We need to hold in our hearts the possibility of a better world, not because we have candy-coated the problems or lied about what we can accomplish, but because we know that we do often win and make a difference, and that all the good things we have in the world are the results of those who have had the courage and commitment to have done this work before us.
Last year I built a Courage Machine, but I thought it might be noisy and was too afraid to turn it on. So I coated it with glue, covered it with cat hair, mounted it on my wall, and started claiming it was an exotic animal I killed on a Safari in Africa. I'd like to believe people believe me, on account of it being so strange that it has to be true.
[The] National Rifle Association is always arguing that the Second Amendment determines the right to bear arms. But I think it really is the people's right to bear arms in a militia. The NRA thinks it protects their right to have Teflon-coated bullets. But that's not the original understanding.
Royce Westmoreland stared at him with biting scorn. "I despise hypocrisy, particularly when it is coated with holiness." "May I ask for a specific example?" "Fat priests," Royce replied, "with fat purses, who lecture staving peasants on the dangers of gluttony and the merits of poverty.
Royce Westmoreland stared at him with biting scorn. "I despise hypocrisy, particularly when it is coated with holiness." "May I ask for a specific example?" "Fat priests, " Royce replied, "with fat purses, who lecture staving peasants on the dangers of gluttony and the merits of poverty.
I dream of defeating tyrants and ogres as well as circumstances and consequences that I cannot conquer in life. I dream of a love as sweet and addictive as chocolate-coated rose petals yet as tenacious as a thirsty vampire and as enduring as immortality. I dream of things improbable and boldly insane.
Richelle E. Goodrich
Love was also an easy word, used carelessly. Felons and creeps could offer it coated in sugar, and users could dangle it so enticingly that you wouldn't notice that it had things attached - heavy things, things like pity and need, that were weighty as anchors and iron beams and just as impossible to get out from underneath.
Don't ask me those questions! Don't ask me what life means or how we know reality or why we have to suffer so much. Don't talk about how nothing feels real, how everything is coated with gelatin and shining like oil in the sun. I don't want to hear about the tiger in the corner or the Angel of Death or the phone calls from John the Baptist.
Often, as she leafed through the sticky, plastic-coated pages, spotting herself with a frizzy perm or wearing a loud, printed blouse, she was struck by how long life was, and how much time had passed, and she wished she could go back and apologize to those closest to her, explain that she understood now. Impossible, and yet the urge to return and be a different person never lessened, grew only more acute.
The public examination of homosexuality in our contemporary life is still so coated with distasteful moral connotations that even a reviewer is bound to wonder uneasily why he was selected to evaluate a book on the subject, and to assert defensively at the outset that he is happily married, the father of four children and the one-time adornment of his college boxing, track and tennis teams.
Sydney J. Harris
At that instant, Eragon's back ruptured in an explosion of agony so intense he experienced it with all five senses: as a deafening waterfall of sound; a metallic taste that coated his tongue; an acrid eye-watering stench in his nostrils, redolent of vinegar; pulsing colors, and above all the feeling that Durza had just laid open his back.
This was 1978, when flying was still an occasion, a special grand event that took planning and care. I worked as a TWA flight attendant then. I stood in my Ralph Lauren uniform at the boarding door and smiled at the passengers through lips coated with lipstick that perfectly matched the stripe on my jacket. Mostly, the passengers smiled back.
Rodrigo tried to draw a deep breath, but his chest was too filled with anguish, rage and guilt. He kissed his ash-coated fingers. 'I love you, ' he whispered. 'I love you more than life itself.' Curling his fingers into his fist, he pressed it against his chest. So, I will surely see you soon... and then, my love, we shall be together in our forever now.
Water is patient; it can stagnate and let itself be coated with scum if need be. It is as gentle as the morning's dew. It is non-confrontational, even respectful, in circumventing the rocks in a stream. It makes room for everything that enters its pools. It accommodates by assuming the shape of any vessel it is poured into. And it is humble, seeking always the lowest level. Yet along with - or rather because of these adaptive, yielding properties, it is ultimately irresistible; it carves canyons out of stone.
Children, as persons, are entitled to the greatest respect. Children are given to us as free-flying souls, but then we clip their wings like we domesticate the wild mallard. Children should become the role-models for us, their parents, for they are coated with the spirit from which they came- out of the ether, clean, innocent, brimming with the delight of life, aware of the beauty of the simplest thing; a snail, a bud...
