In a lifetime among cops since, I've noted that investigators who piece together the aftermaths of home invasion murders tend to keep their guns on all the time after that, even when off duty in their own house, and keep them by the bed when they go to sleep.They have learned from the helplessly-murdered dead
It would appear that the traditional parliamentary democracies can offer no fundamental opposition to that automatism of technological civilization and the industrial-consumer society, for they too are being dragged helplessly along by it. People are manipulated in ways that are infinitely more subtle and refined than the brutal methods used in post-totalitarian societies.
Nor was her love for Udayan recognizable or intact. Anger was always mounted to it, zigzagging through her like some helplessly mating pair of insects. Anger at him for dying when he might have lived. For bringing her happiness, and then taking it away. For trusting her, only to betray her. For believing in sacrifice, only to be so selfish in the end.
The unphilosophical majority among men are the ones most helplessly dependent on their era's dominant ideas. In times of crises these men need the guidance of some kind of theory; but, being unfamiliar with the field of ideas, they do not know that alternatives to the popular theories are possible. They know only what they have always been taught.
It was lonely for a day or so until one morning some man , more recently arrived than I, stopped me on the road. 'How do you get to West Egg village?' he asked helplessly. I told him. Ans as I walked on I was lonely no longer. I was a guide, a pathfinder, an original settler. He has casually conferred on me the freedom of the neighborhood.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Life is full of toil, sacrifice, and pain, and from the time we stop growing, we know that we've begun dying. We watch helplessly as year by year, our bodies age and fail, while our survival instincts compel us to keep on going-which means living with the terrifying knowledge that ultimately death is inescapable.
Far away on the path we saw Sir Henry looking back, his face white in the moonlight, his hands raised in horror, glaring helplessly at the frightful thing which was hunting him down. But that cry of pain from the hound had blown all our fears to the winds. If he was vulnerable he was mortal, and if we could wound him we could kill him. Never have I seen a man run as Holmes ran that night.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Not a day went by that he didn't think of that moment of impact, and when he watched, helplessly, as his son died in his arms. For all intents and purposes, he died too. Jeb Richardson sealed his heart that day; he closed his mind. He cursed god, gave up on his dreams, and turned away from love altogether.
About 95% of people can be compared to ships without rudders. Subject to every shift of wind and tide, they're helplessly adrift. And while they fondly hope that they'll one day drift into a rich and successful port, you and I know that for every narrow harbor entrance, there are a 1,000 miles of rocky coastline. The chances against their drifting into port are 1,000 to one.
Our route had now obviously been completely blotted out and here I reckoned less of our chances of survival. We're like a voyage ship veered off course by a ruthless storm now left with no radar or compass. Ours is a sorry tale of an unpredictable adventure. One moment it seem like we're going home to mama's warm embrace and tears of joy, the next moment we feel helplessly immersed in the blackness of hopelessness.' - Dami K.
Men are tied up to their families and possessions more helplessly than in a prison. There is an occasion for the prisoner to be released, but householders entertain no desire to be relieved from the ties of family. When a man's passion is aroused nothing prevents him from ruining himself. Even into the jaws of a tiger will he jump. Those who are thus drowned in the filth of passion are called the ignorant. Those who are able to overcome it are saintly Arhats.
At some point during almost every romantic comedy, the female lead suddenly trips and falls, stumbling helplessly over something ridiculous like a leaf, and then some Matthew McConaughey type either whips around the corner just in the nick of time to save her or is clumsily pulled down along with her. That event predictably leads to the magical moment of their first kiss. Please. I fall ALL the time. You know who comes and gets me? The bouncer.
I had many things to say, I did not have the words to say them. Painfully aware of my limitations, I watched helplessly and language became an obstacle. It became clear that it would be necessary to invent a new language... I would pause at every sentence, and start over and over again. I would conjure up other verbs, other images, other silent cries. It still was not right. But what exactly was 'it'? 'It' was something elusive, darkly shrouded for fear of being usurped, profaned. All the dictionary had to offer seemed meager, pale, lifeless.
Just supposing, " he said, "just supposing" -he didn't know what was coming next, so he thought he'd just sit back and listen-"that there was some extraordinary way in which you were very important to me, and that, though you didn't know it, I was very important to you, but it all went for nothing because we only had five miles and I was a stupid idiot at knowing how to say something very important to someone I've only just met and not crash into lorries a the same time, what would you say... " He paused, helplessly, and looked at her. "I should do.
