"Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome. . .

Give me your tired, your poor

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

-Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus

History and Poetry

Mr. Antolini to Holden in The Catcher in the Rye:

“Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them--if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry."

"Once created, the technique could be used over

and over again, on any number of devices. In the

physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master

key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks..."

-Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, from their Motion to Vacate

"Lust, that state commonly known as

'being in love,' is a kind of madness.

It is a distortion of reality so remarkable

that it should, by rights, enable most of us

to understand the other forms of lunacy

with the sympathy of fellow-sufferers."

-Julian Fellowes

"Be daring, be different, be impractical,

be anything that will assert integrity of

purpose and imaginative vision against

the play-it-safers, the creatures of the

commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary."


-Cecil Beaton

Inspiring words for today, a day when I actually want
to be nothing more than a commonplace play-it-safer.
 

In Light of What We Know

From Zia Haider Rahman's In Light of What We Know, a book I can't wait to start reading:

"Even knowledge itself, the novel’s narrator suggests in the book’s final, and distinctly religious, peroration, functioned as a kind of metaphor for Zafar: it was his attempt to find a home. He acquired knowledge—so much of it, and so greedily—not to “ ‘better himself,’ as the expression goes,” but in order to lay ground for his feet to stand upon; in order, that is, to go home, somewhere, and take root. I believe that he had failed in this mission and had come to see, as he himself said in so many words, that understanding is not what this life has given us, that answers can only beget questions, that honesty commands a declaration not of faith but of ignorance, and that the only mission available to us, one laid to our charge, if any hand was in it, is to let unfold the questions, to take to the river knowing not if it runs to the sea, and accept our place as servants of life."

"Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,

But to be young was very heaven!--Oh! times,

In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways

Of custom, law, and statute, took at once

The attraction of a country in romance!"

-William Wordsworth

"To love. To be loved. To never forget

your own insignificance. To never get used

to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar

disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the

saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair.

To never simplify what is complicated or

complicate what is simple. To respect strength,

never power. Above all, to watch. To try

and understand. To never look away.

And never, never to forget."

-Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living