Children, as persons, are entitled to the greatest respect. Children are given to us as free-flying souls, but then we clip their wings like we domesticate the wild mallard. Children should become the role-models for us, their parents, for they are coated with the spirit from which they came- out of the ether, clean, innocent, brimming with the delight of life, aware of the beauty of the simplest thing; a snail, a bud....
Are you armed?" Oliver asked her. She glanced down at her backpack and instantly, instinctively held back. "No." "Lie to me again and I'll put you out on the street and do this myself." Claire swallowed. "Uh, yeah." "With what?" "Silver-coated stakes, wooden stakes, a crossbow, about ten bolts . . . oh, and a squirt gun with some silver-nitrate solution." He smiled grimly at the dark windshield. "What, no grenade launchers?" "Would they work?" "I choose not to comment.
You're not a killer, Seirin.' Sweat coated his face, speckled his clothes. 'You couldn't kill Vissyus, and you can't kill me.' Seirin grinned maliciously. 'A woman's prerogative. I've had a very long time to think things over.' Botua's charred body floated out of some locked section of her mind. Her will hardened. She'd learned the cost of hesitation. Things were different now. Lon-Shan would face justice.
I fight against the gluttony of time with so many very amusing weapons with gestures and with three attitudes and with charming phrases; with tears and with tinsel, and with sugar-coated pills, and with platitudes slightly regilded. Yes, and I fight him also with little mirrors wherein gleam confusedly the corruptions of lust, and ruddy loyalty, and a bit of moonshine, and the pure diamond of the heart's desire, and the opal cloudings of human compromise: but, above all, I fight that ravening dotard with the strength of my own folly.
James Branch Cabell
Needless to say, jamming deformed, drugged, overstressed birds together in a filthy, waste-coated room is not very healthy. Beyond deformities, eye damage, blindness, bacterial infections of bones, slipped vertebrae, paralysis, internal bleeding, anemia, slipped tendons, twisted lower legs and necks, respiratory diseases, and weakened immune systems are frequent and long-standing problems on factory farms.
Jonathan Safran Foer
Must be frustrating being a scientist. There you are, incrementally discovering how the universe works via a series of complex tests and experiments, for the benefit of all mankind - and what thanks do you get? People call you "egghead" or "boffin" or "heretic", and they cave your face in with a rock and bury you out in the wilderness. Not literally - not in this day and age - but you get the idea. Scientists are mistrusted by huge swathes of the general public, who see them as emotionless lab-coated meddlers-with-nature rather than, say, fellow human beings who've actually bothered getting off their arses to work this shit out.
Reelfoot is, and has always been, a lake of mystery.In places it is bottomless. Other places the skeletons of the cypress-trees that went down when the earth sank, still stand upright so that if the sun shines from the right quarter, and the water is less muddy than common, a man, peering face downward into its depths, sees, or thinks he sees, down below him the bare top-limbs upstretching like drowned men's fingers, all coated with the mud of years and bandaged with pennons of the green lake slime.
Irvin S. Cobb
I remember once walking out hand in hand with a boy I knew, and it was summer, and suddenly before us was a field of gold. Gold as far as you could see. We knew we'd be rich forever. We filled our pockets and our hair. We were rolled in gold. We ran through the field laughing and our legs and feet were coated in yellow dust, so that we were like golden statues or golden gods. He kissed my feet, the boy I was with, and when he smiled, he had a gold tooth. It was only a field of buttercups, but we were young.
A month ago, Gavin had given his employer four weeks' notice. "I'll get a job around here, " he'd told her. "Something low-stress, part-time, maybe. We're not paying rent, and Dad's left us plenty. You should quit, too." A year earlier this news would have filled her with delicious, full fat, chocolate-coated joy. But now, after a grueling routine of shitty work, shitty- weird home life in a house where the shadow of a dead boy walked more solidly than the grownups, shitty headaches, shitty worry about a husband who couldn't keep his dick out of other women, the golden offer just weirded Laine out. She didn't trust it.
