NEW FULL DB (2.4M)
8 Donna Tartt
5 John Green
4 Liane Moriarty
4 Celeste Ng
3 Arthur Schopenhauer
2 Sri Aurobindo
2 Shelly Crane
2 Neil Gaiman
2 Moses Malone
2 Lionel Shriver
2 Jim Denney
2 Hannah Arendt
2 Eric Hoffer
2 Caitlyn Siehl
2 Bart Yates
2 Alexandra Bracken
*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***
1:Radio is the playground of coincidence. ~ Sarah Vowell
2:We are all the playground of angels and demons. ~ Alexis Hall
3:Consistency is the playground of dull minds. ~ Yuval Noah Harari
4:There is a mania in the playground for grabbing vaginas. ~ Zadie Smith
5:I haven't played Doctor Who since I was 9 on the playground. ~ Peter Capaldi
6:the years. Mike reminded Aidan of a school kid on the playground, ~ Kate Angell
7:I always enjoy the battle sequences. It's like going to the playground. ~ Drew Roy
8:Being an actor on a movie set is like going to the playground at recess. ~ Melissa Leo
9:My media considers the left media to be the bullies on the playground. ~ Andrew Breitbart
10:In reading, the mind is, in fact, only the playground of another's thoughts. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer
11:Can't we all just play nicely and leave the playground the way we found it, clean and safe? ~ Amber Valletta
12:Men are competent in groups that mimic the playground, incompetent in groups that mimic the family ~ Jane Smiley
13:I try to keep it positive and play it cool, shoot up the playground and tell the kids to stay in school. ~ Eminem
14:was being attacked by a flock of harpies that made the playground scene in The Birds look like a Disney movie. ~ Lisa Shearin
15:It's like, to me, acting is like a child walking in the park, the better the actor, the greater the playground he has. ~ Logan Lerman
16:You could hear the wind in the leaves, and on that wind traveled the screams of the kids on the playground in the distance. ~ John Green
17:Oh no! Don't drag us away from Antartica and take us to the playground of the rich and famous! Not that briar patch! -Max ~ James Patterson
18:When I was 15, they changed the playground rules because I was dominating everything and blocking everything that came my way. ~ Moses Malone
19:To his great and salutary shock, I picked him bodily off the playground structure, and threw him thirty feet down the field. ~ Jordan Peterson
20:To his great and salutary shock, I picked him bodily off the playground structure, and threw him thirty feet down the field. ~ Jordan B Peterson
21:Southend is a dormitory town for London. But it also had this thing of being the playground of the East End - a glamorous holiday town. ~ Helen Mirren
22:The screech of tyres, an almighty bang and a car exploded through the playground wall like a high-velocity bullet through a watermelon. ~ Kev Heritage
23:If I could be small again, Monique told me at the playground's fence, slurring her words and watching Caitlin sob, I'd want to have a friend like her. ~ E R Frank
24:Lots of things were there [in the seventies], in the social experience, but not quite named, lurking like a stranger on the edge of the playground. ~ Quentin S Crisp
25:Harper Grayson had seen lots of people burn on TV, everyone had, but the first person she saw burn for real was in the playground behind the school. Schools ~ Joe Hill
26:He said very little, but his eyes were eloquent; the clutch of his arms was eloquent. He was the playground of unspeakable emotions. These, you know, were real Magics. ~ H G Wells
27:It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities and talents. ~ Eric Hoffer
28:Even when I went to the playground, I never picked the best players. I picked guys with less talent, but who were willing to work hard and had the desire to be great. ~ Magic Johnson
29:I don't feel sorry for myself, because I'm living my dream. Even when I was a little boy I used to stand in the playground and pretend I was on 'Opportunity Knocks.' ~ John Barrowman
30:I've been fascinated by music for as long as I can remember. I was the kid on the playground in the third grade who would tell other kids about Paul Simon or Depeche Mode. ~ Josh Groban
31:I must apologise because I know all writers have memories of being on the outer because it's the children on the side of the playground who become the dangerous writers. ~ Thomas Keneally
32:When I yell at the dads drinking coffee and looking at their phones at the playground while their seven-year-olds play on the preschool monkey bars, I feel like I am fully alive. ~ Amy Poehler
33:On set, the playground for the character, how much it takes varies. Is it like ballet, is it like jazz? The content always lends itself to the form, and it's really not mathematics. ~ Paul Dano
34:The best thing about recess is that it doesn't matter if you are having trouble paying attention in class--suddenly, you are paying attention to a million things on the playground. ~ Lenore Look
35:Family life was wonderful. The streets were bleak. The playgrounds were bleak. But home was always warm. My mother and father had a great relationship. I always felt 'safe' there. ~ Robert Cormier
36:It's only in relatively recent years that Hollywood became the playground of multinational corporations which regard movies and TV shows as a minor irritant to their overall activity. ~ Peter Bart
37:Oh, I think, watching Magic, him being one of my... I'm one of his biggest fans, and just trying to emulate what he did, going out on the playground, and also playing with older guys. ~ Jason Kidd
38:You walk into the playgrounds in Shanghai and Beijing, and you see youngsters who are shorter, shaking and baking and having attitude. And Jeremy Lin is going to inspire all of them. ~ David Stern
39:I was on the playground all night. I ain't never go to parties or nothing. I'd get out of school at 3 and be out there playing until one in the morning with one streetlight. For real. ~ Moses Malone
40:I never knew what basketball was. I started playing on the playground. People used to laugh at me and joke at me because I was so tall and I didn't know the game and couldn't play it. ~ Patrick Ewing
41:I was informed of my trashiness on the playground by Madison Pendleton, a girl in a pink Target sweat suit who thought she was all that because her house had one and a half bathrooms. ~ Danielle Paige
42:Michael Jordan was a cultural icon that everybody on the playground wanted to be. The Bulls dynasty was a huge part of my childhood and it was the peak of my basketball interest as a kid. ~ Macklemore
43:The first truly autumnal day of the new season. Soft, pretty scarves looped necks, skinny jeans encased skinny and not-so-skinny thighs, spike-heeled boots tapped across the playground. ~ Liane Moriarty
44:I have no clue what happened to my best friend, the one who played with me on the playground when no one else would. But this Logan…” She gestured from my shoes on up. “This Logan can kiss my ass. ~ Lisa Kessler
45:Americans are opting out of public venues like the playground and the sidewalk for private venues like the healthclub and the mall. We're living our lives inside one form of corporation or another. ~ Robert D Kaplan
46:I'd violated the primary rule of junior and senior high-- don't get people talking about you too much. This was wearing the brightest shirt on the playground. This was Mom giving you a kiss in the lobby. ~ Darin Strauss
47:I was always a very quirky kid. I remember very early like fourth or fifth grade doing pratfalls to make my friends laugh, like falling on the ground on the playground and doing like bits and characters. ~ Busy Philipps
48:Sophistication isn't what you wear or who you know, or pushing people down to get you where you want to go... soon your gonna find stealing other people toys on the playground won't make you many friends... ~ Taylor Swift
49:Just as writers write the books they always wished they could read, Walt built the playground his inner child had always wanted to explore. Tom Sawyer Island was the tangible fulfillment of all his boyhood wishes. ~ Jim Denney
50:One time, as the cold wind blew and she kept watch over the playground, Aomame realized she believed in God. It was a sudden discovery, like finding, with the soles of your feet, solid ground beneath the mud. ~ Haruki Murakami
51:Success...is no longer a simple ascension of steps. You need to climb sideways and sometimes down, and sometimes you need to swing from the jungle gym and establish your own turf somewhere else on the playground. ~ Reid Hoffman
52:He learned early that there was no safe place, not the backyard or the playground, not the front porch or the quiet road that grazed the edge of town. No safe place, and no one to protect you. Childhood was illusion. ~ John Hart
53:Driving home I see the playground but it's all wrong, the swings are on the opposite side. "Oh, Jack, that's a different one," says Grandma. There's playgrounds in every town." Lots of the world seems to be a repeat. ~ Emma Donoghue
54:Jane walked into the playground feeling a strange sense of calm. Perhaps she needed to learn from Madeline’s example. No more avoiding confrontation. March up to your critics and bloody well tell them what you think. ~ Liane Moriarty
55:My dad always told me to stand up to bullies, and Bill O'Reilly is kind of a bully, and he's the kind of kid who hits other kids on the playground. And when you hit him, he runs to the teacher and says, 'Teacher, sue him.' ~ Al Franken
56:I was always the kid at the side of the playground, looking at the other kids. I didn't know how to get into the group. I was quiet and bookish, a bit of a geek. I was into orienteering when my friends were out clubbing. ~ Richard Coyle
57:Oh my God.” A smile rolled slowly across Ellie’s lips as she looked back and forth between the two of us. “I feel like I’m watching the most adorable conversation on the playground right now. Are you two going steady now? ~ Beth Ehemann
58:Sometimes war is necessary to teach us the value of peace. Sometimes you need to learn the real value of diplomacy in avoiding war. And I'd rather my students learned those lessons on the playground than on the battlefield. ~ Neil Gaiman
59:Sometimes war is necessary to teach us the value of peace. Sometimes you need to learn the real value of diplomacy in avoiding war. And I’d rather my students learned those lessons on the playground than on the battlefield. ~ Neil Gaiman
60:I write because in the act of creation there comes that mysterious, abundant sense of being both parent and child; I am giving birth to an Other and simultaneously being reborn as a child in the playground of creation. ~ Francine du Plessix Gray
61:I've always felt heroic about my life... As a child, I remember little girls in the playground moaning about how boys could do more than they could. I didn't think that was the case at all. My parents didn't treat me as a girl. ~ Vivienne Westwood
62:Things happened in the neighborhood, yes, and there were kids she knew who got caught up, but there were others, too, who had taken their bicycles out on the street, or walked by themselves to the playground, and managed to survive. ~ Naima Coster
63:That had to have been the fakest attempt at optimism since my fourth grade teacher tried reasoning that we were better off without the dead kids in our class because it'd mean more turns on the playground swings for the rest of us. ~ Alexandra Bracken
64:And the world around me was nothing if not an infinity of distractions: cute girls, novels and comic books, my budding record collection, neighborhood boys whistling from the playground under my window, beckoning me to a soccer game. ~ Aleksandar Hemon
65:When I was a little kid I used to go on the playground and say: today I will shoot like Bird, pass like Magic, jump like Mike, be quick like Zeke. I am thankful to them, since without seeing them do things they did, I wouldn't be in the NBA. ~ Allen Iverson
66:For a girl who often felt like she lived more in the cozy world of books than in the unforgiving world of the playground, a book of books was the richest journal imaginable; it showed a version of myself I recognized and felt represented me. Over ~ Pamela Paul
67:Millions of guys play millions of basketball games every day of the week at the playground or the YMCA. But LeBron James gets $20 million a year because he can jam on all of those guys. We're always going to want to see LeBron and Kobe go at it. ~ Adam Carolla
68:Picture it.” Her tour guide voice came back in full force. “The playground. Kindergarten. Me and you. Sitting on the swings at recess, eating apple slices instead of sour candy straws, because even then Mom didn’t want me to live my best life. ~ Hailey Edwards
69:I mean, it's fine when you're a kid and someone runs into the playground and goes, 'I've got this great game of pretend,' and you play... As an actor, getting to play, getting to use your imagination and be childish - it is weird but it's wonderful. ~ Max Irons
70:If I get a script that's set in the jungle it goes to the bottom of the pile because I don't think the playgrounds are going to be very good there! I'm really aware of how lucky I am but I have the kind of job where I can bring my child to work. ~ Kate Beckinsale
71:You could hear the wind in the leaves, and on that wind traveled the screams of the kids on the playground in the distance, little kids figuring out how to be alive, how to navigate a world that wasn't made for them by navigating a playground that was. ~ John Green
72:Small players learn to be intuitive, to anticipate, to protect the ball. A guy who weighs 90 kilos doesn't move like one who weighs 60. In the playground I always played against much bigger kids and I always wanted the ball. Without it, I feel lost. ~ Andres Iniesta
73:From a very early age, my wife and I told our son that there are times and places for everything. I told him, look, when you're in class, you have to be quiet and listen to your teacher, but when you go out to the playground, you can scream and be silly. ~ Mark Hoppus
74:Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells awaited them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. ~ Donna Tartt
75:Nothing matters more than what happens in our minds,” Trillian said. “Your experiences in what you consider your real life in the real world only exist in your mind and in the minds of others. The mind is everything. And dreams are the playground of the mind. ~ Brandon Mull
76:The playground song in my head went, First comes love, then comes hideous betrayal, then comes endless regret requiring expensive therapy. It was a terrible song. It didn’t even rhyme. But it was mine, and I hadn’t made a family, even though I’d wanted one ~ Joshilyn Jackson
77:Home is the wallpaper above the bed, the family dinner table, the church bells in the morning, the bruised shins of the playground, the small fears that come with dusk, the streets and squares and monuments and shops that constitute one's first universe. ~ Henry Anatole Grunwald
78:As a kid, you obviously dream of being a professional footballer. I would watch players like Ronaldo of Brazil and pretend to be him in the playground. But I don't think about trying to become one of the best in the world or anything like that. I just play football. ~ Gareth Bale
79:I've hung out at dozens of playgrounds, bored out of my mind, with not even a look of comfort from disapproving mothers all around me. Either they think I'm a pedophile or a deadbeat dad. That's what I get for being a single dad - suspicious looks at the playground. ~ Dominic West
80:The attic was the playground of his mind, where he could stretch his imagination to its maximum dimensions. It was his sanctuary from the world and his vantage point above it—a place where he could observe and absorb it all, at a height where nobody could touch him. ~ Dave Itzkoff
81:Don’t mistake activity for achievement. To produce results, tasks must be well organized and properly executed; otherwise, it’s no different from children running around the playground—everybody is doing something, but nothing is being done; lots of activity, no achievement. ~ John Wooden
82:What had I done? Where was my fun? I wanted play, I wanted sun, he was the opposite —I called him Zum because he’s an un-fun, the sort of mean-fun bully on the playground-fun. Mean Mr. Zum.
This was madness, this was badness this was sadness this was too much un-fun-ness. ~ Coco J Ginger
83:These people were no more than my acquaintances; the women I had the unfortunate pleasure of crossing skipping ropes with on a daily basis. The worst breed of humans that one could meet – primary school mothers – better known to the likes of you and me as the Playground Mafia. ~ Christie Barlow
84:But hey, what's life without a little adversity?"
That had to have been the fakest attempt at optimism since my fourth grade teacher tried reasoning that we were better off without the dead kids in our class because it'd mean more turns on the playground swings for the rest of us. ~ Alexandra Bracken
85:I started writing my own things when I was about 8. I used to try to bully my friends into imitating the Spice Girls on the playground. Then I realized, Oh god, my career's going nowhere, so I looked in the Yellow Pages and phoned up the first cheap studio that I found and started recording. ~ Charli XCX
86:As a kid, I had the worst mile time ever. Our gym teacher made us run the mile a few times a year for something called the Presidential Fitness Test. I’d huff and puff and wonder why the hell President Bush cared how fast I could run laps around the playground. I always came in dead last. ~ Miranda Kenneally
87:The main reason, Your Holiness, of why we are here today, is it is not the business of the church to stray from the field of faith and morals and wonder into the playground that is science... it is not the business of the church to pronounce on science. ~ Christopher Monckton 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
88:Comfort eating or pure greed? Most likely a mixture of both. Pieces of cake or biscuits or chocolate could instantly sweeten the sourness of my life. If you have been called gay all day in the playground, a cake when you returned home from school offered some consolation. A fairy cake of course. ~ David Walliams
89:After the other day at the playground, I wasn’t sure if you would want to talk to me or not,' Drew said, his eyes serious. 'What made you change your mind?'
'You were throwing pinecones at my door.' I laughed at how ridiculous it sounded. 'I should be irritated at you, but it was kind of cute. ~ Michelle Madow
90:The last thing we want to admit is that the bickering of the playground perfectly presages the machinations of the boardroom, that our social hierarchies are merely an extension of who got picked first for the kickball team, and that grown-ups still get divided into bullies and fatties and crybabies. ~ Lionel Shriver
91:This boy at school taught me. But then he pulled my ponytail on the playground the next day, so I'm not really friends with him anymore."
"Why did he pull your ponytail?"
"Momma says boys are mean when they like you," she whispered in a disgusted voice. "But I think Momma's been misinformed. ~ Shelly Crane
92:So it’s really not true, after all, that the government has spared children from toil and instead lets them romp on the playgrounds. No, the government instead buses them into mass worker-training programs and is very resentful indeed when parents try to opt out of this arrangement, as in homeschooling. ~ Robert P Murphy
93:I decided to become a teacher because I thought it would be a great career where I could wear different hats. You're an academic one moment, and you're a psychologist the next moment, an athlete the next moment... when you are out on the playground or coaching...so it enables you to play different roles. ~ Erik Weihenmayer
94:During his time at university, Ronald had learned that 'history' was the word the English used for the record of every time a white man encountered something he had never seen and promptly claimed it as his own, often renaming it for good measure. History, in short, was the annals of the bully on the playground. ~ Namwali Serpell
95:Death cannot be known. It cannot be befriended. If Death were a boy, he would be a lonely figure, standing at the playground’s edge while the air rippled with other children’s laughter. If Death were a boy, he would walk alone. He would speak in a whisper and his eyes would be haunted by knowledge no human can bear. ~ Robert R McCammon
96:Everything was hysterically funny, even the playground slide was smiling at us, and at some point, deep in the night, when we were winging on the jungle gym and showers of sparks were flying out of our mouths, I had the epiphany that laughter was light, and light was laughter, and that this was the secret of the universe. ~ Donna Tartt
97:I’ve felt the same thing,” she said. “We all love our kids, but we want so much. The kids are everything to us, and yet they aren’t our life, so to speak. Some women love to putter around at home but I almost went crazy that first year. Sitting around the playground shooting the breeze with other moms was not my thing. ~ Kjell Eriksson
98:Bryan turned, his gaze sweeping over the playground, and I watched his profile. I knew the exact moment his eyes found Patrick. Bryan’s expression became one of wonder. And in that moment, I believed in love at first sight, because I’d just witnessed it. I’d just witnessed a man fall head over heels in love with his own son. ~ L H Cosway
99:Grown-ups and children are not readily encouraged to unearth the power of words. Adults are repeatedly assured a picture is worth a thousand of them, while the playground response to almost any verbal taunt is 'sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.'
I don't beg so much as command to differ. ~ Inga Muscio
100:That's why we feel so disoriented, irritated even, when these touchstones from our past are altered. We don't like it when our hometown changes, even in small ways. It's unsettling. The playground! It used to be right here, I swear. Mess with our hometown, and you're messing with our past, with who we are. Nobody likes that. ~ Eric Weiner
101:I'll remember the view out this window [from Oval Cabinet], because this is where we had our - the playground that we put in when Malia and Sasha came in. Being able every once in awhile to look out the window and see your daughters during the summer, swinging on that swing set, that made the presidency a little bit sweeter. ~ Barack Obama
102:A lot of denim companies deal with what the shoes of the season are going to look like, and proportions to what people are wearing on top. If girls are wearing big sweatshirts they'll want a skinnier jean, and if they're wearing tight tops they'll want a wider jean. You have to play in the playground of what's happening culturally. ~ Sean Barron
103:The South Pacific was once the playground for ship-sick European sailors. Then it became the roistering barricade of the last great pirates. Next it was the longed-for escape from the canyons of New York. Then the unwilling theatre for an American military triumph. But now it has become the meeting ground for Asia and America. ~ James A Michener
104:If you’re not asking every child in the class, you don’t hand out the invitations on the playground,” said Madeline. “Every mother knows that. It’s a law of the land.” “I could talk about this subject all day long,” said Ed. “I really could. There is nothing else I want to talk about today other than Amabella’s fifth-birthday party. ~ Liane Moriarty
105:The original Tom Sawyer Island was perhaps the most deeply personal expression of Walt's own boyhood dreams to be found anywhere in Disneyland. Tom Sawyer Island is the playground Walt wished he could have had as a boy. It's the only attractraction in the Park that Walt himself drew up with his own hands, in his barn on Carolwood Drive. ~ Jim Denney
106:He remembers the times they’d walk toward him in the playground with that same look on their faces, but double in number with Siobhan and Tara. “It’s the four horsewomen of the apocalypse,” Jimmy Hailler would say. “They’re going to make us do something we don’t want to do.” “We’re not going to give in,” Tom would say. But they did. Always. ~ Melina Marchetta
107:All new schools...should be models for sustainable development: showing every child in the classroom and the playground how smart building and energy use can help tackle global warming...Sustainable development will not just be a subject in the classroom: it will be in its bricks and mortar and the way the school uses and even generates its own power. ~ Tony Blair
108:I Want To Pray
In the hidden part thou shalt make me to know
wisdom. Psalm 51
That young man
firing his Kalashnikov
into the playground
has been made to know
the hidden part.
Me, I want to pray.
I’m on my knees.
But all I am is screaming
I don’t know what for. Maybe
the best God can do is pay no mind.
~ Brooks Haxton
109:Bossy people and glory hounds are mostly interested in building a power base so they can have yet more people to boss about. It’s pitiful and a little sad, but we have all seen it. We saw it in school. We saw it in the playground. We saw it in college. And we saw it in our first job. If you are observant, you have been seeing it nearly all your life. Such ~ Felix Dennis
110:Troo's a little in front of me bouncing a red rubber ball that she 'borrowed' from the playground shed. She's warming up to play that A my name is Annie and I come from Alabama with a carload of apples game. When she gets to the letter f, her name will be Fifi and she will come from where else but France. I refuse to repeat what she will have a carload of. ~ Lesley Kagen
111:We looked at each other and just laughed; everything was hysterically funny, even the playground slide was smiling at us, and at some point, deep in the night, when we were swinging on the jungle gym and showers of sparks were flying out of our mouths, I had the epiphany that laughter was light, and light was laughter, and that this was the secret of the universe. ~ Donna Tartt
112:Since part of our creative responsibility is to move from imagination to image, we need to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and allow our imagination once again to be the playground of God. And once our dreams and visions are the material that has been passed on to us by a divine imagination, then it is time to dream, to risk, and to create. ~ Erwin Raphael McManus
113:Past the sloping green lawn of the park, I entered a new world, regal and historic. Here I walked on swept sidewalks, past pristine buildings and small shops and young mothers or West Indian nannies with children in tow on their way to the playground. Stylish women carried twine-handled shopping bags. The cafes were busy and a church bell praised noon as I ducked underground. ~ Andrew Cotto
114:All my life I've been aware of the Second World War humming in the background. I was born 10 years after it was finished, and without ever seeing it. It formed my generation and the world we lived in. I played Hurricanes and Spitfires in the playground, and war films still form the basis of all my moral philosophy. All the men I've ever got to my feet for or called sir had been in the war. ~ A A Gill
115:Anyhow, the Bible says all the former water in Egypt remained blood for (of course) seven days. I guess they had nothing but wine to drink and, in retrospect, it must have been some party! People stumbling drunkenly around, waking up in the wrong houses naked, little children all liquored up and falling off swings and slides and puking in the playgrounds, Uncle Tutmose drunkenly fucking a camel. ~ Steve Ebling
116:Okay. This was good. This was heading somewhere I’d— “I want to strangle you,” she said, her voice hoarse. All right, that wasn’t good. Not at all. “You have no idea how badly I want to kick you right now,” she added. And that was worse. This wasn’t— “I love you,” she said, and she swallowed. “I’ve loved you since you pushed me down on the playground. I swear— I’ve loved you since then. ~ Jennifer L Armentrout
117:How are we to teach our children to say “no” to an abusive adult if we are not frank about what it is that they should say “no” to? When we try to keep sex secret from our kids, they are aware that something is going on, but they don’t know what. And if we leave them to get their sex information in the playground or on the street, from equally ill-informed other kids, we consign them to the jungle. ~ Dossie Easton
118:• Get a new attitude toward that Inner Critic of yours. It’s just the voice of your fears, of your parent in a bad mood, of a little bully you brought home from the playground in fifth grade. It doesn’t know the truth about you, it just knows how to manipulate you. You’re a grown-up now; treat the Critic with your best adult skills, some compassion and detachment, and it will wither like the Wicked Witch. ~ Anonymous
119:Ella isn't like other little girls. She's inquisitive and curious, with a heart that senses others' emotions with the precision of Doppler radar. She drops coins from her piggy bank into the outstretched hands of the homeless in Times Square, frets over the plight of hurt animals on the roadside, and two Christmases ago, organized a coat drive at her school when she saw a little boy shivering on the playground. ~ Sarah Jio
120:I enrolled him in karate,” Alice said. “I went to different schools and found the one with the shortest lines. I knew if the classes were big and he had to wait for his turn too long, he’d get in trouble for turning somersaults in line. He loves it. I was worried he’d use it on the playground and get into more trouble, but the karate instructors teach the kids to be very disciplined. It’s been great. ~ Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
121:I came of age in the Sixties, when there were chances, when it was all there waiting. Now they seep out of school – to what? To nothing, to fuck-all. The young (you can see it in their faces), the stegosaurus-rugged no-hopers, the parrot-crested blankies – they’ve come up with an appropriate response to this, which is: nothing. Which is nothing, which is fuck-all. The dole-queue starts at the exit to the playground. ~ Martin Amis
122:When I was in seventh grade, I was caught stealing money from the visiting team's locker room during a basketball game. So I was sent to The Brothers. That's what they called this parochial school up in Goshen, New York. I was supposed to get closer supervision there and more "masculine influence," whatever that means. But I was thrown out for telling a couple of really lame kids on the playground that I had heroin. ~ George Carlin
123:The True Self quietly observes the playground where thoughts take form, where games are played, and the gunas obeyed. These are the laws of light, activity, and inertia … of inspiration, action, and obstacles. The gunas are those things that can be known. Your mind ponders all their qualities, mistaking these for reality, for they gave birth to the mind. But the Self remains unmoved by the noise in the playground. ~ Alberto Villoldo
124:I can hear all I want about sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll on the playground, but only the Girl Scouts know the step-by-steps for limbering up a a new book without injuring the binding and the how-tos of packing a suitcase to be a more efficient traveler. The only thing harder to come by around here than a suitcase is a brand-new book, but I keep the Girl Scout motto as close to my heart as the promise anyway: Be Prepared. ~ Tupelo Hassman
125:Yeah. That boy over there. He’s my friend.'
