Yet there are moments when the walls of the mind grow thin; when nothing is unabsorbed, and I could fancy that we might blow so vast a bubble that the sun might set and rise in it and we might take the blue of midday and the black of midnight and be cast off and escape from here and now.
My friends ... they usually rib me about how I just sleep in and watch Oprah and that I don't really have a proper job. I've given up arguing now, so I just agree with them, even though half the time I realise I've started work before they have. Still, it's best to keep the romantic idea alive. If they call around midday and ask if they woke me, I always say yes.
You're as lovely as a flower in the stark of winter... Your hair is the color of wheat under the midday sun, and your eyes-' 'Yes, yes. My eyes are like the sea or the sky or some such nonsense, ' she quipped with a laugh, the lilting sound like the finest music, better than anything he could ever play.
Today, we're taking a break from the concerns and the bustle of the work-a-day world. But we're also making a new beginning. As we gather around our dining room tables for the midday meal, let us thank God for life and the blessings He's put before us. High among them are our families, our freedom, and the opportunities of a new year.
Sometimes God does something dramatic to get our attention. That's what happened to me in 1975. My family and I were enjoying the peace and quiet of a borrowed cabin in the Colorado Rockies. I was stretched out on a lounge chair in the midday warmth, praying and thinking. I was considering how we Christians - not just the mission I was part of, but all of us - could turn the world around for Jesus.
One consequential change is that people used to get most of their calories at breakfast and midday, with only the evening top-up at suppertime. Now those intakes are almost exactly reversed. Most of us consume the bulk-a sadly appropriate word here-of our calories in the evening and take them to bed with us, a practice that doesn't do any good at all.
After joyfully working each morning, I would leave off around midday to challenge myself to a footrace. Speeding along the sunny paths of the Jardin du Luxembourg, ideas would breed like aphids in my head-for creative invention is easy and sublime when air cycles quickly through the lungs and the body is busy at noble tasks.
Interesting, he later reflected, was perhaps not the correct word.By the time he and Henry arrived back at the house for their midday meal-a scrumptious bowl of hot, sticky porridge-he had mucked out the stable stalls, milked a cow, been pecked by three separate hens, weeded a vegetable garden, and fallen into a trough.
The dark is generous, and it is patient, and it always wins. It always wins because it is everywhere. It is in the wood that burns in your hearth, and in the kettle on the fire; it is under your chair and under your table and under the sheets on your bed. Walk in the midday sun, and the dark is with you, attached to the soles of your feet. The brightest light casts the darkest shadow.
Matthew Woodring Stover
And to lose the chance to see frigatebirds soaring in circles above the storm, or a file of pelicans winging their way homeward across the crimson afterglow of the sunset, or a myriad terns flashing in the bright light of midday as they hover in a shifting maze above the beach -- why, the loss is like the loss of a gallery of the masterpieces of the artists of old time.
Africa - You can see a sunset and believe you have witnessed the Hand of God. You watch the slope lope of a lioness and forget to breathe. You marvel at the tripod of a giraffe bent to water. In Africa, there are iridescent blues on the wings of birds that you do not see anywhere else in nature. In Africa, in the midday heart, you can see blisters in the atmosphere. When you are in Africa, you feel primordial, rocked in the cradle of the world.
After about midday my dad sent cars from his private collection for us. We were told to get in. We had almost lost contact with my father and brothers because things had got out of hand. I saw with my own eyes the [Iraqi] army withdrawing and the terrified faces of the Iraqi soldiers who, unfortunately, were running away and looking around them. Missiles were falling on my left and my right - they were not more than fifty or one hundred metres away. We moved in small cars. I had a gun between my feet just in case.
The year now is 1774. Poseurs or not, it is time to grow up. It is time to enter the public realm, the world of public acts and public attitudes. Everything that happens now will happen in the light of history. It is not a midday luminary, but a corpse-candle to the intellect; at best, it is a secondhand lunar light, error-breeding, sand-blind and parched.
You have to understand - there is a romance to Africa. You can see a sunset and believe you have witnessed the hand of God. You watch the slow lope of a lioness and forget to breathe. You marvel at the tripod of a giraffe bent to water. In Africa, there are iridescent blues on the wings of birds that you do not see anywhere else in nature. In Africa, in the midday heat, you can see blisters in the atmosphere. When you are in Africa, you feel primordial, rocked in the cradle of the world.
Faeries are fallen angels," said Dorothea, "cast down out of heaven for their pride." "That's the legend," Jace said. "It's also said that they're the offspring of demons and angels, which always seemed more likely to me. Good and evil, mixing together. Faeries are as beautiful as angels are supposed to be, but they have a lot of mischief and cruelty in them. And you'll notice most of them avoid midday sunlight""" "For the devil has no power," said Dorothea softly, as if she were reciting an old rhyme, "except in the dark.