Just supposing," he said, "just supposing" --he didn't know what was coming next, so he thought he'd just sit back and listen--"that there was some extraordinary way in which you were very important to me, and that, though you didn't know it, I was very important to you, but it all went for nothing because we only had five miles and I was a stupid idiot at knowing how to say something very important to someone I've only just met and not crash into lorries a the same time, what would you say..." He paused, helplessly, and looked at her. "I should do.
How can it be, I wondered, that we can be lying in bed next to a person we love wholly and helplessly, a person we love more than our own breath, and still ache to think of the one who caused us pain all those years ago? It's the betrayal of this second heart of ours, its flesh tied off like a fingertip twined tightly round with a single hair, blue-tinged from lack of blood. The shameful squeeze of it.
but as he plodded along a vague and almost hallucinatory pall hazed over his mind; he found himself at one point, with no notion of how it could be, a step from an almost certain fatal cliffside fall""falling humiliatingly and helplessly, he thought; on and on, with no one even to witness it. Here there existed no one to record his or anyone else's degradation, and any courage or pride which might manifest itself here at the end would go unmarked: the dead stones, the dust-stricken weeds dry and dying, perceived nothing, recollected nothing, about him or themselves.
Philip K. Dick
but as he plodded along a vague and almost hallucinatory pall hazed over his mind; he found himself at one point, with no notion of how it could be, a step from an almost certain fatal cliffside fall-falling humiliatingly and helplessly, he thought; on and on, with no one even to witness it. Here there existed no one to record his or anyone else's degradation, and any courage or pride which might manifest itself here at the end would go unmarked: the dead stones, the dust-stricken weeds dry and dying, perceived nothing, recollected nothing, about him or themselves.
Philip K. Dick
There, just beyond his open palm, was our mother's face. I wasn't expecting it. We hadn't requested a viewing, and the memorial service was closed-coffin. We got it anyway. They'd shampooed and waved her hair and made up her face. They'd done a great job, but I felt taken, as if we'd asked for the basic carwash and they'd gone ahead and detailed her. Hey, I wanted to say, we didn't order this. But of course I said nothing. Death makes us helplessly polite.
No writer, I believe, should attempt a novel before he is thirty, and not then unless he has been hopelessly and helplessly involved in life. For the writer who goes out to find material for a novel, as a fishermen goes out to sea to fish, will certainly not write a good novel. Life has to be lived thoughtlessly, unconsciously, at full tilt and for no purpose except its own sake before it becomes, eventually, good material for a novel.
Pearl S. Buck
Can you sacrifice a few? When those few are the best? Deny the best its right to the top--and you have no best left. What are your masses but millions of dull, shriveled, stagnant souls that have no thoughts of their own, no dreams of their own, no will of their own, who eat and sleep and chew helplessly the words others put into their brains? And for those you would sacrifice the few who know life, who are life? I loathe [Andrei] your ideals because I know no worse injustice than the giving of the undeserved. Because men are not equal in ability and one can't trust them as if they were.
Cassie fumbled helplessly beneath the shade of the ancient oak, still searching for her second shoe.The first had been easy to find, having landed close to where she had kicked it off; and when her hand had finally encountered it, she clutched it to her breast in a gesture of smug triumph. For one brief moment, she felt a twinge of sympathy for the sighted people who would never experience such sweet victory from a task as simple as finding a shoe.
The men who are not interested in philosophy need it most urgently: they are most helplessly in its power. The men who are not interested in philosophy absorb its principles from the cultural atmosphere around them-from schools, colleges, books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television, etc. Who sets the tone of a culture? A small handful of men: the philosophers. Others follow their lead, either by conviction or by default.
The upshot of pervasive public belief in the uncontrollable sexuality of teenagers, and even of pre-teenagers, is that parents arehalf-hearted in their efforts to supervise and control their children, even when they are filled with anxiety as to their children's ability to cope with a full-fledged sexual relationship. "How can we buck the tide?" parents say helplessly, often without making quite certain that the ocean they see is a real one and not a mirage.