My gaze followed his pointing finger toward a little boy wearing a stuffed steering wheel attached around his waist and running around a racetrack laid out on the floor.
'Oh, yeah? What’s his name?'
'I don’t know.' Simon shrugged, unconcerned, and headed back to the playground.
I watched him leap right into the game with a friend whose name didn’t matter. ~ Megan Hart
126:The Paleolithic hunters who painted the unsurpassed animal murals on the ceiling of the cave at Altamira had only rudimentary tools. Art is older than production for use, and play older than work. Man was shaped less by what he had to do than by what he did in playful moments. It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities. ~ Eric Hoffer
127:Love attacks. It sneaks up like a pride of lions or a pack of hyenas and eats your heart out while you watch. Love is the bully on the playground who takes your lunch money and gives you a black eye in return, the arsonist who burns your house down with you in it, the witch who lures you into her home with candy and boils you alive for dinner. Love is raw, and violent, and instantaneous. You don’t fall in love; you get trampled by it. ~ Bart Yates
128:When I stepped out of my family’s station wagon and walked onto the playground, the “Leia Do” served as a beacon announcing to my classmates which game we’d be playing at recess.
I jumped and climbed and flew around the jungle gym while Thomas and Mike and Scott sliced the air with imaginary light sabers and shielded me from impending doom. It was glorious. Gloria Steinem would not have approved, but she wasn’t there and I didn’t care. ~ Melissa Francis
129:I looked out at the children in the playground below my window: They were running around yelling in the sunshine, and I reflected on how blokes always get the women they want by chasing them until they give in. I'm always amazed that so many men—usually the ugly ones—are convinced they could pull Claudia Schiffer if they were given the chance, while someone gorgeous ... is always convinced blokes don't fancy her. It rarely happens the other way round. ~ Harriet Evans
130:The world is not checking in with us to see what skills we've picked up, what idea we've concocted, what dreams we carry in our hearts. When a job opens, whether it's in the chorus line or on the assembly line, it goes to the person standing there. It goes to the eager beaver the boss sees when he looks up from his work: the pint-sized kid standing at the basketball court on the playground waiting for one of the older boys to head home. "Hey, kid, wanna play?" ~ Chris Matthews
131:When you learn conflict-resolution skills in the playroom, you then practice them on the playground, and that in turn stays with you. If you have a combative sibling or a physically intimidating, older sibling, you learn a lot about how to deal with situations like that later in life. If you're an older sibling and you have a younger sibling who needs mentoring or is afraid of the dark, you develop nurturing and empathic skills that you wouldn't otherwise have. ~ Jeffrey Kluger
132:Unfortunately, the world has taken some of the greatest minds God has given us and locked them up in cages. Most very brilliant or creative people seem strange to ordinary people. Geniuses are almost always outcasts. The intelligent are bullied on the playground. They see the world differently and are shunned for it. They nearly all turn out to be lonely at the least, locked up at the worst. It's human nature to encourage the status quo and shun those who see life differently. ~ Ted Dekker
133:But she she didn't want to be someone they could care for. She didn't want to be a Kate or a Kitty or even a Kat - all perfectly lovely, serviceable names, for perfectly lovely, serviceable people. People she already knew, at six years of age, that she didn't want to be. She was Katherine Lundy. Her family loved her as Katherine Lundy. If the children in the yard next door or on the playground couldn't find her worth loving the same way, she wasn't going to change for them. ~ Seanan McGuire
134:How is it?" I ask as we stroll towards the dressing rooms. "Working at the playground. That must be fun."
"Sure, they're just adorable," she says, "For the first five minutes. And then I want to wring their adorable little necks."
I stop, shocked. "I always figured you loved kids."
"Yeah, no." Kayla shakes her head emphatically. "One kid, I can do, even two-- just stick them in front of a Disney movie, let them play Xbox all night. But a herd of them?" She shudders. ~ Abby McDonald
135:Julian was always trying to convince her that E.T. had already visited Earth multiple times. One night in Dolores Park, while they were hanging out on the swings in the playground, Julian told her about meeting an alien abductee in Golden Gate Park the weekend before.
"He had an implant in his lower back - he totally showed me the scar and everything," Julian said [...].
"Yeah, I'm sure that's what he was showing you."[...]
"You're just jealous you didn't get to see his ass. ~ Malinda Lo
136:One of the things I want ... all the kids here to remember, is that these [Major League Soccer] stars were not born superstar athletes ... Many of them started out just like many of you-playing on a team at school, or just kicking a ball around on the playground with their friends. But they stuck with it. And I tell this to my girls all the time. I mean, you get to the point when ... things you enjoy ... start getting hard-that's when you know you're getting good, and you have to stick through it. ~ Michelle Obama
137:We wouldn't even have wars, if adults followed the rules they learned as children. A four-year old would be able to see how foolish grown men are behaving if you explained the war in child's terms. A boy named Germany started causing problems all over the playground that included beating up a girl named Belgium on his way to hurt a kid named France. Then England tried to beat up Germany to help France and Belgium, and when that didn't work, they called over a kid named America, and people started pounding on him, too. ~ Cat Winters
138:My descent into delinquency was aided and abetted by the progressive philosophy adopted by the school. No effort was made to impose discipline, which resulted in the triumph of anarchy in the classroom and the survival of the fittest in the playground. In the former, the disruptive elements made it difficult, if not impossible, for teachers to teach and for students to learn. In the latter, the school bully and his coterie of friends ruled the roost, making life miserable for everyone else and making playtime a time of fear. I ~ Joseph Pearce
139:All those years ago on the playground, it would have been better if that teacher had just said, “Lysa, staying stuck in your fear is way worse than any other choice you could make right now. If you let go of that bar and happen to catch the next one, you’ll move forward and prove to yourself that you can do this. Or, if you let go of that bar and fall, you’ll see that the ground isn’t so far away. It won’t feel great to fall, but it won’t be worse than all the stress and exhaustion you’re experiencing just hanging there on the first bar. ~ Lysa TerKeurst
140:Paige and Charlotte had first met on the playground. Without a word, each had recognized the other as a sister in the bonds of chronic sleep deprivation. It wasn’t anything so obvious as dark circles, dirty hair, or the word diapers scrawled on the back of a hang. Or even the fact that they both were wearing their husbands’ oversize sweaters. It was seeing the identical expression, the haunted, bewildered look of the POW on the other woman’s face. How did this happen?
This moment of recognition had caused each of them to look away. ~ Elissa Schappell
141:You could hear the wind in the leaves, and on that wind traveled the screams of the kids on the playground in the distance, the little kids figuring out how to be alive, how to navigate a world that was not built for them by navigating a playground that was. . . Who am I to say that these things might not be forever? Who is Pete Van Houten to assert as fact the conjecture that our labor is temporary? All I know of heaven and all I know of death is in this park: an elegant universe in ceaseless motion, teeming with ruined ruins and screaming children. ~ John Green
142:Learn to be difficult when it counts. In school as in life, having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time. Think back to your days on the playground. There was always a big bully and countless victims, but there was also that one small kid who fought like hell, thrashing and swinging for the fences. He or she might not have won, but after one or two exhausting exchanges, the bully chose not to bother him or her. It was easier to find someone else. Be that kid. ~ Timothy Ferriss
143:The racial separation we see in schools might also be seen as an element of the “hidden curriculum,” an unspoken set of rules that “teaches” certain students what they can and cannot do because of who they are. There are aspects of this hidden curriculum that are not being taught by the adults. It may well be that students are the ones teaching it to each other. No adult goes onto the playground and says, “I don’t want the boys and girls to play together.” The girls and boys do that themselves, and it’s a rare child who crosses over. Why? Because ~ Pedro A Noguera
144:You could hear the wind in the leaves, and on that wind traveled the screams of the kids on the playground in the distance, the little kids figuring out how to be alive, how to navigate a world that was not built for them by navigating a playground that was. . .
Who am I to say that these things might not be forever? Who is Pete Van Houten to assert as fact the conjecture that our labor is temporary? All I know of heaven and all I know of death is in this park: an elegant universe in ceaseless motion, teeming with ruined ruins and screaming children. ~ John Green
145:To this aversion of the intellectual elite for official historiography, to its conviction that history, which was a forgery anyway, might as well be the playground of crackpots, must be added the terrible, demoralizing fascination in the possibility that gigantic lies and monstrous falsehoods can eventually be established as unquestioned facts, that man may be free to change his own past at will, and the difference between truth and falsehood may cease to be objective and become a mere matter of power and cleverness, of pressure and infinite repetition. ~ Hannah Arendt
146:A dark, deep, perhaps also passionate side, was that her? She had responded, it was only a glimpse, but nonetheless. Then, at that moment, I was nobody. I was crushed. I, with all the notes I had sent her, all the discussions I'd had with her, all my simple hopes and childish desires, I was nothing, a shout on the playground, a rock in scree, the hooting of a car horn.
Could I do this to her? Could I have this effect on her?
Could I have this effect on anyone?
For Hanne, I was nobody and would remain so.
For me, she was everything. ~ Karl Ove Knausg rd
147:They climbed up the crane’s service ladder, then clambered along the fat metal supports. The crane was way taller than it had looked from the floor, and Kip was a little scared–not like scared scared, he wasn’t a baby–but the climb wasn’t hard. It was kind of like the obstacle course at the playground, only way bigger. Besides, he was with his dad. If Dad said it was okay, it was okay. The other people already on the crane smiled at them. ‘Pull up a seat,’ one lady shouted. Dad laughed. ‘Don’t mind if we do.’ He swung himself into an empty spot. ‘Come on, Kip. ~ Becky Chambers
148:The great enemy of creativity is fear. When we're fearful, we freeze up - like a nine-year-old who won't draw pictures, for fear everybody will laugh. Creativity has a lot to do with a willingness to take risks. Think about how children play. They run around the playground, they trip, they fall, they get up and run some more. They believe everything will be all right. They feel capable; they let go. Good businesspeople behave in a similar way: they lose $15 million, gain $20 million, lose $30 million and earn it back. If that isn't playing, I don't know what is! ~ Faith Ringgold
149:I went to a Christian School, and when I reached a certain age, I wasn't allowed to wear pants to school anymore. There was a big conference about it with my parents about how unladylike it was for me to wear pants ,this was a school where the principal and once of the coaches stood at the front door with a wooden ruler to make sure girls' skirts were an inch below their knee. So, from that day forward, I had to wear skirts, which meant that I couldn't play on the playground like I used to. I really feel like I could've been the next Serena Williams if not for that. ~ Karin Slaughter
150:Anyone who has raised more than one child knows full well that kids turn out the way they turn out - astonishingly, for the most part, and usually quite unlike their siblings, even their twins, raised under the same flawed rooftree. Little we have done or said, or left undone and unsaid, seems to have made much mark. It's hubris to suppose ourselves so influential; a casual remark on the playground is as likely to change their lives as any dedicated campaign of ours. They come with much of their own software already in place, waiting, and none of the keys we press will override it. ~ Barbara Holland
151:Stuyvesant Town also was a safe haven, yielding a community of loyal, lifelong friends. As kids, we would hang out at the playgrounds until it was too dark to see. Later, we shared the raptures and torments of adolescence in a wild 1960s New York City scene. With numerous temptations and very few limits, we hung together and guided one another through many storms. Maybe that’s why I have always found comfort in community. Whether in newsrooms, campaigns, or the White House, I have thrived in communal settings, finding emotional nourishment in the friendships and camaraderie of the team. ~ David Axelrod
152:I hadn't felt such disgust for a boy since the early days, when they'd tease girls on the playground, kicking us and throwing gravel and raising their voices in high screechy mockery. "They do that because they like you," all the adults said, grinning like pumpkins. We believed them, back then. Back then we thought it was true, and we were drawn toward all that meanness because it meant we were special, let them kick us, let them like us. We liked them back. But now it was turning out that our first instincts were right. Boys weren't mean because they liked you; it was because they were mean. ~ Daniel Handler
153:They got me glasses that were hip and cute, the kind adults like, but glasses are glasses. No kid has ever said: "Look at the hot new girl with the glasses. Maybe she'll have braces and a clubfoot too!" I think it made me cautious about other kids, because I was always one screwup from becoming "Four Eyes" on the playground. Those were the facts, like a card hand you couldn't fold. But beauty wasn't everything. I could still be the kind of girl who beat a table full of movie stars at poker. If I couldn't be datable, I could at least be respected. I was like the lady Godfather of plain-girl self-awareness. ~ Alison Umminger
154:Eli snorted, her eyes narrowed.
— Because I am like you.
— What do you mean like me? I..
Eli thrust her hand through the air as if she was holding a knife, said:
— What are you looking at, idiot? Want to die, or something? — Stabbed the air with empty hand. — That what happens if you look at me.
Oskar rubbed his lips together, dampening them.
— What are you saying?
— It's not me that's saying it. It's you. That was the first thing I heard you say. Down on the playground.
Oskar remembered. The tree. The knife. How he had held up the blade of the knife like a mirror, seen Eli for the first time. ~ John Ajvide Lindqvist
155:It was the Easter Hat Parade, and the St. Angela’s mothers were out in force, dressed up in honor of Easter and the first truly autumnal day of the new season. Soft, pretty scarves looped necks, skinny jeans encased skinny and not-so-skinny thighs, spike-heeled boots tapped across the playground. It had been a humid summer, and the crispness of the breeze and the anticipation of a four-day, chocolate-filled weekend had put everyone in good moods. The mothers, sitting in a big double-rowed circle of blue fold-up chairs around the quadrangle, were frisky and high-spirited. The older children who weren’t taking part in the Easter ~ Liane Moriarty
156:Wheatley Porterman's gift was for identifying social problems, which he set in verse that touched the public's imagination, in the cause of Boy Blue, the scandal of child labour in rural areas which drove underage shepherds to exhaustion.
With Georgie Porgie, it was sexual harassment in the playground, by teachers against schoolgirls, Porgie being an overweight geography teacher whose notorious behaviour had previously gone unreported, due to his connection in high places.
Wheatley asserted that [The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe] was allegorical: a cipher, or symbol, for the hideous overcrowding in certain inner city areas. ~ Robert Rankin
157:Writing a novel is like making soup. The base is a broth we make up wholesale—for instance, I have one child, not five, and am not only not a doctor but, in fact, am made woozy by paper cuts. Then, to that entirely made-up broth, we add a sprinkling of research, some chunks of childhood memories, a handful of sautéed morsels overheard at the playground, a few diced bits we weren’t planning on but turned out to need for depth of flavor, and some finely chopped pieces of our own lives. Simmer until all the disparate parts mellow and blend but still enhance and augment one another. This is how you cook a novel. Some made up, some real life, all true. ~ Laurie Frankel
158:I had to take a moment to wonder who else fell into this category of default enemy. I went through a mental list of people who, in theory, I’d want to hit in the face with a meat tenderizer. My coworker from ten years ago who owes me like three grand? It was ten years ago! You were addicted to OxyContin! Go! Be free! My seventh-grade teacher, who told me that most child actors don’t succeed as adult actors? You just wanted to scare me into having a backup plan! Farewell! Good luck! Tori from fourth grade, who accused me of writing mean stuff about all our friends on the playground wall? BURN IN HELL, TORI. I KNOW IT WAS YOU!!! I’m still working on it. ~ Anna Kendrick
159:I briefly considered giving the Myerson kids the same lecture I’d given the other first graders on the playground:
Unicorns are man-eating monsters. They don’t have wings, they aren’t lavender or sparkly, and you could never catch one to ride without its goring you through the sternum. And even if it somehow managed to miss your major arteries—and it never missed—you’d still die from the deadly poison in its horn. But don’t worry. My great-great-great-great-great-great-aunt Clothilde killed the last one a hundred and fifty years ago.
Except now I guessed it would be more like a hundred and sixty. How time doth fly in a unicorn-free world. ~ Diana Peterfreund
160:Lets say from the first moment of my life, everything's always been about me and nothing else, including apocalypse and chaos; let's say even apocalypse and chaos have been conceits of my psyche and bad faith--this assumes I ever kept any kind of faith at all, bad or otherwise...Let's say I'm faithlessness made flesh, the modern age's leap of faith stopped dead in its tracks, fucking around with apocalypse and chaos only because in some broken part of me, among any wreckage of honor or altruism or commitment of compassion, or the bits and pieces of moral vanity, I really believed the abyss was always just the playground of my imagination, and I was its bully. ~ Steve Erickson
161:Love doesn’t "grow." It doesn’t wait for you to discover it, it doesn’t fall like a gentle rain from the sky, it doesn’t tiptoe into your heart like a happy little bunny, and it doesn’t have a fucking thing to do with familiarity. Love is neither patient nor kind.
Love attacks. It sneaks up like a pride of lions or a pack of hyenas and eats your heart out while you watch. Love is the bully on the playground who takes your lunch money and gives you a black eye in return, the arsonist who burns your house down with you in it, the witch who lures you into her home with candy and boils you alive for dinner. Love is raw, and violent, and instantaneous. You don’t fall in love; you get trampled by it. ~ Bart Yates
162:I’m in a sort of dream. But this feels realer than any dream I’ve ever dreamed. It’s like watching myself, like I’m on the outside, and I’m looking in. And suddenly, I’m not at the playground anymore. I’m in Wakefield Town Square, and everything is different. The world is not back to normal, no, but it’s better. The sky is bluer-than-blue and the sun is warm on my skin. Big, beautiful plants grow. I feel alive. My entire body is buzzing, warm. I feel safe. I feel untouchable. Invincible. I come to the tree house. Looking up, I see that the tree is taller, thicker, and the tree house is now a tremendously huge sort of tree castle. Rooms and rooms on top of rooms, connected—a fortress fit for a king. But who is the king? ~ Max Brallier
163:I kept myself to myself in the early years. I walked around and around the playground pretending to scale great mountain ranges or horizontal marshlands. In the summer months I sat beneath a sycamore tree on the edge of the school field. I collected insects in my hands only to release them at the end of playtime or lunch hour. Daddy asked me if I wanted an insect collecting set for my birthday or some jars to put them in to and take them home but I said I did not. I liked having them in my hands for that certain amount of time then letting them go off again into the undergrowth, back to their homes and to their lives. I would think about them living those lives while I sat back in my chair in the classroom and gazed blankly at times-tables. ~ Fiona Mozley
164:Thank you for a wonderful night, Ian. It’s the best night I’ve had in…years.” And then he heard her yawn. He didn’t move; couldn’t breathe. There was an odd sensation filling his chest, a gathering of moisture in his eyes. He wanted to say, No, thank you! But he couldn’t trust himself to form the words. She had no idea how it changed him inside—in his head and heart—just to have someone to talk to, to laugh with. The scrappiest little girl on the playground, like an angel come to draw him out, made him feel for the first time in such a long time, as if he was living instead of merely existing. It was a gift he was sure he didn’t deserve, especially after sealing himself off from the world as he had. And after trying to scare her away. Trouble ~ Robyn Carr
165:So they spread the paintings on the lawn, and the boy explained each of them. "This is the school, and this is the playground, and these are my friends." He stared at the paintings for a long time and then shook his head in discouragement. "In my mind, they were a whole lot better."
Isn't that the truth? Every morning, I go to my desk and reread yesterday's pages, only to be discouraged that the prose isn't as good as it seemed during the excitement of composition. In my mind, it was a whole lot better.
Don't give in to doubt. Never be discouraged if your first draft isn't what you thought it would be. Given skill and a story that compels you, muster your determination and make what's on the page closer to what you have in your mind. ~ David Morrell
166:When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process. In learning to write, the pupil goes over with his pen what the teacher has outlined in pencil: so in reading; the greater part of the work of thought is already done for us. This is why it relieves us to take up a book after being occupied with our own thoughts. And in reading, the mind is, in fact, only the playground of another’s thoughts. So it comes about that if anyone spends almost the whole day in reading, and by way of relaxation devotes the intervals to some thoughtless pastime, he gradually loses the capacity for thinking; just as the man who always rides, at last forgets how to walk. This is the case with many learned persons: they have read themselves stupid. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer
167:Watching the children, he noticed two things especially. A girl of about five, and her sister, who was no more than three, wanted to drink from the pebbled concrete fountain at the playground’s edge, but it was too high for either of them, so the five-year-old…jumped up and, resting her stomach on the edge and grasping the sides, began to drink. But she was neither strong enough nor oblivious enough of the pain to hand on, and she began to slip off backward. At this, the three-year-old…advanced to her sister and, also grasping the edge of the fountain, placed her forehead against her sister’s behind, straining to hold her in place, eyes closed, body trembling, curls spilling from her cap. Her sister drank for a long time, held in position by an act as fine as Harry had ever seen on the battlefields of Europe.” Pg 32 ~ Mark Helprin
168:technically, her last disaster hadn’t been her fault she knew another accident would get her fired. Her brief was to be invisible, and she considered herself perfectly qualified for the job. In a world where extroverts were celebrated, she was an introvert. She’d spent most of her life blending into the background. First in the playground, where she’d hidden away in books written by other people, and then at college, when she’d hidden in the books she’d written herself. Lost in her own fictional world, she became each and every one of her heroines and endowed them with qualities she herself coveted, namely courage, communication skills and coordination. Her current creation was Lara Striker, small-town girl finally returning home and trying to live down her badgirl reputation. Matilda stared through the crowd, her mind ~ Sarah Morgan
169:He was safe for the moment, here in the playground, but people all over the world were suffering, starving, fleeing, killing one another as they waged their wars. How much energy they put into harming one another. How little into saving. Would it ever change? What would it take to make it change? He thought of Luxa's hand pressed into Ripred's paw. That's what it would take. People rejecting war. Not one or two, but all of them. Saying it was an unacceptable way to solve their differences. By the look of things, the human race had a lot of evolving to do before that happened. Maybe it was impossible. But maybe it wasn't. Like Vikus said, nothing would happen unless you hoped it could. If you had hope, maybe you could find the way to make things change. Because if you thought about it, there were so many reasons to try. ~ Suzanne Collins
170:I stood upon a chair when I was left alone, and looked into the glass to see how red my eyes were, and how sorrowful my face. I considered, after some hours were gone, if my tears were really hard to flow now, as they seemed to be, what, in connection with my loss, it would affect me most to think of when I drew near home — for I was going home to the funeral. I am sensible of having felt that a dignity attached to me among the rest of the boys, and that I was important in my affliction. If ever child were stricken with sincere grief, I was. But I remember that this importance was a kind of satisfaction to me, when I walked in the playground that afternoon while the boys were in school. When I saw them glancing at me out of the windows, as they went up to their classes, I felt distinguished, and looked more melancholy, and walked slower. ~ Charles Dickens
171:When I finally escaped, I spotted Nicole with Daniel on the other side of the playground. He had an eighth-grader pinned to the grass, arm twisted behind his back.
