Monday, July 20, 2009

On the power of fine words and fine literature~

"Best to say we weren't a true literary society at first. Aside from Elizabeth, Mrs. Maugery, and perhaps Booker, most of us hadn't had much to do with books since our school years. We took them from Mrs. Maugery's shelves fearful we'd spoil the fine papers. I had no zest for such matters in those days. It was only by fixing my mind on the Commandant and jail that I could make myself to left of the covers of the book and begin.

It was Selections from Shakespeare. Later, I came to see that Mr. Dickens and Mr. Wordsworth were thinking of men like me when they wrote their words. But most of all, I believe that William Shakespeare was. Mind you, I cannot always make sense of what he says, but it will come.

It seems to me the less he said, the more beauty he made. Do you know what sentence of his I admire most? it is 'The bright day is done, and we are for the dark.'

I wish I'd known those words on the day I watched those German troops land, plane-load after plane-load of them--and come off ships down in the harbor! All I could think of was damn them, damn them, over and over. If I could have thought the words "the bright day is done and we are for the dark," I'd have been consoled somehow and ready to go out and contend with circumstance--instead of my heart sinking to my shoes."

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society


Jenny said...

Glad you got around to this one; it's a great read.


desert mom said...

I'm pretty sure it was on your recommendation that I bought this book, Jenny. L. brought it at Christmastime and I am just now having time to read it! Thanks! I also sent it to my mom for Mother's Day and she loved it; in fact, her book club recently read it. I'm just about half way through, myself. I loved this quote and subjected my family to it : )