I recall certain moments, let us call them icebergs in paradise, when after having had my fill of her –after fabulous, insane exertions that left me limp and azure-barred–I would gather her in my arms with, at last, a mute moan of human tenderness (her skin glistening in the neon light coming from the paved court through the slits in the blind, her soot-black lashes matted, her grave gray eyes more vacant than ever–for all the world a little patient still in the confusion of a drug after a major operation)–and the tenderness would deepen to shame and despair, and I would lull and rock my lone light Lolita in my marble arms, and moan in her warm hair, and caress her at random and mutely ask her blessing, and at the peak of this human agonized selfless tenderness (with my soul actually hanging around her naked body and ready to repent), all at once, ironically, horribly, lust would swell again–and 'oh, no,' Lolita would say with a sigh to heaven, and the next moment the tenderness and the azure–all would be shattered.
The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.
We all have such fateful objects -- it may be a recurrent landscape in one case, a number in another -- carefully chosen by the gods to attract events of specific significance for us: here shall John always stumble; there shall Jane's heart always break.
We live in a stocking which is in the process of being turned inside out, without our ever knowing for sure to what phase of the process our moment of consciousness corresponds.
Why did I hope we would be happy abroad? A change of environment is that traditional fallacy upon which doomed loves, and lungs, rely.
The fame of his likes circulates briskly but soon grows heavy and stale, and as for history it will limit his life story to the dash between two dates.
Aunt Rosa, a fussy, angular, wild-eyed old lady, who had lived in a tremulous world of bad news, bankruptcies, train accidents, cancerous growths—until the Germans put her to death, together with all the people she had worried about.
while the scientist sees everything that happens in one point of space, the poet feels everything that happens in one point of time.
The kind of poem I produced in those days was hardly anything more than a sign I made of being alive, of passing or having passed, or hoping to pass, through certain intense human emotions. It was a phenomenon of orientation rather than of art, thus comparable to stripes of paint on a roadside rock or to a pillared heap of stones marking a mountain trail. But then, in a sense, all poetry is positional: to try to express one's position in regard to the universe embraced by consciousness, is an immemorial urge. Tentacles, not wings, are Apollo's natural members. Vivian Bloodmark, a philosophical friend of mine, in later years, used to say that while the scientist sees everything that happens in one point of space, the poet feels everything that happens in one point of time.
No jewels, save my eyes, do I own, but I have a rose which is even softer than my rosy lips. And a quiet youth said: 'There is nothing softer than your heart.' And I lowered my gaze...
- A sentyment staje się uciążliwy. W końcu jest coś nazbyt fizycznego w próbie zachowania cząstki dzieciństwa na swoim mostku. - Nie pan pierwszy sprowadza wiarę do zmysłu dotyku.
The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible
Literature was not born the day when a boy crying wolf, wolf came running out of the Neanderthal valley with a big gray wolf at his heels; literature was born on the day when a boy came crying wolf, wolf and there was no wolf behind him.
The good, the admirable reader identifies himself not with the boy or the girl in the book, but with the mind that conceived and composed that book.
The subject may be crude and repulsive. Its expression is artistically modulated and balanced. This is style. This is art. This is the only thing that really matters in books.
The pale organisms of literary heroes feeding under the author's supervision swell gradually with the reader's lifeblood; so that the genius of a writer consists in giving them the faculty to adapt themselves to that - not very appetizing - food and thrive on it, sometimes for centuries.
And speaking of this wonderful machine: I’m puzzled by the difference between, the kind Which goes on solely in the poet’s mind,A testing of performing words, while he,The other kind, much more decorous, whenHe’s in his study writing with a pen. In method B the hand supports the thought,The abstract battle is concretely fought.The pen stops in mid-air, then swoops to bar A canceled sunset or restore a star,And thus it physically guides the phraseToward faint daylight through the inky maze. is agony! The brainIs soon enclosed in a steel cap of pain.A muse in overalls directs the drill Which grinds and which no effort of the willCan interrupt, while the automatonIs taking off what he has just put on Or walking briskly to the corner store  To buy the paper he has read before.
I am looking at him, I am witnessing a unique physiological phenomenon: John Shade perceiving and transforming the world, taking it in and taking it apart, re-combining its elements in the very process of storing them up so as to produce at some unspecified date an organic miracle, a fusion of image and music, a line of verse.
Perhaps what matters is not the human pain or joy at all but, rather, the play of shadow and light on a live body, the harmony of trifles assembled...in a unique and inimitable way.
The village schoolmaster took us for instructive walks ('what you hear is the sound of a scythe being sharpened' ; 'that field there will be given a rest next season ';'oh, just a small bird...no special name '; 'if that peasant is drunk, it is because he is poor ') 71
I confess I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness―in a landscape selected at random―is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern―to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal.
A thousand years ago five minutes wereEqual to forty ounces of fine sand.Outstare the stars. Infinite foretime andInfinite aftertime: above your headThey close like giant wings, and you are dead.
Maybe the only thing that hints at a sense of Time is rhythm; not the recurrent beats of the rhythm but the gap between two such beats, the gray gap between black beats: the Tender Interval.
His life was a constant war with insensate objects that fell apart, or attacked him, or refused to function, or viciously got themselves lost as soon as they entered the sphere of his existence.
Literature, real literature, must not be gulped down like some potion which may be good for the heart or good for the brain — the brain, that stomach of the soul. Literature must be taken and broken to bits, pulled apart, squashed — then its lovely reek will be smelt in the hollow of the palm, it will be munched and rolled upon the tongue with relish; then, and only then, its rare flavor will be appreciated at its true worth and the broken and crushed parts will again come together in your mind and disclose the beauty of a unity to which you have contributed something of your own blood.
We are absurdly accustomed to the miracle of a few written signs being able to contain immortal imagery, involutions of thought, new worlds with live people, speaking, weeping, laughing. We take it for granted so simply that in a sense, by the very act of brutish routine acceptance, we undo the work of the ages, the history of the gradual elaboration of poetical description and construction, from the treeman to Browning, from the caveman to Keats. What if we awake one day, all of us, and find ourselves utterly unable to read? I wish you to gasp not only at what you read but at the miracle of its being readable.
We are liable to miss the best of life if we do not know how to tingle, if we do not learn to hoist ourselves just a little higher than we generally are in order to sample the rarest and ripest fruit of art which human thought has to offer.