First Sentence Friday

“When I look back upon my struggle with indigo, it appears in my consciousness as a dream.”

~ The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd


First Sentence Friday

“A sloping roof of cold, corrugated iron, above the sliding, brownish waters of the river Cherwell and beneath the stark boughs of a willow, might not appeal to a sane adult human being as an ideal resort at four o’clock on a gloomy January afternoon.”

~ Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay

Tuesday Poem

Europe: The 72nd and 73rd Years of These States  By Walt Whitman

(America’s most original and creative poet, 1819–1892; printer and journalist, during the war an army nurse, and later a government clerk, discharged for publishing what his superiors considered an “indecent” book. The European revolutions of 1848–49)

SUDDENLY out of its stale and drowsy lair, the lair of slaves,
Like lightning it le’pt forth half startled at itself,
Its feet upon the ashes and the rags, its hands tight to the throats of kings.

O hope and faith!
O aching close of exiled patriots’ lives!
O many a sicken’d heart!
Turn back unto this day, and make yourselves afresh.

And you, paid to defile the People! you liars, mark!
Not for numberless agonies, murders, lusts,
For court thieving in its manifold mean forms, worming from his simplicity the poor man’s wages,
For many a promise sworn by royal lips, and broken, and laugh’d at in the breaking,
Then in their power, not for all these, did the blows strike revenge, or the heads of the nobles fall;
The People scorn’d the ferocity of kings.

But the sweetness of mercy brew’d bitter destruction, and the frighten’d monarchs come back;
Each comes in state, with his train—hangman, priest, tax-gatherer,
Soldier, lawyer, lord, jailer, and sycophant.

Yet behind all, lowering, stealing—lo, a Shape,
Vague as the night, draped interminable, head, front, and form, in scarlet folds,
Whose face and eyes none may see,
Out of its robes only this—the red robes, lifted by the arm,
One finger, crook’d, pointed high over the top, like the head of a snake appears.

Meanwhile, corpses lie in new-made graves—bloody corpses of young men;
The rope of the gibbet hangs heavily, the bullets of princes are flying, the creatures of power laugh aloud,
And all these things bear fruits—and they are good.

Those corpses of young men,
Those martyrs that hang from the gibbets—those hearts pierc’d by the gray lead,
Cold and motionless as they seem, live elsewhere with unslaughter’d vitality.

They live in other young men, O kings!
They live in brothers again ready to defy you!
They were purified by death—they were taught and exalted.

Not a grave of the murder’d for freedom, but grows seed for freedom, in its turn to bear seed,
Which the winds carry afar and re-sow, and the rains and the snows nourish.

Not a disembodied spirit can the weapons of tyrants let loose,
But it stalks invisibly over the earth, whispering, counselling, cautioning.

Liberty! let others despair of you! I never despair of you.

Is the house shut? Is the master away?
Nevertheless, be ready—be not weary of watching;
He will return soon—his messengers come anon.



First Sentence Friday

“Shortly before 5 a.m., a party of eighteen men – most of them officers of the French army – claimed to the second floor of Saint-Lazare, the women’s prison in Paris.”

~ The Spy by Paulo Coelho

First Sentence Friday

“The Golem’s life began in the hold of a steamship.”

~ The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Tuesday Poem

Harlem Shadows by Claude McKay (1890–1948)

I HEAR the halting footsteps of a lass
In Negro Harlem when the night lets fall
Its veil. I see the shapes of girls who pass
Eager to heed desire’s insistent call:
Ah, little dark girls, who in slippered feet
Go prowling through the night from street to street.

Through the long night until the silver break
Of day the little gray feet know no rest,
Through the lone night until the last snow-flake
Has dropped from heaven upon the earth’s white breast,
The dusky, half-clad girls of tired feet
Are trudging, thinly shod, from street to street.

Ah, stern harsh world, that in the wretched way
Of poverty, dishonor and disgrace,
Has pushed the timid little feet of clay.
The sacred brown feet of my fallen race!
Ah, heart of me, the weary, weary feet
In Harlem wandering from street to street.



First Sentence Friday

“I’m the whirling dervish of Queens, spinning around and around, arms flapping, my father’s boxing gloves like cinder blocks strapped to my seven-year-old hands.”

~ The Clancys of Queens by Tara Clancy

First Sentence Friday

“The police decided to enter the flat, but rather than break down the door they called a locksmith, figuring that a few minutes either way were unlikely to make a difference.”

~ The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason