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My favorite literary passage

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Postby Bubbs » Thu, 01 Sep 2005 3:17 pm

Wind in my hair.........not read that Chesterton poem but love it, I am going to look up more of his.

And yes, Donne is more passionate in his Holy missives. But some people think that that is how it should be, that God deserves our passion more than 'man' does.

Still, it makes for interesting viewpoints anyway.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Thu, 01 Sep 2005 3:35 pm

Bubbs, it's so nice to have you around on these threads. your nic and personality are one and the same!

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Postby Bubbles » Thu, 01 Sep 2005 3:39 pm

I love Auden's 'Lullaby' much quoted, but rightly so I think. If you read it through I bet you'll agree with lots he says.

by W. H. Auden

Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit's carnal ecstasy.

Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find our mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.

And of course that old, old favourite of Elizabeth Barrett Brownings will always hit something in people, because she was so in love when she wrote it.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death

Some would say these are two old 'chestnuts' when there is so much wonderful modern stuff around, but they have to ring bells for millions, otherwise why do they still get read, or do we immediately recognise lines from them if we've not read them ourselves?

I know this thread started off slightly differently and I hope the original postee doesn't mind?

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Thu, 01 Sep 2005 4:37 pm

Here's one more from Chesterton, more of a humourous one yet also strangely beautiful.

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things

The tattered outlaw of the earth
Of ancient crooked will
Starve, scourge, deride me; I am dumb
I keep my secret still

Fools! For I also had my hour
One far fierce hour and sweet
There was a shout about my ears
And palms before my feet.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Thu, 01 Sep 2005 4:45 pm

Since we've digressed into poetry and classic all-time favourites, here's one that I find quite inspiring.

A Psalm of Life

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
"Dust thou art, to dust returnest,"
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints in the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait.

- H W Longfellow

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Postby Bubbles » Thu, 01 Sep 2005 4:58 pm

Wind in my hair.....I love it, and with that in mind I'm off to 'do' something. Enough of sitting here trying to write another story. I may go for a walk down to the sea.

I don't think he's saying that though, is he? He's saying 'Do something useful with your life and bury the past but don't rely on the future. Today's the thing.'

Ah, I like this thread. And it can stand alone, cos the peeps who don't care for literature can just by-pass it.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas.

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Postby dot dot dot » Thu, 01 Sep 2005 5:04 pm

I think I already posted it once here before, but it is one of my fav's after all, and since Bubbs mentioned W.H. Auden, here it is:

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
'Love has no ending.

'I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

'I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

'The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.'

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
'O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

'In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

'In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

'Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.

'O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.

'The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

'Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.

'O look, look in the mirror,
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.

'O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.'

It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.


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Postby locallass » Thu, 01 Sep 2005 5:10 pm

Bubbs, we share such a similar taste in literature!!! First it was Wuthering Heights. Now it's that poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. We should do a book swap one day. It'll be interesting to see what I've missed out.

Since we're on the topic of love peoms, let me share one of my favourite, by William Butler Yeats:

Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Fri, 02 Sep 2005 11:21 am

here's a piece of prose that i absolutely swear by, but don't know the source. if anyone does i would appreciate a note!


Life isn't about keeping score. It's not about how many friends you have or how accepted you are. Not about if you have plans this weekend or if you're alone. It isn't about who you're dating, who you used to date, how many people you've dated, or if you haven't been with anyone at all. It isn't about who you've kissed. It's not about sex. It isn't about who your family is or how much money they have. Or what kind of car you drive. Or where you were sent to school. It's not about how beautiful or ugly you are, or what clothes you wear, what shoes you have on, or what kind of music you listen to. It's not about if your hair is blonde, red, black or brown. Or is your skin is too light or too dark. Not about what grades you get, how smart you are, how smart everyone else thinks you are, or how smart standardised tests say you are. It's not about what clubs you're in or how good you are at "your" spot. It's not about representing your whole being on a piece of paper and seeing who will "accept the written you"...

But, life is about who you love and who you hurt. It's about who you make happy or unhappy purposefully. It's about keeping or betraying trust. It's about friendship, used as a sanctity or a weapon. It's about what you say and mean, maybe hurtful, maybe heartening. About starting rumours and contributing to petty gossip. It's about what judgments you pass and why, and who your judgments are spread to. It's about who you've ignored with full control and intention. It's about jealousy, fear, ignorance and revenge. It's about carrying inner hate and love, letting it grow, and spreading it. But most of all, it's about using your life to touch or poison other people's hearts in such a way that would never have occured alone. Only you choose the way those hearts are affected, and those choices are what Life is all about.


Postby Bubbs » Fri, 02 Sep 2005 5:31 pm

I love that one WIMH. Not sure who it's by though. I've tried Googling certain bits of it, but nothing. Anyone else know?

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