He had strong, steady hands, and I could tell from looking at them there was little he couldn't do. Mossy always said you could tell everything you needed to know about a man from his hands. Some hands, she told me, were leaving hands. They were the wandering sort that slipped into places they shouldn't, and they would wander right off again because those hands just couldn't stay still. Some hands were worthless hands, fit only to hold a drink or flick ash from a cigar, and some were punishing hands that hit hard and didn't leave a mark and those were the ones you never stayed to see twice. But the best hands were knowing hands, Mossy told me with a slow smile. Knowing hands were capable; they could soothe a horse or woman. They could take things apart - including your heart - and put them back together better than before. Knowing hands were rare, but if you found them, they were worth holding, at least for a little while.
I don't suppose I really know you very well - but I know you smell like the delicious damp grass that grows near old walls and that your hands are beautiful opening out of your sleeves and that the back of your head is a mossy sheltered cave when there is trouble in the wind and that my cheek just fits the depression in your shoulder.
Under various names, I have praised only you, rivers! You are milk and honey and love and death and dance. From a spring in hidden grottoes, seeping from mossy rocks, Where a goddess pours live water from a pitcher, At clear streams in the meadow, where rills murmur underground, Your race and my race begin, and amazement, and quick passage.
To a naturalist nothing is indifferent; the humble moss that creeps upon the stone is equally interesting as the lofty pine which so beautifully adorns the valley or the mountain: but to a naturalist who is reading in the face of the rocks the annals of a former world, the mossy covering which obstructs his view, and renders indistinguishable the different species of stone, is no less than a serious subject of regret.
Emily's world fascinates and disturbs: in it you can touch thick Yorkshire speech, and moorland rain slants across your mind with a smell of mossy limestone and yet you are not at home, you might almost be in Gondal or Angria except the towers and the dungeons are of the spirit, the dungeons especially; and sometimes when Emily reads out in her low, almost guttural voice Charlotte wants to run but can't think why or where she would run to.
But here there is no light, Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet..Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Night and day the river flows. If time is the mind of space, the River is the soul of the desert. Brave boatmen come, they go, they die, the voyage flows on forever. We are all canyoneers. We are all passengers on this little mossy ship, this delicate dory sailing round the sun that humans call the earth. Joy, shipmates, joy.
When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow Park we saw a few daffodils close to the waterside. But as we went along there were more and yet more and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a county turnpike toad. I never saw daffodils so beautiful. They grew about the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake.
Henry successfully kept his mind on the game, which might seem strange for a boy who slept beside a wall of magic. But baseball was as magical to him as a green, mossy mountain covered in ancient trees. What's more, baseball was a magic he could run around in and laugh about. While the magic of the cupboards was not necessarily good, the smell of leather mixed with dusty sweat and spitting and running through sparse grass after a small ball couldn't be anything else.
You are mad to be spending the summer in the country, where the days are too quiet and you have so much time to think. In the city you live on Broadway, where the noise is so thick your scary thoughts can't get a word in edgewise. But here in the county, there is only space. On the stone bridge by the stream. On the mossy rock at the edge of the yard. Behind the abandoned trailer where Art, the old man with the glass eye, used to live. Space, space, space, and you can scare yourself into thinking your thoughts are more like voices.
It is the omnipresent rush of water which give the Este Gardens their peculiar character. From the Anio, drawn up the hillside at incalculable cost and labour, a thousand rills gush downward, terrace by terrace, channeling the stone rails of the balusters, leaping from step to step, dripping into mossy conches, flashing in spray from the horns of sea-gods and the jaws of mythical monsters, or forcing themselves in irrepressible overflow down the ivy-matted banks.
Gone were but the Winter, Come were but the Spring, I would go to a covert Where the birds sing; Where in the whitethorn Singeth a thrush, And a robin sings In the holly-bush. Full of fresh scents Are the budding boughs Arching high over A cool green house: Full of sweet scents, And whispering air Which sayeth softly: We spread no snare; Here dwell in safety, Here dwell alone, With a clear stream And a mossy stone. Here the sun shineth Most shadily; Here is heard an echo Of the far sea, Though far off it be.