“Bully!” I shouted.
Daniel glanced over and grinned. Then he let the kid--Travis Carling--go and got down on all fours so Travis could try the move on him. As Daniel gave instructions, Travis’s brother, Corey, made suggestions that had everyone within earshot laughing. Travis and Corey were Chief Carling’s sons.
Dark haired, over six feet tall, big, and burly, Corey was the school’s second-best wrestler and boxer after Daniel. Also Daniel’s best guy buddy. I could only imagine what he was suggesting Travis do to Daniel while he had him pinned. It was drawing a crowd. Corey always did. He was one of those guys who can talk to anyone--and talk his way out of trouble, which in Corey’s case is a necessary survival skill. ~ Kelley Armstrong
172: The purpose of creation, is lila. The concept of lila escapes all the traditional difficulties in assigning purpose to the creator. Lila is a purpose-less purpose, a natural outflow, a spontaneous self-manifestation of the Divine. The concept of lila, again, emphasizes the role of delight in creation. The concept of Prakriti and Maya fail to explain the bliss aspect of Divine. If the world is manifestation of the Force of Satcitananda, the deployment of its existence and consciousness, its purpose can be nothing but delight. This is the meaning of delight. Lila, the play, the child’s joy, the poet’s joy, the actor’s joy, the mechanician’s joy of the soul of things eternally young, perpetually inexhaustible, creating and recreating Himself in Himself for the sheer bliss of that self-creation, of that self-representation, Himself the play, Himself the player, Himself the playground ~ Sri Aurobindo, Philosophy of Social Development, pp-39-40
173:But no, I’m sorry. I can’t end there. I haven’t yet said everything I want to say. A little girl is at school, out in the playground with her friends, and she sees a flower and says to her friends, just thinking out loud, wondering gently to herself: Do you think flowers have feelings? And for the rest of the day her friends tease her relentlessly, with every new opportunity that arises. Do flowers have feelings, that’s so stupid. Right, flowers have feelings. All day and for the rest of the week: stupid flowers have stupid feelings and that little girl feels she is never going to say anything like that ever again. She has already learned that when you open your heart or express genuine, innocent curiosity or wonder about the world, your friends will pounce on the opportunity and use it to hurt you as viciously as possible and there is nothing anyone can do to protect her. It’s simple stories like that that really break my heart. ~ Jacob Wren
174:Tom had never found any difficulty in discerning a pointer from a setter, when once he had been told the distinction, and his perceptive powers were not at all deficient. I fancy they were quite as strong as those of the Rev. Mr Stelling; for Tom could predict with accuracy what number of horses were cantering behind him, he could throw a stone right into the centre of a given ripple, he could guess to a fraction how many lengths of his stick it would take to reach across the playground, and could draw almost perfect squares on his slate without any measurement. But Mr Stelling took no note of those things: he only observed that Tom's faculties failed him before the abstractions hideously symbolized to him in the pages of the Eton Grammar, and that he was in a state bordering on idiocy with regard to the demonstration that two given triangles must be equal - though he could discern with great promptitude and certainty the fact that they were equal. ~ George Eliot
175:The History Teacher
Trying to protect his students' innocence
he told them the Ice Age was really just
the Chilly Age, a period of a million years
when everyone had to wear sweaters.
And the Stone Age became the Gravel Age,
named after the long driveways of the time.
The Spanish Inquisition was nothing more
than an outbreak of questions such as
"How far is it from here to Madrid?"
"What do you call the matador's hat?"
The War of the Roses took place in a garden,
and the Enola Gay dropped one tiny atom on Japan.
The children would leave his classroom
for the playground to torment the weak
and the smart,
mussing up their hair and breaking their glasses,
while he gathered up his notes and walked home
past flower beds and white picket fences,
wondering if they would believe that soldiers
in the Boer War told long, rambling stories
designed to make the enemy nod off. ~ Billy Collins
176:Motherhood seems to be a no-win battle: however you decide to do (or not do) it, someone’s going to be criticizing you. You went to too great lengths trying to conceive. You didn’t go to great enough lengths. You had the baby too young. You should have kept the baby even though you were young. You shouldn’t have waited so long to try and have a baby. You’re a too involved mother. You’re not involved enough because you let your child play on the playground alone. It never ends. It strikes me that while all this judgment goes on, the options available to women become fewer and fewer. I’m not even (just) talking about the right to choose—across the U.S., women have less access to birth control, health care, reproductive education, and post-partum support. So we give women less information about their bodies and reproduction, less control over their bodies, and less support during and after pregnancy—and then we criticize them fiercely for whatever they end up doing. This ~ Celeste Ng
177:By using two elephants to do the job, damage will occur just because of how large, lumbering, and unsubtle elephants are. They squash the flowers in the process of entering the playground, they strew leftovers and garbage all over the place from the frequent snacks they must eat while balancing the seesaw, they wear out the seesaw faster, and so on. This is equivalent to a pattern of stress-related disease that will run through many of the subsequent chapters: it is hard to fix one major problem in the body without knocking something else out of balance (the very essence of allostasis spreading across systems throughout the body). Thus, you may be able to solve one bit of imbalance brought on during stress by using your elephants (your massive levels of various stress hormones), but such great quantities of those hormones can make a mess of something else in the process. And a long history of doing this produces wear and tear throughout the body, termed allostatic load. ~ Robert M Sapolsky
178:Concern flickers across his eyes and he frowns, looking away. “There is something I should tell you.”
My eyes widen to saucers. I knew it. My mind races with possibilities—drugs? Arrest record? Wife?—before I spit out an apprehensive, “What?”
“The thing is,” he starts, dragging his eyes back to mine, “depending on the market, I’m not technically a billionaire. Most days my net worth is still in the millionaire category.”
“Oh, my God. You’re an idiot.” I groan and laugh, flopping back onto the bed.
“Honestly, the money is a hassle most of the time.”
“Draws more attention than I’m interested in, truthfully.” He rubs his forehead. “Investors, media, security.” He drops his hand. “I’m not interested in being a Wikipedia page, you know?”
I nod. I can understand that.
“And my future children, I already wonder if I’m going to have to send them to the playground with security. Shit, I know I will. They’ll be worth too much. ~ Jana Aston
179:I began to laugh uncontrollably, so hard I nearly fell off the swing, because I knew then for sure he saw the same thing I did. More than that: we were creating it. Whatever the drug was making us see, we were constructing it together. And, with that realization, the virtual-reality simulator flipped into color. It happened for both of us at the same time, pop! We looked at each other and just laughed; everything was hysterically funny, even the playground slide was smiling at us, and at some point, deep in the night, when we were swinging on the jungle gymand showers of sparks were flying out of our mouths, I had the epiphany that laughter was light, and light was laughter, and that this was the secret of the universe. For hours, we watched the clouds rearranging themselves into intelligent patterns; rolled in the dirt, believing it was seaweed; lay on our backs and sang "Dear Prudence" to the welcoming and appreciative stars. It was a fantastic night: one of the great nights of my life. ~ Donna Tartt
180:...'I've never told you this, but when you were in your teens one of your teachers called us. He said you'd been fighting in the playground again. With two of the boys from the grade above, but this time it hadn't turned out so well--they'd had to send you to the hospital to have your lip sewn and a tooth taken out. I stopped your allowance, remember? Anyway, Øystein told me about the fight later. You flew at them because they'd filled Tresko's knapsack with water from the school fountain. If I remember correctly, you didn't even like Tresko much. Øystein said the reason you'd been hurt so badly was that you didn't give in. You got up time after time and in the end you were bleeding so much that the big boys became alarmed and went on their way.'
Olav Hole laughed quietly. 'I didn't think I could tell you that at the time--it would only have been asking for more fights--but I was so proud I could have wept. You were brave, Harry. You were scared of the dark, but that didn't stop you going there.'... ~ Jo Nesb
181:It was the Lord who knew of the impossibility every parent in that room faced: how to prepare the child for the day when the child would be despised and how to create in the child—by what means?—a stronger antidote to this poison than one had found for oneself. The avenues, side streets, bars, billiard halls, hospitals, police stations, and even the playgrounds of Harlem—not to mention the houses of correction, the jails, and the morgue—testified to the potency of the poison while remaining silent as to the efficacy of whatever antidote, irresistibly raising the question of whether or not such an antidote existed; raising, which was worse, the question of whether or not an antidote was desirable; perhaps poison should be fought with poison. With these several schisms in the mind and with more terrors in the heart than could be named, it was better not to judge the man who had gone down under an impossible burden. It was better to remember: Thou knowest this man’s fall; but thou knowest not his wrassling. ~ James Baldwin
182:I pass a construction site, abandoned for the night, and a few blocks later, the playground of the elementary school my son attended, the metal sliding board gleaming under a streetlamp and the swings stirring in the breeze.
There's an energy to these autumn nights that touches something primal inside of me. Something from long ago. From my childhood in western Iowa. I think of high school football games and the stadium lights blazing down on the players. I smell ripening apples, and the sour reek of beer from keg parties in the cornfields. I feel the wind in my face as I ride in the bed of an old pickup truck down a country road at night, dust swirling in the taillights and the entire span of my life yawning out ahead o me.
It's the beautiful thing about youth.
There's a weightlessness that permeates everything because no damning choices have been made, no paths committed to, and the road forking out ahead is pure, unlimited potential.
I love my life, but I haven't felt that lightness of being in ages. Autumn nights like this are as close as I get. ~ Blake Crouch
183:You could hear the wind in the leaves, and on that wind traveled the screams of the kids on the playground in the distance, the little kids figuring out how to be alive, how to navigate a world that was not built for them by navigating a playground that was. Dad saw me watching the kids and said, "You miss running around like that?"
"Sometimes, I guess." But that wasn't what I was thinking about. I was just trying to notice everything: the light on the ruined Ruins, this little kid who could barely walk discovering a stick at the corner of the playground, my indefatigable mother zigzagging mustard across her turkey sandwich, my dad patting his handheld in his pocket and resisting the urge to check it, a guy throwing a Frisbee that his dog kept running under and catching and returning to him.
Who am I to say that these things might not be forever? Who is Peter Van Houten to assert as fact the conjecture that our labor is temporary? All I know of heaven and all I know of death is in this park: an elegant universe in ceaseless motion, teeming with ruined ruins and screaming children. ~ John Green
184:Yes, I do think the ruling class in America would like to grab everything for themselves, because they were brought up that way, and early American Puritans somehow had it wired into their religion that poverty is a sign that God doesn't like you, that you're not "saved," that money, on the other hand, is a sign of God's approval. They say the middle class in this country is shrinking, but I don't really know who the "they" is in that sentence. I tend to think there's a natural process of balances -- that when the very rich press their luck too far, there's a danger of a backlash, and the rich know it. There's often a time when the bully on the playground does one bad thing too many and all the little weaklings gang up on him, and that's the end of that particular pattern. I look at that stuff as a novelist, and as a human being, but I try not to get too worked up about it. I think of myself as wearing the invisible tee shirt with "You can kill me but you can't impress me" printed on it. Every second I spend laughing is a second I don't have to think about Vice President Cheney, for instance. ~ Carolyn See
185:The last thing we want to admit is that the forbidden fruit on which we have been gnawing since reaching the magic age of twenty-one is the same mealy Golden Delicious that we stuff into our children’s lunch boxes. The last thing we want to admit is that the bickering of the playground perfectly presages the machinations of the boardroom, that our social hierarchies are merely an extension of who got picked first for the kickball team, and that grown-ups still get divided into bullies and fatties and crybabies. What’s a kid to find out? Presumably we lord over them an exclusive deed to sex, but this pretense flies so fantastically in the face of fact that it must result from some conspiratorial group amnesia. […] In truth, we are bigger, greedier versions of the same eating, shitting, rutting ruck, hell-bent on disguising from somebody, if only from a three-year-old, that pretty much all we do is eat and shit and rut. The secret is there is no secret. That is what we really wish to keep from our kids, and its supression is the true collusion of adulthood, the pact we make, the Talmud we protect. ~ Lionel Shriver
Poem Beginning with a Line by My Daughter, Abigail
When I wake up, I’m still asleep.
And when I get dressed, my clothes are missing.
And when I finish breakfast, I’m always hungry.
And when I walk to school, the street is empty.
And when I open my book, the pages are blank.
And when I count the boys in my class, the walls are blue.
And when I count the girls in my class, the walls are yellow.
And when the bell rings for recess, the playground is gone.
And when I come home, the house is dark.
And when I open the mail, the lights switch on.
And when I try to whistle, my mouth becomes a balloon.
And when I begin to sing, the balloon sails out the window.
And when I enter the garden, the flowers turn their backs on me.
And when I pet my cat, she flaps her wings and flies away.
And when I call my dog, a wolf lopes out of the woods.
And when I sit down to dinner, the table is crowded with people I don’t know.
And when I ask for dessert, everybody claps their hands.
And when I climb into bed, I’m wide awake.
~ Christopher Merrill
187:I can’t blame all this for my drinking—I can’t blame my parents or my childhood, an abusive uncle or some terrible tragedy. It’s my fault. I was a drinker anyway—I’ve always liked to drink. But I did become sadder, and sadness gets boring after a while, for the sad person and for everyone around them. And then I went from being a drinker to being a drunk, and there’s nothing more boring than that. I’m better now, about the children thing; I’ve got better since I’ve been on my own. I’ve had to. I’ve read books and articles, I’ve realized that I must come to terms with it. There are strategies, there is hope. If I straightened myself out and sobered up, there’s a possibility that I could adopt. And I’m not thirty-four yet—it isn’t over. I am better than I was a few years ago, when I used to abandon my trolley and leave the supermarket if the place was packed with mums and kids; I wouldn’t have been able to come to a park like this, to sit near the playground and watch chubby toddlers rolling down the slide. There were times, at my lowest, when the hunger was at its worst, when I thought I was going to lose my mind. ~ Paula Hawkins
188:But depression wasn’t the word. This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavor from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order. Old age, sickness, death. No escape for anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil. And yet somehow people still kept fucking and breeding and popping out new fodder for the grave, producing more and more new beings to suffer like this was some kind of redemptive, or good, or even somehow morally admirable thing: dragging more innocent creatures into the lose-lose game. Squirming babies and plodding, complacent, hormone-drugged moms. Oh, isn’t he cute? Awww. Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells awaited them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that, sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. ~ Donna Tartt
189:In general, though, women aren’t really allowed to be kick-ass. It’s like the famous distinction between art and craft: Art, and wildness, and pushing against the edges, is a male thing. Craft, and control, and polish, is for women. Culturally we don’t allow women to be as free as they would like, because that is frightening. We either shun those women or deem them crazy. Female singers who push too much, and too hard, don’t tend to last very long. They’re jags, bolts, comets: Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday. But being that woman who pushes the boundaries means you also bring in less desirable aspects of yourself. At the end of the day, women are expected to hold up the world, not annihilate it. That’s why Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill is so great. The term girl power was coined by the Riot Grrl movement that Kathleen spearheaded in the 1990s. Girl power: a phrase that would later be co-opted by the Spice Girls, a group put together by men, each Spice Girl branded with a different personality, polished and stylized to be made marketable as a faux female type. Coco was one of the few girls on the playground who had never heard of them, and that’s its own form of girl power, saying no to female marketing! ~ Kim Gordon
190:HAVE YOU SEEN ME?
The last count Jim had heard was 190 missing kids. The number would have seemed like fantasy if not for the evidence he saw everywhere: a higher fence around the school, larger numbers of parents patrolling the playgrounds, the police crackdown on kids being on the streets after dark. It was unusual that Jim and Jack would be allowed to be out on their bikes this close to sundown, but it was Jack's birthday and their parents couldn't say no....
Jim squinted into the sun. He could make out Jack pedaling so fast that birds threw themselves out of the way not land until they had gone south for the winter. Jack whooped and dry leaves danced in the Sportcrest's wake. In just a few seconds, Jack would pass under the Holland Transit Bridge, a monolith of concrete and steel....
He had to catch up to his brother. When they got home, he wanted it to be as equals... The training wheels protested - SQUEAK, SQUEAK, SQUEAK! - but he kept on cycling his legs, willing them to be longer and stronger.
When he looked up again, Jack was gone.
Jim could see the Sportcrest lying beneath the bridge, silhouetted by the falling sun, it's handlebars bent and the front wheel still spinning. ~ Guillermo del Toro
191:Uh-oh!” said Lizzy. “There’s a boy coming over from the boys’ side of the playground, and guess who it is.”
There wasn’t any rule about a boys’ side and a girls’ side at Bear Country School. But the boys did sort of stay on one side of the playground and the girls on the other.
Oh! I hope it’s Herbie Cubbison! thought Sister. Sister Bear liked Herbie, and everybody knew it--except maybe Herbie.
“Is it Herbie?” asked Sister, not wanting to look.
“No,” said Lizzy. “It’s Billy Grizzwold.”
“Oh, no! Not that awful Billy Grizzwold!” said Sister, turning the rope faster and faster.
“Hey, slow down,” said Amy.
“Hi, Sister!” said Billy.
“Don’t you ‘hi’ me, said Sister, “and you better not have a worm, like you did yesterday, or a dead mouse, like you did the day before!”
“No worm. No dead mouse,” said Billy. “Just me!” And with that he began jumping with Amy and got tangled in the rope.
Down they all fell in a heap.
“Why, you…!” said Sister. She pulled the rope free and ran after Billy. Sister was a fast runner. But Billy was faster and kept just ahead of her.
Oh, why doesn’t Herbie Cubbison come to my rescue? thought Sister as she chased Billy around and around the playground.
Herbie was too busy playing fistball even to notice. ~ Stan Berenstain
192:Don’t defend him! This is bullshit!” he said as he turned for the door, and then turned back to face me. “I’ve been sitting at work this whole time, staring at those fucking things. I wanted to calm down before I got here, but this is just . . . it’s fucking disrespectful, is what it is! I bust my ass trying to prove to you that I’m better for you than he ever was. But he keeps pulling this shit, and showing up, and . . . I can’t compete with some rich college boy from California. I’m barely getting by, with no degree, and up until a few days ago I still lived with my dad. But I am so fucking in love you, Cami,” he said, reaching for me. “I have been since we were kids. The first time I saw you on the playground, I knew what beauty was. The first time you ignored me was my first broken heart. I thought I was playing this right, from the moment I sat down at your table at the Red. No one has ever wanted someone as much as I want you. For years I . . .” He was breathing hard, and he clenched his jaw. “When I heard about your dad, I wanted to rescue you,” he said, chuckling, but not out of humor. “And that night at your apartment, I thought I’d finally gotten something right.” He pointed to the ground. “That my purpose in life was to love you and keep you safe . . . but I didn’t prepare for having to share you. ~ Jamie McGuire
193:This tiny, white-washed Infants' room was a brief but cosy anarchy. In that short time allowed us we played and wept, broke things, fell asleep, cheeked the teacher, discovered things we could do to each other, and exhaled our last guiltless days.
My desk companions were those two blonde girls, already puppyishly pretty, whose names and bodies were to distract and haunt me for the next fifteen years of my life. Poppy and Jo were limper chums; they sat holding hands all day; and there was a female self-possession about their pink sticky faces that made me shout angrily at them.
Vera was another I studied and liked; she was lonely, fuzzy and short. I felt a curious compassion for stumpy Vera; and it was through her, and no beauty, that I got into trouble and received the first public shock of my life. How it happened was simple, and I was innocent, so it seemed. She came up to me in the playground one morning and held her face close to mine. I had a stick in my hand, so I hit her on the head with it. Her hair was springy, so I hit her again and watched her mouth open up with a yell.
To my surprise a commotion broke out around me, cries of scandal from the older girls, exclamations of horror and heavy censure mixed with Vera's sobbing wails. I was intrigued, not alarmed, that by wielding a beech stick I was able to cause such a stir. So I hit her again, without spite or passion, then walked off to try something else. ~ Laurie Lee
194:Sometimes you almost forgot: that you didn't look like everyone else. In homeroom or at the drugstore or at the supermarket, you listened to morning announcements or dropped off a roll of film or picked out a carton of eggs and felt like just another someone in the crowd. Sometimes you didn't think about it at all. And then sometimes you noticed the girl across the aisle watching, the pharmacist watching, the checkout boy watching, and you saw yourself reflected in their stares: incongruous. Catching the eye like a hook. Every time you saw yourself from the outside, the way other people saw you, you remembered all over again. You saw it in the sign at the Peking Express - a cartoon man with a coolie hat, slant eyes, buckteeth, and chopsticks. You saw it in the little boys on the playground, stretching their eyes to slits with their fingers - Chinese - Japanese - look at these - and in the older boys who muttered ching chong ching chong ching as they passed you on the street, just loud enough for you to hear. You saw it when waitresses and policemen and bus drivers spoke slowly to you, in simple words, as if you might not understand. You saw it in photos, yours the only black head of hair in the scene, as if you'd been cut out and pasted in. You thought: Wait, what's she doing there? And then you remembered that she was you. You kept your head down and thought about school, or space, or the future, and tried to forget about it. And you did, until it happened again. ~ Celeste Ng
195:Sometimes you almost forgot: that you didn't look like everyone else. In homeroom or at the drugstore or at the supermarket, you listened to morning announcements or dropped off a roll of film or picked up a carton of eggs and felt like just another someone in the crowd. Sometimes you didn't think about it at all. And then sometimes you noticed the girl across the aisle watching, the pharmacist watching, the checkout boy watching, and you saw yourself reflected in their stares: incongruous. Catching the eye like a hook. Every time you saw yourself from the outside, the way other people saw you, you remembered all over again. You saw it in the sign at the Peking Express - a cartoon man with a coolie hat, slant eyes, buckteeth, and chopsticks. You saw it in the little boys on the playground, stretching their eyes to slits with their fingers -- Chinese - Japanese - look at these - and in the older boys who muttered ching chong ching chong ching as they passed you on the street, just loud enough for you to hear. You saw it when waitresses and policemen and bus drivers spoke slowly to you, in simple words, as if you might not understand. You saw it in photos, yours the only black head of hair in the scene, as if you'd been cut out and pasted in. You thought: Wait, what's she doing there? And then you remembered that she was you. You kept your head down and thought about school, or space, or the future, and tried to forget about it. And you did, until it happened again. ~ Celeste Ng
196:Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells awaited them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that, sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. People gambled and golfed and planted gardens and traded stocks and had sex and bought new cars and practiced yoga and worked and prayed and redecorated their homes and got worked up over the news and fussed over their children and gossiped about their neighbors and pored over restaurant reviews and founded charitable organizations and supported political candidates and attended the U.S. Open and dined and travelled and distracted themselves with all kinds of gadgets and devices, flooding themselves incessantly with information and texts and communication and entertainment from every direction to try to make themselves forget it: where we were, what we were. But in a strong light there was no good spin you could put on it. It was rotten top to bottom. Putting your time in at the office; dutifully spawning your two point five; smiling politely at your retirement party; then chewing on your bedsheet and choking on your canned peaches at the nursing home. It was better never to have been born—never to have wanted anything, never to have hoped for anything. ~ Donna Tartt
197:My mother tells me
that when I meet someone I like,
I have to ask them three questions:
1. what are you afraid of?