Before Gabe could react, he watched helplessly as Rachel slipped backwards and out of sight into the mountainside, a crumbling wall now the only thing he could see. 'Rachel!' Gabe shouted, rushing forward. Before Gabe could reach her Haim, being closer to where she had fallen through, leapt into the gaping hole after her. The group now only heard Haim's cries echoing in the darkness as they drifted further away.
We have to think of a question that we wouldn't otherwise want to answer.' He stood over the pot, looking down at the leaves. 'Something like, Who do you fancy?' 'That might work, ' I said, even though it was the last question I wanted to answer. But it was impossible, suddenly, to tell a lie. Benjamin took a deep sniff over the steam and turned to me. 'All right, ' he said. 'So who do you fancy?' I hesitated. 'Fancy means like, right?' I said stalling. 'Of course.' I gritted my teeth against the answer coming out. but I couldn't stop myself. 'You, ' I said helplessly.
She looked up at him with a smile. The smile broke what was left of his resistance - shattered it. He had let the walls down when he'd thought she was gone, and there was no time to build them back up. Helplessly he pulled her against him. For a moment she clung to him tightly, warm and alive in his arms. Her hair brushed his cheek. The color had come back into the world; he could breathe again, and for that moment he breathed her in - she smelled of salt, blood, tears, and Tessa.
The words trailed off, and she smiled helplessly as she waited for him to rescue her from her own sentence. Nate's thoughts had been far removed from relationship issues, and he didn't feel like getting drawn into another of these conversations. He also didn't like being pressured to provide reassurances on demand, being made to perform his affection at someone else's bidding, like a trained seal. Besides, it seemed that in soliciting reassurance - after everything that had been said the other night - Hannah was allowing herself to give in to a neurotic compulsion. That wasn't something he wanted to reward.
O your life, your lonely lifeWhat have you ever done with it,And done with the great gift of consciousness?What will you ever do before Death's knifeProvides the answer ultimate and appropriate?As I for my part felt in my heart as one who falls,Falls in a parachute, falls endlessly, and feels the vastDraft of the abyss sucking him down and down,An endlessly helplessly falling and appalled clown:This is the way the night passes by, thisIs the overnight endless trip to the famous unfathomable abyss.
it may not always be so; and i say that if your lips, which i have loved, should touch another's, and your dear strong fingers clutch his heart, as mine in time not far away; if on another's face your sweet hair lay in such a silence as i know,or such great writhing words as, uttering overmuch, stand helplessly before the spirit at bay; if this should be, i say if this should be- you of my heart, send me a little word; that i may go unto him, and take his hands, saying, Accept all happiness from me. Then shall i turn my face,and hear one bird sing terribly afar in the lost lands.
e. e. cummings
It is puzzling to me that otherwise sensitive people develop a real docility about the obvious necessity of eating, at least once a day, in order to stay alive. Often they lose their primal enjoyment of flavors and odors and textures to the point of complete unawareness. And if ever they question this progressive numbing-off, they shrug helplessly in the face of mediocrity everywhere. Bit by bit, hour by hour, they say, we are being forced to accept the not-so-good as the best, since there is little that is even good to compare it with.
M. F. K. Fisher
The next night, alone in the tent, Laurent said: 'As we draw closer to the border, I think it would be safer-more private-to hold our discussions in your language rather than mine.' He said it in carefully pronounced Akielon. Damen stared at him, feeling as though the world had just been rearranged. 'What is it?' said Laurent. 'Nice accent, ' said Damen, because despite everything, the corner of his mouth was beginning helplessly to curve up. [... ] It was of course no surprise to find that Laurent had a well-stocked armoury of elegant phrases and bitchy remarks, but could not talk in detail about anything sensible.
No one can teach writing, but classes may stimulate the urge to write. If you are born a writer, you will inevitably and helplessly write. A born writer has self-knowledge. Read, read, read. And if you are a fiction writer, dont confine yourself to reading fiction. Every writer is first a wide reader.
Then her eyes narrowed. The sun was spilling in the window behind her and Dageus's eyes were golden, dappled with darker flecks. Smoky and sensual, fringed by thick dark lashes, but gold nonetheless. "What is with your eyes?" she exclaimed. "Is it part of being a Druid?" "What color are they?" he asked warily. "Gold." He flashed her another unguarded smile. It was like basking in the sun, she thought, tracing her fingers over his beard-shadowed jaw, smiling helplessly back.