By now, at the end of a sloping alley, we had reached the shores of a vast marsh. Some unknown quality in the sparkling water had stained its whole bed a bright yellow. Green leaves, of such a sour brightness as almost poisoned to behold, floated on the surface of the rush-girdled pools. Weeds like tempting veils of mossy velvet grew beneath in vivid contrast with the soil. Alders and willows hung over the margin. From where we stood a half-submerged path of rough stones, threaded by deep swift channels, crossed to the very centre. ("The Basilisk")
R. Murray Gilchrist
The garden reconciles human art and wild nature, hard work and deep pleasure, spiritual practice and the material world. It is a magical place because it is not divided. The many divisions and polarizations that terrorize a disenchanted world find peaceful accord among mossy rock walls, rough stone paths, and trimmed bushes. Maybe a garden sometimes seems fragile, for all its earth and labor, because it achieves such an extraordinary delicate balance of nature and human life, naturalness and artificiality. It has its own liminality, its point of balance between great extremes.
I drank from the crisp mountain stream, tasting filtered sky with a mossy undertone. I've never understood how being loved fully could change your entire perspective of the world. I only ever understood the wistfulness of it, and the longing and the frothy, violent bits. The mixed up, rained on parts. The escaped bits that smudge and bleed through. Slowly, I am coming to terms with how vulnerable I am to you, flat on my back like a submissive wolf pup. Daisy petals line your eyelashes, juice of a nectarine flavors your tongue. The side of your mouth twitches, hazy dreamscapes overtaking your mind while we bathe in the glorious autumn devastation.
We'd never seen anything as green as these rice paddies. It was not just the paddies themselves: the surrounding vegetation - foliage so dense the trees lost track of whose leaves were whose - was a rainbow coalition of one colour: green. There was an infinity of greens, rendered all the greener by splashes of red hibiscus and the herons floating past, so white and big it seemed as if sheets hung out to dry had suddenly taken wing. All other colours - even purple and black - were shades of green. Light and shade were degrees of green. Greenness, here, was less a colour than a colonising impulse. Everything was either already green - like a snake, bright as a blade of grass, sidling across the footpath - or in the process of becoming so. Statues of the Buddha were mossy, furred with green.
What, in nature, " Kit asked, "is the most beautiful thing you've seen? Or the most terrible?" "The Dismals, " Giles answered promptly. "A beautiful aberration in the lay of the land-North Alabama. A section mysteriously lowered, strewn with boulders, ferny, mossy, cooler-the vegetation, they say, typical of Canada. There the creek runs clear, but all other Alabama rivers and waterways are muddy with sediment. I even like the name-the Dismals. An eternal place, disjunct with the climate, the time, and its location." "You think being dismal is an attractive association with eternity?" I asked. "It is a cool Eden in the Southern summer heat. What's yours, Una?" "The Kentucky hills in spring. Layers of pink and white-redbud and dogwood." "And you?" Giles asked Kit. "Stars, " he said. That was all.
Sena Jeter Naslund
The Last Leaf I saw him once before, As he passed by the door, And again The pavement stones resound, As he totters o'er the ground With his cane. They say that in his prime, Ere the pruning-knife of Time Cut him down, Not a better man was found By the Crier on his round Through the town. But now he walks the streets, And looks at all he meets Sad and wan, And he shakes his feeble head, That it seems as if he said, "They are gone." The mossy marbles rest On the lips that he has prest In their bloom, And the names he loved to hear Have been carved for many a year On the tomb. My grandmamma has said Poor old lady, she is dead Long ago That he had a Roman nose, And his cheek was like a rose In the snow; But now his nose is thin, And it rests upon his chin Like a staff, And a crook is in his back, And a melancholy crack In his laugh. I know it is a sin For me to sit and grin At him here; But the old three-cornered hat, And the breeches, and all that, Are so queer! And if I should live to be The last leaf upon the tree In the spring, Let them smile, as I do now, At the old forsaken bough Where I cling.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
A lover finds his mistress asleep on a mossy bank; he wishes to catch a glimpse of her fair face without waking her. He steals softly over the grass, careful to make no sound; he pauses - fancying she has stirred: he withdraws: not for worlds would he be seen. All is still: he again advances: he bends above her; a light veil rests on her features: he lifts it, bends lower; now his eyes anticipate the vision of beauty - warm, and blooming, and lovely, in rest. How hurried was their first glance! But how they fix! How he starts! How he suddenly and vehemently clasps in both arms the form he dared not, a moment since, touch with his finger! How he calls aloud a name, and drops his burden, and gazes on it wildly! He thus grasps and cries, and gazes, because he no longer fears to waken by any sound he can utter - by any movement he can make. He thought his love slept sweetly: he finds she is stone dead. I looked with timorous joy towards a stately house: I saw a blackened ruin.