Stephen M. Irwin
But the central branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library was still a place of wonders to Tess, even if the book budget had been slashed and the hours cut. Her parents had made a lot of mistakes, a fact Tess compulsively shared on first dates, but she gave them credit for doing one thing right: Starting when she was eight, they gave her a library card and dropped her off at the downtown Pratt every Saturday while they shopped. Twenty-one years later, Tess still entered through the children's entrance on the side, pausing to toss a penny in the algae-coated fish pond, then climbing the stairs to the main hall. If she could be married here, she would.
This is a powder that when applied to the air causes ghosts to become visible, ' Henry said. Magnus tilted the jar of shining grains up to the lamp admiringly, and when Henry beamed in an encouraging fashion, Magnus removed the cork. 'It seems very fine to me, ' he said, and on a whim he poured it upon his hand. It coated his brown skin, gloving one hand in shimmering luminescence. 'And in addition to its practical uses, it would seem to work for cosmetic purposes. This powder would make my very skin glimmer for eternity.' Henry frowned. 'Not eternity, ' he said, but then he brightened. 'But I could make you up another batch whenever you please!' 'I could shine at will!' Magnus grinned at Henry
There are as many sorrows as there are people who feel them and there are no rules... It is solitary... Grief is such a lonely thing. There is no-one in it with you - others may grieve for the same soul, but they do not grieve exactly for what you also grieve. No-one has lost precisely what you have lost. Not exactly, never exactly. We are in it alone... Oh it is wild and it is lonely. It is as if you've woken to a world that you recognise but it has been tilted, somehow - coated, or rubbed down, or made colder or less bright. It echoes where it should not echo; where it should echo, it is as echoless as a single, muffled thud. And grief is not merely sadness, as if sadness alone was not enough to bear. I had imagined the sorrow to be as deep as a well, a howling grief, but I had not imagined the other feelings that have no right to be there, which seem wholly misplaced in a state of grieving - rage, impatience, self-pity, disgust. They come from the dark and rush in upon you...
There were fat cats and skinny cats. The long-tailed and the bobbed. The daring young leapers, and the old windowsill sleepers. Balls of waddling fluff, smooth-coated prowlers, and hairless ones that looked fragile and wise. The tiger-striped, the ring-tailed, and the ones with matching coloured socks and mittens. There were tabbies and calicos. Manx and Persians. Siamese and Bombay. Ragdolls and Birmans. Maine Coons and Russian Blues. There were Snowshoes and Somalis, Tonkinese and Turkish, and many, many more. Brown and beige and orange and grey and black and white and silver cats, each with gleaming eyes of emerald, or sapphire, or amber. A rainbow of precious stones.
10 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING, HIS A GOT UP CHIEF AND HAYWOOD SOME KOOL-AID IN MY FAVORITE CUP COMB MY HAIR, GET MY GRILL RIGHT SO I CAN FEEL TIGHT HAVIN STARCH IN MY JEANS AND A FRESH PAIR OF NIKES AS I STRIKE, OUT THE DOOR, TO MY SUPERB PARKED BY THE CURB, CANDY COATED BIRD THE SUN GOT MY CANDY LOOKIN GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT YOU CAN TELL BY THE WAY THE GIRLS ACT ACROSS THE STREET HIT THE HORN, BUT NO STALLIN, KEEP BALLIN 4 O'CLOCK SUNDAY, I GOTTA HIT THE MALL AND FALL IN FULL OF THEM GREEN TREES HURRY UP SO I CAN CATCH MARTIN LUTHER KING FOOLS ALL IN THE WAY WITH THAT ECONO-SPRAY NEED TO TAKE A FEW CLASSES, LEARN ABOUT MANASSAS PRESSURE GOT ME BEAMED, I'M TALKIN ON THE PHONE TELLIN PENNY THATS THE WAY TO DO IT, BABY REPRESENT YA HOME
8Ball And MJG
The ship's surgeon was a spotty unshaven little man whose clothes, arrayed with smudges, drippings, and cigarette burns, were held about him by an extensive network of knotted string, The buttons down the front of those duck trousers had originally been made, with all of false economy's ingenious drear deception, of coated cardboard. After many launderings they persisted as a row of gray stumps posted along the gaping portals of his fly. Though a boutoniere sometimes appeared through some vacancy in his shirt-front, its petals, too, proved to be of paper, and he looked like the kind of man who scrapes foam from the top of a glass of beer with the spine of a dirty pocket comb, and cleans his nails at table with the tines of his salad fork, which things, indeed, he did. He diagnosed Camilla's difficulty as indigestion, and locked himself in his cabin. that was the morning.