2. do you like dogs?
3. what do you do when it rains?
of those three, she says the first one is the most important.
“They gotta be scared of something, baby. Everybody is. If they aren’t afraid of anything, then they don’t believe in anything, either.”I asked you what you were afraid of.
“spiders, mostly. being alone. little children, like, the ones who just learned how to push a kid over on the playground. oh and space. holy shit, space.”
I asked you if you liked dogs.
“I have three.”
I asked you what you do when it rains.
“sleep, mostly. sometimes I sit at the window and watch the rain droplets race. I make a shelter out of plastic in my backyard for all the stray animals; leave them food and a place to sleep.”
he smiled like he knew.
like his mom told him the same
“how about you?”
I’m scared of everything.
of the hole in the o-zone layer,
of the lady next door who never
smiles at her dog,
and especially of all the secrets
the government must be breaking
it’s back trying to keep from us.
I love dogs so much, you have no idea.
I sleep when it rains.
I want to tell everyone I love them.
I want to find every stray animal and bring them home.
I want to wake up in your hair
and make you shitty coffee
and kiss your neck
and draw silly stick figures of us.
I never want to ask anyone else
ever again. ~ Caitlyn Siehl
198:My mother tells me
that when I meet someone I like,
I have to ask them three questions:
1. what are you afraid of?
2. do you like dogs?
3. what do you do when it rains?
of those three, she says the first one is the most important.
“They gotta be scared of something, baby. Everybody is. If they aren’t afraid of anything, then they don’t believe in anything, either.”
I asked you what you were afraid of.
“spiders, mostly. being alone. little children, like, the ones who just learned how to push a kid over on the playground. oh and space. holy shit, space.”
I asked you if you liked dogs.
“I have three.”
I asked you what you do when it rains.
“sleep, mostly. sometimes I sit at the window and watch the rain droplets race. I make a shelter out of plastic in my backyard for all the stray animals; leave them food and a place to sleep.”
he smiled like he knew.
like his mom told him the same
“how about you?”
I’m scared of everything.
of the hole in the o-zone layer,
of the lady next door who never
smiles at her dog,
and especially of all the secrets
the government must be breaking
it’s back trying to keep from us.
I love dogs so much, you have no idea.
I sleep when it rains.
I want to tell everyone I love them.
I want to find every stray animal and bring them home.
I want to wake up in your hair
and make you shitty coffee
and kiss your neck
and draw silly stick figures of us.
I never want to ask anyone else
ever again. ~ Caitlyn Siehl
199:In a groundbreaking study, Judith Smetana presented children as young as two and a half with simple, everyday scenarios. In some of the stories children broke a preschool rule—they didn’t put their clothes in the cubby or they talked at naptime. In others, they caused real physical or psychological harm to another child, by hitting, teasing, or stealing a snack. Smetana asked the children how bad the transgressions were, and whether they deserved punishment. But, most important, she asked whether the actions would be OK if the rules were different or if they took place in a school with different rules. Would it be OK to talk at naptime if the teachers all said so? Would it be OK to hit another child if the teachers all said so? Even the youngest children differentiated between rules and harm. Children thought that breaking rules and causing harm were both bad, but that causing harm was a lot worse. They also said that the rules could be changed or might not apply at a different school, but they insisted that causing harm would always be wrong, no matter what the rules said or where you were. Children made similar judgments about actual incidents that had happened in the preschool, not just hypothetical cases. And when you looked at the natural interactions in the playground you saw much the same pattern. Children reacted differently to harm and rulebreaking. Children in the Virgin Islands, South Korea, and Colombia behaved like American children. Poignantly, even abused children thought that hurting someone was intrinsically wrong. These children had seen their own parents cause harm, but they knew how much it hurt, and thought it was wrong. ~ Alison Gopnik
200:The banishing of a leper seems harsh, unnecessary. The Ancient East hasn’t been the only culture to isolate their wounded, however. We may not build colonies or cover our mouths in their presence, but we certainly build walls and duck our eyes. And a person needn’t have leprosy to feel quarantined. One of my sadder memories involves my fourth-grade friend Jerry.1He and a half-dozen of us were an ever-present, inseparable fixture on the playground. One day I called his house to see if we could play. The phone was answered by a cursing, drunken voice telling me Jerry could not come over that day or any day. I told my friends what had happened. One of them explained that Jerry’s father was an alcoholic. I don’t know if I knew what the word meant, but I learned quickly. Jerry, the second baseman; Jerry, the kid with the red bike; Jerry, my friend on the corner was now “Jerry, the son of a drunk.” Kids can be hard, and for some reason we were hard on Jerry. He was infected. Like the leper, he suffered from a condition he didn’t create. Like the leper, he was put outside the village. The divorced know this feeling. So do the handicapped. The unemployed have felt it, as have the less educated. Some shun unmarried moms. We keep our distance from the depressed and avoid the terminally ill. We have neighborhoods for immigrants, convalescent homes for the elderly, schools for the simple, centers for the addicted, and prisons for the criminals. The rest simply try to get away from it all. Only God knows how many Jerrys are in voluntary exile—individuals living quiet, lonely lives infected by their fear of rejection and their memories of the last time they tried. They choose not to be touched at all rather than risk being hurt again. ~ Max Lucado
201:Then she turned and walked right to Jonathon. He smiled in surprise at her and swung his arm out for her to pass him in line for breakfast. I peeked at Bish, wondering if he saw. He did. Great. I swiftly bolted to him in as ladylike a way as I could and stopped him from pounding Jonathon into dust. "Bish," I said and put a hand on his chest to stop him. "Think about it. You're just overly upset because your body is mad that she's with him." "You're daggum right it is!" "It's just the imprint. It makes you feel over protective. Jen is just hurting and trying to figure it out. If you make a scene right now, you're going to be moving backward, not forward." He sighed in a grumble. "So I'm supposed to just sit around and watch her do things to piss me off on purpose and pretend it doesn't bother me?" "For now? Yes. Please. I will figure this out for you, but right now we have some seriously messed up stuff going down and that has to be dealt with first." He lifted his hands to the back of his head and closed his eyes. "Fine. I won't touch pretty boy." "Thank you." "I'm going to…uh…" His eyes fastened on Maria. He smiled. I looked over to see, too. Maria was throwing grapes into the air and catching them in her mouth. Then giggling to herself as no one else was at the table with her. Bish left without another word and walked right to her. I watched and could hear their conversation in their mind. "Hey, Maria. You're pretty good at that, kid," he said. "I know," she spouted. "This boy at school taught me. But then he pulled my ponytail on the playground the next day, so I'm not really friends with him anymore." "Why did he pull your ponytail?" "Momma says boys are mean when they like you," she whispered in a disgusted voice. "But I think Momma's been misinformed. ~ Shelly Crane
202:Unfortunately these days, hardly a day goes by without news of an incident of childhood bullying. Some of these are so horrific or tragic that they defy understanding. Those really grab our attention. Others are all too easily dismissed as some sort of rite of passage, an acceptable part of growing up. The truth, though, is that bullying of any kind has the power to change who a child is, the kind of person he or she grows up to be. When ignored, the victim can be scarred for life, emotionally, if not physically. The perpetrator grows up with a skewed value system that suggests it’s perfectly okay to make another person’s life miserable, to feel powerful, even for a moment, at the expense of someone weaker. It’s up to adults—parents, teachers, entire communities—to take a stand, to say bullying is not okay, not ever, not by anyone! And that’s exactly what happens in Serenity when schoolteacher Laura Reed and pediatrician J. C. Fullerton realize a student is being bullied. Both Laura and J.C. have experienced the damaging effects of bullying, so what’s happening to Misty Dawson is personal and unacceptable. While there are often subtle messages tucked away in my stories, I hope the message in Catching Fireflies is loud and clear. There is nothing cute or normal or acceptable about bullying, whether it’s a toddler on the playground or a teenager using the internet to torment a classmate. Pay attention to what may be happening to your children, no matter how young or how old. Pay even closer attention to how they’re treating others. Bullying is wrong. It needs to stop. And alert parents and teachers and a united community can make that happen. I hope you’ll enjoy spending time with all the Sweet Magnolias once more, and that you’ll take their message—and mine—to heart. All best, Sherryl ~ Sherryl Woods
203:Now in my eleven years of conventional life I had learned many things and one of them is what it means to be convicted of rape--I do not mean the man who did it, I mean the woman to whom it was done. Rape is one of the Christian mysteries, it creates a luminous and beautiful tableau in people's minds; and as I listened furtively to what nobody would allow me to hear straight out, I slowly came to understand that I was face to face with one of those feminine disasters, like pregnancy, like disease, like weakness; she was not only the victim of the act but in some strange way its perpetrator; somehow she had attracted the lightening that struck her out of a clear sky. A diabolical chance--which was not chance--had revealed her to all of us as she truly was, in her secret inadequacy, in that wretched guiltiness which she had kept hidden for seventeen years but which now finally manifested in front of everybody. Her secret guilt was this:
She was Cunt.
She had "lost" something.
Now the other party to the incident had manifested his essential nature, too; he was Prick--but being Prick is not a bad thing. In fact, he had "gotten away with" something (possibly what she had "lost").
And there I was at eleven years of age:
She was out late at night.
She was in the wrong part of town.
Her skirt was too short and that provoked him.
She liked having her eye blacked and her head banged against the sidewalk.
I understood this perfectly. (I reflected thus in my dream, in my state of being a pair of eyes in a small wooden box stuck forever on a grey, geometric plane--or so I thought.) I too had been guilty of what had been done to me, when I came home from the playground in tears because I had been beaten up by bigger children who were bullies.
I was dirty.
I was crying.
I demanded comfort.
I was being inconvenient.
I did not disappear into thin air. ~ Joanna Russ
204:You know you’re the only girl in this school who’s not white?” “Yeah? I didn’t realize.” This was a lie. Even with blue eyes, she could not pretend she blended in. “You and Nath, you’re practically the only Chinese people in the whole of Middlewood, I bet.” “Probably.” Jack settled back into his seat and rubbed at a small dent in the plastic of the steering wheel. Then, after a moment, he said, “What’s that like?” “What’s it like?” Lydia hesitated. Sometimes you almost forgot: that you didn’t look like everyone else. In homeroom or at the drugstore or at the supermarket, you listened to morning announcements or dropped off a roll of film or picked out a carton of eggs and felt like just another someone in the crowd. Sometimes you didn’t think about it at all. And then sometimes you noticed the girl across the aisle watching, the pharmacist watching, the checkout boy watching, and you saw yourself reflected in their stares: incongruous. Catching the eye like a hook. Every time you saw yourself from the outside, the way other people saw you, you remembered all over again. You saw it in the sign at the Peking Express—the man with a coolie hat, slant eyes, buckteeth, and chopsticks. You saw it in the little boys on the playground, stretching their eyes to slits with their fingers—Chinese—Japanese—look at these—and in the older boys who muttered ching chong ching chong ching as they passed you on the street, just loud enough for you to hear. You saw it when waitresses and policemen and bus drivers spoke slowly to you, in simple words, as if you might not understand. You saw it in photos, yours the only black head of hair in the scene, as if you’d been cut out and pasted in. You thought: Wait, what’s she doing there? And then you remembered that she was you. You kept your head down and thought about school, or space, or the future, and tried to forget about it. And you did, until it happened again. ~ Celeste Ng
205:But depression wasn't the word. This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavor from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order. Old age, sickness, death. No escape for anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil. And yet somehow people still kept fucking and breeding and popping out new fodder for the grave, producing more and more new beings to suffer like this was some kind of redemptive, or good, or even somehow morally admirable thing: dragging more innocent creatures into the lose-lose game. Squirming babies and plodding, complacent, hormone-drugged moms. Oh, isn't he cute? Awww. Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells await them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. People gambled and golfed and planted gardens and traded stocks and had sex and bought new cars and practiced yoga and worked and prayed and redecorated their homes and got worked up over the news and fussed over their children and gossiped about their neighbors and pored over restaurant reviews and founded charitable organizations and supported political candidates and attended the U.S. Open and dined and travelled and distracted themselves with all kinds of gadgets and devices, flooding themselves incessantly with information and texts and communication and entertainment from every direction to try to make themselves forget it: where we were, what we were. But in a strong light there was no good spin you could put on it. It was rotten from top to bottom. ~ Donna Tartt
206:So let’s imagine for now that our love for our children and our thankfulness for their existence is a given. Let’s imagine that no one can possibly doubt the depths of our feelings for our sons and daughters. Let’s imagine that everyone in the world knows exactly how much we love all the many things there are to love about our children and the relationships we have with them. Let’s imagine that we are all most definitely Good Moms, and, with all that on our side, admit for a moment what we don’t love. I’ll give you my list, you add your own. I don’t love every minute of going to the playground. I don’t love every minute of going to the museums. I don’t love every minute of watching Elmo. I don’t love every minute of having to wake up early in the morning. I don’t love every minute of having interrupted sleep at night. I don’t love every minute of having to be the one to make the rules and the one who must enforce them. I don’t love every minute of laundry. I don’t love every minute of changing diapers. I don’t love every minute of having to endure the stares of people when my child freaks out in public. I don’t love every minute of making food that my kid ends up throwing on the floor. I don’t love every minute that I have the Barney song stuck in my head. I don’t love every minute of having to reason with a tantrum-throwing toddler. I don’t love every minute of being peed on, pooped on, and thrown-up on. I don’t love every minute of weaning. I don’t love every minute of sidewalk chalk. I don’t love every minute of having to pick up the blocks fifteen times a day. I don’t love every minute of putting my life on hold. I don’t love every minute of tantrums. I don’t love every minute of going to story time at the library. I HATE the Teletubbies. I don’t love every minute of being chained to someone else’s routine. I don’t love every minute of not being able to go to the bathroom without company. I don’t love every minute of being a mother. ~ Andrea J Buchanan
207:The previous governess had used various monsters and bogeymen as a form of discipline. There was always something waiting to eat or carry off bad boys and girls for crimes like stuttering or defiantly and aggravatingly persisting in writing with their left hand. There was always a Scissor Man waiting for a little girl who sucked her thumb, always a bogeyman in the cellar. Of such bricks is the innocence of childhood constructed. Susan’s attempts at getting them to disbelieve in the things only caused the problems to get worse. Twyla had started to wet the bed. This may have been a crude form of defense against the terrible clawed creature that she was certain lived under it. Susan had found out about this one the first night, when the child had woken up crying because of a bogeyman in the closet. She’d sighed and gone to have a look. She’d been so angry that she’d pulled it out, hit it over the head with the nursery poker, dislocated its shoulder as a means of emphasis and kicked it out of the back door. The children refused to disbelieve in the monsters because, frankly, they knew damn well the things were there. But she’d found that they could, very firmly, also believe in the poker. Now she sat down on a bench and read a book. She made a point of taking the children, every day, somewhere where they could meet others of the same age. If they got the hang of the playground, she thought, adult life would hold no fears. Besides, it was nice to hear the voices of little children at play, provided you took care to be far enough away not to hear what they were actually saying. There were lessons later on. These were going a lot better now she’d got rid of the reading books about bouncy balls and dogs called Spot. She’d got Gawain on to the military campaigns of General Tacticus, which were suitably bloodthirsty but, more importantly, considered too difficult for a child. As a result his vocabulary was doubling every week and he could already use words like “disemboweled” in everyday conversation. After all, what was the point of teaching children to be children? They were naturally good at it. ~ Terry Pratchett
208:I remember sitting here," he said, "and watching you over there." He pointed, but I didn't have to look. Before Cameron and I got close, I spent a lot of lunches the same way, starting off eating and reading on my special bench on the other side of the yard, followed by walking the perimeter of the playground, balancing on the small cement curb that separated the blacktop from the landscaping, around and around and around, hoping I looked busy and like it didn't matter that I had no friends.
I sat next to Cameron on the bench. "What did you think when you used to watch me?"
He leaned his head against the building. "That I understood you. That you'd understand me."
"Do you remember the first time you talked to me? Because I don't. I've been trying to remember for years and I can't get it."
"You don't remember? Wasn't me that talked to you. You talked to me."
I scooted forward on the bench and looked at him. "I did?"
"You walked right across the yard here at recess," he said, pointing. "Came straight up to me." He laughed. "You looked so determined. I was scared you were gonna kick me in the shins or something."
I didn't remember this at all, any of it.
"You said you were starting a club," he continued. "Asked me if I wanted to join."
"Wait..." Something was there, at the very edge of my memory, coming into focus. "Do you remember if it happened to be May Day?"
"That the one with the pole and all the ribbons?"
"Yep. All the girls had ribbons in their hair but you."
Jordana wouldn't let me wear ribbons. She said my hair was too greasy and I might give someone lice, and somehow I submitted to her logic. "I do remember," I said softly. "I haven't thought of that in forever. I kept thinking that you were the one to make friends with me first."
"Nope." He smiled. "You started this whole thing. I wanted to, but you were the one with the guts to actually do it."
"I think of myself as being a coward, and a baby, scared all the time."
He got quiet. We watched kids in the schoolyard playing basketball. "You're not," he finally said. "You know that." He got up suddenly. "Let's go. We got one more stop. ~ Sara Zarr
209:Little Nicky heads to the Badlands to see the show for himself. The Western Roads are outside his remit as a U.S. Treasury agent, but he knows the men he wants are its denizens. Standing on the corner of the Great Western and Edinburgh Roads, a sideshow, a carnival of the doped, the beaten, and the crazed. He walks round to the Avenue Haig strip and encounters the playground of Shanghai’s crackpots, cranks, gondoos, and lunatics. He’s accosted constantly: casino touts, hustling pimps, dope dealers; monkeys on chains, dancing dogs, kids turning tumbles, Chinese ‘look see’ boys offering to watch your car. Their numbers rise as the Japs turn the screws on Shanghai ever tighter. Half-crazy American missionaries try to sell him Bibles printed on rice paper—saving souls in the Badlands is one tough beat. The Chinese hawkers do no better with their porno cards of naked dyed blondes, Disney characters in lewd poses, and bare-arsed Chinese girls, all underage. Barkers for the strip shows and porno flicks up the alleyways guarantee genuine French celluloid of the filthiest kind. Beggars abound, near the dealers and bootleggers in the shadows, selling fake heroin pills and bootleg samogon Russian vodka, distilled in alleyways, that just might leave you blind. Off the Avenue Haig, Nicky, making sure of his gun in its shoulder holster, ventures up the side streets and narrow laneways that buzz with the purveyors of cure-all tonics, hawkers of appetite suppressants, male pick-me-ups promising endless virility. Everything is for sale—back-street abortions and unwanted baby girls alongside corn and callus removers, street barbers, and earwax pickers. The stalls of the letter writers for the illiterate are next to the sellers of pills to cure opium addiction. He sees desperate refugees offered spurious Nansen passports, dubious visas for neutral Macao, well-forged letters of transit for Brazil. He could have his fortune told twenty times over (gypsy tarot cards or Chinese bone chuckers? Your choice). He could eat his fill—grilled meat and rice stalls—or he could start a whole new life: end-of-the-worlders and Korean propagandists offer cheap land in Mongolia and Manchukuo. ~ Paul French
210:But depression wasn’t the word. This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavor from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order. Old age, sickness, death. No escape for anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil. And yet somehow people still kept fucking and breeding and popping out new fodder for the grave, producing more and more new beings to suffer like this was some kind of redemptive, or good, or even somehow morally admirable thing: dragging more innocent creatures into the lose-lose game. Squirming babies and plodding, complacent, hormone-drugged moms. Oh, isn’t he cute? Awww. Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells awaited them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that, sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. People gambled and golfed and planted gardens and traded stocks and had sex and bought new cars and practiced yoga and worked and prayed and redecorated their homes and got worked up over the news and fussed over their children and gossiped about their neighbors and pored over restaurant reviews and founded charitable organizations and supported political candidates and attended the U.S. Open and dined and travelled and distracted themselves with all kinds of gadgets and devices, flooding themselves incessantly with information and texts and communication and entertainment from every direction to try to make themselves forget it: where we were, what we were. But in a strong light there was no good spin you could put on it. It was rotten top to bottom. Putting your time in at the office; dutifully spawning your two point five; smiling politely at your retirement party; then chewing on your bedsheet and choking on your canned peaches at the nursing home. It was better never to have been born—never to have wanted anything, never to have hoped for anything. ~ Donna Tartt
211:As I look back on my own life, I recognize that some of the greatest gifts I received from my parents stemmed not from what they did for me—but rather from what they didn’t do for me. One such example: my mother never mended my clothes. I remember going to her when I was in the early grades of elementary school, with holes in both socks of my favorite pair. My mom had just had her sixth child and was deeply involved in our church activities. She was very, very busy. Our family had no extra money anywhere, so buying new socks was just out of the question. So she told me to go string thread through a needle, and to come back when I had done it. That accomplished—it took me about ten minutes, whereas I’m sure she could have done it in ten seconds—she took one of the socks and showed me how to run the needle in and out around the periphery of the hole, rather than back and forth across the hole, and then simply to draw the hole closed. This took her about thirty seconds. Finally, she showed me how to cut and knot the thread. She then handed me the second sock, and went on her way. A year or so later—I probably was in third grade—I fell down on the playground at school and ripped my Levi’s. This was serious, because I had the standard family ration of two pairs of school trousers. So I took them to my mom and asked if she could repair them. She showed me how to set up and operate her sewing machine, including switching it to a zigzag stitch; gave me an idea or two about how she might try to repair it if it were she who was going to do the repair, and then went on her way. I sat there clueless at first, but eventually figured it out. Although in retrospect these were very simple things, they represent a defining point in my life. They helped me to learn that I should solve my own problems whenever possible; they gave me the confidence that I could solve my own problems; and they helped me experience pride in that achievement. It’s funny, but every time I put those socks on until they were threadbare, I looked at that repair in the toe and thought, “I did that.” I have no memory now of what the repair to the knee of those Levi’s looked like, but I’m sure it wasn’t pretty. When I looked at it, however, it didn’t occur to me that I might not have done a perfect mending job. I only felt pride that I had done it. As for my mom, I have wondered what ~ Clayton M Christensen
It is stormy, and raindrops cling like silver bees to the pane,
The thin sycamores in the playground are swinging with flattened leaves;
The heads of the boys move dimly through a yellow gloom that stains
The class; over them all the dark net of my discipline weaves.
It is no good, dear, gentleness and forbearance, I endured too long:
I have pushed my hands in the dark soil, under the flower of my soul
And the gentle leaves, and have felt where the roots are strong
Fixed in the darkness, grappling for the deep soil’s little control.
And there is the dark, my darling, where the roots are entangled and fight
Each one for its hold on the oblivious darkness, I know that there
In the night where we first have being, before we rise on the light,
We are not brothers, my darling, we fight and we do not spare.
And in the original dark the roots cannot keep, cannot know
Any communion whatever, but they bind themselves on to the dark,
And drawing the darkness together, crush from it a twilight, a slow
Burning that breaks at last into leaves and a flower’s bright spark.
I came to the boys with love, my dear, but they turned on me;
I came with gentleness, with my heart ’twixt my hands like a bowl,
Like a loving-cup, like a grail, but they spilt it triumphantly
And tried to break the vessel, and to violate my soul.
