One little bird not larger than a sparrow, it may have been a Phalarope, would alight on the turbulent surface where the breakers were five or six feet high, and float buoyantly there like a duck, cunningly taking to its wings and lifting itself a few feet through the air over the foaming crest of each breaker, but sometimes outriding safely a considerable billow which hid it some seconds, when its instinct told it that it would not break. It was a little creature thus to sport with the ocean, but it was as perfect a success in its way as the breakers in theirs.
Henry David Thoreau
I learned quickly enough when to click the shutter, but what I was becoming aware of more slowly was a story-writer's truth: The thing to wait on, to reach for, is the moment in which people reveal themselves... I learned from my own pictures, one by one, and had to; for I think we are the breakers of our own hearts.
But drunkenly, or secretly, we swore, Disciples of that astigmatic saint, That we would never leave the island Until we had put down, in paint, in words, As palmists learn the network of a hand, All of its sunken, leaf-choked ravines, Every neglected, self-pitying inlet Muttering in brackish dialect, the ropes of mangroves From which old soldier crabs slipped Surrendering to slush, Each ochre track seeking some hilltop and Losing itself in an unfinished phrase, Under sand shipyards where the burnt-out palms Inverted the design of unrigged schooners, Entering forests, boiling with life, Goyave, corrosol, bois-canot, sapotille. Days! The sun drumming, drumming, Past the defeated pennons of the palms, Roads limp from sunstroke, Past green flutes of the grass The ocean cannonading, come! Wonder that opened like the fan Of the dividing fronds On some noon-struck sahara, Where my heart from its rib cage yelped like a pup After clouds of sanderlings rustily wheeling The world on its ancient, Invisible axis, The breakers slow-dolphining over more breakers, To swivel our easels down, as firm As conquerors who had discovered home.
I have seen mad people, and I have known some who were quite intelligent, lucid, even clear-sighted in every concern of life, except on one point. They could speak clearly, readily, profoundly on everything; till their thoughts were caught in the breakers of their delusions and went to pieces there, were dispersed and swamped in that furious and terrible sea of fogs and squalls which is called MADNESS.
Guy de Maupassant
CHORUS: You that live in my ancestral Thebes, behold this Oedipus, - him who knew the famous riddles and was a man most masterful; not a citizen who did not look with envy on his lot- see him now and see the breakers of misfortune swallow him! Look upon that last day always. Count no mortal happy till he has passed the final limit of his life secure from pain.
I had treated my temporary earthly problems so emotionally and seriously that they became major energy zappers, brain drains, and heart breakers. I knew I was a Christian living in this world, but things didn't really sink in until the concept of the purple wedge made me 'see' it and put things into perspective.
Candlesticks and incense not being portable into the maintop, the sailor perceives these decorations to be, on the whole, inessential to a maintop mass. Sails must be set and cables bent, be it never so strict a saint's day; and it is found that no harm comes of it. Absolution on a lee-shore must be had of the breakers, it appears, if at all; and they give plenary and brief without listening to confession.
Every one must be struck with astonishment, when he first beholds one of these vast rings of coral-rock, often many leagues in diameter, here and there surmounted by a low verdant island with dazzling white shores, bathed on the outside by the foaming breakers of the ocean, and on the inside surrounding a calm expanse of water, which, from reflection, is of a bright but pale green color.
In clear weather the laziest may look across the Bay as far as Plymouth at a glance, or over the Atlantic as far as human vision reaches, merely raising his eyelids; or if he is too lazy to look after all, he can hardly help hearing the ceaseless dash and roar of the breakers. The restless ocean may at any moment cast up a whale or a wrecked vessel at your feet. All the reporters in the world, the most rapid stenographers, could not report the news it brings.
Henry David Thoreau
And I'll tell you, I've seen the lightning flash. I've heard the thunder roll. I felt sin-breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul. But I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.
I know you don't want to stand up to the bullies, the peace-breakers, or even the demons among you. You want someone else to handle it, someone else to tell them to stop, someone else to bring the peace. And very often in your life, there will be someone else, and you'll be able to stay in your place of peace. But other times, the peace you crave can only be found by fighting the battle, and the light you crave can only be seen by fighting the darkness.
Sean Patrick Brennan
When we use the term pig, for example, we are referring to the people who systematically violate the peoples' constitutional rights- whether they be monopoly capitalists or police. The term is now being adopted by radicals, hippies, and minority peoples. Even the workers, when the pigs supported strike-breakers like they did as Union Oil where 100 local police came in a cracked strikers' heads, began to call them by their true name.
