Tag Archives: Marcel Proust quotes

Gratitude blooms

Lotus 
 
 
 
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”
 
– Albert Schweitzer
 
 
 
 
“Skin had hope, that’s what skin does.
Heals over the scarred place, makes a road.
Love means you breathe in two countries.
And skin remembers – silk, spiny grass,
deep in the pocket that is skin’s secret own.
Even now, when skin is not alone,
it remembers being alone and thanks something larger
that there are travelers, that people go places
larger than themselves.”
 
– Naomi Shihab Nye, from ‘Two Countries’
 
 
 
 
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

– Marcel Proust
 
  
 
 
“You can have the other words – chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly but I’ll take it.”
 
– Mary Oliver
 
 
 
 
“Give praise with the sound of the milk-train far away
With its mutter of wheels and long-drawn-out sweet whistle
As it speeds through the fields of sleep at three in the morning,
Give praise with the immense and peaceful sigh
Of the wind in the pinewoods,
At night give praise with starry silences.
 
Give praise with the skirling of seagulls
And the rattle and flap of sails
And gongs of buoys rocked by the sea-swell
Out in the shipping-lanes beyond the harbor.
Give praise with the humpback whales,
Huge in the ocean they sing to one another.
 
Give praise with the rasp and sizzle of crickets,
          katydids and cicadas,
Give praise with hum of bees,
Give praise with the little peepers who live near water.
When they fill the marsh with a shimmer of bell-like cries
We know that the winter is over.
 
Give praise with mockingbirds, day’s nightingales.
Hour by hour they sing in the crepe myrtle
And glossy tulip trees
On quiet side streets in southern towns.”
 
– Anne Porter, from ‘A List of Praises’
 
 
  
 
“Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.”
 
– John Henry Jowett
 
 
 
 
“One regret dear world, that I am determined not to have when
I am lying on my deathbed is that I did not kiss you enough.”
 
– Hafiz of Persia
 
 
 
 
“Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled –
to cast aside the weight of facts
 
and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.”
 
– Mary Oliver, from ‘The Ponds’
 
 
 
 
“Praise the bridge that carried you over.”
 
– George Colman
 
 
 
 
“over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you
 
with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is”

– W S Merwin, from ‘Thanks’
 
 
 
 
Lotus.2

Childhood Reading

Illustration: Jessie Willcox Smith

  
 
“Remember the feeling when turning the page was almost too much to bear? As adults grown weary of clichés and redesigned storylines, we too easily forget the initial jolt, the power, almost drug-like, of those first readings, when imagination flared up and seemed capable of consuming us.”
  
– Roger McGough in The Pleasure of Reading,
  edited by Antonia Fraser (Bloomsbury, 1992)
     
  
 
“What I sought in books was imagination. It was depth, depth of thought and feeling; some sort of extreme of subject matter; some nearness to death; some call to courage. I myself was getting wild; I wanted wildness, originality, genius, rapture, hope. I wanted strength, not tea parties. What I sought in books was a world whose surfaces, whose people and events and days lived, actually matched the exaltation of the interior life. There you could live.”
  
– Annie Dillard, An American Childhood (Harper and Row, 1986)
   
  
 
“The first book I ever treasured was a cloth book, a children’s book perhaps, and though I have no memory of the story I do think of it as something sacred … Words were talismanic, transfiguring, making everything clearer, and at the same time more complex. Words were the sluice gates to the mind and to the emotions. Reading for me, then as now, is not a pleasure, but something far more visceral, a brush with terror.”
 
– Edna O’Brien in The Pleasure of Reading, edited by Antonia Fraser
   (Bloomsbury, 1992)
 
 
 
“At any moment the impulse might seize me; and then, if the book was in reach, I had only to walk the floor, turning the pages as I walked, to be swept off full sail on the sea of dreams.”
 
– Edith Wharton, A Backward Glance: An Autobiography
   
(Simon and Schuster, 1998)
 
 

“I lay voluptuously on my stomach on the big bed, blissfully alone, and I felt a thrill which has never left me as I realised that the words coming magically from my lips were mine to say or not say, read or not. It was one of the peaks of my whole life. Slowly my eyes rode across the lines of print, and the New World smiled. It was mine, not something to beg for, book in hand, from anyone who could read when I could not. The door opened, and without hesitation I walked through.”
 
– M F K Fisher, Among Friends (Shoemaker & Hoard, 2004)
   
  
 
“No days, perhaps, of all our childhood are ever so fully lived as those that we had regarded as not being lived at all: days spent wholly with a favourite book. Everything that seemed to fill them full for others we pushed aside, because it stood between us and the pleasures of the Gods.”
 
– Marcel Proust, A Selection of His Miscellaneous Writings,
   translated by Gerard Hopkins (A Wingate, 1948)
 
 
 
“Books provide the most helpful of road maps for (an) inner journey. They show us the tracks of fellow travellers, footprints left by earlier pilgrims who have trod the path that stretches before us. Their luminosity helps to light our way. As we read we realize that we are not alone.”
 
– Terry W Glaspey, Books and Reading: A Book of Quotations,
   edited by Bill Bradfield (Dover, 2002)
 
 
 
“In my own story books, before I could read them for myself, I fell in love with various winding, enchanting-looking initials drawn by Walter Crane at the heads of fairy tales. In “Once upon a time,” an “O” had a rabbit running it as a treadmill, his feet upon flowers. When the day came, years later, for me to see the Book of Kells, all the wizardry of letter, initial, and word swept over me a thousand times over, and the illumination, the gold, seemed a part of the word’s beauty and holiness that had been there from the start.”
  
– Eudora Welty, One Writer’s Beginnings
  
(Harvard University Press, 1984)
  
  
 
“I love to feel a book’s weight in the hand, sniff the faintly acrid scent of old paper … The rough or smooth texture of a cloth cover, the incised, elaborate decoration of the Andrew Lang fairy books, green, blue, purple, grey and crimson, were an excitement in themselves.”
 
– Catherine Peters in A Passion for Books, edited by Dale Salwak
   (St Martin’s, 1999)
 
 
 
“As I grew older, the images of bleak yet rapturous imposture – particularly in fairy tales – aroused an inescapable sensation of wanting to write. Princesses turned into mute swans, princes into beasts. Think of the eerie lure of the Pied Piper! I began to pursue that truly voluptuous sensation in middle childhood.”
 
– Cynthia Ozick in The Book That Changed My Life,
  edited by Diane Osen (Modern Library, 2002)
 
 

Illustration: Jessie Willcox Smith

Taste and Smell

   
   
“But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.”
   
– Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past (Volume 1)