Karen Marie Moning
The necessary consequence of man's right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. All the reasons which make the initiation of physical force an evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative. If some "pacifist" society renounced the retaliatory use of force, it would be left helplessly at the mercy of the first thug who decided to be immoral. Such a society would achieve the opposite of its intention: instead of abolishing evil, it would encourage and reward it.
I realized that my father, of all these men, was the most obstinate, helplessly bonded to his better instincts and their excessive demands. I only then understood that he had quit his job not merely because he was fearful of what awaited us down the line should we agree like the others to be relocated, but because, for better or worse, when he was bullied by superior forces that he deemed corrupt it was his nature not to yield-in this instance, to resist either running away to Canada, as my mother urged our doing, or bowing to a government directive that was patently unjust. There were two types of strong men: those like Uncle Monty And Abe Steinheim, remorseless about their making money, and those like my father, ruthlessly obedient to their idea of fair play.
Do they still hurt?" she whispered in anguished surprise. "No, " Jason said tautly. Shame washed over him in sickening waves as he waited helplessly for her inevitable reaction to the stark evidence of his humiliation. To his utter disbelief he felt her arms encircle him from behind and the touch of her lips on his back. "How brave you must have been to endure this, " she whispered achingly, "how strong to survive it and go on living... " When she began kissing each scar, Jason rolled to his side and jerked her into his arms. "I love you, " he whispered agonizedly, plunging his hands into her luxuriant hair and turning her face up to his. "I love you so much...
The main reason why serious historical studies of the Rosicrucian manifestos and their influence have hitherto been on the whole lacking is no doubt because the whole subject has been bedevilled by enthusiasts for secret societies. There is a vast literature on Rosicrucianism which assumes the existence of a secret society, founded by Christian Rosencreutz, and having a continuous existence up to modern times. In the vague and inaccurate world of so-called 'occultist' writing this assumption has produced a kind of literature which deservedly sinks below the notice of the serious historian. And when, as if often the case, the misty discussion of 'Rosicrucians' and their history becomes involved with the masonic myths, the enquirer feels that he is sinking helplessly into a bottomless bog.
Frances A. Yates
That same night, I wrote my first short story. It took me thirty minutes. It was a dark little tale about a man who found a magic cup and learned that if he wept into the cup, his tears turned into pearls. But even though he had always been poor, he was a happy man and rarely shed a tear. So he found ways to make himself sad so that his tears could make him rich. As the pearls piled up, so did his greed grow. The story ended with the man sitting on a mountain of pearls, knife in hand, weeping helplessly into the cup with his beloved wife's slain body in his arms.
You know what she's made of." "Yeah, good stock, good breeding, a hard head and a hunger to win." She flashed him a smile as they approached the kitchen door. "I've been told that describes me. I'm half Irish, Brian, I was born stubborn." "No arguing with that. A person might make the world a calmer place for others by being passive, but you don't get very far in it yourself, do you?" "Look at that. We have a foundation of agreement. Now tell me you like spaghetti and meatballs." "It happens to be a favorite of mine." "That's handy. Mine, too. And I heard a rumor that's what's for dinner." She reached for the doorknob, then caught him off guard by brushing a light kiss over his lips. "And since we'll be joining my parents, it would probably be best if you didn't imagine me naked for the next couple of hours." She sailed in ahead of him, leaving Brian helplessly and utterly aroused.
For as long as I could remember, I had been transparent to myself, unselfconscious, learning, doing, most of every day. Now I was in my own way; I myself was a dark object I could not ignore. I couldn't remember how to forget myself. I didn't want to think about myself, to reckon myself in, to deal with myself every livelong minute on top of everything else - but swerve as I might, I couldn't avoid it. I was a boulder blocking my own path. I was a dog barking between my own ears, a barking dog who wouldn't hush. So this was adolescence. Is this how the people around me had died on their feet - inevitably, helplessly? Perhaps their own selves eclipsed the sun for so many years the world shriveled around them, and when at least their inescapable orbits had passed through these dark egoistic years it was too late, they had adjusted. Must I then lose the world forever, that I had so loved? Was it all, the whole bright and various planet, where I had been so ardent about finding myself alive, only a passion peculiar to children, that I would outgrow even against my will?
