The OF Blog: What I am reading now

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

What I am reading now

Have fun guessing/looking these up:

Who dreamed that beauty passes like a dream?
For these red lips, with all their mournful pride,
Mournful that no new wonder may betide,
Troy passed away in one high funeral gleam,
And Usna's children died.

We and the labouring world are passing by:
Amid men's souls, that waver and give place
Like the pale waters in their wintry race,
Under the passing stars, foam of the sky,
Lives on this lonely face.

A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green.  The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight before reaching the narrow pool.  On one side of the river the golden foothill slopes curve up to the strong and rocky Gabilan mountains, but on the valley side the water is lined with trees - willows fresh and green with every spring, carrying in their lower leaf junctures the debris of the winter's flooding; and sycamores with mottled, white, recumbent limbs and branches that arch over the pool.  On the sandy bank under the trees the leaves lie deep and so crisp that a lizard makes a great skittering if he runs among them.  Rabbits come out of the brush to sit on the sand in the evening, and the damp flats are covered with the night tracks of 'coons, and with the spread pads of dogs from the ranches, and with the split-wedge tracks of deer that come to drink in the dark.

There is no man who has less business talking about memory.  For I recognize almost no trace of it in me, and I do not think there is another one in the world so monstrously deficient.  All my other faculties are low and common; but in this one I think I am singular and very rare, and thereby worthy of gaining a name and reputation.

Besides the natural inconvenience that I suffer by this - for certainly, in view of its necessity, Plato is right to call memory a great and powerful goddess - if in my part of the country they want to say that a man has no sense, they say he has no memory.  And when I complain of the defectiveness of mine, they argue with me and do not believe me, as if I were accusing myself of witlessness.  They see no distinction between memory and understanding.  This makes me look a lot worse than I am.

After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn't care no more about him, because I don't take no stock in dead people.

A quiet, good, sensible County Mouse once entertained an old playmate of his who had recently gone to the city to live.

Though his home was very modest and his life very ordinary, the Country Mouse had saved up in advance so that his dinner for his City Mouse friend would be a good one.  He had put away some very nice peas and bacon, a fine dish of oatmeal, a bit of cheese, and for dessert a tasty morsel of ripe apple.  When he and his friend sat down to nibble dinner, the Country Mouse  didn't eat any of this fine fare himself, but politely chewed away at an old wheat straw, so that the City friend would be sure to have enough.

Hope the pieces you did recognize (and those you didn't know or perhaps looked up to make sure) will encourage you to read or re-read the stories and poems from which these excerpts were taken.


James said...

That second excerpt...

I first read that book seven years ago, maybe a bit longer than that. Back then, in the midst of my high school days, when I had just stumbled across the fantasy genre and was only then getting back into reading often, I had hated the book. To me, and most of the students around me, no doubt, it was torture in the guise of education. But reading that now, all these years later, I am stunned. The imagery alone gives it a measure of beauty that I completely missed back then.


The first excerpt is making me want to read poetry. :( I don't wanna.

Lsrry said...

That's the beauty of re-reading when you've matured and have subconsciously processed what's taken place in those "hated reads" of yesteryear.

Some day soon, I'll try re-reading Member of the Wedding and The Mill on the River Floss. Those were my only two memorably hated reads in school.

Jason said...

Fun game, but, would have been more fun before Google quote-string searches....

Chad Hull said...

A couple of those felt familiar but not enough to venture a guess. I hope you'll post an answer key.

Lsrry said...

1) From Yeats' poetry.

2) Of Mice and Men

3) The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson

4) Montaigne's Essays

5) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

6) Aesop's Fables

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