In anything fit to be called by the name of reading, the process itself should be absorbing and voluptuous; we should gloat over a book, be rapt clean out of ourselves, and rise from the perusal, our mind filled with the busiest, kaleidoscopic dance of images, incapable of sleep or of continuous thought. The words, if the book be eloquent, should run thenceforward in our ears like the noise of breakers, and the story, if it be a story, repeat itself in a thousand coloured pictures to the eye.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Julian smiled back, his full lips pulled back over white teeth as he rolled the blanket back a little bit. 'Is he really a heart breaker?' 'I'm the breakiest of heart breakers, ' Leo interjected, his tone deadpan as he dumped a handful of greens into the pot on the stove. Julian wrinkled his nose. 'That's not even a word, ' He complained and fell into a sulky silence from his place on the bed.
The sound of distant breakers made her heart ache with melancholy. She was in the mood when the sea has a saddening effect upon the nerves. It is only when we are very happy that we can bear to gaze merrily upon the vast and limitless expanse of water, rolling on and on with such persistent, irritating monotony to the accompaniment of our thoughts, whether grave or gay. When they are gay, the waves echo their gaiety; but when they are sad, then every breaker, as it rolls, seems to bring additional sadness and to speak to us of hopelessness and of the pettiness of all our joys.
There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for me to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed or enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt.
It did not occur to me that absence of human companionship does not assure solitude. It may, on the contrary, plunge one into an environment compared with which New York or London would appear deserts. For we take memory and imagination with us. The seabirds that scream overhead or waddle along the margins of the surf; the grotesque forms of twisted cedars; the rustle of sea-grass in the wind; the interminable percussion of the breakers; the dead infinity of the sand itself - there can be no solitude, in the sense of freedom from disturbances of thought, in the presence of such things. They draw us back into the maelstrom. ("Absolute Evil")
With favoring winds, o'er sunlit seas, We sailed for the Hesperides, The land where golden apples grow; But that, ah! that was long ago. How far, since then, the ocean streams Have swept us from that land of dreams, That land of fiction and of truth, The lost Atlantis of our youth! Whither, ah, whither? Are not these The tempest-haunted Orcades, Where sea-gulls scream, and breakers roar, And wreck and sea-weed line the shore? Ultima Thule! Utmost Isle! Here in thy harbors for a while We lower our sails; a while we rest From the unending, endless quest.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.
We are stripped of all that gave value and substance to our existence: power and love; in this naked final state, our last lover, our mate, death, comes. Bereft, without cover, we face the elements that will undo us. The winter breakers crash over and through us, flaunting their vigor and our nullity, as if the entire cosmos were now taking its ultimate revenge on the human creature who has lived too long: the dying sun mocks us from the west, for it will return tomorrow to die again, but we go down only once; the rising sun mocks us from the east, for we will not share in the rebirth of light and life; the noonday taunts us with its heat and vitality, for we are detritus; the north finally cloaks us in our last vestments: eternal night. That is how it ends.
Last-Minute Message For a Time Capsule I have to tell you this, whoever you are: that on one summer morning here, the ocean pounded in on tumbledown breakers, a south wind, bustling along the shore, whipped the froth into little rainbows, and a reckless gull swept down the beach as if to fly were everything it needed. I thought of your hovering saucers, looking for clues, and I wanted to write this down, so it wouldn't be lost forever - - that once upon a time we had meadows here, and astonishing things, swans and frogs and luna moths and blue skies that could stagger your heart. We could have had them still, and welcomed you to earth, but we also had the righteous ones who worshipped the True Faith, and Holy War. When you go home to your shining galaxy, say that what you learned from this dead and barren place is to beware the righteous ones.
Deep the waves may be and cold, But Jehovah is our refuge, And His promise is our hold; For the Lord Himself hath said it, He, the faithful God and true: "When thou comest to the waters Thou shalt not go down, BUT THROUGH." Seas of sorrow, seas of trial, Bitterest anguish, fiercest pain, Rolling surges of temptation Sweeping over heart and brain They shall never overflow us For we know His word is true; All His waves and all His billows He will lead us safely through. Threatening breakers of destruction, Doubt's insidious undertow, Shall not sink us, shall not drag us Out to ocean depths of woe; For His promise shall sustain us, Praise the Lord, whose Word is true! We shall not go down, or under, For He saith, "Thou passest THROUGH
Annie Johnson Flint
On the edge of a tropical ocean, in a thousand reflections of the silver light of an invisible moon, among undulations of restless waters, ceaselessly changing... Among silent breakers, the tremors of the shining surface, in the swift flux and reflux martyrizing the patches of light, in the rendings of luminous loops and arcs, and lines, in the occultations and reappearances of dancing bursts of light being decomposed, recomposed, contracted, spread out, only to be re-distributed once more before me, with me, within me, drowned, and unendurably buffeted, my calm violated a thousand times by the tongues of infinity, oscillating, sinusoidally overrun by the multitude of liquid lines. enormous with a thousand folds, I was and I was not, I was caught, I was lost, I was in a state of complete ubiquity. The thousands upon thousands of rustlings were my own thousand shatterings.