The golden line is drawn between winter and summer. Behind all is blackness and darkness and dissolution. Before is hope, and soft airs, and the flowers, and the sweet season of hay; and people will cross the fields, reading or walking with one another; and instead of the rain that soaks death into the heart of green things, will be the rain which they drink with delight; and there will be sleep on the grass at midday, and early rising in the morning, and long moonlight evenings.
We will enjoy ourselves with the forms that are given us: a human face, a hand, the breast of a woman or the body of a man, a glad or sorrowful expression, the infinite seas, the wild rocks, the melancholy language of the black trees in the snow, the wild strength of spring flowers and the heavy lethargy of a hot summer day when Pan, our old friend, sleeps and the ghosts of midday whisper. This alone is enough to make us forget the grief of the world, or to give it form.
Virtue could see to do what virtue would By her own radiant light, though sun and moon Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude, Where with her best nurse Contemplation She plumes her feathers and lets grow her wings, That in the various bustle of resort Were all-to ruffled, and sometimes impair'd. He that has light within his own clear breast May sit i' th' centre and enjoy bright day; But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts Benighted walks under the midday sun.
Mama used to tell us a story about a cicada sitting high in a tree. It chirps and drinks in dew, oblivious to the praying mantis behind it. The mantis arches up its front leg to stab the cicada, but it doesn't know an oriole perches behind it. The bird stretches out its neck to snap up the mantis for a midday meal, but its unaware of the boy who's come into the garden with a net. Three creatures""the cicada, the mantis and the oriole""all coveted gains without being aware of the greater and inescapable danger that was coming.
A storm was coming; you could feel it in the air, chill wind was cutting through the thickest coat and there was a faint wetness in the air that was touching the skin if turned towards the storm. Mark looked at the sky above the ocean. The sky was getting darker it no longer felt like midday, the storm moved the clock forward and it felt more like the beginnings of sunset. With lightening flashes every few minutes, the sky would light up all of a sudden. It was magnificent, breathtaking and even life taking.
Austin V. Songer
Reflected in a rippling pool of gutter water a metal hawk razored across the midday sky, belching a long trailing shriek as she crossed zenith and descended talons-first into her nearby nest on the horizon. The prophet Austin's shined black loafer described a high arc over the pool and onto the waydrive of a one-story dwelling. Close behind followed his brother in Christ, Chad, though his loafer did crash into the pool-water and split the image of the metal bird asunder.
Some curses fade and leave nothing but the faintest mark, a tea stain on watered silk. There are those that are so malevolent that, upon defeat, explode in a fiery burst of sulfurous flames, burning everything they touch as they die. Others dissolve like morning mist in the brightness of the midday sun. Some cannot be defeated at all, but feed upon the energy spent trying to vanquish it, growing more and more potent with each failed attempt. And then there are those ancient curses with deceptively simple antidotes that shatter like jagged shards of a vast mirror. These curses may be broken, but never completely destroyed, sharp slivers of light distorted.
God has intended the great to be great and the little to be little ... The trade unions, under the European system, destroy liberty ... I do not mean to say that a dollar a day is enough to support a workingman ... not enough to support a man and five children if he insists on smoking and drinking beer. But the man who cannot live on bread and water is not fit to live! A family may live on good bread and water in the morning, water and bread at midday, and good bread and water at night!
Henry Ward Beecher
Finally he steeled himself to read the final rule again. He had been trained since earliest childhood, since his earliest learning of language, never to lie. It was an integral part of the learning of precise speech. Once, when he had been a Four, he had said, just prior to the midday meal at school, 'I'm starving.' Immediately he had been taken aside for a brief private lesson in language precision. He was not starving, it was pointed out. He was hungry. No one in the community was starving, had ever been starving, would ever be starving. To say 'starving' was to speak a lie. An unintentioned lie, of course. But the reason for precision of language was to ensure that unintentional lies were never uttered. Did he understand that? they asked him. And he had.
It was the forty-fathom slumber that clears the soul and eye and heart, and sends you to breakfast ravening. They emptied a big tin dish of juicy fragments of fish- the blood-ends the cook had collected overnight. They cleaned up the plates and pans of the elder mess, who were out fishing, sliced pork for the midday meal, swabbed down the foc'sle, filled the lamps, drew coal and water for the cook, an investigated the fore-hold, where the boat's stores were stacked. It was another perfect day - soft, mild and clear; and Harvey breathed to the very bottom of his lungs.
Speak you too, speak as the last, say out your say. Speak- But don't split off No from Yes. Give your say this meaning too: Give it the shadow. Give it shadow enough, Give it as much As you know is spread round you from Midnight to midday and midnight. Look around: See how things all come alive- By death! Alive! Speaks true who speaks shadow. But now the place shrinks, where you stand: Where now, shadow-stripped, where? Climb. Grope upwards. Thinner you grow, less knowable, finer! Finer: a thread The star wants to descend on: So as to swim down beliow, down here Where it sees itself shimmer:in the swell Of wandering words.
After midday, the rain eased, and the Land Rover rode into Pokhara on a shaft of storm light. Next day there was humid sun and shifting southern skies, but to the north a deep tumult of swirling grays was all that could be seen of the Himalaya. At dusk, white egrets flapped across the sunken clouds, now black with rain; on earth, the dark had come. Then four miles above these mud streets of the lowlands, at a point so high as to seem overhead, a luminous whiteness shone- the light of snows. Glaciers loomed and vanished in the grays, and the sky parted, and the snow cone of Machhapuchare glistened like a spire of a higher kingdom. In the night, the stars convened, and the vast ghost of Machhapuchare radiated light, although there was no moon.
In the country, a good he-snowstorm makes a lovely design for putting on a holiday greetings card. In the city it just makes an infernal mess for the street-cleaning department to wrestle with... By midday of next day it would be licked to a custard- molten into puddles of foggy slush where cellar furnaces exhaled their hot breath up out of sidewalk gratings, roiled and fouled and crunched down beneath the heels and the tires of the town, flung up in crumply billows by the conscripted shovel crews, and under the park trees and on the park meadows would show a stark and grayish cast like the face of a grimy pauper whose corpse the undertaker scanted. And the longer it stayed there the sootier and the dirtier and the deader-looking it would get to be. You may worry the city with your winter weathers; you cannot keep her licked for any great length of time.
Irvin S. Cobb
The land is encrusted with ephemeral human conceits. That is not altogether good for a youngster; it disarranges his mind and puts him out of harmony with what is permanent. Just listen a moment. Here, if you are wise, you will seek an antidote. Taken in over-dose, all these churches and pictures and books and other products of our species are toxins for a boy like you. They falsify your cosmic values. Try to be more of an animal. Try to extract pleasure from more obvious sources. Lie fallow for a while. Forget all these things. Go out into the midday glare. Sit among rocks and by the sea. Have a look at the sun and stars for a change; they arc just as impressive as Donatello. Find yourself! You know the Cave of Mercury? Climb down, one night of full moon, all alone, and rest at its entrance. Familiarize yourself with elemental things. The whole earth reeks of humanity and its works. One has to be old and tough to appraise them at their true worth. Tell people to go to Hell, Denis, with their altar-pieces and museums and clock- towers and funny little art-galleries.
Bloom of adulthood. Try a whiff of that. On your back in the dark you remember. Ah you remember. Cloudless May day. She joins you in the little summerhouse. Entirely of logs. Both larch and fir. Six feet across. Eight from floor to vertex. Area twenty-four square feet to the furthest decimal. Two small multicoloured lights vis-a-vis. Small stained diamond panes. Under each a ledge. There on summer Sundays after his midday meal your father loved to retreat with Punch and a cushion. The waist of his trousers unbuttoned he sat on the one ledge and turned the pages. You on the other your feet dangling. When he chuckled you tried to chuckle too. When his chuckle died yours too. That you should try to imitate his chuckle pleased and amused him greatly and sometimes he would chuckle for no other reason than to hear you try to chuckle too. Sometimes you turn your head and look out through a rose-red pane. You press your little nose against the pane and all without is rosy. The years have flown and there at the same place as then you sit in the bloom of adulthood bathed in rainbow light gazing before you. She is late.
from "Semele Recycled" But then your great voice rang out under the skies my name!- and all those private names for the parts and places that had loved you best. And they stirred in their nest of hay and dung. The distraught old ladies chasing their lost altar, and the seers pursuing my skull, their lost employment, and the tumbling boys, who wanted the magic marbles, and the runaway groom, and the fisherman's thirteen children, set up such a clamor, with their cries of "Miracle!" that our two bodies met like a thunderclap in midday- right at the corner of that wretched field with its broken fenceposts and startled, skinny cattle. We fell in a heap on the compost heap and all our loving parts made love at once, while the bystanders cheered and prayed and hid their eyes and then went decently about their business. And here is is, moonlight again; we've bathed in the river and are sweet and wholesome once more. We kneel side by side in the sand; we worship each other in whispers. But the inner parts remember fermenting hay, the comfortable odor of dung, the animal incense, and passion, its bloody labor, its birth and rebirth and decay.
