Thursday, June 22, 2006

Quotes from Nectar in a Sieve

Anyway, here's a sample: (it doesn't do it justice, being taken out of context of the story).

"What do I remember? Every word, every detail. I remember walking along the wet deserted street by the wall of the temple; I remember looking up for the flare that had ever burnt on the top of the temple, and it was quenched; and the black demons of fear came shrieking at my ear and would not be silenced, for all that I repeated like a madwoman, 'Fire cannot burn in water.' I saw the faces of men who were not there and of children from whom the life had been filched, and yet it was black night, blacker than black since the stars were hidden."

And here's another:

"A dozen or more children were playing there, dodging in and out of the traffic with a skill and indifference which I could not help admiring. For all their play they looked as if they had never eaten a full meal in all their lives, with their ribs thrust out and bellies full-blown like drums with wind and emptiness; and they were also extremely dirty with the dust of the roadside and the filth deposited upon it; and the running sores many of them had upon their bodies were clogged with mud where blood or pus had exuded. But they themsleves were forgetful of their pains - or patient with them...and played naked and merry in the sun. Merry, that is, until a crust of bread fell on the road...when, all childishness lost, all play forgotten, they fought ferociously in the dust for the food...teeth bared, nails clawing, ready, predatory like animals. But when a man of wealth passed they were as tender and pitiful as fledglings, beseeching with soft open mouths and limpid eyes, their begging bowls meekly held before them and altogether changed...and however much they played and were children, still their faces were scored with the knowledge and cares that children should not have, their eyes were knowing and guileful beyond their years."

And last:

"His words pierced me, hardened though I was, realist as I wished to be.

'Do not say these things,' I said. 'I cannot bear to hear them.'

'They are true.'

'Whether they are true or not,' I cried, 'I will not have you saying them.'

'I would not distress you,' Nathan said quietly, 'yet must we not face the truth so that we can make our decisions? Have I told you anything you do not know yourself?'

No, I thought desolately, but I could not say it. Could not. I closed my eyes and felt his hands on my temples where the pulses beat, gently stroking, soothing me in the only way he could. He suffered for me, not so much for himself, and I likewise, so that although together there was more strength there was also more suffering, and if each had been alone the way might not have seemed so hard; yet I knew neither could have borne it alone. Thus confused, my mind turned this way and that, like a paper kite dipping to every current of air, unsure of its own meanings."


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