Objects and Objectives To contemplate LEGO. Many colours. Many shapes. Many inventive and useful shapes. Plastic. A versatile and practical substance. Symbolic of the resourcefulness of man. Oil taken from the depths of the very earth. Distillation of said raw material. Chemical processes. Pollution. Creating a product providing hours of constructive play. For children all over the world. Teaching our young. Through enjoyment. Preparing them for further resourcefulness. The progress of our kind. A book. Many books. Proud liners of walls. Fingered. Taken out with great care. Held open. Gazed upon / into with something like awe. A medium for the recording of and communication of knowledge. From the many to the many. Down the ages. And of art. And of love. But do you hear the trees outside whispering? Do their voices haunt you? No wonder. They are calling for their brothers. Pulped. Pressed. Coated. Printed. Bound. And for their other brothers which made the shelves to hold them. And for the roof over them as well. From the very beginning - everything at cost. A cave man, to get food, had to deal with the killing. And the bones from one death proved very useful for implementing the death of another.
Jeffers stretched up on his toes to see the back of the mob, 'But James, we're doing all this for you... We need this gold to build a united Alba. We need it to fund an army and to forge decisive leadership.' His voice was almost plaintive. 'We want to hand your generation a real empire rather than just a loose collection of competing Families. We want to give you the foundations to achieve glory! What could possibly be wrong with that?' 'Rubbish!' cried Tristan, not about to let honey-coated nonsense dissolve the glue that bound his army. 'Absolute codswallop!' he let his calm facade slip for the first time that day. 'What you're actually trying to do is to build a legacy that you don't deserve! You want to swan around as an armchair General for the next twenty years while your precious army strives and dies for hollow victories that do nothing more than feed your ego! And do you know who strives and dies in this picture?' He waved one arm at the figures behind him. 'We do! We here in this alley, along with other young men and women just like us!' Tristan watched Jeffers from the corner of his eye, as he shook his fist towards deGroot, 'Well we're not having it! If you want us to fight and die, then we're going to fight now, and we're going to fight you! So come on down deGroot and take a swing!
But clouds bellied out in the sultry heat, the sky cracked open with a crimson gash, spewed flame-and the ancient forest began to smoke. By morning there was a mass of booming, fiery tongues, a hissing, crashing, howling all around, half the sky black with smoke, and the bloodied sun just barely visible. And what can little men do with their spades, ditches, and pails? The forest is no more, it was devoured by fire: stumps and ash. Perhaps illimitable fields will be plowed here one day, perhaps some new, unheard-of wheat will ripen here and men from Arkansas with shaven faces will weigh in their palms the heavy golden grain. Or perhaps a city will grow up-alive with ringing sound and motion, all stone and crystal and iron-and winged men will come here flying over seas and mountains from all ends of the world. But never again the forest, never again the blue winter silence and the golden silence of summer. And only the tellers of tales will speak in many-colored patterned words about what had been, about wolves and bears and stately green-coated century-old grandfathers, about old Russia; they will speak about all this to us who have seen it with our own eyes ten years - a hundred years! - ago, and to those others, the winged ones, who will come in a hundred years to listen and to marvel at it all as at a fairy tale. ("In Old Russia")
I sprang toward him with the stake, hoping to catch him by surprise. But Dimitri was hard to catch by surprise. And he was fast. Oh, so fast. It was like he knew what I was going to do before I did it. He halted my attack with a glancing blow to the side of my head. I knew it would hurt later, but my adrenaline was running too strong for me to pay attention to it now. Distantly, I realized some other people had come to watch us. Dimitri and I were celebrities in different ways around here, and our mentoring relationship added to the drama. This was prime-time entertainment. My eyes were only on Dimitri, though. As we tested each other, attacking and blocking, I tried to remember everything he'd taught me. I also tried to remember everything I knew about him. I'd practiced with him for months. I knew him, knew his moves, just as he knew mine. I could anticipate him the same way. Once I started using that knowledge, the fight grew tricky. We were too well matched, both of us too fast. My heart thumped in my chest, and sweat coated my skin. Then Dimitri finally got through. He moved in for an attack, coming at me with the full force of his body. I blocked the worst of it, but he was so strong that I was the one who stumbled from the impact. He didn't waste the opportunity and dragged me to the ground, trying to pin me. Being trapped like that by a Strigoi would likely result in the neck being bitten or broken. I couldn't let that happen. So, although he held most of me to the ground, I managed to shove my elbow up and nail him in the face. He flinched and that was all I needed. I rolled him over and held him down. He fought to push me off, and I pushed right back while also trying to maneuver my stake. He was so strong, though. I was certain I wouldn't be able to hold him. Then, just as I thought I'd lose my hold, I got a good grip on the stake. And like that, the stake came down over his heart. It was done. Behind me, people were clapping but all I noticed was Dimitri. Our gazes were locked. I was still straddling him, my hands pressed against his chest. Both of us were sweaty and breathing heavily. His eyes looked at me with pride-and hell of a lot more. He was so close and my body yearned for him, again thinking he was a piece of me I needed in order to be complete. The air between us seemed warm and heady, and I would have given anything in that moment to lie down with him and have his arms wrap around me. His expression showed that he was thinking the same thing. The fight was finished, but remnants of the adrenaline and animal intensity remained.
