Lines We Love

Lines We Love is a recurring theme on the Stitching for Literacy blog. These are phrases, sentences, or paragraphs we happen upon while reading that give us pause, make us gasp with surprise or recognition, fill our minds with images and ideas. They are lines we want to share.

My friend, Shelly, is a Queen of Lines We Love. I’ve asked her to share some favorites and ones she happens upon during the Challenge. Feel free to share your own in the comments here–today or any day. Off-topic Lines We Love are welcome anytime.

I don’t recall where I first came across this gem, but it acts as a reminder in my frenetic life to take time to savor every day.

Sometimes Running

Sometimes running
to yes nothing and
too fast to look
where and at what
I stand and there
are trees sunning
themselves long a
brook going and
jays and jewelry
in all leafages
because I pause.

–John Ciardi

I find that, because I try to squeeze reading into whatever small moments of my daily activities that I can (I have been known to steal a few minutes to read at red lights), I sometimes need to remind myself to pause. But sometimes an author’s words do that for me. I cherish those times that the written word literally makes me stop, back up, reread, and then re-reread what is on the page. I LOVE THAT! Sometimes it’s because of the mastery of the writing. Sometimes it’s because the author has expressed in words an emotion, feeling, or thought in such a way that it’s exactly right. Here’s an example from Elizabeth Berg in Home Safe:

She fell asleep lying on top of her bedcovers, in her robe and slippers, her glasses on. When Dan was alive, he would find her like this sometimes, and he would gently remove her glasses, take off her slippers, and cover her with a quilt. Sometimes he awakened her with his ministrations, but she never let him know. She kept her eyes closed and waited for the little puff of air just before the quilt settled on her, waited for Dan’s lips to press lightly against her forehead. Sometimes after he did that he would stand watching her sleep; she could feel it. The next time Tessa asks her mother why in the world she should ever get married, Helen will answer by telling her that.

Oh, this one works for me, too, even though I know nothing of the story. It’s a cinnamon roll line: so tender and gooey I want to eat it up. What a wonderful description of the sweetness of marriage, and how revealing of the characters, Dan, Helen, and Tessa.

Does this passage resonate with you? Have you come across one in your reading that you’d like to share?

Categories: Reading

2 replies »

  1. The poem didn’t work for me when I read it on Friday afternoon, just after returning from work on the last day of a turbulent week. I understood what it was saying, could appreciate the sentiment and just wasn’t impressed. This morning, after an evening of craft planning and doing and a good nights’ sleep, I re-read it and was completely enchanted by it. The writing evokes the hurly burly that interferes with our appreciation of the moment. Great find, Shelly!