I watch the beautiful performance with an ache in my chest. Then, just when I can't stand the sadness anymore, a dancer floats out from the side of the stage. A dancer in ragged clothes, filthy and half starved. He's not even in ballet shoes. He's just barefoot as he glides out to take his place in the dance. The other dancers turn to him, and it's clear that he is one of them. One of the lost ones. By the look on their faces, they weren't expecting him. This is not part of the practiced show. He must have seen them onstage and joined in. Amazingly, the dance continues without a missed beat. The newcomer simply glides into place, and the final dancer who should have danced solo with her missing partner dances with the newcomer. It is full of joy, and the ballerina actually laughs. Her voice is clear and high, and it lifts us all.
Holding up an oil-paper umbrella, I loiter aimlessly in the long, long And lonely rainy alley, I hope to encounter A lilac-like girl Nursing her resentment A lilac-like color she has A lilac-like fragrance, A lilac-like sadness, Melancholy in the rain, Sorrowful and uncertain; She loiters aimlessly in this lonely rainy alley Holding up an oil-paper umbrella Just like me And just like me Walks silently, Apathetic, sad and disconsolate Silently she moves closer Moves closer and casts A sigh-like glance She glides by Like a dream Hazy and confused like a dream As in a dream she glides past Like a lilac spray, This girl glides past beside me; She silently moves away, moves away Up to the broken-down bamboo fence, To the end of the rainy alley. In the rains sad song, Her color vanishes Her fragrance diffuses, Even her Sigh-like glance, Lilac-like discontent Vanish. Holding up an oil-paper umbrella, alone Aimlessly walking in the long, long And lonely rainy alley, I wish for A lilac-like girl Nursing her resentment glide by.
We all experience it. Those moments when we gasp and say, Oh, look at that. Maybe it's nothing more than the way a shadow glides across a face, but in that split second, when you realize something truly remarkable is happening and disappearing right in front of you, if you can pass a camera before your eye, you'll tear a piece of time out of the whole, and in a breath, rescue it and give it new meaning.
There comes the time at every Passover seder when someone will open a door to let in the prophet Elijah. At that moment, something like a spell invariably descends over the celebrants, and everyone stares into the doorway, trying to make out the quiet movements of the prophet as he glides his way in and takes the empty seat among us.
He who postpones the hour of living as he ought, is like the rustic who waits for the river to pass along (before he crosses); but it glides on and will glide forever.[Lat., Vivendi recte qui prorogat horamRusticus expectat dum defluat amnis; at illeLabitur et labetur in omne volubilis aevum.]
Life consists not of a series of illustrious actions or elegant enjoyments. The greater part of our time passes in compliance with necessities, in the performance of daily duties, in the removal of small inconveniences, in the procurement of petty pleasures; and we are well or ill at ease, as the main stream of life glides on smoothly, or is ruffled by small obstacles and frequent interruption.
When you sit in silence long enough, you learn that silence has a motion. It glides over you without shape or form, exactly like water. Its color is silver. And silence has a sound you hear only after hours of wading inside it. The sound is soft, like flute notes rising up, like the words of glass speaking. Then there comes a point when you must shatter the blindness of its words, the blindness of its light.
Yanagihara's most impressive trick is the way she glides from scenes filled with those terrifying hyenas to moments of epiphany. 'Wasn't it a miracle to have survived the unsurvivable? Wasn't friendship its own miracle, the finding of another person who made the entire lonely world seem somehow less lonely? Wasn't this house, this beauty, this comfort, this life a miracle?' A Little Life devotes itself to answering those questions, and is, in its own dark way, a miracle.
Only-but this is rare- When a beloved hand is laid in ours, When, jaded with the rush and glare Of the interminable hours, Our eyes can in another's eyes read clear, When our world-deafen'd ear Is by the tones of a loved voice caress'd- A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast, And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again. The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain, And what we mean, we say, and what we would, we know. A man becomes aware of his life's flow, And hears its winding murmur; and he sees The meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.
Only--but this is rare--When a beloved hand is laid in ours,When, jaded with the rush and glareOf the interminable hours, Our eyes can in another's eyes read clear,When our world-deafen'd earIs by the tones of a loved voice caress'd--A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast,And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again.The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain,And what we mean, we say, and what we would, we know.A man becomes aware of his life's flow,And hears its winding murmur; and he seesThe meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.
I lie down on many a station platform; I stand before many a soup kitchen; I squat on many a bench;-then at last the landscape becomes disturbing, mysterious, and familiar. It glides past the western windows with its villages, their thatched roofs like caps, pulled over the white-washed, half-timbered houses, its corn-fields, gleaming like mother-of-pearl in the slanting light, its orchards, its barns and old lime trees. The names of the stations begin to take on meaning and my heart trembles. The train stamps and stamps onward. I stand at the window and hold on to the frame. These names mark the boundaries of my youth.
Erich Maria Remarque
Song of myself Now I will do nothing but listen, To accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute toward it. I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat, gossip of flames, clack of sticks cooking my meals, I hear the sound I love, the sound of the human voice, I hear all sounds running together, combined, fused or following, Sounds of the city and sounds out of the city, sounds of the day and night, Talkative young ones to those that like them, the loud laugh of work-people at their meals, The angry base of disjointed friendship, the faint tones of the sick, The judge with hands tight to the desk, his pallid lips pronouncing a death-sentence, The heave'e'yo of stevedores unlading ships by the wharves, the refrain of the anchor-lifters, The ring of alarm-bells, the cry of fire, the whirr of swift-streaking engines and hose-carts with premonitory tinkles and color'd lights, The steam-whistle, the solid roll of the train of approaching cars, The slow march play'd at the head of the association marching two and two, (They go to guard some corpse, the flag-tops are draped with black muslin.) I hear the violoncello, ('tis the young man's heart's complaint, ) I hear the key'd cornet, it glides quickly in through my ears, It shakes mad-sweet pangs through my belly and breast. I hear the chorus, it is a grand opera, Ah this indeed is music-this suits me.
Flow gently, sweet Afton, amang thy green braes, Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise; My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream. Thou stock dove whose echo resounds thro' the glen, Ye wild whistly blackbirds in yon thorny den, Thou green crested lapwing thy screaming forbear, I charge you, disturb not my slumbering fair. How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighboring hills, Far mark'd with the courses of clear winding rills; There daily I wander as noon rises high, My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye. How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below, Where, wild in the woodlands, the primroses blow; There oft, as mild evening weeps over the lea, The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me. Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides, And winds by the cot where my Mary resides; How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave, As, gathering sweet flowerets, she stems thy clear wave. Flow gently, sweet Afton, amang thy green braes, Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays; My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dreams.
Ultimately, the roast turkey must be regarded as a monument to Boomer's love. Look at it now, plump and glossy, floating across Idaho as if it were a mammoth, mutated seed pod. Hear how it backfires as it passes the silver mines, perhaps in tribute to the origin of the knives and forks of splendid sterling that a roast turkey and a roast turkey alone possesses the charisma to draw forth into festivity from dark cupboards. See how it glides through the potato fields, familiarly at home among potatoes but with an air of expectation, as if waiting for the flood of gravy. The roast turkey carries with it, in its chubby hold, a sizable portion of our primitive and pagan luggage. Primitive and pagan? Us? We of the laser, we of the microchip, we of the Union Theological Seminary and Time magazine? Of course. At least twice a year, do not millions upon millions of us cybernetic Christians and fax machine Jews participate in a ritual, a highly stylized ceremony that takes place around a large dead bird? And is not this animal sacrificed, as in days of yore, to catch the attention of a divine spirit, to show gratitude for blessings bestowed, and to petition for blessings coveted? The turkey, slain, slowly cooked over our gas or electric fires, is the central figure at our holy feast. It is the totem animal that brings our tribe together. And because it is an awkward, intractable creature, the serving of it establishes and reinforces the tribal hierarchy. There are but two legs, two wings, a certain amount of white meat, a given quantity of dark. Who gets which piece; who, in fact, slices the bird and distributes its limbs and organs, underscores quite emphatically the rank of each member in the gathering. Consider that the legs of this bird are called 'drumsticks, ' after the ritual objects employed to extract the music from the most aboriginal and sacred of instruments. Our ancestors, kept their drums in public, but the sticks, being more actively magical, usually were stored in places known only to the shaman, the medicine man, the high priest, of the Wise Old Woman. The wing of the fowl gives symbolic flight to the soul, but with the drumstick is evoked the best of the pulse of the heart of the universe. Few of us nowadays participate in the actual hunting and killing of the turkey, but almost all of us watch, frequently with deep emotion, the reenactment of those events. We watch it on TV sets immediately before the communal meal. For what are footballs if not metaphorical turkeys, flying up and down a meadow? And what is a touchdown if not a kill, achieved by one or the other of two opposing tribes? To our applause, great young hungers from Alabama or Notre Dame slay the bird. Then, the Wise Old Woman, in the guise of Grandma, calls us to the table, where we, pretending to be no longer primitive, systematically rip the bird asunder. Was Boomer Petaway aware of the totemic implications when, to impress his beloved, he fabricated an outsize Thanksgiving centerpiece? No, not consciously. If and when the last veil dropped, he might comprehend what he had wrought. For the present, however, he was as ignorant as Can o' Beans, Spoon, and Dirty Sock were, before Painted Stick and Conch Shell drew their attention to similar affairs. Nevertheless, it was Boomer who piloted the gobble-stilled butterball across Idaho, who negotiated it through the natural carving knives of the Sawtooth Mountains, who once or twice parked it in wilderness rest stops, causing adjacent flora to assume the appearance of parsley.