I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you, And you must not be abased to the other. Loaf with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat, Not words, not music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture, not even the best, Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice. I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning, How you settled your head athwart my hips, and gently turned over upon me, And parted the shirt from my bosom bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stripped heart, And reached till you felt my beard, and reached till you held my feet. Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth, And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own, And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own, And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers, And that a kelson of the creation is love, And limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields, And brown ants in the little wells beneath them, And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heaped stones, elder, mullein and pokeweed.
I saw thee once - only once - years ago: I must not say how many - but not many. It was a July midnight; and from out A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring, Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven, There fell a silvery-silken veil of light, With quietude, and sultriness, and slumber, Upon the upturn'd faces of a thousand Roses that grew in an enchanted garden, Where no wind dared stir, unless on tiptoe - Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses That gave out, in return for the love-light, Their odorous souls in an ecstatic death - Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses That smiled and died in the parterre, enchanted By thee, and by the poetry of thy presence. Clad all in white, upon a violet bank I saw thee half reclining; while the moon Fell upon the upturn'd faces of the roses, And on thine own, upturn'd - alas, in sorrow! Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight - Was it not Fate, (whose name is also Sorrow, ) That bade me pause before that garden-gate, To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses? No footsteps stirred: the hated world all slept, Save only thee and me. (Oh, Heaven! - oh, G! How my heart beats in coupling those two words!) Save only thee and me. I paused - I looked - And in an instant all things disappeared. (Ah, bear in mind the garden was enchanted!) The pearly lustre of the moon went out: The mossy banks and the meandering paths, The happy flowers and the repining trees, Were seen no more: the very roses' odors Died in the arms of the adoring airs. All - all expired save thee - save less than thou: Save only divine light in thine eyes - Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes. I saw but them - they were the world to me. I saw but them - saw only them for hours - Saw only them until the moon went down. What wild heart-histories seemed to lie enwritten Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres! How dark a wo! yet how sublime a hope! How silently serene a sea of pride! How daring an ambition! yet how deep - How fathomless a capacity for love! But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight, Into a western couch of thunder-cloud; And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees Didst glide away. Only thine eyes remained. They would not go - they never yet have gone. Lighting my lonely pathway home that night, They have not left me (as my hopes have) since. They follow me - they lead me through the years. They are my ministers - yet I their slave. Their office is to illumine and enkindle - My duty, to be saved by their bright fire, And purified in their electric fire, And sanctified in their elysian fire. They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope, ) And are far up in Heaven - the stars I kneel to In the sad, silent watches of my night; While even in the meridian glare of day I see them still - two sweetly scintillant Venuses, unextinguished by the sun!
Edgar Allan Poe
To Helen I saw thee once-once only-years ago; I must not say how many-but not many. It was a july midnight; and from out A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring, Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven, There fell a silvery-silken veil of light, With quietude, and sultriness, and slumber Upon the upturn'd faces of a thousand Roses that grew in an enchanted garden, Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe- Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses That gave out, in return for the love-light Thier odorous souls in an ecstatic death- Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses That smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted by thee, by the poetry of thy prescence. Clad all in white, upon a violet bank I saw thee half reclining; while the moon Fell on the upturn'd faces of the roses And on thine own, upturn'd-alas, in sorrow! Was it not Fate that, on this july midnight- Was it not Fate (whose name is also sorrow) That bade me pause before that garden-gate, To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses? No footstep stirred; the hated world all slept, Save only thee and me. (Oh Heaven- oh, God! How my heart beats in coupling those two worlds!) Save only thee and me. I paused- I looked- And in an instant all things disappeared. (Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted!) The pearly lustre of the moon went out; The mossy banks and the meandering paths, The happy flowers and the repining trees, Were seen no more: the very roses' odors Died in the arms of the adoring airs. All- all expired save thee- save less than thou: Save only the divine light in thine eyes- Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes. I saw but them- they were the world to me. I saw but them- saw only them for hours- Saw only them until the moon went down. What wild heart-histories seemed to lie enwritten Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres! How dark a woe! yet how sublime a hope! How silently serene a sea of pride! How daring an ambition!yet how deep- How fathomless a capacity for love! But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight, Into western couch of thunder-cloud; And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees Didst glide away. Only thine eyes remained. They would not go- they never yet have gone. Lighting my lonely pathway home that night, They have not left me (as my hopes have) since. They follow me- they lead me through the years. They are my ministers- yet I thier slave Thier office is to illumine and enkindle- My duty, to be saved by thier bright light, And purified in thier electric fire, And sanctified in thier Elysian fire. They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope), And are far up in heaven- the stars I kneel to In the sad, silent watches of my night; While even in the meridian glare of day I see them still- two sweetly scintillant Venuses, unextinguished by the sun!
Edgar Allan Poe