But what have I to do with the boys, deep down in my soul, my love?
I throw from out of the darkness my self like a flower into sight,
Like a flower from out of the night-time, I lift my face, and those
Who will may warm their hands at me, comfort this night.
But whosoever would pluck apart my flowering shall burn their hands,
So flowers are tender folk, and roots can only hide,
Yet my flowerings of love are a fire, and the scarlet brands
Of my love are roses to look at, but flames to chide.
But comfort me, my love, now the fires are low,
Now I am broken to earth like a winter destroyed, and all
Myself but a knowledge of roots, of roots in the dark that throw
A net on the undersoil, which lies passive beneath their thrall.
But comfort me, for henceforth my love is yours alone,
To you alone will I offer the bowl, to you will I give
My essence only, but love me, and I will atone
To you for my general loving, atone as long as I live.
~ David Herbert Lawrence
213:Wall Street: I’d start carrying guns if I were you. Your annual reports are worse fiction than the screenplay for Dude, Where’s My Car?, which you further inflate by downsizing and laying off the very people whose life savings you’re pillaging. How long do you think you can do that to people? There are consequences. Maybe not today. Or tomorrow. But inevitably. Just ask the Romanovs. They had a nice little setup, too, until that knock at the door. Second, Congress: We’re on to your act. In the middle of the meltdown, CSPAN showed you pacing the Capitol floor yapping about “under God” staying in the Pledge of Allegiance and attacking the producers of Sesame Street for introducing an HIV-positive Muppet. Then you passed some mealy-mouthed reforms and crowded to get inside the crop marks at the photo op like a frat-house phone-booth stunt. News flash: We out here in the Heartland care infinitely more about God-and-Country issues because we have internal moral-guidance systems that make you guys look like a squadron of gooney birds landing facedown on an icecap and tumbling ass over kettle. But unlike you, we have to earn a living and can’t just chuck our job responsibilities to march around the office ranting all day that the less-righteous offend us. Jeez, you’re like autistic schoolchildren who keep getting up from your desks and wandering to the window to see if there’s a new demagoguery jungle gym out on the playground. So sit back down, face forward and pay attention! In summary, what’s the answer? The reforms laws were so toothless they were like me saying that I passed some laws, and the president and vice president have forgotten more about insider trading than Martha Stewart will ever know. Yet the powers that be say they’re doing everything they can. But they’re conveniently forgetting a little constitutional sitcom from the nineties that showed us what the government can really do when it wants to go Starr Chamber. That’s with two rs. Does it make any sense to pursue Wall Street miscreants any less vigorously than Ken Starr sniffed down Clinton’s sex life? And remember, a sitting president actually got impeached over that—something incredibly icky but in the end free of charge to taxpayers, except for the $40 million the independent posse spent dragging citizens into motel rooms and staring at jism through magnifying glasses. But where’s that kind of government excess now? Where’s a coffee-cranked little prosecutor when you really need him? I say, bring back the independent counsel. And when we finally nail you stock-market cheats, it’s off to a real prison, not the rich guys’ jail. Then, in a few years, when the first of you start walking back out the gates with that new look in your eyes, the rest of the herd will get the message pretty fast. ~ Tim Dorsey
214:The temporary alliance between the elite and the mob rested largely on this genuine delight with which the former watched the latter destroy respectability. This could be achieved when the German steel barons were forced to deal with and to receive socially Hitler's the housepainter and self-admitted former derelict, as it could be with the crude and vulgar forgeries perpetrated by the totalitarian movements in all fields of intellectual life, insofar as they gathered all the subterranean, nonrespectable elements of European history into one consistent picture. From this viewpoint it was rather gratifying to see that Bolshevism and Nazism began even to eliminate those sources of their own ideologies which had already won some recognition in academic or other official quarters. Not Marx's dialectical materialism, but the conspiracy of 300 families; not the pompous scientificality of Gobineau and Chamberlain, but the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion"; not the traceable influence of the Catholic Church and the role played by anti-clericalism in Latin countries, but the backstairs literature about the Jesuits and the Freemasons became the inspiration for the rewriters of history. The object of the most varied and variable constructions was always to reveal history as a joke, to demonstrate a sphere of secret influences of which the visible, traceable, and known historical reality was only the outward façade erected explicitly to fool the people.
To this aversion of the intellectual elite for official historiography, to its conviction that history, which was a forgery anyway, might as well be the playground of crackpots, must be added the terrible, demoralizing fascination in the possibility that gigantic lies and monstrous falsehoods can eventually be established as unquestioned facts, that man may be free to change his own past at will, and that the difference between truth and falsehood may cease to be objective and become a mere matter of power and cleverness, of pressure and infinite repetition. Not Stalin’s and Hitler's skill in the art of lying but the fact that they were able to organize the masses into a collective unit to back up their lies with impressive magnificence, exerted the fascination. Simple forgeries from the viewpoint of scholarship appeared to receive the sanction of history itself when the whole marching reality of the movements stood behind them and pretended to draw from them the necessary inspiration for action. ~ Hannah Arendt
215:Chapter One Vivek Ranadivé “IT WAS REALLY RANDOM. I MEAN, MY FATHER HAD NEVER PLAYED BASKETBALL BEFORE.” 1. When Vivek Ranadivé decided to coach his daughter Anjali’s basketball team, he settled on two principles. The first was that he would never raise his voice. This was National Junior Basketball—the Little League of basketball. The team was made up mostly of twelve-year-olds, and twelve-year-olds, he knew from experience, did not respond well to shouting. He would conduct business on the basketball court, he decided, the same way he conducted business at his software firm. He would speak calmly and softly, and he would persuade the girls of the wisdom of his approach with appeals to reason and common sense. The second principle was more important. Ranadivé was puzzled by the way Americans play basketball. He is from Mumbai. He grew up with cricket and soccer. He would never forget the first time he saw a basketball game. He thought it was mindless. Team A would score and then immediately retreat to its own end of the court. Team B would pass the ball in from the sidelines and dribble it into Team A’s end, where Team A was patiently waiting. Then the process would reverse itself. A regulation basketball court is ninety-four feet long. Most of the time, a team would defend only about twenty-four feet of that, conceding the other seventy feet. Occasionally teams played a full-court press—that is, they contested their opponent’s attempt to advance the ball up the court. But they did it for only a few minutes at a time. It was as if there were a kind of conspiracy in the basketball world about the way the game ought to be played, Ranadivé thought, and that conspiracy had the effect of widening the gap between good teams and weak teams. Good teams, after all, had players who were tall and could dribble and shoot well; they could crisply execute their carefully prepared plays in their opponent’s end. Why, then, did weak teams play in a way that made it easy for good teams to do the very things that they were so good at? Ranadivé looked at his girls. Morgan and Julia were serious basketball players. But Nicky, Angela, Dani, Holly, Annika, and his own daughter, Anjali, had never played the game before. They weren’t all that tall. They couldn’t shoot. They weren’t particularly adept at dribbling. They were not the sort who played pickup games at the playground every evening. Ranadivé lives in Menlo Park, in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. His team was made up of, as Ranadivé put it, “little blond girls.” These were the daughters of nerds and computer programmers. They worked on science projects and read long and complicated books and dreamed about growing up to be marine biologists. Ranadivé knew that if they played the conventional way—if they let their opponents dribble the ball up the court without opposition—they would almost certainly lose to the girls for whom basketball was a passion. Ranadivé had come to America as a seventeen-year-old with fifty dollars in his pocket. He was not one to accept losing easily. His second principle, then, was that his team would play a real full-court press—every game, all the time. The team ended up at the national championships. “It was really random,” Anjali Ranadivé said. “I mean, my father had never played basketball before.” 2. Suppose you were to total up all the wars over the past two hundred years that occurred between very large and very small countries. Let’s say that one side has to be at least ten times larger in population and armed might ~ Malcolm Gladwell
At 12 years old I started bleeding with the moon
and beating up boys who dreamed of becoming astronauts.
I fought with my knuckles white as stars,
and left bruises the shape of Salem.
There are things we know by heart,
and things we don't.
At 13 my friend Jen tried to teach me how to blow rings of smoke.
I'd watch the nicotine rising from her lips like halos,
but I could never make dying beautiful.
The sky didn't fill with colors the night I convinced myself
veins are kite strings you can only cut free.
I suppose I love this life,
in spite of my clenched fist.
I open my palm and my lifelines look like branches from an Aspen tree,
and there are songbirds perched on the tips of my fingers,
and I wonder if Beethoven held his breath
the first time his fingers touched the keys
the same way a soldier holds his breath
the first time his finger clicks the trigger.
We all have different reasons for forgetting to breathe.
But my lungs remember
the day my mother took my hand and placed it on her belly
and told me the symphony beneath was my baby sister's heartbeat.
And I knew life would tremble
like the first tear on a prison guard's hardened cheek,
like a prayer on a dying man's lips,
like a vet holding a full bottle of whisky like an empty gun in a war zone…
just take me just take me
Sometimes the scales themselves weigh far too much,
the heaviness of forever balancing blue sky with red blood.
We were all born on days when too many people died in terrible ways,
but you still have to call it a birthday.
You still have to fall for the prettiest girl on the playground at recess
and hope she knows you can hit a baseball
further than any boy in the whole third grade
and I've been running for home
through the windpipe of a man who sings
while his hands playing washboard with a spoon
on a street corner in New Orleans
where every boarded up window is still painted with the words
We're Coming Back
like a promise to the ocean
that we will always keep moving towards the music,
the way Basquait slept in a cardboard box to be closer to the rain.
Beauty, catch me on your tongue.
Thunder, clap us open.
The pupils in our eyes were not born to hide beneath their desks.
Tonight lay us down to rest in the Arizona desert,
then wake us washing the feet of pregnant women
who climbed across the border with their bellies aimed towards the sun.
I know a thousand things louder than a soldier's gun.
I know the heartbeat of his mother.
Don't cover your ears, Love.
Don't cover your ears, Life.
There is a boy writing poems in Central Park
and as he writes he moves
and his bones become the bars of Mandela's jail cell stretching apart,
and there are men playing chess in the December cold
who can't tell if the breath rising from the board
is their opponents or their own,
and there's a woman on the stairwell of the subway
swearing she can hear Niagara Falls from her rooftop in Brooklyn,
and I'm remembering how Niagara Falls is a city overrun
with strip malls and traffic and vendors
and one incredibly brave river that makes it all worth it.
Ya'll, I know this world is far from perfect.
I am not the type to mistake a streetlight for the moon.
I know our wounds are deep as the Atlantic.
But every ocean has a shoreline
and every shoreline has a tide
that is constantly returning
to wake the songbirds in our hands,
to wake the music in our bones,
to place one fearless kiss on the mouth of that brave river
that has to run through the center of our hearts
to find its way home. ~ Andrea Gibson
217:In consequence of the inevitably scattered and fragmentary nature of our thinking, which has been mentioned, and of the mixing together of the most heterogeneous representations thus brought about and inherent even in the noblest human mind, we really possess only *half a consciousness*. With this we grope about in the labyrinth of our life and in the obscurity of our investigations; bright moments illuminate our path like flashes of lighting. But what is to be expected generally from heads of which even the wisest is every night the playground of the strangest and most senseless dreams, and has to take up its meditations again on emerging from these dreams? Obviously a consciousness subject to such great limitations is little fitted to explore and fathom the riddle of the world; and to beings of a higher order, whose intellect did not have time as its form, and whose thinking therefore had true completeness and unity, such an endeavor would necessarily appear strange and pitiable. In fact, it is a wonder that we are not completely confused by the extremely heterogeneous mixture of fragments of representations and of ideas of every kind which are constantly crossing one another in our heads, but that we are always able to find our way again, and to adapt and adjust everything. Obviously there must exist a simple thread on which everything is arranged side by side: but what is this? Memory alone is not enough, since it has essential limitations of which I shall shortly speak; moreover, it is extremely imperfect and treacherous. The *logical ego*, or even the *transcendental synthetic unity of apperception*, are expressions and explanations that will not readily serve to make the matter comprehensible; on the contrary, it will occur to many that
“Your wards are deftly wrought, but drive no bolts asunder.”
Kant’s proposition: “The *I think* must accompany all our representations ,” is insufficient; for the “I” is an unknown quantity, in other words, it is itself a mystery and a secret. What gives unity and sequence to consciousness, since by pervading all the representations of consciousness, it is its substratum, its permanent supporter, cannot itself be conditioned by consciousness, and therefore cannot be a representation. On the contrary, it must be the *prius* of consciousness, and the root of the tree of which consciousness is the fruit. This, I say, is the *will*; it alone is unalterable and absolutely identical, and has brought forth consciousness for its own ends. It is therefore the will that gives unity and holds all its representations and ideas together, accompanying them, as it were, like a continuous ground-bass. Without it the intellect would have no more unity of consciousness than has a mirror, in which now one thing now another presents itself in succession, or at most only as much as a convex mirror has, whose rays converge at an imaginary point behind its surface. But it is *the will* alone that is permanent and unchangeable in consciousness. It is the will that holds all ideas and representations together as means to its ends, tinges them with the colour of its character, its mood, and its interest, commands the attention, and holds the thread of motives in its hand. The influence of these motives ultimately puts into action memory and the association of ideas. Fundamentally it is the will that is spoken of whenever “I” occurs in a judgement. Therefore, the will is the true and ultimate point of unity of consciousness, and the bond of all its functions and acts. It does not, however, itself belong to the intellect, but is only its root, origin, and controller."
—from The World as Will and Representation . Translated from the German by E. F. J. Payne in two volumes: volume II, pp. 139-140 ~ Arthur Schopenhauer
218: Book VII: The Book of the Woman
So to the voice of their best they were bowed and obeyed undebating;
Men whose hearts were burning yet with implacable passion
Felt Odysseus strength and rose up clay to his counsels.
King Agamemnon rose at his word, the wide-ruling monarch,
Rose at his word the Cretan and Locrian, Thebes and Epirus,
Nestor rose, the time-tired hoary chief of the Pylians.
Round Agamemnon the Atreid Europe surged in her chieftains
Forth from their tent on the shores of the Troad, splendid in armour,
Into the golden blaze of the sun and the race of the sea-winds.
Fierce and clear like a flame to the death-gods bright on its altar
Shone in their eyes the lust of blood and of earth and of pillage;
For in their hearts those fires replaced the passions of discord
Forging a brittle peace by a common hatred and yearning.
Joyous they were of mood; for their hopes were already in Troya
Sating with massacre, plunder and rape and the groans of their foemen
Death and Hell in our mortal bosoms seated and shrouded;
There they have altars and seats, in mankind, in this fair-builded temple,
Made for purer gods; but we turn from their luminous temptings;
Vainly the divine whispers seek us; the heights are rejected.
Man to his earth drawn always prefers his nethermost promptings,
Man, devouring, devoured who is slayer and slain through the ages
Since by the beast he soars held and exceeds not that pedestals measure.
They now followed close on the steps of the mighty Atrides
Glued like the forest pack to the war-scarred coat of its leader,
Glued as the pack when wolves follow their prey like Doom that can turn not.
Perfect forms and beautiful faces crowded the tent-door,
Brilliant eyes and fierce of souls that remembered the forest,
Wild-beasts touched by thought and savages lusting for beauty.
Dire and fierce and formidable chieftains followed Atrides,
Merciless kings of merciless men and the founders of Europe,
Sackers of Troy and sires of the Par thenon, Athens and Caesar.
Here they had come to destroy the ancient perishing cultures;
For, it is said, from the savage we rose and were born to a wild-beast.
So when the Eye supreme perceives that we rise up too swiftly,
Drawn towards height but fullness contemning, called by the azure,
Life when we fail in, poor in our base and forgetting our mother,
Back we are hurled to our roots; we recover our sap from the savage.
So were these sent by Zeus to destroy the old that was grandiose.
Such were those frames of old as the sons of Heaven might have chosen
Who in the dawn of eternity wedded the daughters of Nature,
Cultures touched by the morning star, vast, bold and poetic,
Titans works and joys, but thrust down from their puissance and pleasure
Fainting now fell from the paces of Time or were left by his ages.
So were these born from Zeus to found the new that should flower
Lucid and slender and perfectly little as fit for this mortal
Ever who sinks back fatigued from immortalitys stature;
Man, repelled by the gulfs within him and shrinking from vastness,
Form of the earth accepts and is glad of the lap of his mother.
Safe through the infinite seas could his soul self-piloted voyage,
Chasing the dawns and the wondrous horizons, eternitys secrets
Drawn from her luminous gulfs! But he journeys rudderless, helmless,
Driven and led by the breath of God who meets him with tempest,
Hurls at him Night. The earth is safer, warmer its sunbeams;
Death and limits are known; so he clings to them hating the summons.
So might one dwell who has come to take joy in a fair-lighted prison;
Amorous grown of its marble walls and its noble adornments,
Lost to mightier cares and the spaces boundlessly calling
Lust of the infinite skies he forgets and the kiss of the stormwind.
So might one live who inured to his days of the field and the farm-yard
Shrinks from the grandiose mountain-tops; shut up in lanes and in hedges
Only his furrows he leads and only orders his gardens,
Only his fleeces weaves and drinks of the yield of his vine-rows:
Lost to his ear is the song of the waterfall, wind in the forests.
Now to our earth we are bent and we study the skies for its image.
That was Greece and its shining, that now is France and its keenness,
That still is Europe though by the Christ-touch troubled and tortured,
Seized by the East but clasping her chains and resisting our freedom.
Then was all founded, on Phrygias coasts, round Ilions ramparts,
Then by the spear of Achilles, then in the Trojan death-cry;
Bearers mute of a future world were those armoured Achaians.
So they arrived from Zeus, an army led by the death-god.
So one can see them still who has sight from the gods in the trance-sleep
Out from the tent emerging on Phrygias coasts in their armour;
Those of the early seed Pelasgian slighter in stature,
Dark-haired, hyacinth-curled from the isles of the sea and the southron,
Soft-eyed men with pitiless hearts; bright-haired the Achaians,
Hordes of the Arctic Dawn who had fled from the ice and the death-blast;
Children of conquerors lured to the coasts and the breezes and olives,
Noons of Mediterranean suns and the kiss of the southwind
Mingled their brilliant force with the plastic warmth of the Hamite.
There they shall rule and their children long till Fate and the Dorian
Break down Hellene doors and trample stern through the passes.
Mixed in a glittering rout on the Ocean beaches one sees them,
Perfect and beautiful figures and fronts, not as now are we mortals
Marred and crushed by our burden long of thought and of labour;
Perfect were these as our race bright-imaged was first by the Thinker
Seen who in golden lustres shapes all the glories we tarnish,
Rich from the moulds of Gods and unmarred in their splendour and swiftness.
Many and mighty they came over the beaches loud of the Aegean,
Roots of an infant world and the morning stars of this Europe,
Great Agamemnons kingly port and the bright Menelaus,
Tall Idomeneus, Nestor, Odysseus Atlas-shouldered,
Helmeted Ajax, his chin of the beast and his eyes of the dreamer.
Over the sands they dispersed to their armies ranked by the Ocean.
But from the Argive front Acirrous loosed by Tydides
Parted as hastens a shaft from the string and he sped on intently
Swift where the beaches were bare or threading the gaps of the nations;
Crossing Thebes and Epirus he passed through the Lemnian archers,
Ancient Gnossus hosts and Meriones leaderless legions.
Heedless of cry and of laughter calling over the sea-sands
Swiftly he laboured, wind in his hair and the sea to him crying,
Straight he ran to the Myrmidon hosts and the tents of Achilles.
There he beheld at his tent-door the Phthian gleaming in armour,
Glittering-helmed with the sun that climbed now the cusp of Cronion,
Nobly tall, excelling humanity, planned like Apollo.
Proud at his side like a pillar upreared of snow or of marble,
Golden-haired, hard and white was the boy Neoptolemus, fire-eyed.
New were his feet to the Trojan sands from the ships and from Scyros:
Led to this latest of all his fathers fights in the Troad
He for his earliest battle waited, the son of Achilles.
So in her mood had Fate brought them together, the son and the father,
Even as our souls travelling different paths have met in the ages
Each for its work and they cling for an hour to the names of affection,
Then Times long waves bear them apart for new forms we shall know not,
So these two long severed had met in the shadow of parting.
Often he smote his hand on the thigh-piece for sound of the armour,
Bent his ear to the plains or restless moved like a war-horse
Curbed by his masters will, when he stands new-saddled for battle
Hearing the voice of the trumpets afar and pawing the meadows.
Over the sands Acirrous came to them running and toiling,
Known from far off, for he ran unhelmeted. High on the hero
Sunlike smiled the golden Achilles and into the tent-space
Seized by the hand and brought him and seated. War-shaft of Troezen,
Whence was thy speed, Acirrous? Comst thou, O friend, to my tent-side
Spurred by thy eager will or the trusted stern Diomedes?
Or from the Greeks like the voice still loved from a heart that is hollow?
What say the banded princes of Greece to the single Achilles?
Bringest thou flattery pale or an empty and futureless menace?
But to the strength of Pelides the hero Acirrous answered:
Response none make the Greeks to thy high-voiced message and challenge;
Only their shout at thy side will reply when thou leapst into Troya.
So have their chieftains willed and the wisdom calm of Odysseus.
But with a haughty scorn made answer the high-crested Hellene:
Wise is Odysseus, wise are the hearts of Achaias chieftains.
Ilions chiefs are enough for their strength and life is too brittle
Hurrying Fate to advance on the spear of the Phthian Achilles.
Not from the Greeks have I sped to thy tents, their friendship or quarrel
Urged not my feet; but Tiryns chieftain strong Diomedes
Sent me claiming a word long old that first by his war-car
Young Neoptolemus come from island Scyros should enter
Far-crashing into the fight that has lacked this shoot of Achilles,
Pressing in front with his fathers strength in the playground of Ares,
Shouting his fathers cry as he clashed to his earliest battle.
So let Achilles son twin-carred fight close by Tydides,
Seal of the ancient friendship new-sworn twixt your sires in their boyhood
Then when they learned the spear to guide and strove in the wrestle.
So he spoke recalling other times and regretted
And to the Argives word consented the strength of Pelides.
He on the shoulder white of his son with a gesture of parting
Laid his fateful hand and spoke from his prescient spirit:
Pyrrhus, go. No mightier guide couldst thou hope into battle
Opening the foemens ranks than the hero stern Diomedes.
Noble that rugged heart, thy fathers friend and his fathers.
Journey through all wide Greece, seek her prytanies, schools and palaestras,
Traverse Oceans rocks and the cities that dream on his margin,
Phocian dales, Aetolias cliffs and Arcadys pastures,
Never a second man wilt thou find, but alone Diomedes.
Pyrrhus, follow his counsels always losing thy father,
If in this battle I fall and Fate has denied to me Troya.
Pyrrhus, be like thy father in virtue, thou canst not excel him;
Noble be in peace, invincible, brave in the battle,
Stern and calm to thy foe, to the suppliant merciful. Mortal
Favour and wrath as thou walkst heed never, son of Achilles.
Always thy will and the right impose on thy friend and thy foeman.
Count not life nor death, defeat nor triumph, Pyrrhus.
Only thy soul regard and the gods in thy joy or thy labour.
Pyrrhus heard and erect with a stride that was rigid and stately
Forth with Acirrous went from his sire to the joy of the battle.
Little he heeded the word of death that the god in our bosom
Spoke from the lips of Achilles, but deemed at sunset returning,
Slaying Halamus, Paris or dangerous mighty Aeneas,
Proudly to lay at his fathers feet the spoils of the foeman.
But in his lair alone the godlike doomed Pelides
Turned to the door of his tent and was striding forth to the battle,
When from her inner chamber Briseis parting the curtain,
Long had she stood there spying and waiting her lonely occasion,
Came and caught and held his hand like a creeper detaining
Vainly a moment the deathward stride of the kings of the forest.
