"She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole."
"All gods who receive homage are cruel. All gods dispense suffering without reason. Otherwise they would not be worshipped. Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion. It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom. Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood."
When they were wild
When they were not yet human
When they could have been anything,
I was on the other side ready with milk to lure them,
And their father, too, the name like a net in his hands.
Art: Theodor Kittelsen
"The most terrible thing about it is not that it breaks one’s heart—hearts are made to be broken—but that it turns one’s heart to stone."
"I changed the subject. I knew what you needed: simple feelings, simple words. Your silence was effortless and windless, like the silence of clouds or plants. All silence is the recognition of a mystery. There was much about you that seemed mysterious."
Vladimir Nabokov, from “Sounds”
From The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov
“We demand that sex speak the truth… and we demand that it tell us our truth, or rather, the deeply buried truth of that truth about ourselves which we think we possess in our immediate consciousness.”
― Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality
"But I don’t know how there is nothing able to be said so absurdly that it hasn’t been said by some philosopher or other."
Cicero, De Divinatione II.LVIII
"I like it when it rains hard. It sounds like white noise everywhere, which is like silence but not empty."
Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
"If you love the good thing vitally, enough to give up for it all that one must give up, then you must hate the cheap thing just as hard. I tell you, there is such a thing as creative hate! A contempt that drives you through fire, makes you risk everything and lose everything, makes you a long sight better than you ever knew you could be."
from Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
Between thought and word, between the unforeseen dream and the foreseen syllable, there is the call of the roads we will take some day to tame the flaring passion which consumes us. […] Whether following a competent guide or left to our own instinct, we wander within ourselves (up to the point where we are still ourselves, but different) to find the obscure spot which hides the sun and which, we know, is that privileged place where dark and light touch in order to be two and still only one in revealing the universe.
—Edmond Jabès, The Book of Questions Volumes 2 and 3: The Book of Yukel Return to the Book, trans. by Rosmarie Waldrop (Wesleyan University Press, 1977)
"Tormented by universal love, you, too, would then start praying to the birds, as if in a sort of ecstasy, and entreat them to forgive you your sin. Cherish this ecstasy, however senseless it may seem to people."
"Dreams, like memories, are shores we row toward to escape the ever same tomorrow and their cruel futility. Days which cannot express themselves are grey and cold. Mute days whose untidy gestures tear us apart."
— Edmond Jabès
, The Book of Questions Volumes 2 and 3: The Book of Yukel Return to the Book
, trans.by Rosmarie Waldrop (Wesleyan University Press, 1977)
You must save what you can of your life; you mustn’t lose it all simply because you’ve lost a part.
― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady. Penguin Classics, 2003
“Only what touches us closely preoccupies us. We prepare in solitude to face it.”
—Edmond Jabès, from The Little Book of Unsuspected Subversion, trans. Rosmarie Waldrop (Stanford University Press, 1996)