The Words Loved

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?

They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?

J.R.R. Tolkien — from “The Lord of the Rings”

The words loved me before I loved the words.
These architectures, perfect in their sound,
I dwelled within and walked upon, among –
Before their written images I’d found.

For love, all love, is music at its heart;
We hear before our eyes first feel the light,
Then feel the phrase that shivers, or that calms,
And find a world inside the thing said right.

My mother’s voice it was that read to me,
Or spoke but soft old words of poetry.
The words had sheltered her within her youth:
A beauty true, and so much more than truth.

Our suns must set, our lives at last be hid –
The words loved me, as she who spoke them did

I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day,
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!

I remember, I remember,
The roses, red and white,
The vi’lets, and the lily-cups,
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday,—
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember,
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow!

I remember, I remember,
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now ’tis little joy
To know I’m farther off from heav’n
Than when I was a boy.

Thomas Hood — “I Remember, I Remember”

“Only In Sleep” by Sara Teasdale and Ēriks Ešenvalds

Only in sleep I see their faces,
Children I played with when I was a child,
Louise comes back with her brown hair braided,
Annie with ringlets warm and wild.

Only in sleep Time is forgotten—
What may have come to them, who can know?
Yet we played last night as long ago,
And the doll-house stood at the turn of the stair.

The years had not sharpened their smooth round faces,
I met their eyes and found them mild—
Do they, too, dream of me, I wonder,
And for them am I too a child?

— Sara Teasdale

Excerpt from “Politics and The English Language” by George Orwell

… Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead to. This time it must of its nature be an imaginary one. I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Here it is in modern English:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

This is a parody, but not a very gross one…

Vitae Summa Brevis by Ernest Dowson

“The brief sum of life forbids us the hope of enduring long.”


They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

Favorite Movie Quotes – Nicholas Nickleby

In every life, no matter how full or empty one’s purse, there is tragedy. It is the one promise life always fulfills. Thus, happiness is a gift, and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes, and to add to other people’s store of it.

What happens if, too early, we lose a parent, that party on whom we rely for only — everything? What did these people do when their families shrank? They cried their tears, but then they did the vital thing. They built a new family, person by person. They came to see that family need not be defined merely as those with whom they share blood, but as those for whom they would give their blood.

– Douglas McGrath, “Nicholas Nickleby”

Some Days, Some Songs…

… just seem appropriate.  Today, as I’m driving back from Florida, it’s this song.

Holding back the years
Thinking of the fear I’ve had so long
When somebody hears
Listen to the fear that’s gone
Strangled by the wishes of pater
Hoping for the arms of mater
Get to me the sooner or later

Holding back the years
Chance for me to escape from all I’ve known
Holding back the tears
Cause nothing here has grown
I’ve wasted all my tears
Wasted all those years
And nothing had the chance to be good
Nothing ever could yeah

I’ll keep holding on
I’ll keep holding on
I’ll keep holding on
I’ll keep holding on
So tight

I’ve wasted all my tears
Wasted all of those years
And nothing had the chance to be good
Cause nothing ever could oh yeah

I’ll keep holding on
I’ll keep holding on
I’ll keep holding on
I’ll keep holding on
Holding, holding, holding

That’s all I have today
It’s all I have to say


Misery thrives in ev’ry clime,

Though we try not to feed it;

We can’t say just what humor is,

We only know

We need it

“Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.” – E.B.White – A Subtreasury of American Humor (1941).

(… a Daily Prompt prompted post …)

Another Brief Diatribe on Internet Quotes


I think of what we call “a quote”
And what are it’s component parts
That make it what it is

One: someone thinks some kind of thought
Two: they put it into words
Three: we then repeat it back

Yet oddly, on the Internet
So many quotes presented here
Lack one or more of these attributes

Most commonly, they never said or wrote
What we contend they did
These are “false attributions”

Or we repeat back what they said
But change it in the telling
These are called “misquotes”

Or even that they said something
But weren’t the ones who thought it up
Like actors reading lines

A quote is something someone thought up
Said or wrote, repeated back
If one or more of these things we lack
It’s not that person’s freaking quote

And yes – I’m guilty of it, too
And you can quote me on that