First Sentence Friday

“As soon as I got home from school, Aunt Baba noticed the silver medal dangling from the left breast pocket of my uniform.”

~ Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mac

Advertisements

First Sentence Friday

“For something so unprecedented, so fraught with institutional risk, it was all handled with a minimum of fuss.”

~ House of Spies by Daniel Silva

Tuesday Poem

A Man’s a Man for a’ That  By Robert Burns

 

IS there, for honest poverty,
That hangs his head, and a’ that?
The coward slave, we pass him by,
We daur be puir, for a’ that!
For a’ that, and a’ that,
Our toils obscure and a’ that,
The rank is but the guinea’s stamp—
The man’s the gowd for a’ that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin-grey and a’ that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine—
A man’s a man for a’ that.
For a’ that, and a’ that,
Their tinsel show and a’ that,
The honest man, though e’er sae puir,
Is king o’ men for a’ that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca’ed a lord,
Wha struta, and stares, and a’ that;
Though hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a coof for a’ that:
For a’ that, and a’ that,
His riband, star, and a’ that;
The man of independent mind,
He looks and laughs at a’ that.

A king can make a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, and a’ that;
But an honest man’s aboon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa’ that!
For a’ that, and a’ that,
Their dignities and a’ that,
The pith o’ sense and pride o’ worth
Are higher rank than a’ that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a’ that)
That sense and worth, o’er a’ the earth,
May bear the gree and a’ that.
For a’ that, and a’ that—
It’s coming yet, for a’ that,
When man to man, the warld o’er,
Shall brithers be for a’ that.

from Bartleby.com

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.

 

from Bartleby.com

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