And finally I saw that the very land itself had risen, that the sunbaked land had taken form as something vast and alive, and was in motion. The land walked as multitudes, their strides so utterly of the earth that they seemed the source of the very dust. The cloud they raised engulfed us, seeped into every pore, coated our teeth, seeped into our minds. Both flesh and metaphor. That big. And you could see their heads, like warriors' shields. Their great breaths, gushing in and out, resonant in the halls of their lungs. The skin as they moved, wrinkled with time and wear, batiked with the walk of ages, as if they lived within the creased maps of the lives they've traveled. Travelers across landscapes, and through timescapes. The skin moving like swishing corduroy, textured and rough but sensitive to the slightest touch. The grind of their cobblestone molars as, sheaf by sheaf and mouthful by mouthful, they acquire the world. All the while uttering the contented purring of mounds of memories. Their rumbles rolling through the air like distant thunder approaching, vibrating through the undulating ground and the roots of trees, rallying families and friends from the hills and rivers, sending among themselves greetings and recognitions and news of where they have been; sending to us a sign of something coming. A mind moves a mountainous mass of muscle and bone, the brown eyes light a landscape, and one elephant rumbles in. See her squared brow, trace the tracks of snake-size blood vessels. Heralded by her own trumpet, applauded by her own clapping ears, she strikes us as timeless and a bit sublime, aware and deliberative, peaceful and nurturing and deadly dangerous as needs arise. Wise only within the confines of her capabilities, like us. Vulnerable. As we all are. 'Delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, ' wrote Peter Matthiessen of them in The Tree Where Man Was Born, 'commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea.' Silence. Watch. Simply listen. They will not speak to us, but to each other they say much. Some of it, we hear. The rest is beyond words.
If we are inclined to forget how much there is in the world besides that which we anticipate, then works of art are perhaps a little to blame, for in them we find at work the same process of simplification or selection as in the imagination. Artistic accounts include severe abbreviations of what reality will force upon us. A travel book may tell us, for example, that the narrator journeyed through the afternoon to reach the hill town of X and after a night in its medieval monastery awoke to a misty dawn. But we never simply 'journey through an afternoon'. We sit in a train. Lunch digests awkwardly within us. The seat cloth is grey. We look out the window at a field. We look back inside. A drum of anxieties resolves in our consciousness. We notice a luggage label affixed to a suitcase in a rack above the seats opposite. We tap a finger on the window ledge. A broken nail on an index finger catches a thread. It starts to rain. A drop wends a muddy path down the dust-coated window. We wonder where our ticket might be. We look back at the field. It continues to rain. At last, the train starts to move. It passes an iron bridge, after which it inexplicably stops. A fly lands on the window And still we may have reached the end only of the first minute of a comprehensive account of the events lurking within the deceptive sentence 'He journeyed through the afternoon'. A storyteller who provides us with such a profusion of details would rapidly grow maddening. Unfortunately, life itself often subscribes to this mode of storytelling, wearking us out with repetitions, misleading emphases[, ] and inconsequential plot lines. It insists on showing us Burdak Electronics, the safety handle in the car, a stray dog, a Christmas card[, ] and a fly that lands first on the rim and then the centre of a laden ashtray. Which explains the curious phenomenon whereby valuable elements may be easier to experience in art and in anticipation than in reality. The anticipatory and artistic imaginations omit and compress; they cut away the periods of boredom and direct our attention to critical moments, and thus, without either lying or embellishing, they lend to life a vividness and a coherence that it may lack in the distracting woolliness of the present.
