests, strange flowers that could as well be animals, and fish that might be flowersno separation, no gap is there between stationary beings and mobile. Colors everywhere, brilliant and shimmering, or subdued, but always harmonious and refined. I walk upon the golden sands and contemplate all this beauty bathed in a soft, pale blue radiance, tiny, luminous spheres of red, green and gold circulating through it.
   How marvelous are the depths of the sea! Everywhere the presence of the One in whom all harmonies reside is felt!

0 1962-07-11, #Agenda Vol 03, #The Mother, #Integral Yoga
   You have few contacts with external realities. Your true life is there. It comes down a bit here (Mother points to the upper forehead), and goes like that (gesture above and around the head). It extends beyond your body, and is very active and steady. Then from time to time theres a cascade, a lovely, shimmering cascade (gesture). You know, like a luminous fountain. Its VERY pretty, showering down like raindrops. And then here (the upper forehead) it starts moving.
   Ah, its good, its interesting.

02.06 - The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Greater Life, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  Attracted to strange far-off shimmerings,
  Led by the fluting of a distant Player

02.07 - The Descent into Night, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
    Gloried in the shimmering rot of decadence,
    Or gave to a python Force persuasive speech

02.10 - The Kingdoms and Godheads of the Little Mind, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  Escaping over a wide and shimmering bridge,
  He came into a realm of early Light

02.14 - The World-Soul, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  In a far shimmering background of Mind-Space
  A glowing mouth was seen, a luminous shaft;

06.01 - The Word of Fate, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  Or, if my thought could trust this shimmering gaze,
  It would say thou hast not drunk from an earthly cup,

10.03 - The Debate of Love and Death, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  He glides through heaven shimmering in the moon;
  He is beauty carolling in the fields of sound;

1.03 - The Desert, #The Red Book Liber Novus, #unset, #Zen
  My faith is weak, my face is blind from all that shimmering blaze of the desert sun. The heat lies on me like lead. Thirst torments me, I dare not think how unendingly long my way is, and above all, I see nothing in front of me. But the soul answered, You speak as if you have still learned nothing. Can you not wait? Should everything fall into your lap ripe and finished? You are full, yes, you teem with intentions and desirousness! Do you still not know that the way to truth stands open only to those without intentions?
  I know that everything you say, Oh my soul, is also my thought. But I hardly live according to it. The soul said, How, tell

