And the reason I am writing this
on the back of a manila envelope
now that they have left the train together
is to tell you that when she turned
to lift the large, delicate cello
onto the overhead rack,
I saw him looking up at her
and what she was doing
the way the eyes of saints are painted
when they are looking up at God
when he is doing something remarkable,
something that identifies him as God.
— Billy Collins, from “Love
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
— Thomas Hardy, from “The Darkling Thrush”
[Lines of grey, muttering faces, masked with fear,
They leave their trenches, going over the top,
While time ticks blank and busy on their wrists,
And hope, with furtive eyes and grappling fists,
Flounders in mud.] O Jesus, make it stop!
— Siegfried Sassoon, from “Attack”
[I want it that way, friend -
I am going far away alone, neither with you nor with any other shadow in the darkness.] Only I will be engulfed by the darkness; the world will belong to me, myself, wholly.
— Lu Xun, from “The Shadow’s Farewell” translated by Huiwen (Helen) Zhang (submitted by Huiwen Zhang