Thursday, March 19, 2009

Opening lines

"I often laughed in the middle of the night.

My bones whisper to my blood; my sleep deceives me.
This motion is larger than air; wider than water;
Fly, fly, spirit. A strange shape nestles in my nerves.
Whisper back to me, wit. I'm ready to be alive . . ."
(Straw for the Fire - from the notebooks of Theodore Roethke.)


"When I was young and longed to write, I was much in love with Henry D. Thoreau. I loved the plain declarative sentences and flat statement of belief from which he built his work: 'Surely joy is the condition of life.' 'We must look a long time before we can see.' 'What is time but the stuff delay is made of?'" (The Essays of Henry D. Thoreau, selected & edited by Lewis Hyde)


"The book had no cover. While sleeker volumes cowered inside their jackets, this one lifted its ragged spine to the sun, a winter sun of thin beams and few hours. A sun that sank red disc of hosannahs." (Art and Lies, by Jeanette Winterson)


"March 4. - This morning a bunch of sharp rays of light pierced my port as the sun rose over the icy stillness of the north. It was like a bundle of frosted silver wire, and it served well the purpose of an eye-opener. Sleep here is an inexpressible dream. It does not matter how difficult the work, or how great the anxiety, we sink easily into prolonged restful slumbers." (Through the first Antarctic night - 1900 - by Frederick A. Cook , from The Ends of the Earth, An anthology of the finest writing on the Arctic and Antarctic, edited by Francis Spufford.) 

"A great deal can be learned from the study of children's drawings. It is not the actual forms they draw... but their approach to nature and their purpose in drawing which is so instructive..." (Life Drawing, by P.F. Millard 1946.)


"I had thought, when I set out on my travels - when I first tumbled through that paintbox - that I would somehow find, in the original stories of colours, something pure. It was a naive Garden of Eden moment, and of course I forgot about the rainbow serpent that had to be there in order to make it a real paradise." (Colour - Travels through the paintbox, by Victoria Finlay.)


"Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water.
You are more than this white head that I hold rightly
as a bunch of flowers, every day between my hands."
(Selected Poems - Pablo Neruda.)

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic selection of beautiful quotes, Claire.