1.09 - A System of Vedic Psychology, #Vedic and Philological Studies, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  The successes of European science have cast the shadow of their authority & prestige over the speculations of European scholarship; for European thought is, in appearance, a serried army marching to world-conquest and we who undergo the yoke of its tyranny, we, who paralysed by that fascination and overborne by that domination, have almost lost the faculty of thinking for ourselves, receive without distinction all its camp followers or irregular volunteers as authorities to whom we must needs submit.We reflect in our secondh and opinions the weak parts of European thought equally with the strong; we do not distinguish between those of its ideas which eternal Truth has ratified and those which have merely by their ingenuity and probability captivated for a short season the human imagination. The greater part of the discoveries of European Science (its discoveries, not its intellectual generalisations) belong to the first category; the greater part of the conclusions of European scholarship to the second. The best European thought has itself no illusions on this score. One of the greatest of European scholars & foremost of European thinkers, Ernest Renan, after commencing his researches in Comparative Philology with the most golden & extravagant hopes, was compelled at the close of a life of earnest & serious labour, to sum up the chief preoccupation of his days in a formula of measured disparagement,petty conjectural sciences. In other words, no sciences at all; for a science built upon conjectures is as much an impossibility & a contradiction in terms as a house built upon water. Renans own writings bear eloquent testimony to the truth of his final verdict; those which sum up his scholastic research, read now like a mass of learned crudity, even the best of them no longer authoritative or valid; those which express the substance or shades of his lifes thinking are of an imperishable beauty & value. The general sentiment of European Science agrees with the experience of Renan and even shoots beyond it; in the vocabulary of German scientists the word Philologe, philologist, bears a sadly disparaging and contemptuous significance & so great is the sense among serious thinkers of the bankruptcy of Comparative Philology that many deny even the possibility of an etymological Science. There is no doubt an element of exaggeration in some of these views; but it is true that Comparative Philology, Comparative Mythology, ethnology, anthropology and their kindred sciences are largely a mass of conjectures,shifting intellectual quagmires in which we can find no sure treading. Only the airy wings of an ingenious imagination can bear us up on that shimmering surface and delude us with the idea that it is the soil which supports our movement & not the wings. There is a meagre but sound substratum of truth which will disengage itself some day from the conjectural rubbish; but the present stage of these conjectural sciences is no better but rather worse than the state of European chemistry in the days of Paracelsus.But we in India are under the spell of European philology; we are taken by its ingenuity, audacity & self-confidence, an ingenuity which is capable of giving a plausibility to the absurd and an appearance of body to the unsubstantial, an audacity which does not hesitate to erect the most imposing theories on a few tags of disconnected facts, a confidence which even the constant change of its own opinions cannot disconcert. Moreover, our natural disposition is to the intellectuality of the scholar; verbal ingenuities, recondite explanations, far-fetched glosses have long had a weight with us which the discontinuity of our old scientific activities and disciplined experimental methods of reaching subjective truth has exaggerated and our excessive addiction to mere verbal metaphysics strongly confirmed. It is not surprising that educated India should have tacitly or expressly accepted even in subjects of such supreme importance to us as the real significance of the Vedas and Upanishads, the half patronising, half contemptuous views of the European scholar.
  What are those views? They represent the Veda to us as a mass of naturalistic, ritualistic & astrological conceits, allegories & metaphors, crude & savage in the substance of its thought but more artificial & ingenious in its particular ideas & fancies than the most artificial, allegorical or Alexandrian poetry to be found in the worlds literaturea strange incoherent & gaudy jumble unparalleled by the early literature of any other nation,the result of a queer psychological mixture of an early savage with a modern astronomer & comparative mythologist.

11.01 - The Eternal Day The Souls Choice and the Supreme Consummation, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  Hides in its light of shimmering secrecies,
  Can there be heard the Eternal's firm command

1.37 - Death - Fear - Magical Memory, #Magick Without Tears, #Aleister Crowley, #Philosophy
  The period of my life which was the climax of my work on this subject is those weeks of Thaumaturgy on the Hudson River I fear the Magical Diary The Hermit of Aesopus Island is irretrievably lost when I was shown the Codex of the Tao Teh King from which my (still unpublished) translation is taken, and when the veil was no more than a shimmering, scintillating gossamer, translucent to the ineffable glory that glows behind it. For in those weeks I was able to remember and record a really considerable number of past lives. (I half believe, and hope, that the relevant passages were copied into one of my Cefalu diaries; but who will struggle through those still extant on the chance?)
  "But what about the intervals?" you ask, Shabash! Rem acu tetigisti.[65] - The Wizard Way, #Crowley - Poems, #Aleister Crowley, #Philosophy
  Lighting up the shimmering veil
  Maiden pure and aery frail

1f.lovecraft - At the Mountains of Madness, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Zen
   rose-colour of the western sky. Up toward this shimmering rim sloped
   the ancient table-land, the depressed course of the bygone river

1f.lovecraft - He, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Zen
   window above the shimmering tides where lanterns nodded and glided and
   deep horns bayed weird harmonies, and itself become a starry firmament

1f.lovecraft - In the Walls of Eryx, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Zen
   and the shimmering spectral scenery began to assume the aspect of
   solidity. When I did get wholly clear I looked at my watch and was

1f.lovecraft - Poetry and the Gods, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Zen
   with the shimmering of white saltant forms, and immemorial Ocean yields
   up curious sights beneath thin moons. The Gods are patient, and have

1f.lovecraft - The Disinterment, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Zen
   turrets rose spectrally in the shimmering radiance, and the black
   shadow cast on the beetling hillside appeared to shift and waver, as if

1f.lovecraft - The Festival, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Zen
   Then I saw the lurid shimmering of pale light, and heard the insidious
   lapping of sunless waters. Again I shivered, for I did not like the

1f.lovecraft - The Haunter of the Dark, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Zen
   section, and that shimmering, spire-crowned mound in the distance whose
   unknown streets and labyrinthine gables so potently provoked his fancy.
   shimmerings of cold purple haze. And beyond all else he glimpsed an
   infinite gulf of darkness, where solid and semi-solid forms were known

1f.lovecraft - The Horror at Martins Beach, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Zen
   the shimmering lane of reflected moonbeams, yet which seemed to subside
   before it reached the shore.

