“I say no wealth is worth my life! Not all they claim
was stored in the depths of Troy, that city built on riches,
in the old days of peace before the sons of Achaea came-
not all the gold held fast in the Archer's rocky vaults,
in Phoebus Apollo's house on Pytho's sheer cliffs!
Cattle and fat sheep can all be had for the raiding,
tripods all for the trading, and tawny-headed stallions.
But a man's life breath cannot come back again-
no raiders in force, no trading brings it back,
once it slips through a man's clenched teeth.
Mother tells me,
the immortal goddess Thetis with her glistening feet,
that two fates bear me on to the day of death.
If I hold out here and I lay siege to Troy,
my journey home is gone, but my glory never dies.
If I voyage back to the fatherland I love,
my pride, my glory dies...
true, but the life that's left me will be long,
the stroke of death will not come on me quickly.”
― Homer, The Iliad
“But it is only what happens, when they die, to all mortals.
The sinews no longer hold the flesh and the bones together,
and once the spirit has let the white bones, all the rest
of the body is made subject to the fire's strong fury,
but the soul flitters out like a dream and flies away.”
― Homer, The Odyssey
“These nights are endless, and a man can sleep through them,
or he can enjoy listening to stories, and you have no need
to go to bed before it is time. Too much sleep is only
a bore. And of the others, any one whose heart and spirit
urge him can go outside and sleep, and then, when the dawn shows,
breakfast first, then go out to tend the swine of our master.
But we two, sitting here in the shelter, eating and drinking,
shall entertain each other remembering and retelling
our sad sorrows. For afterwards a man who has suffered
much and wandered much has pleasure out of his sorrows.”
“Yea, and if some god shall wreck me in the wine-dark deep,
even so I will endure…
For already have I suffered full much,
and much have I toiled in perils of waves and war.
Let this be added to the tale of those.”
― Homer, The Odyssey
“Perhaps your hunger to belong is always active and intense because you belonged so totally before you came here. This hunger to belong is the echo and reverberation of your invisible heritage. You are from somewhere else, where you were known, embraced and sheltered. This is also the secret root from which all longing grows. Something in you knows, perhaps remembers, that eternal belonging liberates longing into its surest and most potent creativity. This is why your longing is often wiser than your conventional sense of appropriateness, safety and truth... Your longing desires to take you towards the absolute realization of all the possibilities that sleep in the clay of your heart; it knows your eternal potential, and it will not rest until it is awakened.”
― John O'Donohue, Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong
“The mockingbird took a single step into the air and dropped. His wings were still folded against his sides as though he were singing from a limb and not falling, accelerating thirty-two feet per second per second, through empty air. Just a breath before he would have been dashed to the ground, he unfurled his wings with exact, deliberate care, revealing the broad bars of white, spread his elegant, white-banded tail, and so floated onto the grass. I had just rounded a corner when his incouciant step caught my eye; there was no one else in sight. The fact of his free fall was like the old philosophical conundrum about the tree that falls in the forest. The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” - Annie Dillard
"The windows showed erratically spots of burning fire, the elbow of one branch, and then some tranquil space of pure clarity. The blind hung red at the window’s edge and within the room daggers of light fell upon chairs and tables making cracks across the lacquer and polish. The green pot bulged enormously, with its white window elongated in its side. Light driving darkness before it spilt itself profusely upon the corners and bosses; and yet heaped up darkness in mounds of unmoulded shape."
"'Unfortunately I cannot show it to you,' replied the master, 'because I burned it in my stove.'
'I'm sorry but I don't believe you,' said Woland. 'You can't have done. Manuscripts don't burn.'" - Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita
“I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them...” - Annie Dillard