Crooks stood up from his bunk and faced her. "I had enough, " he said coldly. "You got no rights comin' in a colored man's room. You got no rights messing around in here at all. Now you jus' get out, an' get out quick. If you don't, I'm gonna ast the boss not to ever let you come in the barn no more." She turned on him in scorn. "Listen, Nigger, " she said. "You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?" Crooks stared helplessly at her, and then he sat down on his bunk and drew into himself. She closed on him. "You know what I could do?" Crooks seemed to grow smaller, and he pressed himself against the wall. "Yes, ma'am." "Well, you keep your place then, Nigger. I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain't even funny." Crooks had reduced himself to nothing. There was no personality, no ego-nothing to arouse either like or dislike. He said, "Yes, ma'am, " and his voice was toneless. For a moment she stood over him as though waiting for him to move so that she could whip at him again; but Crooks sat perfectly still, his eyes averted, everything that might be hurt drawn in. She turned at last to the other two.
The best part (or maybe the worst) of loving you is... that I never have any plan to stop. Because I don't want to reach the end. Too afraid to catch the finish line. Let me do it slowly, wobbly, as if I'm decrepit. Because, by doing that, I have many years to go, never ending days to come... enough time... to stuck... with you. Helplessly addicted, stupidly enraptured... by you. I love you this way, and will keep loving you this way. So come... wear your white gown... because there is a ring, waiting for your finger. A vow, waiting for your mouth to say it out. A man... waiting for you... to make a commitment to spend every tomorrow... together. Go hand in hand, to any kind of future we maybe have. Let's be happy. Let me... to make you happy. Come, marry me, and I will show you what kind of life you will get by laying down your happiness on my hand. I will be thankful for every second, and I will make you feel the same. Come, marry me. Because I want to make you my wife, and me, your husband. Come, start it, and then end it. With me...
Logan looked at her and wondered how someone so beautiful could be so oblivious to their own beauty, how someone so smart could be so foolish to the extent of their own intellect and how someone so loving and compassionate could ever think she wasn't worthy of love? It was like watching a blind man trapped and wandering aimlessly and helplessly in a scorching hot desert unable to see the small puddle of water that lay just a foot away. The only difference was that she had eyes. Two beautiful ones, yet she could not see. Is that what madness was? Was it to be able to view and appreciate every form of beauty but to be blind to the value and exquisiteness of one's own? Logan believed in many forms of insanity but he knew in that instant watching her trembling frame on the train tracks that hers, that her illness, surpassed any clinical or psychological term known. Maybe she did suffer from depression or bipolar or schizophrenia. Who knew? All he was certain of in that moment that she suffered from no greater illness than the blindness of the heart.
[The] insistence on the absolutely indiscriminate nature of compassion within the Kingdom is the dominant perspective of almost all of Jesus' teaching. What is indiscriminate compassion? 'Take a look at a rose. Is is possible for the rose to say, "I'll offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people"? Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light? It could do that only be ceasing to be a lamp. And observe how helplessly and indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good and bad, young and old, high and low; to animals and humans and every living creature - even to the one who seeks to cut it down. This is the first quality of compassion - its indiscriminate character.' (Anthony DeMello, The Way to Love)... What makes the Kingdom come is heartfelt compassion: a way of tenderness that knows no frontiers, no labels, no compartmentalizing, and no sectarian divisions.
In my experience - and this is a very awkward way to put it, since I don't really know what the word experience means - the strangest people in one's life are the people one has known and loved, still know and will always love. Here, both I and the vocabulary are both in trouble, for strangest does not imply stranger. A stranger is a stranger is a stranger, simply, and you watch the stranger to anticipate his next move. But the people who elicit from you a depth of attention and wonder which we helplessly call love are perpetually making moves which cannot possibly be anticipated. Eventually, you realize that it never occurred to you to anticipate their next move, not only because you couldn't but because you didn't have to: it was not a question of moving on the next move, but simply, of being present. Danger, true, you try to anticipate and you prepare yourself, without knowing it, to stand in the way of death. For the strangest people in the world are those people recognized, beneath one's senses, by one's soul - the people utterly indispensable for one's journey.