1f.lovecraft - The Mound, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Zen
   gleams of Altair and Vega, but the mystic shimmering of the Milky Way,
   as I looked out over the vast expanse of earth and sky in the direction

1f.lovecraft - The Shunned House, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Zen
   yellowish, shimmering exhalation rising from the nitrous pattern toward
   the yawning fireplace, I spoke to my uncle about the matter. He smiled
   yellowish, shimmering exhalation which had startled me on that rainy
   afternoon so many years before.

1f.lovecraft - The Tree on the Hill, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Zen
   startled and amazed. shimmering through a blue haze of distance were
   the Bitterroot Mountains! There is no other range of snow-capped peaks

1.lovecraft - Fungi From Yuggoth, #Lovecraft - Poems, #unset, #Zen
  And shimmering at the back of some vague dream.
  There were strange towers and curious lapping rivers,

1.mb - heat waves shimmering, #Basho - Poems, #Masho Basho, #unset
  object:1.mb - heat waves shimmering
  author class:Matsuo Basho
  heat waves shimmering
  one or two inches

1.rmr - Rememberance, #Rilke - Poems, #Rainer Maria Rilke, #Poetry
  of pictures and of shimmering gowns
  worn by women you conquered and lost.

1.whitman - Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, #Whitman - Poems, #unset, #Zen
  Had my eyes dazzled by the shimmering track of beams,
  Look'd at the fine centrifugal spokes of light around the shape of my

2.14 - The Unpacking of God, #Sex Ecology Spirituality, #Ken Wilber, #Philosophy
  Light that never dawns nor ceases. See the worlds arise and fall, never caught in time or turmoil, transparent images shimmering in the radiant Abyss. Watch the mountain walk on water, drink the Pacific in a single gulp, blink and a billion universes rise and fall, brea the out and create a Kosmos, brea the in and watch it dissolve.
  Let the ecstasy overflow and outshine the loveless self, driven mad with the torments of its self-embracing ways, hugging mightily samsara's spokes of endless agony, and sing instead triumphantly with Saint Catherine, "My being is God, not by simple participation, but by a true transformation of my Being. My me is God!" And let the joy sing with Dame Julian, "See! I am God! See! I am in all things! See! I do all things!" And let the joy shout with Hakuin, "This very body is the Body of Buddha! and this very land the Pure Land!"

3.04 - LUNA, #Mysterium Coniunctionis, #Carl Jung, #Psychology
  [218] Luna is thus the sum and essence of the metals natures, which are all taken up in her shimmering whiteness. She is multi-natured, whereas Sol has an exceptional nature as the seventh from the six spiritual metals. He is in himself nothing other than pure fire.362 This role of Luna devolves upon the anima, as she personifies the plurality of archetypes, and also upon the Church and the Blessed Virgin, who, both of lunar nature, gather the many under their protection and plead for them before the Sol iustitiae. Luna is the universal receptacle of all things, the first gateway of heaven,363 and William Mennens364 says that she gathers the powers of all the stars in herself as in a womb, so as then to bestow them on sublunary creatures.365 This quality seems to explain her alleged effect in the opus ad Lunam, when she gives the tincture the character and powers of all the stars. The Fragment from the Persian Philosophers says: With this tincture all the dead are revived, so that they live for ever, and this tincture is the first-created ferment,366 namely that to the moon,367 and it is the light of all lights and the flower and fruit of all lights,368 which lighteth all things.369
  [219] This almost hymn-like paean to the materia lapidis or the tincture refers in the first instance to Luna, for it is during her work of whitening that the illumination takes place. She is the mother in this art. In her water Sol is hidden like a fire370a parallel to the conception of Selene as the

3.11 - Spells, #Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2E, #unset, #Zen
    The highway spell creates a shimmering plane of force that acts as a magical conveyor for the priest. By standing at the forward edge of the 10 x 100 yard plane, the priest and as many followers as can fit onto the square can travel as outlined below.
    The highway travels 30 miles per hour (MV 88) over all terrains. The priest sets the height of the highway in a range from 1 foot to 100 yards above ground level. The highway moves as the priest wills; if the priest wishes to fix a destination in his mind, the highway will take the shortest route to that destination until the priest changes the course in his mind.

