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 Love

“Why can we throw a question further than we can pull in an answer? Why such a vast net if there’s such little fish to catch?”

— Yann Martel, Life of Pi, Harcout 2001 (Part 2, chapter 37)

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)

“Prayer Number Twenty”

Prayer Number Twenty

Wind carry me up and away,

my loves’ voices in the air as echoes

and the taste of all words in my mouth.

I want no sight but the shimmer of darkness,

no touch but yours,

and the smell of rain

as we skim the surface of the world

— Medina Martin

“Part of Eve’s Discussion” by Marie Howe

“Part of Eve’s Discussion”

It was like the moment when a bird decides not to eat from your hand, and flies, just before it flies, the moment the rivers seem to still and stop because a storm is coming, but there is no storm, as when a hundred starlings lift and bank together before they wheel and drop, very much like the moment, driving on bad ice, when it occurs to you your car could spin, just before it slowly begins to spin, like the moment just before you forgot what it was you were about to say, it was like that, and after that, it was still like that, only all the time.

— Marie Howe, The Good Thief, Persea Books, 1988

posted at poets.org


“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
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