He walked steadily, feeling them behind him. His stride did not falter; he pretended they weren't there. He pretended that all was well-that those hideous things knew nothing about what he had done earlier in the night. But each pumpkin he passed nearly leapt off its porch or railing or wooden chair, expanded and morphed and throbbed as if in a funhouse mirror, and joined the procession behind him. The wind picked up, suddenly and fiercely, and construction paper decorations adorning the houses that surrounded him flapped helplessly against their doors and windows. The man ducked against the cold wind, and from the pursuing army of the jack-o'-lanterns behind him. Cardboard skeletons with fastener joints and witches with shredded yarn hair and ghosts with cotton ball sheets and black crayon eyes escaped their thumbtacks and scotch tape and newspaper twine and they flashed and danced in his face. He brushed at them desperately with his hands, attempting to tear a hole through them and escape.
It's difficult to know where to begin, sir.' 'Yes, the beginning is the tricky part. But perhaps there is no beginning, perhaps we can't look that far back.' He got up from his desk and went over to the window, from where he could see thin pillar of smoke rising into the clouds. 'I never know where anything comes from, Walter.' 'Comes from, sir?' 'Where you come from, where I come from, where all this comes from.' And he gestured at the offices and homes beneath him. He was about to say something else but he stopped, embarrassed; and in any case he was coming to the limits of his understanding. He was not sure if all the movements and changes in the world were part of some coherent development, like the weaving of a quilt which remains one fabric despite its variegated pattern. Or was it a more delicate operation than this - like the enlarging surface of a balloon in the sense that, although each part increased at the same rate of growth as every other part, the entire object grew more fragile as it expanded? And if one element was suddenly to vanish, would the others disappear also - imploding upon each other helplessly as if time itself were unravelling amid a confusion of Sights, calls, shrieks and phrases of music which grew smaller and smaller? He thought of a train disappearing into the distance, until eventually only the smoke and the smell of its engine remained.
Do Something! I was sitting on a plane after a long, tiring business trip. I was a bit grouchy and irritable because the rigorous schedule I had made for myself left me exhausted. Looking to not talk to the person next to me and simply endure the flight, I decided to open my newspaper and read about what was happening in the world. As I continued to read, it seemed that everywhere I looked there were stories of injustice, pain, suffering, and people losing hope. Finally, fueled by my tired, irritable state, I became overcome with compassion and frustration for the way things were. I got up and went to the bathroom and broke down. With tears streaming down my face, I helplessly looked to the sky and yelled to God. 'God, look at this mess. Look at all this pain and suffering. Look at all this killing and hate. God, how could you let this happen? Why don't you do something?' Just then, a quiet stillness pacified my heart. A feeling of peace I won't ever forget engulfed my body. And, as I looked into my own eyes in the mirror, the answer to my own question came back to me... 'Steve, stop asking God to do something. God already did something, he gave you life. Now YOU do something!
It was Valentine's Day and I had spent the day in bed with my life partner, Ketel One. The two of us watched a romance movie marathon on TBS Superstation that made me wonder how people who write romantic comedies can sleep at night. At some point during almost every romantic comedy, the female lead suddenly trips and falls, stumbling helplessly over something ridiculous like a leaf, and then some Matthew McConaughey type either whips around the corner just in the nick of time to save her or is clumsily pulled down along with her. That event predictably leads to the magical moment of their first kiss. Please. I fall all-the-time. You know who comes and gets me? The bouncer. Then, within the two hour time frame of the movie, the couple meet, fall in love, fall out of love, break up, and then just before the end of the movie, they happen to bump into each other by "coincidence" somewhere absolutely absurd, like by the river. This never happens in real life. The last time I bumped into an ex-boyfriend was at three o'clock in the morning at Rite Aid. I was ringing up Gas-X and corn removers.
Young Bindo Altovini, looking out from time, made a perfect coalition with the mountains, the sky, and the tall redheaded woman who had bent over just slightly to examine a raging battle that was long over. Alessandro imagined that Bindo Altovini was saying, half with longing, half with delight, "These are the things in which I was so helplessly caught up, the waves that took me, what I loved. When light filled my eyes and I was restless and could move, I knew not what all the color was about, but only that I had a passion to see. And now that I am still, I pass on to you my liveliness and my life, for you will be taken, as once I was, and although you must fight beyond your capacity to fight and feel beyond your capacity to feel, remember that it ends in perfect peace, and you will be as still and content as am I, for whom centuries are not even seconds." In the eyes of Bindo Altoviti, Alessandro saw wisdom and amusement, and he knew why the subjects of paintings and photographs seemed to look from the past as if with clairvoyance. Even brutal and impatient men, when frozen in time, assumed expressions of extraordinary compassion, as if they had reflected the essence of their redemption back into the photograph. In a sense they were still living.