Tarry awhile, Achilles; not yet have the war-horns clamoured,
Nor have the scouts streamed yet from Xanthus fierily running.
Lose a moment for her who has only thee under heaven.
Nay, had war sounded, thou yet wouldst squander that moment, Achilles,
Hearkening a womans fears and the voice of a dream in the midnight.
Art thou not gentle even as terrible, lion of Hellas?
Others have whispered the deeds of thy wrath; we have heard, but not seen it;
Marvelling much at their pallor and awe we have listened and wondered.
Never with thrall or slavegirl or captive saw I thee angered,
Hero, nor any humble heart ever trembled to near thee.
Pardoning rather our many faults and our failures in service
Lightly thou layedst thy yoke on us kind as the clasp of a lover
Sparing the weak as thou breakest the mighty, O godlike Achilles.
Only thy equals have felt all the dread of the death-god within thee;
We have presumed and have played with the strength at which nations have trembled.
Lo, thou hast leaned thy mane to the clutch of the boys and the maidens.
But to Briseis white-armed made answer smiling Achilles:
Something sorely thou needst, for thou flatterest long, O Briseis.
Tell me, O woman, thy fear or thy dream that my touch may dispel it,
White-armed net of bliss slipped down from the gold Aphrodite.
And to Achilles answered the captive white Briseis:
Long have they vexed my soul in the tents of the Greeks, O Achilles,
Telling of Thetis thy mother who bore thee in caves of the Ocean
Clasped by a mortal and of her fear from the threats of the Ancients,
Weavers of doom who play with our hopes and smile at our passions
Painting Time with the red of our hearts on the web they have woven,
How on the Oceans bosom she hid thee in vine-tangled Scyros
Clothed like a girl among girls with the daughters of King Lycomedes,
Art thou not fairer than womans beauty, yet great as Apollo?
Fearing Paris shafts and the anger of Delian Phoebus.
Now in the night has a vision three times besieged me from heaven.
Over the sea in my dream an argent bow was extended;
Nearing I saw a terror august over moonlit waters,
Cloud and a fear and a face that was young and lovely and hostile.
Then three times I heard arise in the grandiose silence,
Still was the sky and still was the land and still were the waters,
Echoing a mighty voice, Take back, O King, what thou gavest;
Strength, take thy strong man, sea, take thy wave, till the warfare eternal
Need him again to thunder through Asias plains to the Ganges.
That fell silent, but nearer the beautiful Terror approached me,
Clang I heard of the argent bow and I gazed on Apollo.
Shrilly I cried; it was thee that the shaft of the heavens had yearned for,
Thee that it sought like a wild thing in anger straight at its quarry,
Quivering into thy heel. I awoke and found myself trembling,
Held thee safe in my arms, yet hardly believed that thou livest.
Lo, in the night came this dream; on the morn thou arisest for battle.
But to Briseis white-armed made answer the golden Achilles:
This was a dream indeed, O princess, daughter of Brises!
Will it restrain Achilles from fight, the lion from preying?
Come, thou hast heard of my prowess and knowest what man is Achilles.
Deemst thou so near my end? or does Polyxena vex thee,
Jealousy shaping thy dreams to frighten me back from her capture?
Passionate, vexed Briseis, smiting his arm with her fingers,
Yet with a smile half-pleased made answer to mighty Achilles.
Thinkst thou I fear thee at all? I am brave and will chide thee and threaten.
See that thou recklessly throw not, Achilles, thy life into battle
Hurting this body, my world, nor venture sole midst thy foemen,
Leaving thy shielders behind as oft thou art wont in thy war-rage
Lured by thy tempting gods who seek their advantage to slay thee,
Fighting divinely, careless of all but thy spear and thy foeman.
Cover thy limbs with thy shield, speed slowly restraining thy coursers.
Dost thou not know all the terrible void and cold desolation
Once again my life must become if I lose thee, Achilles?
Twice then thus wilt thou smite me, O hero, a desolate woman?
I will not stay behind on an earth that is empty and kingless.
Into the grave I will leap, through the fire I will burn, I will follow
Down into Hades depths or wherever thy footsteps go clanging,
Hunting thee always,didst thou not seize me here for thy pleasure?
Stronger there by my love as thou than I here, O Achilles.
Thou shalt not dally alone with Polyxena safe in the shadows.
But to Briseis answered the hero, mighty Pelides,
Holding her delicate hands like gathered flowers in his bosom,
Pressing her passionate mouth like a rose that trembles with beauty.
There then follow me even as I would have drawn thee, O woman,
Voice that chimes with my soul and hands that are eager for service,
Beautiful spoil beloved of my foemen, perfect Briseis
But for the dreams that come to us mortals sleeping or waking,
Shadows are these from our souls and who shall discern what they figure?
Fears from the heart speak voiced like Zeus, take shape as Apollo.
But were they truer than Delphis cavern voice or Dodonas
Moan that seems wind in his oaks immemorable, how should they alter
Fate that the stern gods have planned from the first when the earth was unfashioned,
Shapeless the gyre of the sun? For dream or for oracle adverse
Why should man swerve from the path of his feet? The gods have invented
Only one way for a man through the world, O my slavegirl Briseis,
Valiant to be and noble and truthful and just to the humble,
Only one way for a woman, to love and serve and be faithful.
This observe, thy task in thy destiny noble or fallen;
Time and result are the gods; with these things be not thou troubled.
So he spoke and kissed her lips and released her and parted.
Out from the tent he strode and into his chariot leaping
Seized the reins and shouted his cry and drove with a far-borne
Sound of wheels mid the clamour of hooves and the neigh of the war-steeds
Swift through the line of the tents and forth from the heart of the leaguer.
Over the causeway Troyward thundered the wheels of Achilles.
After him crashing loud with a fierce and resonant rumour
Chieftains impetuous prone to the mellay and swift at the war-cry
Came, who long held from the lust of the spear and the joy of the war-din
Rushed over earth like hawks released through the air; a shouting
Limitless rolled behind, for nations followed each war-cry.
Lords renowned of the northern hills and the plains and the coast-lands,
Many a Dorian, many a Phthian, many a Hellene,
Names now lost to the ear though then reputed immortal!
Night has swallowed them, Zeus has devoured the light of his children;
Drawn are they back to his bosom vast whence they came in their fierceness
Thinking to conquer the earth and dominate Time and his ages.
Nor on their left less thick came numerous even as the sea-sands
Forth from the line of the leaguer that skirted the far-sounding waters,
Ranked behind Tydeus son and the Spartan, bright Menelaus,
Ithacas chief and Epeus, Idomeneus lord of the Cretans,
Acamas, Nestor, Neleus son, and the brave Ephialtus,
Prothous, Meges, Leitus the bold and the king Prothonor,
Wise Alcestes son and the Lemnian, stern Philoctetes,
These and unnumbered warlike captains marching the Argives.
Last in his spacious car drove shaping the tread of his armies,
Even as a shepherd who follows his flock to the green of the pastures,
Atreus far-famed son, the monarch great Agamemnon.
They on the plain moved out and gazing far over the pastures
Saw behind Xanthus rolling with dust like a cloud full of thunder,
Ominous, steadily nearing, shouting their war-cry the Trojans.
~ Sri Aurobindo, 7 - The Book of the Woman
219:The Golden Age
Long ere the Muse the strenuous chords had swept,
And the first lay as yet in silence slept,
A Time there was which since has stirred the lyre
To notes of wail and accents warm with fire;
Moved the soft Mantuan to his silvery strain,
And him who sobbed in pentametric pain;
To which the World, waxed desolate and old,
Fondly reverts, and calls the Age of Gold.
Then, without toil, by vale and mountain side,
Men found their few and simple wants supplied;
Plenty, like dew, dropped subtle from the air,
And Earth's fair gifts rose prodigal as prayer.
Love, with no charms except its own to lure,
Was swiftly answered by a love as pure.
No need for wealth; each glittering fruit and flower,
Each star, each streamlet, made the maiden's dower.
Far in the future lurked maternal throes,
And children blossomed painless as the rose.
No harrowing question `why,' no torturing `how,'
Bent the lithe frame or knit the youthful brow.
The growing mind had naught to seek or shun;
Like the plump fig it ripened in the sun.
From dawn to dark Man's life was steeped in joy,
And the gray sire was happy as the boy.
Nature with Man yet waged no troublous strife,
And Death was almost easier than Life.
Safe on its native mountains throve the oak,
Nor ever groaned 'neath greed's relentless stroke.
No fear of loss, no restlessness for more,
Drove the poor mariner from shore to shore.
No distant mines, by penury divined,
Made him the sport of fickle wave or wind.
Rich for secure, he checked each wish to roam,
And hugged the safe felicity of home.
Those days are long gone by; but who shall say
Why, like a dream, passed Saturn's Reign away?
Over its rise, its ruin, hangs a veil,
And naught remains except a Golden Tale.
Whether 'twas sin or hazard that dissolved
That happy scheme by kindly Gods evolved;
Whether Man fell by lucklessness or pride,Let jarring sects, and not the Muse, decide.
But when that cruel Fiat smote the earth,
Primeval Joy was poisoned at its birth.
In sorrow stole the infant from the womb,
The agëd crept in sorrow to the tomb.
The ground, so bounteous once, refused to bear
More than was wrung by sower, seed, and share.
Ofttimes would ruthless winds or torrents raze
The ripening fruit of toilsome nights and days.
Each one in turn grew jealous of his own,
And fenced his patch with ditch and churlish stone.
As greed uprose, and greed engendered strife,
Contention raged coincident with life.
Man against man, maid against maiden turned,
And the soft breast with envious passions burned.
The loss of one was hailed as others' gain,
And pleasure took unnatural birth from pain.
Goaded by woe, and through tradition's lore
Mindful of all the blissfulness of yore,
The Human Race, its sorrows to assuage,
Dreamed afar off a second Golden Age;
Not in the dim irrevocable Past,
But in a Future just as vague and vast.
The prophet's lips, the poet's flattering pen,
Revelled in forecasts of that golden Then.
The days should come when grief would be no more,
And Peace and Plenty rule from shore to shore;
All men alike enjoy what none did earn,
And even more than Saturn's Reign return.
As years rolled on, as centuries went by,
And still that Promised Time seemed no more nigh,
Mankind at length, outwearied with delays,
Gave up all hope of those seductive days.
Then other prophets, other scribes arose,
A nearer, surer Eden to disclose.
`O, long-befooled!' they said, `awake, and deem
The Past a tale, the Future but a dream.
Here, in the living Present, act your part,
Straining its vulgar blessings to your heart.
Let hand with hand and brain with brain contend,
And each one labour to some selfish end.
In wealth and riot, luxury and power,
Baffle the mockery of the transient hour.
If thousands fall, if tens of thousands bleed,
Will not a hundred, or a score, succeed?
Let those who cannot yield to those who canFate has its piles of victims; why not Man?
Better a furious fight where some one wins,
Than sluggish life which ends as it begins.
Vain was the bard who, whilst the World was new,
'Twixt men and beasts the fond distinction drew,
That these confine their downward gaze to earth,
Whilst man looks up, enamoured of his birth.
Not in the skies, but deep beneath the soil,
There will you find your happiness and spoil.
Enough for brutes its simple face to know,
But godlike man must pierce and delve below.
Deep in its bowels seek the shining ore,
And at its touch shall Saturn reign once more.
For him whose thews are sound, whose vision clear,
Whose purpose firm, the Golden Age is here.'
Never from cave or tripod, mount or glade,
Issued a voice so welcomed, so obeyed.
From zone to zone the Golden Gospel flew,
And in its train mankind obedient drew.
See from their seats the ancient Gods dethroned,
Altars upset, and oracles disown'd.
The Muses, scared, conceal the smothered lyre;
No longer prized, the Graces swift retire;
Virtue, a butt for ribalds, seeks her shroud,
And even Venus veils herself in cloud.
Religion, Ethics, all men erst adored,
Hymned on the harp, or fought for with the sword,
All lofty scopes, all ends esteemed of old,
Dissolve like mist before the rage for gold.
The priest for gold makes traffic of his robe;
For gold the soldier desolates the globe;
The poet shapes for gold his venal lays;
Through gold Vice stalks caparisoned with praise.
Tempted by gold, the virgin sells her charms,
Though no Immortal slips into her arms.
Saddled with gold, the adventurer can buy
Titles, precedence, place, and dignity.
High, middle, low, the young, the ripe, the old,
Man, woman, child, live, die, are damned for Gold.
Soon as the youthful mind begins to ope,
It searches Life's significance and scope;
And, fed by generous impulse year by year,
Dreams for itself some glorious career.
Its shall it be, instructed by the Muse,
Truth to abet, and beauty to diffuse;
With full-blown sail, and genius at the helm,
To steer men's thoughts to a serener realm.
Perhaps the ingenuous boy would fain recall
Tintoret's canvas, Memmi's fresco'd wall;
With godlike pencil purify the mart,
And life ennoble with the breath of Art.
Maybe he burns, by Plato's failure fired,
To scale the heights which every wing have tired,
Seize first each part, then comprehend the whole,
And solve the eternal problem of the Soul.
Be these his aims, or, nobler still, to train
His kind to mutiny till Virtue reign,
Soon doth he learn to count his lovely schemes
A host of bubbles in a world of dreams.
Experience whispers early, Have a care!
Who with the Muse would live must live on air.
The tempting maid is but a poet's lie,
`Who gave to song what gold could never buy.'
Confront the world, take counsel with the throng;
Their verdict what? `The thing's not worth a song.'
Are you content you now have learnt your price?
Come, sink the Muse, and don't be quite so nice.
Start a new Company, and float the shares,
Then lunch with Ministers and dine with Mayors.
Pimp for a Party, praise a Premier's heart,
Head a subscription, and then shine-a Bart.
Return your income fifty thousand clearThe devil's in it, or you'll die a peer.
Success so great is never done by halves'Tis only virtue, when 'tis greatest, starves.
Perhaps his breast, untutored yet to serve,
Spurns the base counsel with a proud reserve;
For Youth is stubborn, and when Nature draws,
In vain a parent's warning, wisdom's saws.
Let cravens straight their impotence confess,
And sell their birthright for a filthy mess;
In flowers see, bee-like, nought but stuff for hives,
And for foul lucre prostitute their lives;
They have not failed who never once have tried,
Or, if they failed, they failed for want of pride.
He, he at least his soul will ne'er demean,
But 'mong the foul will keep his honour clean.
O touching sight, to witness day by day
His splendid generous day-dreams fade away!
His sire reproaches, and his brothers scoff,
His mother doubts, his sisters e'en fall off.
The neighbours pity, strangers deem him mad;
Girls, smiling, whisper, What a foolish lad!
Meanwhile his compeers, started in the race,
Are swiftly marching on to power and place.
One makes a coup, and weds a wife of rank;
Another's junior partner in a bank.
A third in sugar with unscriptural hand,
Traffics, and builds a lasting house on sand.
A fourth, for beer and piety renowned,
Owns all the publics in the country round;
Its drink adulterates with face demure,
But burns with zeal to keep opinion pure;
Cares not one jot for bodies drunk or sick,
But scans your soul like a new Dominick.
The fifth, the patron of a new balloon,
Projects a Company to reach the moon;
Baits his prospectus with a batch of peers,
And vows nought pays like money in the Spheres.
Shares in the moon advanced-advancing still.
Then comes a crash-stock guaranteed at nil.
But sure, the man is ruined? Not at all;
He scarce can tumble who has sense to crawl.
Your modern Icarus is much too wise
On his own pinions to attempt the skiesOn others' soaring follies doth he rise.
Long ere the bubble burst his shares were sold;
Just at that moment he had need of gold.
Singed wings, you know, are but for simple folk;
He, with his peers, 'scapes safe from flame and smoke,
And buys a borough with the happy stroke.
Few are the souls who die for Cato's creed:
To fail seems base, when all around succeed.
Foiled in his purpose, both by foe and friend,
Through noble means to reach a noble end,
The baffled boy forswears his cherished dream,
And learns to swim, like others, with the stream.
Keen to recover precious moments lost,
And taught by bitter tasks what Virtue cost,
He midst the rush, whilst others rise and fall,
Swims on, the most unscrupulous of all.
Let others chouse with care, he cheats with pluck,
And millions stake their all upon his luck.
His daring overawes the small, the great,
And whilst he plunders they but peculate.
He lures the easy, makes the fat his spoil,
Pares the lean wage of proletarian toil;
Swindles the widow of her hoarded mite,
Drags the poor pensioner once more to fight;
Robs age of rest, and youth of prospects fair,
Plunges the sanguine bridegroom in despair;
Severs the ties made sacred long by home,
And sends the son from sire across the foam;
Dashes the faith of plighted swain and maid,
And helps alone the cynic sexton's spade:
Does all that well beseems a Fallen StarIt needs a Lucifer to fall so far!
Sometimes will Fortune on the traitor scowl,
And e'en with gold not pay a deed so foul.
He who was born a glittering child of light,
Trenchant as Raphael, as Ithuriel bright,
Yet sells his soul a vulgar prize to reap,
And for brute guerdons holds his honour cheap,
Too often finds that he who, grovelling, flies
From unrewarded reverie in the skies,
And seeks in venal efforts to employ
The gifts God formed for beauty and for joy,
Makes but a barren barter of his birth,
And Heaven foregoes, without securing earth.
See how he sinks! The more he strains to clutch
Terrestrial spoil, unworthy of his touch,
It seems, for him, to take elusive shapes,
And like a shadow from his grasp escapes.
As baser wax his aims, more mean his scope,
More and still more he sprawls-the sport of Hope.
Still as he tries to suffocate his soul,
Farther beyond him seems the carnal goal.
In vain he turns to catch the favouring gale;
Becalmed he lies-he labours but to fail.
Poor and despised, he now would fain retrace
His erring steps to his first dwelling-place,
But finds, alas! baseness hath borne its fruit;
Wings long unused have withered at the root.
He who in vain has crawled in vain would fly,
And rots abandoned both by earth and sky.
Meaner his end than that poor tradesman's doom,
Who, asked what words of honour on his tomb
His friends should place, with cynic touch replied,
`Here lies who, born a man, a grocer died!'
Whom doth this foe of human virtue spare?
Look round! More sweet its victims, the more fair.
Its natural slaves, who, spawned from wealth, are born
To Traffic's tricks they lack the soul to scorn,
Whose lust for lucre is their proper lot,
It just as oft impoverishes as not.
'Tis those in whom the Unseen God inspires
The restless leaven of divine desires;
Who, from the moment that they lisp, betray
An alien spirit housed within their clay;
Whose fretful youth life's narrow limits chafe,
And yearns for worlds more spacious, if less safe;
Striving to reach, despite its fleshly thrall,
That larger Something which surrounds us all;These, these the souls-and not that baser band-
To whom Gold loves to stretch a helping hand;
With early smiles their generous aims to bless,
And lead them, blind, to ruinous success.
When Lelius chanted first his fragrant lays,
Men praised, and he was amply paid with praise.
Not salons' sycophant, nor Fashion's bard,
No glittering heaps did his sweet notes reward.
He was content with audience fit, though few,
When to his side the cunning demon drew.
`Your pen's worth gold; you need but blunt its point;
Come, cut the Muse; the times are out of joint.
Fame's well enough, but comfort has its laws;
You'll make a damned poor supper off applause.
Sing, be select, and starve. Prose is the thingThe thing that pays. The Million now is King.
Write gossip, scandal, slander-what you will;
A well-filled purse awaits a ready quill.'
The curst insidious demon has his way,
And Grub-street swallows Lelius for aye.
Turn from the pen, and for a while survey
The wide domains which brush and canvas sway.
Enter those realms, and what do we behold?
Art, heavenly Art, the slave and pimp of gold!
Time was when its poor votaries were too proud
To sate the itch of a vain-glorious crowd,
Serve the mean aims of narrow personal pelf,
And swell the ignoble retinue of Self.
Only the State, which merges private ends,
Or sacred Church, which lifts them and extends,
Might then presume the artist's craft to claim,
And paid him, happy, with immortal Fame.
Here, Friendship's guest, where fairest Florence lies,
A dream in stone, stretched out before mine eyes,
I think of all the treasures there enshrined,
And what small dole nurtured each master mind;
Or led by memory o'er the classic chain
Which Umbrian slope divides from Tuscan plain,
I all the priceless unbought gems recall
That link with heaven Assisi's frescoed wall;
Then, borne on wings of weakness, I repair
To mine own land, and groan to think that there,
Debased by Fashion to a venal trade,
Art counts its triumphs by its fortunes made;
Spurned by the State, and by the Church unsought,
Works but for wealth, and by the base is bought;
Stranger to altars, palaces, or domes,
Pampers the pomp of ostentatious homes.
How changed the days since Duccio's hand of old
On Saints and Virgins lavished costly gold;
But for himself asked but a few poor crowns,
Less than we give to harlequins and clowns.
Now do our mercenary tricksters grudge
Almost the very canvas that they smudge;
Yet scan with greedy eyes the glittering heap
That opulent folly holds, for once, so cheap.
See, too, how Genius, when its touch was true,
On humble walls its lasting fancies drew;
Whose modern apes, ridiculously bold,
Hang their ephemeral daubs in frames of gold.
In vain doth Heaven, while Gold thus rules the earth,
With generous instincts sow the soul at birth.
Swift in the genial soil the seed takes root,
Then seeks the sun with many a venturous shoot.
But, ah, how soon the cruel outer air
Checks the brave growth and nips its promise fair!
Warmed by the glow of Tasso's splendid lay,
Or borne by Dante to the gates of Day;
Softly seduced by Scott's romantic strain
To deem all ends, excepting honour, vain;
Or nobly trained by Shelley's burning song
To cherish an eternal feud with wrong,The simple girl constructs a future fair,
Rears a whole world of castles in the air,
And nowhere warned, or deaf to warning, deems
That life will clothe and justify her dreams.
As year by year the maiden grows apace,
And half the woman mantles in her face,
With sickening sense, sad eye, and sinking heart,
She sees her forecasts one by one depart.
Slowly, but, ah, too surely doth she find
That poets' tales no longer rule mankind;
That Peace is homeless as the hunted hare,
And Love far less a shelter than a snare;
That godlike Valour meets a demon's doom,
Whilst Prudence prospers even from the tomb;
That Youth, save schooled in Mammon's miry ways,
Groans o'er the lapse of unrequited days;
That Beauty, Genius, all are vain and cold,
Till foully touched and fertilised by Gold.
Soon as the time so dear to mother's vows
Draws nigh, to find the maid some fitting spouse,
Then most of all she learns what leading part
Is played by Gold in dramas of the heart.
Chance to young Hylas, beautiful as Dawn,
And sweet as fair, she feels her fancy drawn.
Are you a nymph? one whispers. Let him pass.
He doth but gather daisies in the grass.
Where your cool wave, hidden from human eyes,
In which to lure and love him till he dies?
Bid him rejoin his Hercules, and seize
The golden apples of the Hesperides;
And then perchance, should none more rich than he
Engage your love, you may his Hera be.
Alas, poor Hylas! worse than Mysian fate
Doth his meandering flowery feet await.
If that a Solon, versed in every art
Of song and science, touch the maiden's heart,
The neighbours softly whisper, Have a care;
Can Erudition keep a chaise and pair?
Pundits, alas, like fools, must pay their bills,
And Knowledge figures sorrily in wills.
For single life learning is well enough,
But marriage should be made of sterner stuff.
Should Cato's fame her pious soul attract,
The whole world cries, The woman must be cracked.
What! wed with Virtue! Is the girl awake?
Sure, she confounds the altar with the stake.
Send for the doctor. Try a change of air.
Swear Cato drinks. In war and love all's fair.
Bring Croesus to the front. At four he's freeThere's no one left to swindle after three.
In one brief hour behold him curled and drest,
And borne on wings of fashion to the West!
