Thursday, May 7, 2009

My favorite quotes:

“Life is not what you have or what you can keep. It is what you can bear to lose.”

Sarah’s father describes to her how the English scare away the crows from their fields, and compares that to their courts:
“They put pikes all round the perimeter of a field. The pikes are sharpened to a razor’s point. And on every pike, pierced through the breast, is a blackbird. Some yet live and flapping. The crows don’t like it. And as long as any part of the blackbirds cling to the poles the corn stays whole. That’s the English way.”
“It’s how the English run their courts. They sacrifice innocents, thinking to keep evil at bay, and call it a kind of justice. But they are no more just than this pole is a man.”

“I told him I would rather die than wind my days out only plowing and dusting clay off my shoes. Then he said if I were to die, a piece of him would die, too. He said I had to find one thing living that was greater than myself to cleave to, and in that would be my strength for walking upright like a man. A long time ago he was in despair and had sunk so low as to die from it. But he found Mother, and it was her that brought a quickening back to his living. I thought long on what he had said. And d’ye know what I told him, Sarah? I told him it was you. It’s you who are my strength.”

“I understood at that moment fully and suddenly why he would not carry me, and why he had not come to my defense in times past when I was battling for my place in the world. It was not because he failed to love me, but because he loved me so well. He had brought us food and clothing and kind words when we were imprisoned; he did not abandon us. But he would never seek to weaken me so that I could not withstand the burdens and cruelties or harsh judgments of the world. An infant must learn to walk only by cutting his lip on the harsh ground. Only by tasting blood is the toddler discouraged from falling.”


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