When it came night, the white waves paced to and fro in the moonlight, and the wind brought the sound of the great sea’s voice to the men on shore, and they felt that they could then be interpreters.
— Stephen Crane, from “The Open Boat”
But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.
— Ursula Le Guin, from “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”
I woke up into the bleak winter morning of my twenty-first birthday, the window-sill shining with its lip of snow, and the morning already begun.
— Delmore Schwartz, from “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities”
[In the desert, you see, there is everything and nothing.’
“‘Yes, but explain——’]
“‘Well,’ he said, with an impatient gesture, ‘God is there, man is not.’
— Honoré de Balzac, from “A Passion in the Desert”
I imagine warmth leaning against the door, and open the door to let it in; sunlight falls flat at my feet like a penitent.
— John Updike, from “Leaves”
Time for the shadows to lengthen on the grass, time for the tethered dog to bark at the flying ball, time for the boy in right field to smack his sweat-blackened mitt and softly chant, They is, they is, they is.
— Tobias Wolff, from
“Bullet in the Brain”, published in the collection The Night in Question