What though to regions fondly deemed refined,
He brings his City manners, City mind,
And cynics titter?-he laughs best who wins,A Greenwhich dinner covers many sins.
What! dine with Croesus? Surely. Is a feast
One jot the worse because the host's a beast?
He's worse than that-a snob-a cad. Agreed;
But then his goblets smack of Ganymede?
Do some strange freaks his conversation mar?
He stops your censure with a prime cigar.
A Norway stream, a shooting-lodge in Perth,
In practice look uncommonly like worth.
The Town to hear some new soprano flocks.
You long to go? Well, Croesus has a box.
How at this hour are tickets to be got
For the Regatta? Croesus has a yacht.
Goodwood is here. Your hopes begin to flag.
One chance awaits you: Croesus has a drag.
You doat on Flower-shows: Croesus has a bone.
Be friends with Croesus, and the World's your own.
Who could resist seductions such as these?
Or what could charm, if Croesus failed to please?
Blinded and bribed, the critical are cured,
And loud extol whom late they scarce endured.
Caressed and courted, Croesus grows the rage,
The type and glory of our Golden Age;
And Cato, Hylas, Solon, shoved aside,
Our heavenly maid is hailed as Croesus' bride.
Shade of Lucretius! if thy lyre waxed wild
With sacred rage for Clytemnestra's child,
And nought could hold thee as thy soul surveyed
The cursëd ills Religion can persuade,
How would thy verse impetuously shower
Sonorous scorn on Gold's atrocious power;
Embalm its victims with a touch divine,
And damn the monster in one sounding line!
Can honeyed forms or stereotyped applause
Alter the scope of Heaven's eternal laws?
What though with gifts should massive sideboards groan,
And every heart be glad except her own,
And troops of blooming girls behold with pride,
Perchance with envy, this resplendent bride;
Though vieing voices hail her Fashion's queen,
And even a Bishop's blessing crown the scene,
No rites, no rings, no altars, can avail
To make a sacred contract of a sale,
Stir the far depths of the reluctant mind,
Or join the hearts which love hath failed to bind.
If soul stands passive whilst the flesh is sold,
Is there no foul aroma in the gold?
Is the base barter covered by the price,
And do huge figures make the nasty nice?
The nameless outcast, prowling for her prey,
Renews her filthy bargain day by day;
Let Croesus give her what he gave his wife,
She's virtuous too-at least, she's his for life.
Croesus-but hold! Let Charity presume
That Croesus' wife but dimly knew her doom.
The luckless maid, since knowledge comes too late,
In splendour seeks oblivion of her fate;
Of every tender pious aim bereft,
Hugs in despair the only idol left;
In alien worship seeks to be consoled,
And builds her hopes of happiness on Gold.
Gold rules her steps, determines her desiresMere puppet she, whilst Mammon jerks the wires.
Futile to ask if London suits her healthWould you consult her doctor, not her wealth?
You soon are answered: Whether ill or well,
A house in Town is indispensable.
Where shall it be? On gravel or on clay?
Wherever tenants have the most to pay.
Price is the thing, not soil. If Fashion's camp
Be pitched just here, what matter dry or damp?
But, health apart, 'tis known that Croesus' wife,
If left to choose, prefers a country life.
Well, she shall have it when the Parks are brown,
And Fashion, wearied, hath dispersed the Town.
But whilst the woods are leafy, and the lanes
With lush wild-flowers rob life of half its pains;
While sweetest scents and softest sounds combine
To make existence, did they last, divine;
Not for the world must Croesus' wife be missed
From fetid streets, foul rooms, and Fashion's list;
And only thence to rural refuge flies
As, self-exhausted, pleasant Summer dies.
Say, shall we marvel, amid scenes like these,
With all to dazzle, but with nought to please,
If links of simple gold should fail to cleave,
And tempters prompt their webs not vainly weave?
See, Plutus, first in each ignoble strife,
Battered and bored, bethinks him of a wife.
The happy tidings, spreading through the West,
Fires each maternal mercenary breast.
The soaring dames parade their daughters' charms,
To lure the hug of Plutus' palsied arms;
And as brave Eld for one fair woman fought,
For one foul man our world to rage is wrought.
At last, opining he might chance do worse,
Plutus to proud Olympia flings his purse.
Olympia lifts it with triumphant smile,
Whilst round her crowds congratulating guile,
Escorts her to the altar, decks her brows
With orange-buds, then leaves her with her spouse,
Who, though his suit by golden showers throve,
Can grasp his Danaë with no thews of Jove.
O, who shall tell Olympia's tale aright,
Each splendid day, each miserable night;
Her thirst divine by human draughts but slaked,
Her smiling face whilst the heart sorely ached,
Or note the edge whence one we loved so well
To sweet, seductive, base perdition fell?
I cast no stone, but half by rage consoled,
I snatch the lyre and curse this fiendish Gold.
Though Beauty's fame oft spreads through all the land,
Splendour is far more curiously scanned;
And they who once upon Olympia threw
A passing glance, since she was fair to view,
Now gilded pomp and Ostentation's choir
Attend her path, of gazing never tire;
Suck up her speech, translate her silent eyes,
Each movement, look, and posture scrutinise,
Stalk all her steps, as matron, friend, and wife,
And feed in greedy gossip on her life.
Not mine to follow to the noisome den
Where woman's frailty stands the gaze of men,
And well-coached menials, limed with gold, detail
The piteous scenes that pass behind the veil.
Enough to know that, thanks to wealth, once more
Plutus can woo, e'en richer than before.
The tottering cuckold leaves the court consoled;
Considerate juries tip his horns with Gold!
Sure some malicious demon in the brain
It needs must be, drives men reputed sane
To spurn the joys adjacent to their feet,
In the fond chase of this receding cheat?
Say, when the Stoic on his tranquil height,
And swinish crowd, sweating in miry fight,
In every age a like conclusion reach,
And sage and simple one same sermon preachThat whether Heaven hath made one serf or king,
Reason alone true happiness can bringCan we but stand astounded as we scan
This race untaught, unteachable, called Man?
Would you be truly rich, how small the heap
Your aims require, the price how passing cheap!
A modest house, from urban jars removed,
By thrist selected, yet by taste approved;
Whose walls are gay with every sweet that blows,
Whose windows scented by the blushing rose;
Whose chambers few to no fine airs pretend,
Yet never are too full to greet a friend;
A garden plot, whither unbidden come
Bird's idle pipe and bee's laborious hum;
Smooth-shaven lawn, whereon in pastime's hours
The mallet rings within a belt of flowers;
A leafy nook where to enjoy at will
Gibbon's rich prose or Shakespeare's wizard quill;
A neighbouring copse wherein the stock-doves coo,
And a wild stream unchecked sings all day through;
Two clean bright stalls, where midday, night, and morn,
Two good stout roadsters champ their well-earned corn;
A few learned shelves from modern rubbish free,
Yet always, Mill, with just a place for Thee;
Head ne'er at dawn by clownish bouts obscured,
And limbs by temperate exercise inured;
A few firm friendships made in early life,
Yet doubly fastened by a pleasant wife;
A wholesome board, a draught of honest wine;This is true wealth; and this, thank Heaven, is mine!
And though you ransacked worlds from shore to shore,
From sea to sky, you could not give me more.
And if, all these beyond, I still should crave
Something impossible this side the grave,
Let humbler souls my soaring hopes forgiveAfter my life still in my verse to live.
Well would it be if Mammon's feverish rage
Did but the vulgar and the base engage;
If those alone whose undistinguished name,
Haply if fouled, would shed no slur on Fame,
Sought in this sordid, despicable strife,
To find the good and snatch the crown of life.
But in the mire of venal fight embroiled,
Have we not seen the noblest scutcheons soiled?
Not the proud thought that many a splendid fray,
When crowns obeyed the fortunes of the day,
To stalwart arms its pregnant issue owed,
Whose glorious blood in their own body flowed;
Not the remembrance that their sires did share
The toils that made this England great and fair;
Not their resplendent pedigree, nor all
The line of haught fierce faces on the wall,
That tells the tale of their ancestral hall,
Have yet availed, in days like these, to hold
Men, thus seduced, from the coarse race for Gold.
Have we not seen the generous beast, whose sires
Once bore their fathers into battle's fires,
By titled gamblers' mercenary taste
His once stout loins to nimble flanks debased,
Made for curst gold to sweat through all his pores,
The panting pet of blacklegs, lords, and whores?
On such a course what dismal woes await,
Let the world learn by young Lucullus' fate.
Whilst yet the bloom of boyhood matched his cheek,
And all his duty was to master Greek.
Make a long score, bound o'er the running brook,
Cleave the clear wave, Lucullus had a book.
No glorious volume was't, whose subtle page
The wisdom breathed of many a studious age.
No wealth of wit, no Learning's garnered sheaves
Lay, like a treasure, lurking in its leaves.
But, in their place, crabbed Calculation scrawled
Symbols which shocked and figures that appalled.
Not for sweet Fancy, nor the simple stake
Of generous sports, did he his tasks forsake.
Ere sentiment could move, or sense control,
Adventurous Greed had swallowed up his soul.
If Gold Acrisius' Tower of Brass could flout,
How will the playground shut the monster out?
Thus by his own base instincts first betrayed,
The race of harpies lend their shameful aid,
With evil eye his smiling lands behold,
And smooth his path to infamy with gold.
At length behold him grown to man's estate,
Rich, noble, noted, lord of his own fate.
Here Duty beckons, Honour there incites,
And Love entices to its saving rites.
He heeds them not; he joins the madding crowd,
King of the base, the vulgar, and the loud;
Builds his most precious friendships on a bet,
And through the gutter trails his coronet.
Vain fool! inflamed by flattery and conceit,
He marks no pitfalls yawning at his feet;
But, winning, deems the cunning snare his luck,
And losing, pays, to plume him on his pluck;
Accepts each challenge, doubles every stake,
While tipsy plaudits follow in his wake.
But what avails, if Fortune quits his side?
Curse on the jade, he cries, she always lied!
Well, now's an end! . . . A comrade plucks his gown:
An end as yet, man! cut the timber down.
The luck will turn; you lost for want of skill;
Come, play again-you'll win. . . . By G-, I will!
Done soon as said. The swift sure axe resounds
Through the green stretch of his ancestral grounds.
The soaring elm, whose topmost boughs defied
The scaling valour of his boyish pride;
The umbrageous beech, beneath whose courtly shade
The loves that issued in his life were made;
The lordly oak, young when his line was young,
To which with pride inherited had clung
His sires and they from whom his sires were sprung;
Behold them now, around the naked hall,
One after one in fell succession fall.
Lo, the wide woods which centuries had seen
By frosts unmoved, mid thunder-fugues serene,
By thousand suns, by tens of thousand showers,
Fostered and fed, one greedy day devours.
And all in vain! Lured by the severed spoil,
The foul fierce harpies fasten on the soil.
`My lands on luck.' We take you. Clear the course;
Twenty to one upon Lucullus' horse!
One minute more, and poor Lucullus flies,
The beggared heir of all the centuries.
Then scoffed, and scourged, and stripped of all his wealth,
His last friends leave him-energy and health.
Anxiety and fierce Excitement's flame
Have scorched his blood and shrivelled up his frame.
`Plum to a pony!' hear the cripple call;
`Ere six months pass, the grave will end it all.'
Lucky at last, he wins his bootless bet,
And dies of drink, debauchery, and debt.
Gone are the times indeed when savage Might
Usurped the throne and claimed the wage of Right.
No longer now the tiller of the soil
Sees his fair fields the lusty robber's spoil;
No timid burgher now grows rich by stealth,
Lest some rude noble swoop upon his wealth;
The quiet citizen no longer fears
A raid upon his money or his ears,
That local turmoil or imperial strife
Will wreck his home or leave him bare for life.
But say, is Force the only fearful foe,
Or the keen Sword worst source of human woe?
Wielding base weapons Violence disdained,
Cunning prevails where once Compulsion reigned.
The tyrant's lance, Oppression's piercing shaft,
Torment no more, but abdicate to Craft.
Could feudal despot swooping on his prey,
Could bandit burning for the unequal fray,
Could fire, sword, famine, spread more wreck abroad,
Than marks the path of Greed allied with Fraud;
Or waits on life, where no rude signs portend
When the dread bolt of Ruin will descend?
See the poor father, who for years has toiled,
At one fell stroke of all his store despoiled.
His was the pious wish, by daily care
And safe degrees to make his hearth more fair;
His the ambition-far too meek to roamTo swell the simple luxuries of home;
By loving thrift to deck his comely spouse
With some poor gem, the summit of her vows;
To instruct his boys in every generous art
Which trains the man to act a shining part;
By culture's aid to see his daughters armed
With each fair grace that in their mother charmed;
Year after year, as strength and vigour waned,
To find his fondest forecasts all attained;
And then, since faithful to the final stage,
Doff the hard harness from the back of age.
But watchful Greed with jealous eye beheld
Day after day his little earnings swelled;
Studied the tender workings of his mind,
Marked the fond aims to which his heart inclined;
With specious lips his trusting senses stole,
And with false visions fired his prudent soul.
Poor wretch! but yesterday in modest state
He lived, secure from every bolt of Fate.
To-day, he wanders feverish and depressed,
As though whole Andes weighed upon his breast.
To-morrow, back unto his home he crawls,
A beggared man, and at the threshold falls.
Now will no more his trustful wife behold
The gladsome face returning as of old,
And read in sparkling eye and smiling cheek
The day's good tidings e'en before he speak;
Never again in hastening footsteps guess
Some pretty love-gift, token of success.
Their blooming boys, for whom parental hope
So oft had cast the fairest horoscope,
And seen with fond anticipating eyes
Each proud successive civic honour rise,
Torn from their noble studies, have to crave
From base pursuits the pittance of a slave,
Pour the soul's wine into the body's sieve,
And grand life lose in mean attempts to live.
Perchance, at home their humble wants denied,
Gaunt Hunger drives them from their mother's side;
Leaves her to weep alone o'er what hath been,
And places ocean, pitiless, between.
The tender girls, their father's pride and joy,
Whose dreams a fiend had scrupled to destroy;
From childhood's earliest days whose only care
Was to be gracious, virtuous, and fair,
And who from Heaven could nothing else implore
Save to be all their mother was before;
Who pictured as their perfect scheme of life
A clinging daughter and a helpful wife,At one rude flash behold the world enlarge,
And stand, pale victims, trembling on the marge.
Little, alas, now boots it where they roam,
Since they must leave the tranquil shores of home.
Whether, poor slaves, they crawl with aching feet
Hour after hour from dreary street to street,
Or, as in mockery of home, alas!
Beneath the stranger's icy portal pass,
And thankless task and miserable wage
Their exiled cheerless energies engage,
Their youth, their life, is blasted at the core,
And Hope's sweet sap will mount their veins no more.
Should every door their humble prayers repel,
Scorning to buy what Hunger kneels to sell,
And they, half thankful that the strangers spurn,
To their own roof be driven to return,
How strange the scene that meets their wearied gaze!
How changed the hearth, the home, of other days!
Contracting Care usurps the mother's face,
Whose smiles of old spread sunshine through the place.
Alone she weeps; but should she chance to hear
Her husband's steps, she hides the furtive tear;
Follows his movements with an anxious dread,
Studies his brow, and scans his restless tread;
Assails his woe with every female wile,
Prattles of hope, and simulates a smile.
He, broken man, wrapt in perpetual gloom,
Wanders anon from vacant room to room;
Then, creeping back, the image of despair,
With a deep sigh he sinks into his chair.
He seldom speaks; and when his voice is heard,
Peevish its tone, and querulous his word;
And vain laments and childish tears attest
The lamp of life is dying in his breast.
Perhaps his death some timely pittance frees,
Secured by prudence in their days of ease;
And, O the pity! posthumous relief
Stanches love's wounds, and blunts the edge of grief.
Unless, indeed-for this too hath been knownAll-grasping Greed hath made that mite its own,
Filched from the widow her last hopes of bread,
And whom it ruined living, plunders dead!
These are thy triumphs, Gold! thy trophies these,
To nurture fraud, and rob the world of ease,
Faith to befool, young genius to seduce,
And blight at once its beauty and its use.
Thine is the bait, as loveless hearths avouch,
Which drags fresh victims to the venal couch;
Thine the foul traps wherewith our ways are rife,
That lure them first, then close upon their life;
Thine, thine the springes, set in regions fair,
Whose unseen nooses strangle whom they snare;
The cynic glory thine to lie in wait
To make men little who had else been great,
Frustrate our plenty, aggravate our dearth,
And keep eternal feud 'twixt Heaven and Earth!
Lo, where huge London, huger day by day,
O'er six fair counties spreads its hideous sway,
A tract there lies by Fortune's favours blest,
And at Fame's font yclept the happy West.
There, as by wizard touch, for miles on miles,
Rise squares, streets, crescents of palatial piles.
In the brave days when England's trusty voice
Made grappling rivals tremble or rejoice;
When, foremost shield of Weakness or of Right,
She scorned to warn unless resolved to smite;
When, few but firm, her stalwart children bore
The terror of her Flag from shore to shore,
Purged Christ's dear tomb from sacrilege and shame,
And made the Moslem quake at Richard's name;
Taught the vain Gaul, though gallant, still to kneel,
And Spain's proud sons the weight of northern steel;Then were her best in no such splendour nursed
As now awaits her basest and her worst.
No kingly Harry glittering with renown,
No Edward radiant in a peaceful crown,
Was housed as now, at turn of Fortune's wrist,
Some lucky navvy turned capitalist,
Some convict's bastard who a-sudden shines
In the bright splendour of Australian mines,
Or subtle Greek, who, skilled in Eastern ways,
Exposes all Golconda to our gaze.
These, as to Pomp's pretentious peaks they rush,
Heed not the crowds their sordid conquests crush:
Secure in glaring opulence, they scan
With placid eyes the miseries of man;
Fat units, watch the leanness of the whole,
And gag remonstrance with a paltry dole:
Mid harrowing want, with conscience unafraid,
Die on the golden dirt-heaps they have made.
Here Plenty gorges gifts from every zone,
There thankful Hunger gnaws its meagre bone;
Profusion here melts more than pearls in wine,
There craves gaunt Penury some shucks from swine;
And whilst rich rogues quaff deep round roaring fires,
At Dives' portal Lazarus expires!
Betwixt these fierce extremes of wealth and woe,
A crowd of strugglers hustles to and fro,
Whose one sole aim and only hope in life
Are just to wrench subsistence from the strife.
To what base shifts these hideous straits compel
The straining wretches, let our records tell.
Victims of greedy Competition's craft,
We drain cheap poison in each sparkling draught,
Purchase a lie in every vaunted ware,
And swallow filth in the most frugal fare.
Building a refuge for our age, we find
The crumbling mortar lets in wet and wind;
Face the rude waves, by science freed from awe,
To sink, poor dupes, on life-belts made of straw!
Nor this the worst! When ripened Shame would hide
Fruits of that hour when Passion conquered Pride,
There are not wanting in this Christian land
The breast remorseless and the Thuggish hand,
To advertise the dens where Death is sold,
And quench the breath of baby-life for gold!
Nor man alone, case-hardened man, surveys
These shocking contrasts with a careless gaze.
Fair melting woman of the tender breast
Here finds no room for pity as her guest.
Unsexed, she strains to Ostentation's goal,
While Splendour's dreams demoralise her soul;
Drains, like a goddess, hecatombs of lives,
Nor heeds who lags, provided she arrives.
See Claribel, by every gift designed
Mid anguish keen to be an angel kind,
Once plunged in rival factions' golden fight,
Turned to a demon in her own despite.
Behold, to-morrow in the Royal smile
Will bask the birth and wealth of all the Isle.
She, long abroad, received the summons late.
What's to be done? Nor time nor tide will wait.
She turns her wardrobe over, racks her brain;
Nothing will do. She wants a dress and train.
Drive to the modiste's. Not a finger free.
There's only Clara. Clara let it be.
But Clara's sick and sorry. Give her gold;
Her aches will cease, her sorrows be consoled.
It must be done. Sure Lilian there will glow
In gorgeous newness decked from top to toe;
Shall it be said that Claribel did less?
To-morrow, then, in time the train and dress.
So Clara drags her weary limbs from bed,
O'er the brave finery hangs her throbbing head;
Still as her senses swim sews on and on,
Till day dies out and twilight pale is gone.
Then, by the taper's soft and silent light,
Like a pale flower that opens most by night,
Her pace she quickens, and the needle moves
Subtler and swifter through the gauzy grooves;
But as the dawn on guttering sockets gains,
Her tired lids drop, and sleep arrests her pains.
But sleep how short! She feels her shoulder clutched:
`Clara, awake! the train's not even touched!
Day strides apace. See, there's the morning sun,
And ere again he sinks, 't must all be done.'
Again, again, the shooting thread she plies,
In silent agony of smothered sighs.
She seems to breathe her breath into the gown,
To give it life the while she lays hers down.
Fast as the task advances set by pride,
So fast within her ebbs the vital tide.
The daylight goes, and softly comes the moon's,
And then poor Clara over the last stitch swoons.
Meanwhile, the panting Claribel awaits
The precious gown within her golden gates.
It comes-it comes. Now who shall shine her down?
Not Lilian, surely? No, not the entire Town.
She not for worlds had lost this courtly chance;
And Clara dies that Claribel may dance!
If private worth, thus languishing, expires,
Will public Virtue keep alive her fires?
The slaves of wealth, in Britain as in Rome,
Bring to the Forum vices formed at home.
First the community, and then the State,
Falls to their fangs, which naught can satiate.
Not born nor bred to rule, of culture void,
And by no wave of young ambition buoyed,
Anxious on heights conspicuous to flaunt
Nought but the tawdry trophies they can vaunt,
They woo the grasping crowd with golden guile,
And spread Corruption's canker through the Isle.
You want a seat? Then boldly sate your itch.
Be very radical, and very rich.
Sell your opinions first to please the pure,
Then buy the sordid, and your triumph's sure.
Do all, in brief, that honest men abhor,
And England hails another Senator.
See the vain Tribune who, in lust of power,
Bows to the base exactions of the hour,
And, fooled by sycophants, stands forth at last
A devotee turned sworn iconoclast!
Behind him sit dense rows of golden mutes,
Deaf to whate'er demonstrates or refutes,
Ready to vote, rescind, obey in all
The whip demands, as hounds the huntsman's call.
They neither know nor reck what helpful deeds
In this grave hour their perilled Country needs.
They want to see their daughters nobly wed,
Their wives at Court, their own names trumpeted,
Their private Bills advanced another stage,
Their schemes of plunder foisted on the age.
Leave them but these, the gamblers come to call,
Nor heed an Empire nodding to its fall!
When Power is built on props like these, how vain
The hope that Law the giddy will restrain!
Spoilt by twin sops, servility and gold,
The headstrong crowd is then but ill controlled.
In vain they now would sway who lately served,
And Riot cows Authority unnerved.
Better that such base compromise should end,
And the dread bolt of Anarchy descend!
Goths of the gutter, Vandals of the slum,
Thieves and Reformers, come! Barbarians, come!
Before your might let rails and rules be hurled,
And sweep Civilisation from the world!
Nor now, alas, do Commoners alone
To private ends the public weal postpone.
Those too, whom worth ancestral plants on seats
High above where all vulgar Clamour beats,
With paltry fear to their clipped ermine cling,
And shrink from right, lest right should ruin bring.
The Peers stand firm; the Commons disagree.
The Peers be-well, it now is close on three.
By five, a world of reasons will be found.
Throw Jonas over, or the ship's aground.
You know the fury of the hand that steers;
And what were Britain with no House of Peers?
Would Primogeniture its fall survive,
Or even Property be kept alive?
Let Herbert fume, or frantic Cecil chafe,
Better a deal to choose the side that's safe;
Bow to the will of Finlen and his hordes,
And still thank Heavën for a House of Lords!
Thus may the British breast exult to think.
That noble names can sell ignoble ink;
That ill-got gains, if deftly spent, unlock
Birth's choicest circles to the ambitious smock;
That Dives foul mounts fine Aristo's stairs,
If but Aristo Dives' plunder shares;
And half Debrett urbanely flocks to White's,
To back the boor who saves them from the kites.
His son succeeds him. `Make the son a Peer.
Why not? His income's eighty thousand clear.
New blood is wanted. Here's the very stuff.
Besides, he wields the county vote.' Enough.
But hold! there's Cato. `Cato! are you sane?
Why, Cato's means but one small hearth sustain.
Ennoble Cato, you'll have Peers for life,
Or else forbid the man to take a wife.
He can't maintain the necessary state,
And would you have a poor name legislate?
No, Dives' son's the very man we need.
What says the Crown?' The Crown! Of course, Agreed.
And the young fool, enriched by parent knaves,
From Ruin's jaws our Constitution saves!
Is there no path of honour for the great,
No sound and clean salvation for the State?
Must we for ever fly to shifts like this,
And trust to Gold to save us from the abyss?
Must honours old by new-got wealth be vamped,
And Valour's stock by plutocrats be swamped?
Back to your lands, base sons of splendid sires!
From spendthrift squares back to your native shires!
Back, back from Baden, and leave Homburg's shades
To dazzling Jews and mercenary jades.
Leave London's round of vulgar joys to those
Who seek in such from base pursuits repose.
Cease to contend with upstart Wealth's parade,
To wring your lands to vie with tricks of trade;
And, proudly spurning Glitter's transient lies,
At least be honest, if you can't be wise!
Worship your household gods, and spend at home
The solid earnings of the generous loam.
Delve, fence, and drain; the dripping waste reclaim;
With spreading woodlands multiply your fame.
Yours let it be to screen the reverent hind,
Who loves your presence, 'gainst the frost and wind;
Scorning to count the profit, raise his lot;
Lure the shy Graces to his lowly cot;
Be, one and all, acknowledged, far and wide,
Patriarchs and patterns of the country side.
And whether demagogues shall rise or fall,
A Cleon mount, or Boänerges bawl,
True to yourselves and native duty, thus
Save this poor England by being virtuous!
And you, Sir, hope of this once famous isle,
Round whom its halo plays, its favours smile,
Hark to the Muse, which, poised on Candour's wings,
Flouts the base crowd, but scorns to flatter kings.
Hark, while she tells you, nor her counsel spurn,
From giddy Pleasure's gilded toys to turn;
That not from minions opulent or coarse
Do Princes gain their lustre and their force;
That Reverence anchors not in deep carouse,
And that a Crown fits only kingly brows!
Fired by each bright example, shun the shade,
Where Scandal best can ply her noxious trade.
Learn from your pious Father how to share
With hands, too lonely now, a Kingdom's care.
Be by your fair loved Consort's pattern moved,
And like your virtuous Mother, stand approved;
Do for this England all the Sceptre can,
And be at least a stainless gentleman.
Be this too much, you well may live to find
That firmest Thrones can fail the weak and blind,
And, though no Samson, sharing half his fate,
Pull down the pillars of a mighty State!
Whilst our domestic fortunes thus obey
All-searching Gold's demoralising sway,
We hug the limits of our puny shore,
And Glory knows our once great name no more.
First are we still in every bloodless fray,
Where piles of gold adventurous prows repay;
But when flushed Honour sets the world on fire,
We furl our sails and to our coasts retire;
And, basely calm whilst outraged nations bleed,
Invent new doctrines to excuse our greed.
When gallant Denmark, now the spoiler's prey,
Flashed her bright blade, and faced the unequal fray,
And, all abandoned both by men and gods,
Fell, faint with wounds, before accursèd odds,Where, where was England's vindicating sword,
Her promised arm, to stay the invading horde;
Bid the rude German drop his half-clutched spoil,
And scare the robber from ancestral soil?
The fair young Dane, beloved by every Grace,
And all the Virtues shining in her face,
Who, more an angel than a princess deemed,
Withal was even sweeter than she seemed,
With noisy throats we summoned o'er the foam,
And with cheap cheers escorted to her home.
But when with streaming eye and throbbing breast
She, pious child, her loving fears confessed,
And, leagued with Honour's voice and Valour's ire,
Prayed us to save her country and her sire,
We turned away, and opulently cold,
Put back our swords of steel in sheaths of gold!
And yet what sandy base doth Gold afford,
Though crowned by Law, and fenced round by the Sword,
Learn from that Empire which, a scorn for aye,
Grew in a night and perished in a day!
Helped by a magic name and doubtful hour,
See the Adventurer scale the steeps of Power.
Upon him groups of desperate gamesters wait,
To snatch their profit from a sinking State.
Folly, and Fate which Folly still attends,
Conspire to shape and expedite their ends.
The Hour, the Man are here! No pulse? No breath?
Wake, Freedom, wake! In vain! She sleeps like Death.
The impious hands, emboldened by her swoon,
Choke in the night, and slay her in the noon!
Then, when vain crowds with dilatory glaive
Rush to avenge the life they would not save,
The prompt conspirators with lavish hand
Fling their last pieces to a pampered band,
Bribe cut-throat blades Vengeance' choked ways to hold,
And bar the avenues of rage with gold!
Then mark how soon, amid triumphant hymns,
The Imperial purple girds the blood-stained limbs.
The perjured hands a golden sceptre gain,
A crown of gold screens the seared brow of Cain,
And golden eagles, erst of simpler ore,
Assert the Caesar, and his rod restore.
See round his throne Pomp's servile tributes swell,
Not Nero knew, e'er Rome to ruin fell,
Far from his feet the lust of glitter spread,
And the vain herd on Splendour's follies fed!
Nor they alone, the shallow, base, and gay,
Bend to this Idol with the feet of clay:
Statesmen and soldiers kneel with flattering suit,
Kings are his guests, e'en queens his cheeks salute;
Senates extol him, supple priests caress,
And even thou, O Pius, stoop'st to bless!
And the World's verdict, ever blind as base,
Welcomes the `Second Saviour' of the race!
And yet how weak this Empire girt with gold
Did prove to save when Battle's torrents rolled,
Have we not seen in ruin, rout, and shame,
Burnt deep in Gaul's for ever broken fame?
What then availed her courts of pomp and pride,
What her bright camps with glittering shows allied?
What, in that hour, the luxury which passed
To soldiers' lips the sybarite repast?
Did all her gold suffice, when steel withstood
Her stride, to make her rash, vain challenge good?
Behold her Chief, in comfort longwhile slung,
By War's rough couch and random fare unstrung
His vaunted Leaders, who to Power had mown
Their path with swords that propped a venal Throne,
Brandishing rival blades, his brain confound,
While still, but sure, the solid foe press round.
See her soft sons, whom arms enervate lead,
Spurn the long marches which to victory speed,
And, fondly deeming Science served by Wealth
Will snatch the fight at distance and by stealth,
Smitten with fear at Valour's downright face,
And taught swift limbs in Flight's ignoble chase!
See one, see all, before the Victor fleet,
Then lay their swords, submissive, at his feet!
O hapless France! e'en then insurgent ire
Had your soiled scutcheon lifted from the mire,
Placed the bright helm on Honour's front once more,
And laurels reaped more lasting than of yore,
Had not rich ease your manhood's marrow stole,
And gold emollient softened all your soul.
O, what a sight-a sight these eyes beheldHer fair green woods by the invader felled;
Her fields and vineyards by the Teuton trod,
Those she once smote encamped upon her sod;
Her homes, in dread, abandoned to the foe,
Or saved from rapine by obsequience low;
Her cities ransomed, provinces o'erawed,
Her iron strongholds wrenched by force or fraud;
Her once proud Paris grovelling in the dust,
And-crowning irony, if lesson justThe grasping victor, loth to quit his hold,
Coaxed slowly homewards o'er a bridge of gold!
Is there no warning, England, here, for thee?
Or are Heaven's laws balked by a strip of sea?
Are thy foundations, Albion, so approved,
Thou canst behold such downfall all unmoved?
Have we not marked how this Briarean Gold
Doth all our life and energies enfold?
And as our practice, so our doctrines tooWe shape new ethics for our vices new;
Our sires forswear, our splendid Past defame,
And in high places glory in our shame!
Hear our loud-tinkling Tribunes all declare
Once lavish England hath no blood to spare,
No gold to spend; within her watery wall
She needs to roll and wallow in it all.
Doth towering Might some poor faint Cause oppress,
They bid her turn, impartial, from distress;
Indulge her tears, but hide her ire from sight,
Lest a like doom her angry front invite.
And when this craven caution fails to save
Her peaceful fortunes from the braggart glaive,
They bid her still be moral and be meek,
Hug tight her gold, and turn the other cheek.
Her very sons, sprung from her mighty loins,
We aliens make, to save some paltry coins;
With our own hands destroy our Empire old,
And stutter, `All is lost, except our gold!'
With languid limbs, by comfortable fire,
We see our glories, one by one, expire;
A Nelson's flag, a Churchill's flashing blade,
Debased to menials of rapacious Trade;
Lost by a Cardwell what a Wellesley won,
And by a Gladstone Chatham's world undone!
Pale, gibbering spectres fumbling at the helm,
Whilst dark winds howl, and billowy seas o'erwhelm.
Yet deem you, England, that you thus will save,
Even your wealth from rapine or the grave?
Will your one chain of safety always hold,
Or `silver streak' for ever guard your gold?
If through long slumbrous years the ignoble rust
Of selfish ease your erst bright steel encrust,
When Storm impends, you vainly will implore
The Gods of Ocean to protect your shore.
Bribed by the foe, behold Britannia stand
At Freedom's portals with a traitress hand,
Help the Barbarian to its sacred hold,
Then, like Tarpeia, sink oppressed with Gold!
Perish the thought! O, rather let me see
Conspiring myriads bristling on the sea,
Our tranquil coasts bewildered by alarms,
And Britain, singly, face a World in arms!
What if a treacherous Heaven befriend our foes?
Let us go down in glory, as we rose!
And if that doom-the best that could betideBe to our Fame by envious Fate denied,
Then come, primeval clouds and seasons frore,
And wrap in gloom our luckless land once more!
Come, every wind of Heaven that rudely blows,
Plunge back our Isle in never-ending snows!
Rage, Eurus, rage! fierce Boreas, descend!
With glacial mists lost Albion befriend!
E'en of its name be every trace destroyed,
And Dark sit brooding o'er the formless Void!
~ Alfred Austin
54 Integral Yoga
38 The Mother
12 Nolini Kanta Gupta
9 Sri Aurobindo
2 George Van Vrekhem
7 Agenda Vol 01
5 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 05
4 Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 07
4 Agenda Vol 10
4 Agenda Vol 09
3 On Education
3 Agenda Vol 08
3 Agenda Vol 03
3 Agenda Vol 02
2 Twelve Years With Sri Aurobindo
2 Questions And Answers 1950-1951
2 Preparing for the Miraculous
2 Agenda Vol 07
2 Agenda Vol 06
01.04_-_The_Secret_Knowledge, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
His being a field of her vast experiment,
Her endless space is the Playground of his thoughts;
She binds to knowledge of the shapes of Time
06.12_-_The_Expanding_Body-Consciousness, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 03, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
The field of our physical activity is very limited. If you look at it closely you will find it indeed extremely narrow and our capacities confined within a small circle. We are bound by the outline of our material body. I cannot, for instance, be sitting in my room and at the same time doing gymnastics in the Playground. If you wish to do one thing you cannot do another; if you are at one place you cannot be at another simultaneously. How convenient it would be if while I was writing at the table, I could get there immediately a book from a far-off shelf for consultation without moving or taking anybody's help! And yet is the thing so very impossible? We know, for example, of extraordinaryat least, queerthings happening at what are called spirit sances, things that cannot be explained by the normal functioning of the physical senses; they are explained as interventions from the spirit world. In reality, however, spirits or ghosts have, in general, very little to do in this matter. It is action not of disembodied beings but of the normal human energiesespecially the vital or life energyfreed from the body's control and exerting itself independently. An example, a true fact that happened, will best illustrate what I mean to say.
08.02_-_Order_and_Discipline, #Collected Works of Nolini Kanta Gupta - Vol 04, #Nolini Kanta Gupta, #Integral Yoga
You are sent to school, you are asked to do exercises (both mental and physical); do you think it is just to put you to trouble? No, it is because a surrounding is absolutely necessary where you can learn to form yourself. If you tried by yourself this work of individualisation, integral formation, all alone in one corner, you would be asked nothing till you have done it; but you are not likely to do it, not a single child would do it, he would not even know how to do it or where to begin. If a child is not taught how to live, he would not be able to live, he would not know how to do anything. The most elementary movements it is not able to do unless it is taught. Therefore if every one were to go through the whole experience, unaided, in the matter of forming his individuality, he would be dead long before he could begin to exist even. That is the utility of the experiences of others, accumulated through centuries, of those who have had the experience and who tell you, "If you want to go quick, and learn in a few years what needed centuries to learnwell, do this, do that, this way, that way, read, study, attend to your lessons at school, in the Playground." Once you are on the way, you can find your own method if you are a genius. But in the beginning you must know from others how to stand on your legs and walk. It is not easy to go all by oneself. That is why one needs education.
10.04_-_The_Dream_Twilight_of_the_Earthly_Real, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
Thought's favourite mid the children of half-light
Who high-voiced crowd the Playgrounds of the mind
Or people its dormitories in infant sleep?
1.03_-_Preparing_for_the_Miraculous, #Preparing for the Miraculous, #George Van Vrekhem, #unset
thing habitual ... In one of the old entretiens, I said when I
was speaking there at the Playground: There is no doubt
that the overman will in the first place be a being of power,
1.04_-_The_Divine_Mother_-_This_Is_She, #Twelve Years With Sri Aurobindo, #Nirodbaran, #Integral Yoga
When the courts were ready, there followed a change in our programme. Henceforth Sri Aurobindo's noon meal was served earlier so that the Mother could go out by 5.00 p.m. She would come to Sri Aurobindo's room dressed in her specially designed tennis costume. She played for about an hour with a number of young people in turn, even took part in tournaments. From there she came to the Playground and, after another bout of crowded activities, returned to the Ashram at about 8.00 or 9.00 p.m.
The Mother now began to identify herself more and more with this new generation. In the evening when Sri Aurobindo was enjoying his solitude, the Mother, after her tennis, busied herself in the Playground meeting the children, watching their games and exercises, taking classes, etc. and through all these means, establishing an intimate contact with them. The exercises were done in cumbersome pyjamas which consequently checked free movement. One evening when I went to visit the Playground, I found the gate closed. The gate-keeper told me that the Mother did not want anyone except the group-members to enter the Playground. When it was thrown open we found, to our surprise, that the girls were doing exercises in shorts! How did this revolutionary change come about? Here, in brief, is the story from one who played an active part in it. One day, one of the girls, doing her exercises in pyjamas in the Playground, fell down and got hurt owing to the impractical dress. When the Mother was told about it, she listened quietly. After a couple of days, she called Bratati, one of the sadhikas of her intimate circle (she had such small intimate groups of young boys, girls and adults) and said, "I have solved the problem of the uniform. The girls will put on white shorts, a white shirt and a kitty-cap on the head for their hair. Prepare them and try them on yourself. Pyjamas are unwieldy. When you are ready, let me know about it." When everything was ready, she informed the Mother and a day was fixed for the rehearsal in strict privacy. The Mother was pleased with the design. Calling the girls together she gave a short impressive talk on the new experiment and the necessity for trying it. They at once fell in with the proposal and adopted the new uniform. But what was the reaction to this drastic step? Some, particularly old people, were shocked to see their daughters scantily dressed and doing exercises jointly with boys; a few conservative guardians were planning to take their wards away from such a modernised Ashram. I, personally, admired, on the one hand, the revolutionary step taken by the Mother far in advance of the time in Eastern countries, in anticipation of the modern movement in dress; on the other hand, my cautious mind, or as Sri Aurobindo would say, my coward-mind, could not but feel the risk involved in this forward venture. At the same time I knew that the Mother's very nature is to face danger, if necessary. And whenever we had tried to argue with her that we were doing things which were not done outside, she replied sharply, "Why should we follow the others? They have no ideas, we have ideas. I have come to break down old conventions and superstitions." Besides, whatever measures she adopts are not done for the sake of novelty or from mental reasons. "Mother is guided by her intuition," Sri Aurobindo reminded us very often. Also, I believe, she prepares the ground in the occult planes and manipulates the forces to her advantage before she takes any hazardous step. That is why we hear her say, "Wait, wait!" for the opportune moment, I suppose. We can realise now the wisdom of her vision in taking that revolutionary step. Further, I think it was one of the most effective means to eliminate sex-consciousness between the male and the female. We are in this respect much better than before now that shorts have become almost our normal dress.
The Mother became so preoccupied with the various activities in the Playground that she would return at about 8 or 9 p.m. with a garland around her neck (put by Pranab) and she would offer it at Sri Aurobindo's feet. Her intensive concentration at the Playground made people remark that the Supermind would descend there first. When Sri Aurobindo was told about it, he commented, "I won't get the Supermind, then?" It is of interest to note that the Supramental Manifestation did take place during a meditation in the Playground on February 29, 1956.
We have seen her coming drenched in perspiration from her game of tennis and taking French translation classes soon after, or going to the sports ground to watch our tournaments, herself taking down the names and scores of each participant, her spiritual force acting simultaneously, protecting, sustaining and inspiring all, her very Presence electrifying the atmosphere with a divine energy and quietude. She would hold one end of the tape at the terminus in the running competitions. She had even gone out to watch our team playing friendly matches with outside clubs. Twice she witnessed the Calcutta Mohan Bagan football team's display and was so impressed by it that she changed her opinion of the game. She had considered it a rough, vital play where one was bound to get some injury; in fact, that was what happened with our young players. But the spectacular display by the Calcutta team playing such a clean game made her remark, "I didn't know that football could be played in such a clean manner!" All the players came for the Mother's blessings and presented to her the new football they had won. Then returning from all these functions to the Playground, she continued her daily round of interviews, watching the marching, taking classes or distributing sweets to all the Ashramites, till about 9.00 p.m.! This was her programme throughout the year; one activity or another filled up every moment and, mind you, this continued till her 80th year!
11.01_-_The_Eternal_Day_The_Souls_Choice_and_the_Supreme_Consummation, #Savitri, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
Here in the Playground of the eternal Child
Or in domains the wise Immortals tread
1.11_-_The_Kalki_Avatar, #Preparing for the Miraculous, #George Van Vrekhem, #unset
vine Presence, concrete and material, was there present
amongst you [her audience at the Playground and perhaps
the Ashram in general]. I had a form of living gold, big-
1.12_-_Delight_of_Existence_-_The_Solution, #The Life Divine, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
5:If, on the other hand, we look at world-existence in relation to consciousness only and to force of consciousness, we may regard, describe and realise it as a movement of Force obeying some secret will or else some necessity imposed on it by the very existence of the Consciousness that possesses or regards it. It is then the play of Prakriti, the executive Force, to satisfy Purusha, the regarding and enjoying Conscious-Being or it is the play of Purusha reflected in the movements of Force and with them identifying himself. World, then, is the play of the Mother of things moved to cast Herself for ever into infinite forms and avid of eternally outpouring experiences.
6:Again if we look at World-Existence rather in its relation to the self-delight of eternally existent being, we may regard, describe and realise it as Lila, the play, the child's joy, the poet's joy, the actor's joy, the mechanician's joy of the Soul of things eternally young, perpetually inexhaustible, creating and re-creating Himself in Himself for the sheer bliss of that selfcreation, of that self-representation, - Himself the play, Himself the player, Himself the Playground. These three generalisations of the play of existence in its relation to the eternal and stable, the immutable Sachchidananda, starting from the three conceptions of Maya, Prakriti and Lila and representing themselves in our philosophical systems as mutually contradictory philosophies, are in reality perfectly consistent with each other, complementary and necessary in their totality to an integral view of life and the world. The world of which we are a part is in its most obvious view a movement of Force; but that Force, when we penetrate its appearances, proves to be a constant and yet always mutable rhythm of creative consciousness casting up, projecting in itself phenomenal truths of its own infinite and eternal being; and this rhythm is in its essence, cause and purpose a play of the infinite delight of being ever busy with its own innumerable self-representations. This triple or triune view must be the starting-point for all our understanding of the universe.
7:Since, then, eternal and immutable delight of being moving out into infinite and variable delight of becoming is the root of the whole matter, we have to conceive one indivisible conscious Being behind all our experiences supporting them by its inalienable delight and effecting by its movement the variations of pleasure, pain and neutral indifference in our sensational existence. That is our real self; the mental being subject to the triple vibration can only be a representation of our real self put in front for the purposes of that sensational experience of things which is the first rhythm of our divided consciousness in its response and reaction to the multiple contacts of the universe. It is an imperfect response, a tangled and discordant rhythm preparing and preluding the full and unified play of the conscious Being in us; it is not the true and perfect symphony that may be ours if we can once enter into sympathy with the One in all variations and attune ourselves to the absolute and universal diapason.
1.12_-_God_Departs, #Twelve Years With Sri Aurobindo, #Nirodbaran, #Integral Yoga
Then came the 1st and 2nd December programmes for the School Anniversary. The entire Ashram was busy and bustling. The Mother also had no rest. Nobody suspected that a profound tragedy was being enacted in the closed chambers of Sri Aurobindo. His ailment had been kept a guarded secret. On 1st December, some improvement was noticed; the temperature was normal. He was in a more cheerful mood and even joked with Sanyal. When the doctor suggested that a detailed blood examination would be advisable, Sri Aurobindo smiled and retorted, "You doctors can think only in terms of disease and medicine, but always there is much more effectual knowledge beyond and above it. I don't need anything." We were very happy with the answer, but missed its ambiguous import and thought that it carried a consoling assurance. Next evening the temperature shot up. It had been a heavy day for the Mother because of the Annual Physical Display in the Playground where more than two hundred people took part. The function went off well. When Sri Aurobindo was informed of it, he remarked with a contented smile, "Ah, it is finished!" As soon as the activities were over, the Mother came to Sri Aurobindo's room, placed the garland from her neck at his feet and stood there quietly. Her countenance was very grave. He was indrawn with his eyes closed. Later Sanyal expressed a desire to use some drugs in order to fight the infection. The Mother warned him against the use of any violent drugs or drastic methods not only because Sri Aurobindo would not like them, but they would be, on the contrary, positively harmful. "He will work out whatever is necessary. Give some simple medicines," was her instruction.
On 3rd December, the temperature again dropped to normal. Thinking that Sri Aurobindo was improving, Sanyal proposed to leave that evening. The Mother heard him gravely, but gave no reply. He took the hint and added quickly, "I would rather stay for a few more days, Mother." A smile lit up her face. In the afternoon the picture rapidly changed. The temperature shot up, respiratory distress showed itself for the first time. Sri Aurobindo refused to take any liquid. At the Mother's persuasion he sipped some fruit juice and immediately lapsed into a trance. Almost the whole day he remained in that condition. The Mother, owing to this set-back, did not go to the Playground.
To go back to our account, the Mother returned from the Playground after her usual attendance in the evening. I have said that she did not go there on the previous day. As a result the activities of the Playground were suspended. A deep gloom fell upon the hearts of the young group members. the Playground which used to bustle with energy and noise became ominously still. It was the first time an apprehension had loomed over the people that Sri Aurobindo's condition was serious. The Mother must have felt the poignant despondency of her children and the next day she had to appear in the Playground. As soon as she stepped in, everything changed: there was sunshine on every face and people were lulled into the belief that all was well. Some of them said, "We could never imagine that things were so bad. For the Mother had such self-composure and a look of detachment that it was only when on the 3rd of December she did not come to the Playground that we fell from the sky. But when on the next day she came into our midst, the nightmare passed and we forgot everything."