Words I Love

“It is a terrible thing, this kindess that human beings do not lose. Terrible, because when we are finally naked in the dark and cold, it is all we have. We who are so rich, so full of strength, we end up with that small change. We have nothing else to give. ”

— Ursula LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Words I Read Over and Over Again

“In so many ways, his family’s life feels like a string of accidents, unforeseen, unintended, one incident begetting another…And yet these events have formed Gogol, shaped him determined who he is. They were things for which it was impossible to prepare but which one spent a lifetime looking back at, trying to accept, interpret, comprehend. Things that should never have happened, that seemed out of place and wrong, these were what prevailed, what endured, in the end.”

–Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003, pp. 287 of Mariner Books edition)

“I am the wrong/sex the wrong age the wrong skin”

“the point being that I can’t do what I want
to do with my own body because I am the wrong
sex the wrong age the wrong skin and
suppose it was not here in the city but down on the beach/
or far into the woods and I wanted to go
there by myself thinking about God/or thinking
about children or thinking about the world/all of it
disclosed by the stars and the silence:
I could not go and I could not think and I could not
stay there
alone
as I need to be
alone because I can’t do what I want to do with my own
body and
who in the hell set things up
like this”
— from “Poem about My Rights” by June Jordan (1936-2002); originally published in Passion (1980)
The whole blazing, amazing poem can be found on the (fabulous) Poetry Foundation website: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178526

“Happiness is not a potato”

“No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise.”

— Charlotte Bronte, Villette, 1853, chapter 22