4.04 - Conclusion, #The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, #Carl Jung, #Psychology
  herself, shimmering and equivocal, in the Eleusinian cult, or
  rather to experience herself there and fill the celebrants with

4.04 - THE REGENERATION OF THE KING, #Mysterium Coniunctionis, #Carl Jung, #Psychology
  [388] The pregnancy diet described here is the equivalent of the cibatio, the feeding of the transformative substance. The underlying idea is that the material to be transformed had to be impregnated and saturated, either by imbibing the tincture, the aqua propria (its own water, the soul), or by eating its feathers or wings (volatile spirit), or its own tail (uroboros), or the fruit of the philosophical tree. Here it is peacocks flesh. The peacock is an allusion to the cauda pavonis (peacocks tail). Immediately before the albedo or rubedo98 all colours appear, as if the peacock were spreading his shimmering fan. The basis for this phenomenon may be the iridescent skin that often forms on the surface of molten metal (e.g., lead).99 The omnes colores are frequently mentioned in the texts as indicating something like totality. They all unite in the albedo, which for many alchemists was the climax of the work. The first part was completed when the various components separated out from the chaos of the massa confusa were brought back to unity in the albedo and all become one. Morally this means that the original state of psychic disunity, the inner chaos of conflicting part-souls which Origen likens to herds of animals,100 becomes the vir unus, the unified man. Eating the peacocks flesh is therefore equivalent to integrating the many colours (or, psychologically, the contradictory feeling-values) into a single colour, white. Nortons Ordinall of Alchimy says:
  For everie Colour whiche maie be thought,

4.1.01 - The Intellect and Yoga, #Letters On Yoga I, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
  It is an achievement to have got rid so rapidly and decisively of the shimmering mists and fogs which modern intellectualism takes for Light of Truth. The modern mind has so long and persistently wandered - and we with it - in that Valley of the False
  Glimmer that it is not easy for anyone to disperse its mists with the sunlight of clear vision so soon and entirely as has here been done. All that is said here about modern humanism and humanitarianism, the vain efforts of the sentimental idealist and the ineffective intellectual, about synthetic eclecticism and other kindred things is admirably clear-minded, it hits the target. It is not by - The Book of the Herald, #5.1.01 - Ilion, #unset, #Zen
  Domes like shimmering tongues of the crystal flames of the morning,
  Opalesque rhythm-line of tower-tops, notes of the lyre of the sungod.
  But from the peaks of Olympus and shimmering summits of Ida
  Gleaming and clanging the gods of the antique ages descended.

Appendix 4 - Priest Spells, #Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2E, #unset, #Zen
        Bow: The spell creates a shimmering, multi-layered short composite bow of rainbow hues. It is light and easy to pull, so that any character can use it without penalty for nonproficiency. It is magical: Each of its shimmering missiles is the equivalent of a +2 weapon, including attack and damage bonuses. Magic resistance can negate the effect of any missile fired from the bow. The bow fires seven missiles before disappearing. It can be fired up to four times per round. Each time a missile is fired, one hue leaves the bow, corresponding to the color of arrow that is released. Each color of arrow has the ability to cause double damage to certain creatures, as follows:
        The wall of fire spell brings forth an immobile, blazing curtain of magical fire of shimmering color--yellow-green or amber (different from the 4th-level wizard version).
        The spell creates an opaque sheet of flame up to one 20-foot square per level of the spellcaster, or a ring with a radius of up to 10 feet + 5 feet for every two levels of experience of the wizard, and 20 feet high.

