George Mallory, for instance, did an inexplicable climb on Snowdon once. He had left his pipe on a ledge half-way down one of the precipices and scrambled back by a short cut to retrieve it, then up again by the same way. No one saw just how he did the climb, but when they came to examine it the next day for official record, they found that it was an impossible overhang nearly all the way. The rule of the Climbers’ Club was that climbs should not be called after their inventors, but after natural features. An exception was made in this case; the climb was recorded something like this: ‘Mallory’s Pipe, a variation on Route 2; see adjoining map. This climb is totally impossible. It has been performed once, in failing light, by Mr. G. H. L. Mallory.’

- Robert Graves

"I met ten of them in the middle of the night in Derry," he said. "They were working-class lads and I told them that they needed to renounce violence. I said the only way of solving problems is by dialogue, not by shooting each other, but all they wanted to talk about was United and Celtic."

- Paddy Crerand (footballer, who tried to broker a peace deal with the IRA)

But finally here I am, having insensibly reverted to the point I desired, for, since it is now manifest to me that even bodies are not properly speaking known by the senses or by the faculty of imagination, but by the understanding only, and since they are not known from the fact that they are seen or touched, but only because they are understood, I see clearly that there is nothing which is easier for me to know than my mind. But because it is difficult to rid oneself so promptly of an opinion to which one was accustomed for so long, it will be well that I should halt a little at this point, so that by the length of my meditation I may more deeply imprint on my memory this new knowledge.

- Rene Descartes

I fly, my dust will be what I am.

- Hafiz

If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood, and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

- Gerard Manly Hopkins

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.

- William Shakespeare

At our table we were joined by Alexander Korneichuk, the ranking Ukrainian playwright, a man of great charm and humor. He and Poltarazki began to tell old Ukrainian sayings, and the Ukrainians are famous for them. Almost our favorite is "The best bird is the sausage." And then Korneichuk told a saying which I had always believed was native to California. It is the description by a heavy eater concerning the nature of the turkey, in which he says, "The turkey is a very unsatisfactory bird, it is a little too much for one, and not quite enough for two." Apparently the Ukrainians have been saying it for hundreds of years, and I thought it was invented in my home town.

They taught us a toast in Ukrainian which we like: "Let us drink to make people at home happy." And they toasted again to peace, always to peace. Both of these men had been soldiers, and both of them had been wounded, and they drank to peace.


With the soft music, the lights, and the peaceful river below, our friends again began to speak of the war, as though it were a haunting thing they could never get very far from. They spoke of the dreadful cold, before Stalingrad, where they had lain in the snow and had not known how it would come out. They spoke of horrible things they could not forget. Of how a man had warmed his hands in the blood of a newly dead friend, so that he could pull the trigger of his gun.

- John Steinbeck

The cranes were already distant, and because of the wind the triangle was turning into a circle. When cranes descend to rest, they set sentinels to watch over the sleeping flock, and these stand upright only on one leg, holding on their raised foot a stone, so that if sleep strikes, the stone will fall to the ground and the noise will wake them . . . . Is it possible, I thought, that someone would eat them?


Crows appear in the first Russian literary document: "Song of the Campaign of Igor." According to Hesiod, they live nine times as long as man, and ravens even longer. "Crows, numberless as flies," says Gogol. They are everywhere: on city sidewalks, in gardens, in the yellow fields of rye, in the sky, in the forests.

- Aldo Buzzi

Stars fade like memory the instant before dawn. Low in the east the sun appears, golden as an opening eye. That which can be named must exist. That which is named can be written. That which is written shall be remembered. That which is remembered lives. In the land of Egypt Osiris breathes ...

- The Egyptian Book of the Dead


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