During my sorrowful outburst, my mother had remained entirely impassive. But then why not? Was she not mad? Nay, she was not. She had successfully discarded, as I also wished to do, the arduous yoke of a troublesome existence and had escaped to a tranquil haven somewhere beyond the reach of our world.
What all this posturing and fake glamor results in is a vast detachment and cynicism on the part of the artists. Since it's impossible to have respect for an audience that'll take just about anything you care to dish out, and the impassive demeanor is so central to the role, a general numbnose is all that can be expected.
Meliorn looked impassive. "Mundane humans are not permitted in the Court." "I wish someone had mentioned that earlier," said Simon, to no one in particular. "I take it I'm just supposed to wait out here until vines start growing on me?" Meliorn considered. "That might offer significant amusement.
Today I realize that many recent exercises in "deconstructive reading" read as if inspired by my parody. This is parody's mission: it must never be afraid of going too far. If its aim is true, it simply heralds what others will later produce, unblushing, with impassive and assertive gravity.
I had just taken to reading. I had just discovered the art of leaving my body to sit impassive in a crumpled up attitude in a chair or sofa, while I wandered over the hills and far away in novel company and new scenes... My world began to expand very rapidly,... the reading habit had got me securely.
H. G. Wells
Was he joking? Was he being sarcastic? Aggressive? Impertinent? Or just courteous? There was no telling from his impassive face. What a country, he thought despairingly. In Russia you always knew. If a man made a stern face he was threatening; if he was laughing uproariously, he was joking.
Solidarity is not a matter of sentiment but a fact, cold and impassive as the granite foundations of a skyscraper. If the basic elements, identity of interest, clarity of vision, honesty of intent, and oneness of purpose, or any of these is lacking, all sentimental pleas for solidarity, and all other efforts to achieve it will be barren of results.
Eugene V. Debs
The reptiles had taken over the city. Once again they were the dominant form of life. Looking up at the ancient impassive faces, Kerans could understand the curious fear they roused, rekindling archaic memories of the terrifying jungles of the Paleocene, when the reptiles had gone down before the emergent mammals, and sense the implacable hatred one zoological class feels towards another that usurps it.
J. G. Ballard
My reign is not yet over... you live, and my power is complete. Follow me; I seek the everlasting ices of the north, where you will feel the misery of cold and frost to which I am impassive. You will find near this place, if you follow not too tardily, a dead hare; eat and be refreshed. Come on, my enemy; we have yet to wrestle for our lives; but many hard and miserable hours must you endure until that period shall arrive.
Come sit, dear, " the old woman said. "We were just discussing kelpies and changelings." I turned a delightfully amused face at Ronan, hoping to see him embarrassed to be caught in a world of fantasy, but his face was impassive, completely unperturbed. Those were the hardest boys to ignore: the ones that weren't concerned with your opinion of them, not afraid to be caught listening to fairytales.
He watched her for her reaction, or possibly watched her just to watch, his eyes hooded by his lashes and his mouth impassive. A faceless man-such as the one she had dreamed of since she was a child-his identity not obscured by mist or flying sand or swirling dust, but by a mask he readily employed whenever he wished. As a shutter closed against a gale. Closed against her, no matter the impact of his words. He seemed to speak them against his will, just as he seemed to care for her against his will.
A man goes through many changes in 2000 meters. Some are not very pretty. Some make you hate yourself. Some make you wonder if you've been rowing for only three or four days. To avoid that fate, we prepared for all possibilities. If a meteor landed 10 feet off our stern, we would not blink. [We] Would be aware, yet impassive, to the outside world. Every ounce of energy would be funneled into the water, and not wasted by looking around, worrying about opponents, wondering about things that didn't concern our primary goal-to be the first across the finish line.
Brad Alan Lewis
Can we disregard the growing phenomenon of "environmental refugees", people who are forced by the degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it - and often their possessions as well - in order to face the dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement? Can we remain impassive in the face of actual and potential conflicts involving access to natural resources? All these are issues with a profound impact on the exercise of human rights, such as the right to life, food, health and development.
Pope Benedict XVI
God is in the mountains. Impassive, immovable, jagged giants, separating the celestial from the terrestrial with eternal diagonal certainty. As if silently monitoring the beating heart of the creator from the universe's perfect birth. Stood in the thin air and the awe, one inhales God, involuntarily acknowledging that we are but fragments of a whole, a higher thing. The mountains remind me of my place, as a servant to truth and wonder. Yes, God is in the mountains. Perhaps the pulpit too and even in the piety of an atheist's sigh. I don't know; but I feel him in the mountains.
Fear no more, " said Clarissa. Fear no more the heat o' the sun; for the shock of Lady Bruton asking Richard to lunch without her made the moment in which she had stood shiver, as a plant on the river-bed feels the shock of a passing oar and shivers: so she rocked: so she shivered. Millicent Bruton, whose lunch parties were said to be extraordinarily amusing, had not asked her. No vulgar jealousy could separate her from Richard. But she feared time itself, and read on Lady Bruton's face, as if it had been a dial cut in impassive stone, the dwindling of life; how year by year her share was sliced; how little the margin that remained was capable any longer of stretching, of absorbing, as in the youthful years, the colours, salts, tones of existence, so that she filled the room she entered, and felt often as she stood hesitating one moment on the threshold of her drawing-room, an exquisite suspense, such as might stay a diver before plunging while the sea darkens and brightens beneath him, and the waves which threaten to break, but only gently split their surface, roll and conceal and encrust as they just turn over the weeds with pearl.