The heroin flowing through me, I thought about the last time I saw my father alive. He was drunk and overweight in a restaurant in Beverly Hills, and curling into myself on the bed I thought: What if I had done something that day? I had just sat passively in a restaurant booth as the midday light filled the half-empty dining room, pondering a decision. The decision was: should you disarm him? That was the word I remember: disarm. Should you tell him something that might not be the truth but would get the desired reaction? And what was I going to convince him of, even though it was a lie? Did it matter? Whatever it was, it would constitute a new beginning. The immediate line: You're my father and I love you. I remember staring at the white tablecloth as I contemplated saying this. Could I actually do it? I didn't believe it, and it wasn't true, but I wanted it to be. For one moment, as my father ordered another vodka (it was two in the afternoon; this was his fourth) and started ranting about my mother and the slump in California real estate and how 'your sisters' never called him, I realized it could actually happen, and that by saying this I would save him. I suddenly saw a future with my father. But the check came along with the drink and I was knocked out of my reverie by an argument he wanted to start and I simply stood up and walked away from the booth without looking back at him or saying goodbye and then I was standing in sunlight. Loosening my tie as a parking valet pulled up to the curb in the cream-colored 450 SL. I half smiled at the memory, for thinking that I could just let go of the damage that a father can do to a son. I never spoke to him again.
Bret Easton Ellis
From p. 40 of Signet Edition of Thomas Wolfe's _You Can't Go Home Again_ (1940): Some things will never change. Some things will always be the same. Lean down your ear upon the earth and listen. The voice of forest water in the night, a woman's laughter in the dark, the clean, hard rattle of raked gravel, the cricketing stitch of midday in hot meadows, the delicate web of children's voices in bright air-these things will never change. The glitter of sunlight on roughened water, the glory of the stars, the innocence of morning, the smell of the sea in harbors, the feathery blur and smoky buddings of young boughs, and something there that comes and goes and never can be captured, the thorn of spring, the sharp and tongueless cry-these things will always be the same. All things belonging to the earth will never change-the leaf, the blade, the flower, the wind that cries and sleeps and wakes again, the trees whose stiff arms clash and tremble in the dark, and the dust of lovers long since buried in the earth-all things proceeding from the earth to seasons, all things that lapse and change and come again upon the earth-these things will always be the same, for they come up from the earth that never changes, they go back into the earth that lasts forever. Only the earth endures, but it endures forever. The tarantula, the adder, and the asp will also never change. Pain and death will always be the same. But under the pavements trembling like a pulse, under the buildings trembling like a cry, under the waste of time, under the hoof of the beast above the broken bones of cities, there will be something growing like a flower, something bursting from the earth again, forever deathless, faithful, coming into life again like April.
When you are quite well enough to travel, Latimer, I shall take you home with me. The journey will amuse you and do you good, for I shall go through the Tyrol and Austria, and you will see many new places. Our neighbours, the Filmores, are come; Alfred will join us at Basle, and we shall all go together to Vienna, and back by Prague... ' My father was called away before he had finished his sentence, and he left my mind resting on the word Prague with a strange sense that a new and wondrous scene was breaking upon me: a city under the broad sunshine, that seemed to me as if it were summer sunshine of a long-past century arrested in its course-unrefreshed for ages by dews of night, or the rushing rain-cloud; scorching the dusty, weary, time-eaten grandeur of a people doomed to live on in the stale repetition of memories, like deposed and superannuated kings in their regal gold inwoven tatters. The city looked so thirsty that the broad river seemed to me a sheet of metal; and the blackened statues, as I passed under their blank gaze, along the unending bridge, with their ancient garments and their saintly crowns, seemed to me the real inhabitants and owners of this place, while the busy, trivial men and women, hurrying to and fro, were a swarm of ephemeral visitants infesting it for a day. It is such grim, stony beings as these, I thought, who are the fathers of ancient faded children, in those tanned time-fretted dwellings that crowd the steep before me; who pay their court in the worn and crumbling pomp of the palace which stretches its monotonous length on the height; who worship wearily in the stifling air of the churches, urged by no fear or hope, but compelled by their doom to be ever old and undying, to live on in the rigidity of habit, as they live on in perpetual midday, without the repose of night or the new birth of morning. A stunning clang of metal suddenly thrilled through me, and I became conscious of the objects in my room again: one of the fire-irons had fallen as Pierre opened the door to bring me my draught. My heart was palpitating violently, and I begged Pierre to leave my draught beside me; I would take it presently. ("The Lifted Veil")
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds; While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Gave a lustre of midday to objects below, When what to my wondering eyes did appear, But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer, With a little old driver so lively and quick, I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: "Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blixen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; So up to the housetop the coursers they flew With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too- And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight- 'Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Clement C. Moore