It was the Kojagar full moon, and I was slowly pacing the riverside conversing with myself. It could hardly be called a conversation, as I was doing all the talking and my imaginary companion all the listening. The poor fellow had no chance of speaking up for himself, for was not mine the power to compel him helplessly to answer like a fool? But what a night it was! How often have I tried to write of such, but never got it done! There was not a line of ripple on the river; and from away over there, where the farthest shore of the distant main stream is seen beyond the other edge of the midway belt of sand, right up to this shore, glimmers a broad band of moonlight. Not a human being, not a boat in sight; not a tree, nor blade of grass on the fresh-formed island sand-bank. It seemed as though a desolate moon was rising upon a devastated earth; a random river wandering through a lifeless solitude; a long-drawn fairy-tale coming to a close over a deserted world, -all the kings and the princesses, their ministers and friends and their golden castles vanished, leaving the Seven Seas and Thirteen Rivers and the Unending Moor, over which the adventurous princes fared forth, wanly gleaming in the pale moonlight. I was pacing up and down like the last pulse-beats of this dying world. Every one else seemed to be on the opposite shore-the shore of life-where the British Government and the Nineteenth Century hold sway, and tea and cigarettes.
I said, somewhat confused, 'What's the problem?' [Kristy] rolled her eyes. Beside her, Monica said, 'Donneven.' 'Kristy.' Delia shook her head. 'This isn't the time or the place, okay?' 'The time or the place for what?' Caroline asked. 'There is never, ' Kristy said adamantly, 'a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.' 'Throbbing?' my mother said, leaning forward and looking at me. 'Who's throbbing?' 'Macy and Wes, ' Kristy told her. 'We are not, ' I said indignantly. 'Kristy, ' Delia said helplessly. 'Please God I'm begging you, not now.' 'Wait a second, wait a second.' Caroline held her hands up. 'Kristy. Explain.' 'Yes, Kristy, ' my mother said, but she was looking at me. Not really mad as much as confused. Join the club, I thought. 'Explain.' Bert said, 'This ought to be good.' Kristy ignored him, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. 'Wes wants to be with Macy. And Macy, whether she'll admit it or not, wants to be with Wes. And yet they're not together, which is not only unjust, but really, when you think about it, tragical.' 'That's not a word, ' Bert pointed out. 'It is now, ' she said. 'How else can you explain a situation where Wes, a truly extraordinary boy, would be sent packing in favor of some brainiac loser... ' 'Why, ' I said, feeling embarrassed, 'do we have to keep talking about this?' 'Because it's tragical!' Kristy said... 'I'll tell you what it is. It's wrong. You should be with Wes, Macy. The whole time you guys were hanging out, talking about how you were both with other people, it was so obvious to everyone. It was even obvious to Wes. You were the only one who couldn't see it, just like you can't see it now.' 'Mmm-hmm, ' Monica said aloud.
The door suddenly jerks open. A wideeyed teenager bursts out. She stares at me in dazed horror. In a strange way, I both know and don't know what has just happened. As the fragments begin to converge, they convey a horrible reality: I must have been hit by this car as I entered the crosswalk. In confused disbelief, I sink back into a hazy twilight. I find that I am unable to think clearly or to will myself awake from this nightmare. A man rushes to my side and drops to his knees. He announces himself as an off-duty paramedic. When I try to see where the voice is coming from, he sternly orders, 'Don't move your head.' The contradiction between his sharp command and what my body naturally wants-to turn toward his voice-frightens and stuns me into a sort of paralysis. My awareness strangely splits, and I experience an uncanny 'dislocation.' It's as if I'm floating above my body, looking down on the unfolding scene. I am snapped back when he roughly grabs my wrist and takes my pulse. He then shifts his position, directly above me. Awkwardly, he grasps my head with both of his hands, trapping it and keeping it from moving. His abrupt actions and the stinging ring of his command panic me; they immobilize me further. Dread seeps into my dazed, foggy consciousness: Maybe I have a broken neck, I think. I have a compelling impulse to find someone else to focus on. Simply, I need to have someone's comforting gaze, a lifeline to hold onto. But I'm too terrified to move and feel helplessly frozen.
