Flattened Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
It was one of those rare moments where one has a vision of the scope of the wild ocean. Not just small cylinders firing to keep a tiny engine running, but rather the giant, massive gears of nature, each one with its own reasoning, its own meta-logic, spinning in its particular circle in competition or in confluence with the gear below it. We zeroed in on the school, but our progress was painfully slow, It would have been foolish to speed into the tumult-we would have ruined our baits in the process and doomed our chances of hooking a tuna. But luckily, the commotion did not subside. If anything it only grew more frantic and exhuberant on our approach. Beneath the birds, beneath the dolphins, beneath the menhaden, there should have been an equally vast school of giant bluefin tuna, collaborating with vertebrates of the so-called higher orders of life to form the floor of the prey trap, sealing the baitfish in from below, while the dolphins and birds made up the trap's walls and ceiling. A strike from a giant tuna seemed inevitable...as the boat moved forward, I saw seabirds gathering up ahead into a cloud, the size and violence of which I had never seen before. Gannets - big, albatross-like pelagic birds - flew hundreds of feet above the churning surface of the water. In a flock of many thousands, they whirled in unison and then, as if on command from some brigadier general of bird life, dropped in an arc, bird after bird, into the water beneath. The gyre of gannets turned in a clockwise direction, and down below, spinning counterclockwise, was the largest school of dolphins I'd ever seen. There in the angry blue-green sea, the dolphins had corralled a vast school of menhaden-small herringlike creatures that, when bitten, release globules of oil that float on the surface. Oil slicks flattened the water everywhere as the dolphins swirled around, using their exceptional intelligence and wolf-pack cooperation to befuddle and surround the fish, which in turn whirled in a clockwise direction.

Paul Greenberg
You. Man at the machine and man in the workshop. If tomorrow they tell you you are to make no more water-pipes and saucepans but are to make steel helmets and machine-guns, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! You. Woman at the counter and woman in the office. If tomorrow they tell you you are to fill shells and assemble telescopic sights for snipers' rifles, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! You. Research worker in the laboratory. If tomorrow they tell you you are to invent a new death for the old life, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! You. Priest in the pulpit. If tomorrow they tell you you are to bless murder and declare war holy, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! You. Pilot in your aeroplane. If tomorrow they tell you you are to carry bombs over the cities, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! You. Man of the village and man of the town. If tomorrow they come and give you your call-up papers, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! You. Mother in Normandy and mother in the Ukraine, mother in Vancouver and in London, you on the Hwangho and on the Mississippi, you in Naples and Hamburg and Cairo and Oslo - mothers in all parts of the earth, mothers of the world, if tomorrow they tell you you are to bear new soldiers for new battles, then there's only one thing to do: Say NO! For if you do not say NO - if YOU do not say no - mothers, then: then! In the bustling hazy harbour towns the big ships will fall silent as corpses against the dead deserted quay walls, their once shimmering bodies overgrown with seaweed and barnacles, smelling of graveyards and rotten fish. The trams will lie like senseless glass-eyed cages beside the twisted steel skeleton of wires and track. The sunny juicy vine will rot on decaying hillsides, rice will dry in the withered earth, potatoes will freeze in the unploughed land and cows will stick their death-still legs into the air like overturned chairs. In the fields beside rusted ploughs the corn will be flattened like a beaten army. Then the last human creature, with mangled entrails and infected lungs, will wander around, unanswered and lonely, under the poisonous glowing sun, among the immense mass graves and devastated cities. The last human creature, withered, mad, cursing, accusing - and the terrible accusation: WHY? will die unheard on the plains, drift through the ruins, seep into the rubble of churches, fall into pools of blood, unheard, unanswered, the last animal scream of the last human animal - All this will happen tomorrow, tomorrow, perhaps, perhaps even tonight, perhaps tonight, if - if - You do not say NO.

Wolfgang Borchert
A cloud in the sky suddenly lighted as if turned on by a switch; its reflection just as suddenly materialized on the water upstream, flat and floating, so that I couldn't see the creek bottom, or life in the water under the cloud. Downstream, away from the cloud on the water, water turtles smooth as beans were gliding down with the current. I didn't know whether to trace the progress of one turtle... or scan the mud bank in hope of seeing a muskrat, or follow the last of the swallows who caught at my heart and trailed it after them... But shadows spread, and deepened, and stayed. Things were going on. I couldn't see whether that sere rustle I heard was a distant rattlesnake, slit-eyed, or a nearby sparrow kicking at debris... Tremendous action roiled the water everywhere I looked, big action, inexplicable... At last I stared upstream where only the deepest violet remained of the cloud, a cloud so high its underbelly still glowed feeble color from a hidden sky lighted in turn by sun halfway to China. And out of that violet, a sudden enormous black body arced over the water. I saw only a cylindrical sleekness. Head and tail, if there was a head and tail, were both submerged in a cloud. I saw only one ebony fling, a headlong dive to darkness; then the waters closed and the lights went out. I walked home in a shivering daze, uphill and down. Later I lay open-mouthed in bed, my arms flung wide at my sides to steady the whirling darkness. At this latitude I'm spinning 836 miles an hour round the earth's axis; I often fancy I feel my sweeping fall as a breakneck arc like the dive of dolphins, and the hollow rushing of wind raises hair on my neck and the side of my face. In orbit around the sun I'm moving 64,800 miles an hour. The solar system as a whole, like a merry-go-round unhinged, spins, bobs, and blinks at the speed of 43,200 miles an hour along a course set east of Hercules. Someone has piped, and we are dancing a tarantella until the sweat pours. I open my eyes and I see dark, muscled forms curl out of water, with flapping gills and flattened eyes. I close my eyes and I see stars, deep stars giving way to deeper stars, deeper stars bowing to deepest stars at the crown on an infinite cone.

Annie Dillard
While this is all very amusing, the kiss that will free the girl is the kiss that she most desires, ' she said. 'Only that and nothing more.' Jace's heart started to pound. He met the Queen's eyes with his own. 'Why are you doing this?' ... 'Desire is not always lessened by disgust... And as my words bind my magic, so you can know the truth. If she doesn't desire your kiss, she won't be free.' 'You don't have to do this, Clary, it's a trick-' (Simon)... Isabelle sounded exasperated. 'Who cares, anyway? It's just a kiss.' 'That's right, ' Jace said. Clary looked up, then finally, and her wide green eyes rested on him. He moved toward her... and put his hand on her shoulder, turning her to face him... He could feel the tension in his own body, the effort of holding back, of not pulling her against him and taking this one chance, however dangerous and stupid and unwise, and kissing her the way he had thought he would never, in his life, be able to kiss her again. 'It's just a kiss, ' he said, and heard the roughness in his own voice, and wondered if she heard it, too. Not that it mattered-there was no way to hide it. It was too much. He had never wanted like this before... She understood him, laughed when he laughed, saw through the defenses he put up to what was underneath. There was no Jace Wayland more real than the one he saw in her eyes when she looked at him... All he knew was that whatever he had to owe to Hell or Heaven for this chance, he was going to make it count. He... whispered in her ear. 'You can close your eyes and think of England, if you like, ' he said. Her eyes fluttered shut, her lashes coppery lines against her pale, fragile skin. 'I've never even been to England, ' she said, and the softness, the anxiety in her voice almost undid him. He had never kissed a girl without knowing she wanted it too, usually more than he did, and this was Clary, and he didn't know what she wanted. Her eyes were still closed, but she shivered, and leaned into him - barely, but it was permission enough. His mouth came down on hers. And that was it. All the self-control he'd exerted over the past weeks went, like water crashing through a broken dam. Her arms came up around his neck and he pulled her against him... His hands flattened against her back... and she was up on the tips of her toes, kissing him as fiercely as he was kissing her... He clung to her more tightly, knotting his hands in her hair, trying to tell her, with the press of his mouth on hers, all the things he could never say out loud... His hands slid down to her waist... he had no idea what he would have done or said next, if it would have been something he could never have pretended away or taken back, but he heard a soft hiss of laughter - the Faerie Queen - in his ears, and it jolted him back to reality. He pulled away from Clary before he it was too late, unlocking her hands from around his neck and stepping back... Clary was staring at him. Her lips were parted, her hands still open. Her eyes were wide. Behind her, Alec and Isabelle were gaping at them; Simon looked as if he was about to throw up... If there had ever been any hope that he could have come to think of Clary as just his sister, this - what had just happened between them - had exploded it into a thousand pieces... He tried to read Clary's face - did she feel the same? ... I know you felt it, he said to her with his eyes, and it was half bitter triumph and half pleading. I know you felt it, too... She glanced away from him... He whirled on the Queen. 'Was that good enough?' he demanded. 'Did that entertain you?' The Queen gave him a look: special and secretive and shared between the two of them. 'We are quite entertained, " she said. 'But not, I think, so much as the both of you.

Cassandra Clare
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
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