Alain de Botton
while epic fantasy is based on the fairy tale of the just war, that's not one you'll find in Grimm or Disney, and most will never recognize the shape of it. I think the fantasy genre pitches its tent in the medieval campground for the very reason that we even bother to write stories about things that never happened in the first place: because it says something subtle and true about our own world, something it is difficult to say straight out, with a straight face. Something you need tools to say, you need cheat codes for the human brain-a candy princess or a sugar-coated unicorn to wash down the sour taste of how bad things can really get. See, I think our culture has a slash running through the middle of it, too. Past/Future, Conservative/Liberal, Online/Offline. Virgin/Whore. And yes: Classical/Medieval. I think we're torn between the Classical Narrative of Self and the Medieval Narrative of Self, between the choice of Achilles and Keep Calm and Carry On. The Classical internal monologue goes like this: do anything, anything, only don't be forgotten. Yes, this one sacrificed his daughter on a slab at Aulis, that one married his mother and tore out his eyes, and oh that guy ate his kids in a pie. But you remember their names, don't you? So it's all good in the end. Give a Greek soul a choice between a short life full of glory and a name echoing down the halls of time and a long, gentle life full of children and a quiet sort of virtue, and he'll always go down in flames. That's what the Iliad is all about, and the Odyssey too. When you get to Hades, you gotta have a story to tell, because the rest of eternity is just forgetting and hoping some mortal shows up on a quest and lets you drink blood from a bowl so you can remember who you were for one hour. And every bit of cultural narrative in America says that we are all Odysseus, we are all Agamemnon, all Atreus, all Achilles. That we as a nation made that choice and chose glory and personal valor, and woe betide any inconvenient 'other people' who get in our way. We tell the tales around the campfire of men who came from nothing to run dotcom empires, of a million dollars made overnight, of an actress marrying a prince from Monaco, of athletes and stars and artists and cowboys and gangsters and bootleggers and talk show hosts who hitched up their bootstraps and bent the world to their will. Whose names you all know. And we say: that can be each and every one of us and if it isn't, it's your fault. You didn't have the excellence for it. You didn't work hard enough. The story wasn't about you, and the only good stories are the kind that have big, unignorable, undeniable heroes.
Catherynne M. Valente
Moving on, while he wondered, the dark through which Mr. Lecky's light cut grew more beautiful with scents. Particles of solid matter so minute, gases so subtle, that they filtered through stopping and sealing, hung on the unstirred air. Drawn in with Mr. Lecky's breath came impalpable dews cooked out of disintegrating coal. Distilled, chemically split and reformed, they ended in flawless simulation of the aromas of gums, the scent of woods and the world's flowers. The chemists who made them could do more than that. Loose on the gloom were perfumes of flowers which might possibly have bloomed but never had, and the strong-smelling saps of trees either lost or not yet evolved. Mixed in the mucus of the pituitary membrane, these volatile essences meant more than synthetic chemistry to Mr. Lecky. Their microscopic slime coated the bushed-out ends of the olfactory nerve; their presence was signaled to the anterior of the brain's temporal lobe. At once, thought waited on them, tossing down from the great storehouse of old images, neglected ideas - sandalwood and roses, musk and lavender. Mr. Lecky stood still, wrung by pangs as insistent and unanswerable as hunger. He was prodded by the unrest of things desired, not had; the surfeit of things had, not desired. More than anything he could see, or words, or sounds, these odors made him stupidly aware of the past. Unable to remember it, whence he was, or where he had previously been, all that was sweet, impermanent and gone came back not spoiled by too much truth or exact memory. Volatile as the perfumes, the past stirred him with longing for what was not - the only beloved beauty which you will have to see but which you may not keep. Mr. Lecky's beam of light went through glass top and side of a counter, displayed bottles of colored liquid - straw, amber, topaz - threw shadows behind their diverse shapes. He had no use for perfume. All the distraction, all the sense of loss and implausible sweetness which he felt was in memory of women. Behind the counter, Mr. Lecky, curious, took out bottles, sniffed them, examined their elaborately varied forms - transparent squares, triangles, cones, flattened ovals. Some were opaque, jet or blue, rough with embedded metals in intricate design. This great and needless decoration of the flasks which contained it was one strange way to express the inexpressible. Another way was tried in the names put on the bottles. Here words ran the suggestive or symbolic gamut of idealized passion, or festive night, of desired caresses, or of abstractions of the painful allure yet farther fetched. Not even in the hopeful, miracle-raving fancy of those who used the perfumes could a bottle of liquid have any actual magic. Since the buyers at the counters must be human beings, nine of every ten were beyond this or other help. Women, young, but unlovely and unloved, women, whatever they had been, now at the end of it and ruined by years or thickened to caricature by fat, ought to be the ones called to mind by perfume. But they were not. Mr. Lecky held the bottle in his hand a long while, aware of the tenth woman.
James Gould Cozzens
Faded icon of the gilded halo, Once illuminating, inspiring; Admirers, enemies, lovers, family, A distant memory trodden under foot. Evanescent existence; flickering fame, A quintessence of reflections Incidentally etched on ancient relics. Can we conjure your presence? We barely remember Joseph Warren as the person who dispatched Paul Revere on his famous ride, and as the hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill, where he was killed in action. It wasn't always that way. For almost a century Warren was one of the most important and remembered founders of the fledgling American nation. John Trumbull's painting 'Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker's Hill, ' a renowned icon of American history, dates from that period. In it scarlet uniformed British soldiers, heavily armed and personally led by their officers, have just overwhelmed American entrenchments atop Breed's Hill, within sight across the Mystic River of Boston. In the background loom the eponymous Bunker Hill and the village of Charlestown, its houses and churches aflame, a smoky cloud framing the battlefield. The Americans, a motley amalgam of raw militia, countrymen and workers, try unsuccessfully to fend off the onslaught. New England's Pine Tree flag still stands within the American dirt fort in the unseasonably hot and breezeless early summer afternoon. The red coated attackers, brandishing the colors of the United Kingdom, will take it down in a moment. It is June 17, 1775: The defenders of an embryonic American Liberty are about to be defeated in a British Pyrrhic victory. In the forefront, Colonel William Prescott commands the Americans while rotund General Israel Putnam vainly shouts orders in the background. British Generals Burgoyne and Clinton command the British attackers as Major John Pitcairn, leader of the marines falters, mortally wounded, yet still supported by a soldier. British and Americans have fallen indiscriminately on the field among the detritus of battle. In the foreground, a finely dressed figure lies prostrate, his sword dropped to the earth. Prescott wards off a bayonet thrust by an onrushing British infantryman. It is a thrust the enemy's own superior officer, Colonel Small, curiously appears to want deflected. But the targeted figure already lies supine, looking skyward in a saintly blank stare. He is suspended momentarily in a halo of tranquility amongst the mayhem. This dying man can no longer smell the acrid, dense black powder smoke that hangs low in the windless oppressive heat, obscuring the afternoon sun. He pays no heed to the shouts of men nor the eerie lull in the previously deafening gunfire. The animation, his admonishments of others to action, the thrill and fear of battle, all suddenly calm. A single bullet annihilates in an instant inspiring words, the force of personality, the martial spirit in action, the reality and complexity of a human being. Dr. Joseph Warren, the central figure, moves from life to legend. Trumbull's iconic painting raises unanswered questions about its subject. How did a physician come to assume such a responsible role in this engagement? How did he meet his fate within sight of his home town? Why was he famous throughout the young United States as a model for involved citizenship? Was there any truth to the cynicism of his political enemies? Most compelling of all-why has this once beloved leader been so long and unjustifiably forgotten? This biography of Joseph Warren answers these and other questions. It utilizes modern analytical methods, uncovers new material, and sheds new light on 'established' facts... Please join me in getting to know Joseph Warren, accompanying him on his lifetime's journey to Bunker Hill, and considering the fate of his reputation and memory long after his heroic demise.