Peter A. Levine
I paid the taxi driver, got out with my suitcase, surveyed my surroundings, and just as I was turning to ask the driver something or get back into the taxi and return forthwith to Chille¡n and then to Santiago, it sped off without warning, as if the somewhat ominous solitude of the place had unleashed atavistic fears in the driver's mind. For a moment I too was afraid. I must have been a sorry sight standing there helplessly with my suitcase from the seminary, holding a copy of Farewell's Anthology in one hand. Some birds flew out from behind a clump of trees. They seemed to be screaming the name of that forsaken village, Querquen, but they also seemed to be enquiring who: quien, quien, quien. I said a hasty prayer and headed for a wooden bench, there to recover a composure more in keeping with what I was, or what at the time I considered myself to be. Our Lady, do not abandon your servant, I murmured, while the black birds, about twenty-five centimetres in length, cried quien, quien, quien. Our Lady of Lourdes, do not abandon your poor priest, I murmured, while other birds, about ten centimetres long, brown in colour, or brownish, rather, with white breasts, called out, but not as loudly, quien, quien, quien, Our Lady of Suffering, Our Lady of Insight, Our Lady of Poetry, do not leave your devoted subject at the mercy of the elements, I murmured, while several tiny birds, magenta, black, fuchsia, yellow and blue in colour, wailed quien, quien, quien, at which point a cold wind sprang up suddenly, chilling me to the bone.
William sees it all happen again. The pain is not in the event. The subjection to it and his powerless state each time is where his anguish lies. He is unable to influence the situation, despite his desire. He sees the nest outside his house. He sees the baby bird that fell. The mother bird cries frantically for her lost chick. William knows as he approaches the chick that if he touches it his scent will linger, and the mother will reject it. Circling around the fallen creature William hopes it will flee from him, back toward the tree from which it had fallen. His presence only intensifies the creature's fear. It speeds to his left, heading for the street. Again William tries to flank the bird, but it is too frightened to return to the nest. The chick's mother wails vainly. William walks into the street trying to herd the bird to safety. The stop light a block away has just turned green. The driver accelerates. William moves from the car's path and it runs over the bird. The momentum from its wake lifts the bird to the underside of the car, breaking its neck, but not killing it. William watches the bird roll helplessly. It is silent for a second, before it begins to whimper. Its contorted head dangles limply from its body. The noise is tragic. The bird's mother hears the chick's pain, but nothing can be done. She laments. A second speeder crushes the chick, leaving only a wet feathered spot in the street. As the cars continue to pass, only one bird is heard. A mother's grief falls deafly on an unconcerned world.
Walk openly, Marian used to say. Love even the threat and the pain, feel yourself fully alive, cast a bold shadow, accept, accept. What we call evil is only a groping towards good, part of the trial and error by which we move toward the perfected consciousness... God is kind? Life is good? Nature never did betray the heart that loved her? Why the reward she received for living intensely and generously and trying to die with dignity? Why the horror at the bridge her last clear sight of earth?... I do not accept, I am not reconciled. But one thing she did. She taught me the stupidity of the attempt to withdraw and be free of trouble and harm... She said, 'You wondered what was in whale's milk. Now you know. Think of the force down there, just telling things to get born, just to be!' I had had no answer for her then. Now I might have one. Yes, think of it, I might say. And think how random and indiscriminate it is, think how helplessly we must submit, think how impossible it is to control or direct it. Think how often beauty and delicacy and grace are choked out by weeds. Think how endless and dubious is the progress from weed to flower. Even alive, she never convinced me with her advocacy of biological perfectionism. She never persuaded me to ignore, or look upon as merely hard pleasures, the evil that I felt in every blight and smut and pest in my garden- that I felt, for that matter, squatting like a toad on my own heart. Think of the force of life, yes, but think of the component of darkness in it. One of the things that's in whale's milk is the promise of pain and death. And so? Admitting what is so obvious, what then? Would I wipe Marion Catlin out of my unperfected consciousness if I could? Would I forgo the pleasure of her company to escape the bleakness of her loss? Would I go back to my own formula, which was twilight sleep, to evade the pain she brought with her? Not for a moment. And so even in the gnashing of my teeth, I acknowledge my conversion. It turns out to be for me as I once told her it would be for her daughter. I shall be richer all my life for this sorrow.