At some point in the night she had a dream. Or it was possible that she was partially awake, and was only remembering a dream? She was alone among the rocks on a dark coast beside the sea. The water surged upward and fell back languidly, and in the distance she heard surf breaking slowly on a sandy shore. It was comforting to be this close to the surface of the ocean and gaze at the intimate nocturnal details of its swelling and ebbing. And as she listened to the faraway breakers rolling up onto the beach, she became aware of another sound entwined with the intermittent crash of waves: a vast horizontal whisper across the bossom of the sea, carrying an ever-repeated phrase, regular as a lighthouse flashing: Dawn will be breaking soon. She listened a long time: again and again the scarcely audible words were whispered across the moving water. A great weight was being lifted slowly from her; little by little her happiness became more complete, and she awoke. Then she lay for a few minutes marveling the dream, and once again fell asleep.
The Duration Here they are are on the beach where the boy played for fifteen summers, before he grew too old for French cricket, shrimping and rock pools. Here is the place where he built his dam year after year. See, the stream still comes down just as it did, and spreads itself on the sand into a dozen channels. How he enlisted them: those splendid spades, those sunbonneted girls furiously shoring up the ramparts. Here they are on the beach, just as they were those fifteen summers. She has a rough towel ready for him. The boy was always last out of the water. She would rub him down hard, chafe him like a foal up on its legs for an hour and trembling, all angles. She would dry carefully between his toes. Here they are on the beach, the two of them sitting on the same square of mackintosh, the same tartan rug. Quality lasts. There are children in the water, and mothers patrolling the sea's edge, calling them back from the danger zone beyond the breakers. How her heart would stab when he went too far out. Once she flustered into the water, shouting until he swam back. He was ashamed of her then. Wouldn't speak, wouldn't look at her even. Her skirt was sopped. She had to wring out the hem. She wonders if Father remembers. Later, when they've had their sandwiches she might speak of it. There are hours yet. Thousands, by her reckoning.
[Robert's eulogy at his brother, Ebon C. Ingersoll's grave. Even the great orator Robert Ingersoll was choked up with tears at the memory of his beloved brother] The record of a generous life runs like a vine around the memory of our dead, and every sweet, unselfish act is now a perfumed flower. Dear Friends: I am going to do that which the dead oft promised he would do for me. The loved and loving brother, husband, father, friend, died where manhood's morning almost touches noon, and while the shadows still were falling toward the west. He had not passed on life's highway the stone that marks the highest point; but, being weary for a moment, he lay down by the wayside, and, using his burden for a pillow, fell into that dreamless sleep that kisses down his eyelids still. While yet in love with life and raptured with the world, he passed to silence and pathetic dust. Yet, after all, it may be best, just in the happiest, sunniest hour of all the voyage, while eager winds are kissing every sail, to dash against the unseen rock, and in an instant hear the billows roar above a sunken ship. For whether in mid sea or 'mong the breakers of the farther shore, a wreck at last must mark the end of each and all. And every life, no matter if its every hour is rich with love and every moment jeweled with a joy, will, at its close, become a tragedy as sad and deep and dark as can be woven of the warp and woof of mystery and death. This brave and tender man in every storm of life was oak and rock; but in the sunshine he was vine and flower. He was the friend of all heroic souls. He climbed the heights, and left all superstitions far below, while on his forehead fell the golden dawning, of the grander day. He loved the beautiful, and was with color, form, and music touched to tears. He sided with the weak, the poor, and wronged, and lovingly gave alms. With loyal heart and with the purest hands he faithfully discharged all public trusts. He was a worshipper of liberty, a friend of the oppressed. A thousand times I have heard him quote these words: 'For Justice all place a temple, and all season, summer!' He believed that happiness was the only good, reason the only torch, justice the only worship, humanity the only religion, and love the only priest. He added to the sum of human joy; and were every one to whom he did some loving service to bring a blossom to his grave, he would sleep to-night beneath a wilderness of flowers. Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud, and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry. From the voiceless lips of the unreplying dead there comes no word; but in the night of death hope sees a star and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing. He who sleeps here, when dying, mistaking the approach of death for the return of health, whispered with his latest breath, 'I am better now.' Let us believe, in spite of doubts and dogmas, of fears and tears, that these dear words are true of all the countless dead. And now, to you, who have been chosen, from among the many men he loved, to do the last sad office for the dead, we give his sacred dust. Speech cannot contain our love. There was, there is, no gentler, stronger, manlier man.
Robert G. Ingersoll