What are the dead, anyway, but waves and energy? Light shining from a dead star? That, by the way, is a phrase of Julian's. I remember it from a lecture of his on the Iliad, when Patroklos appears to Achilles in a dream. There is a very moving passage where Achilles overjoyed at the sight of the apparition - tries to throw his arms around the ghost of his old friend, and it vanishes. The dead appear to us in dreams, said Julian, because that's the only way they can make us see them; what we see is only a projection, beamed from a great distance, light shining at us from a dead star... Which reminds me, by the way, of a dream I had a couple of weeks ago. I found myself in a strange deserted city - an old city, like London - underpopulated by war or disease. It was night; the streets were dark, bombed-out, abandoned. For a long time, I wandered aimlessly - past ruined parks, blasted statuary, vacant lots overgrown with weeds and collapsed apartment houses with rusted girders poking out of their sides like ribs. But here and there, interspersed among the desolate shells of the heavy old public buildings, I began to see new buildings, too, which were connected by futuristic walkways lit from beneath. Long, cool perspectives of modern architecture, rising phosphorescent and eerie from the rubble. I went inside one of these new buildings. It was like a laboratory, maybe, or a museum. My footsteps echoed on the tile floors.There was a cluster of men, all smoking pipes, gathered around an exhibit in a glass case that gleamed in the dim light and lit their faces ghoulishly from below. I drew nearer. In the case was a machine revolving slowly on a turntable, a machine with metal parts that slid in and out and collapsed in upon themselves to form new images. An Inca temple... click click click... the Pyramids... the Parthenon. History passing beneath my very eyes, changing every moment. 'I thought I'd find you here, ' said a voice at my elbow. It was Henry. His gaze was steady and impassive in the dim light. Above his ear, beneath the wire stem of his spectacles, I could just make out the powder burn and the dark hole in his right temple. I was glad to see him, though not exactly surprised. 'You know, ' I said to him, 'everybody is saying that you're dead.' He stared down at the machine. The Colosseum... click click click... the Pantheon. 'I'm not dead, ' he said. 'I'm only having a bit of trouble with my passport.' 'What?' He cleared his throat. 'My movements are restricted, ' he said. 'I no longer have the ability to travel as freely as I would like.' Hagia Sophia. St. Mark's, in Venice. 'What is this place?' I asked him. 'That information is classified, I'm afraid.' 1 looked around curiously. It seemed that I was the only visitor. 'Is it open to the public?' I said. 'Not generally, no.' I looked at him. There was so much I wanted to ask him, so much I wanted to say; but somehow I knew there wasn't time and even if there was, that it was all, somehow, beside the point. 'Are you happy here?' I said at last. He considered this for a moment. 'Not particularly, ' he said. 'But you're not very happy where you are, either.' St. Basil's, in Moscow. Chartres. Salisbury and Amiens. He glanced at his watch. 'I hope you'll excuse me, ' he said, 'but I'm late for an appointment.' He turned from me and walked away. I watched his back receding down the long, gleaming hall.
One night he sits up. In cots around him are a few dozen sick or wounded. A warm September wind pours across the countryside and sets the walls of the tent rippling. Werner's head swivels lightly on his neck. The wind is strong and gusting stronger, and the corners of the tent strain against their guy ropes, and where the flaps at the two ends come up, he can see trees buck and sway. Everything rustles. Werner zips his old notebook and the little house into his duffel and the man beside him murmurs questions to himself and the rest of the ruined company sleeps. Even Werner's thirst has faded. He feels only the raw, impassive surge of the moonlight as it strikes the tent above him and scatters. Out there, through the open flaps of the tent, clouds hurtle above treetops. Toward Germany, toward home. Silver and blue, blue and silver. Sheets of paper tumble down the rows of cots, and in Werner's chest comes a quickening. He sees Frau Elena kneel beside the coal stove and bank up the fire. Children in their beds. Baby Jutta sleeps in her cradle. His father lights a lamp, steps into an elevator, and disappears. The voice of Volkheimer: What you could be. Werner's body seems to have gone weightless under his blanket, and beyond the flapping tent doors, the trees dance and the clouds keep up their huge billowing march, and he swings first one leg and then the other off the edge of the bed. 'Ernst, ' says the man beside him. 'Ernst.' But there is no Ernst; the men in the cots do not reply; the American soldier at the door of the tent sleeps. Werner walks past him into the grass. The wind moves through his undershirt. He is a kite, a balloon. Once, he and Jutta built a little sailboat from scraps of wood and carried it to the river. Jutta painted the vessel in ecstatic purples and greens, and she set it on the water with great formality. But the boat sagged as soon as the current got hold of it. It floated downstream, out of reach, and the flat black water swallowed it. Jutta blinked at Werner with wet eyes, pulling at the battered loops of yarn in her sweater. 'It's all right, ' he told her. 'Things hardly ever work on the first try. We'll make another, a better one.' Did they? He hopes they did. He seems to remember a little boat-a more seaworthy one-gliding down a river. It sailed around a bend and left them behind. Didn't it? The moonlight shines and billows; the broken clouds scud above the trees. Leaves fly everywhere. But the moonlight stays unmoved by the wind, passing through clouds, through air, in what seems to Werner like impossibly slow, imperturbable rays. They hang across the buckling grass. Why doesn't the wind move the light? Across the field, an American watches a boy leave the sick tent and move against the background of the trees. He sits up. He raises his hand. 'Stop, ' he calls. 'Halt, ' he calls. But Werner has crossed the edge of the field, where he steps on a trigger land mine set there by his own army three months before, and disappears in a fountain of earth.