Book of Imaginary Beings (text), #unset, #Arthur C Clarke, #Fiction
  The iridescence of my scarlet hide blends into the shimmering brightness of the desert sands. Through my nostrils I exhale the horror of the lonely places of the earth. I
  spit out pestilence. I consume armies when they venture

ENNEAD 03.02 - Of Providence., #Plotinus - Complete Works Vol 04, #Plotinus, #Christianity
  14. The order of the universe conforms to divine Intelligence without implying that on that account its author needed to go through the process of reasoning. Nevertheless, this order is so perfect that he who best knows how to reason would be astonished to see that even with reasoning one could not discover a plan wiser than that discovered as realized in particular natures, and that this plan better conforms to the laws of Intelligence than any that could result from reasoning. It can never, therefore, be proper to find fault with the Reason that produces all things because of any (alleged imperfections) of any natural object, nor to claim, for the beings whose existence has begun, the perfection of the beings whose existence had no beginning, and which are eternal, both in the intelligible1064 World, and in this sense-world. That would amount to wishing that every being should possess more good than it can carry, and to consider as insufficient the form it received. It would, for instance, amount to complaining, that man does not bear horns, and to fail to notice that, if Reason had to spread abroad everywhere, it was still necessary for something great to contain something less, that in everything there should be parts, and that these could not equal the whole without ceasing to be parts. In the intelligible World every thing is all; but here below each thing is not all things. The individual man does not have the same properties as the universal Man. For if the individual beings had something which was not individual, then they would be universal. We should not expect an individual being as such to possess the highest perfection; for then it would no longer be an individual being. Doubtless, the beauty of the part is not incompatible with that of the whole; for the more beautiful a part is, the more does it embellish the whole. Now the part becomes more beautiful on becoming similar to the whole, or imitating its essence, and in conforming to its order. Thus a ray (of the supreme Intelligence) descends here below upon man, and shines in him like a star in the divine sky. To imagine the universe, one should imagine a colossal statue79 that were perfectly beautiful, animated or formed by the art of Vulcan, whose ears, face and breast would be adorned with shimmering stars disposed with marvelous skill.62

The Dwellings of the Philosophers, #unset, #Arthur C Clarke, #Fiction
  the down are of a shimmering double-gilt which shows all the colors of the world; the big
  feathers are rosy red, azure, gold, silver, and of flame color; the neck is a choker made of the

The One Who Walks Away, #unset, #Arthur C Clarke, #Fiction
  streets the music beat faster, a shimmering of gong and tambourine, and the people went
  dancing, the procession was a dance. Children dodged in and out, their high calls rising like


--- Overview of verb shimmer

The verb shimmer has 2 senses (no senses from tagged texts)
1. shimmer ::: (shine with a weak or fitful light; "Beech leaves shimmered in the moonlight")
2. shimmer ::: (give off a shimmering reflection, as of silk)

IN WEBGEN [10000/28]

Wikipedia - The Shimmering Beast -- 1982 film
Rockman.EXE Movie: Hikari to Yami no Program -- -- Xebec -- 1 ep -- - -- Action Adventure Game Kids -- Rockman.EXE Movie: Hikari to Yami no Program Rockman.EXE Movie: Hikari to Yami no Program -- Deep in the dark recesses of the UnderNet, Forte sleeps as he drifts aimlessly. In this cybernetic graveyard, a pulsating power re-awakens Forte, alerting him to a dangerous being shortly ahead. A haunting face appears amidst a massive bright purple blob, laughing directly at Forte. Cursing him, Forte finds himself powerless as the blob takes form, and captures him within its grasp! -- Nearing the time of sunset, a peaceful city and its people go about their everyday business. Curious bystanders on a sidewalk glimpse a shimmering purple light, which suddenly expands into tall pillar that reaches up to the sky. Screams erupt from the people as the pillar of light takes flight, absorbing everything in its destructive path. A tower clock dings the hour of 4 o'clock as the pillar desintigrates, leaving behind a trail of cybernetic residue and utter emptyness. -- 'The Program of Light and Dark' -- -- (Source: Official Site) -- Movie - Mar 12, 2005 -- 3,827 7.21
The Shimmering Beast

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