Evening

Here dies another day
During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
And the great world round me;
And with tomorrow begins another.
Why am I allowed two?

The Notebook.

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Published in: on June 26, 2013 at 8:36 pm  Comments (1)  

“Solid blocks of fidelity”

The tyrant must find not one family but many families defying his power; he must find mankind not a dust of atoms, but fixed in solid blocks of fidelity. And those human groups must support not only themselves but each other. In this sense what some call individualism is as corporate as communism. It is a thing of volunteers; but volunteers must be soldiers. It is a defence of private persons; but we might say that the private persons must be private soldiers. The family must be recognised as well as real; above all, the family must be recognised by the families. To expect individuals to suffer successfully for a home apart from the home, that is for something which is an incident but not an institution, is really a confusion between two ideas; it is a verbal sophistry almost in the nature of a pun. Similarly, for instance, we cannot prove the moral force of a peasantry by pointing to one peasant; we might almost as well reveal the military force of infantry by pointing to one infant.

— The Superstition of Divorce (1920).

Published in: on June 19, 2013 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Wine and Water

Old Noah he had an ostrich farm and
\, \,  \,  fowls on the largest scale,
He ate his egg with a ladle
\,  \,  \, in a egg-cup big as a pail,
And the soup he took was Elephant Soup
\,  \,  \, and fish he took was Whale,
But they all were small to the cellar he
\,  \,  \, took when he set out to sail,
And Noah he often said to his wife when
\,  \,  \, he sat down to dine,
“I don’t care where the water goes if it
\,  \,  \, doesn’t get into the wine.”

The cataract of the cliff of heaven fell
\,  \,  \, blinding off the brink
As if it would wash the stars away as suds
\, \,  \, go down a sink,
The seven heavens came roaring down for
\,  \,  \, the throats of hell to drink,
And Noah he cocked his eye and said,
\,  \,  \, “It looks like rain, I think.
The water has drowned the Matterhorn
\,  \,  \, as deep as a Mendip mine,
But I don’t care where the water goes if it
\,  \,  \, doesn’t get into the wine.”

But Noah he sinned, and we have sinned;
\,  \,  \, on tipsy feet we trod,
Till a great big black teetotaller was sent
\,  \,  \, to us for a rod,
And you can’t get wine at a P. S. A., or
\,  \,  \, chapel, or Eisteddfod,
For the Curse of Water has come again
\,  \,  \, because of the wrath of God,
And water is on the Bishop’s board and
\,  \,  \, the Higher Thinker’s shrine,
But I don’t care where the water goes if it
\,  \,  \, doesn’t get into the wine.

The Flying Inn (1914).

Published in: on June 12, 2013 at 8:29 am  Leave a Comment  

“A city swept by a pestilence”

The newspapers are full of an astonishing hilarity about the rapidity with which hundreds or thousands of human families are being broken up by the lawyers; and about the undisguised haste of the “hustling judges” who carry on the work. It is a form of hilarity which would seem to recall the gaiety of a grave-digger in a city swept by a pestilence. But a few details occasionally flash by in the happy dance; from time to time the court is moved by a momentary curiosity about the causes of the general violation of oaths and promises; as if there might, here and there, be a hint of some sort of reason for ruining the fundamental institution of society. And nobody who notes those details, or considers those faint hints of reason, can doubt for a moment that masses of these men and women are now simply using divorce in the spirit of free-love. They are very seldom the sort of people who have once fallen tragically into the wrong place, and have now found their way triumphantly to the right place. They are almost always people who are obviously wandering from one place to another, and will probably leave their last shelter exactly as they have left their first. But it seems to amuse them to make again, if possible in a church, a promise they have already broken in practice and almost avowedly disbelieve in principle.

— The Superstition of Divorce (1920).

Published in: on June 5, 2013 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment