monstrous mystery

April 26, 2020

A woman’s body is a dark and monstrous mystery;
between her supple thighs a heavy whirlpool swirls,
two rivers crash, and woe to him who slips and falls!

Nikos Kazantzakis
The Odyssey : A Modern Sequel

mysterious island

March 23, 2020

The little island seemed to float on the dark lake-waters. Trees grew on it, and a little hill rose in the middle of it. It was a mysterious island, lonely and beautiful. All the children stood and gazed at it, loving it and longing to go to it. It looked so secret – almost magic.

“Well,” said Jack at last. “What do you think? Shall we run away, and live on the secret island?”

“Yes!” whispered all the children.

“Let’s!”

Enid Blyton
The Secret Island

not too many clues

February 23, 2020

I just have mysteries in all my books, I think, whether it’s a boy investigating or a girl. I have an enduring fascination with mysteries of all kinds. I used to read Agatha Christie books, stop halfway through the book and describe the plot, and my whole family would lay bets on who the murderer was, and the one who guessed right won the whole pot. I’m also a huge, huge fan of Dorothy L Sayers, but I never bet on her because my family would not listen to me raving about how dreamy her detective was and then add “Oh, I think the murder was done with arsenic?” Shame on you, little Sarah. Eye on the prize! It did really make me think about how to set up and pay out a satisfying mystery: enough but not too many clues, misdirection but not cheating. So in Team Human and the Demon’s Lexicon series as well, there were always mysteries and secrets, and personal drives to uncover them.

Sarah Rees Brennan
Interview with Liz Bourke, 9th October 2012

For Woman, in her weakness, is yet the strongest force upon the earth. She is the helm of all things human; she comes in many shapes and knocks at many doors; she is quick and patient, and her passion is not ungovernable like that of man, but as a gentle steed that she can guide e’en where she will, and as occasion offers can now bit up and now give rein. She has a captain’s eye, and stout must be that fortress of the heart in which she finds no place of vantage. Does thy blood beat fast in youth? She will outrun it, nor will her kisses tire. Art thou set toward ambition? She will unlock thy inner heart, and show thee roads that lead to glory. Art thou worn and weary? She has comfort in her breast. Art thou fallen? She can lift thee up, and to the illusion of thy sense gild defeat with triumph. Ay, Harmachis, she can do these things, for Nature ever fights upon her side; and while she does them she can deceive and shape a secret end in which thou hast no part. And thus Woman rules the world. For her are wars; for her men spend their strength in gathering gains; for her they do well and ill, and seek for greatness, to find oblivion. But still she sits like yonder Sphinx, and smiles; and no man has ever read all the riddle of her smile, or known all the mystery of her heart. Mock not! mock not! Harmachis; for he must be great indeed who can defy the power of Woman, which, pressing round him like the invisible air, is often strongest when the senses least discover it.

H. Rider Haggard
Cleopatra

For [Virginia] Woolf, getting lost was not a matter of geography so much as identity, a passionate desire, even an urgent need, to become no one and anyone, to shake off the shackles that remind you who you are, who others think you are. This dissolution of identity is familiar to travellers in foreign places and remote fastnesses, but Woolf, with her acute perception of the nuances of consciousness, could find it in a stroll down the street, a moment’s solitude in an armchair. Woolf was not a romantic, not a celebrant of that getting lost that is erotic love, in which the beloved becomes an invitation to become who you secretly, dormantly, like a locust underground waiting for the seventeen-year call, already are in hiding, that love for the other that is also a desire to reside in your own mystery in the mystery of others. Her getting lost was solitary, like Thoreau’s.

Rebecca Solnit
Open Door, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

i will wade out

June 22, 2019

i will wade out
till my thighs are steeped in burning flowers
I will take the sun in my mouth
and leap into the ripe air
Alive
with closed eyes
to dash against darkness
in the sleeping curves of my body
Shall enter fingers of smooth mastery
with chasteness of sea-girls
Will i complete the mystery
of my flesh
I will rise
After a thousand years
lipping
flowers
And set my teeth in the silver of the moon

e. e. cummings

My Proteins

April 2, 2019

They have discovered, they say,
the protein of itch —
natriuretic polypeptide b —
and that it travels its own distinct pathway
inside my spine.
As do pain, pleasure, and heat.

A body it seems is a highway,
a cloverleaf crossing
well built, well traversed.
Some of me going north, some going south.

Ninety percent of my cells, they have discovered,
are not my own person,
they are other beings inside me.

As ninety-six percent of my life is not my life.

Yet I, they say, am they —
my bacteria and yeasts,
my father and mother,
grandparents, lovers,
my drivers talking on cell phones,
my subways and bridges,
my thieves, my police
who chase my self night and day.

My proteins, apparently also me,
fold the shirts.

I find in this crowded metropolis
a quiet corner,
where I build of not-me Lego blocks
a bench,
pigeons, a sandwich
of rye bread, mustard, and cheese.

It is me and is not,
the hunger
that makes the sandwich good.

It is not me then is,
the sandwich —
a mystery neither of us
can fold, unfold, or consume.

Jane Hirshfield

The Encounter

November 6, 2018

enchanted by this strange proximity

Longing, and mystery, and delight…
as if from the swaying blackness
of some slow-motion masquerade
onto the dim bridge you came.

And night flowed, and silent there floated
into its satin streams
that black mask’s wolf-like profile
and those tender lips of yours.

And under the chestnuts, along the canal
you passed, luring me askance.
What did my heart discern in you,
how did you move me so?

In your momentary tenderness,
or in the changing contour of your shoulders,
did I experience a dim sketch
of other — irrevocable — encounters?

Perhaps romantic pity
led you to understand
what had set trembling that arrow
now piercing through my verse?

I know nothing. Strangely
the verse vibrates, and in it, an arrow…
Perhaps you, still nameless, were
the genuine, the awaited one?

But sorrow not yet quite cried out
perturbed our starry hour.
Into the night returned the double fissure
of your eyes, eyes not yet illumed.

For long? For ever? Far off
I wander, and strain to hear
the movement of the stars above our encounter
and what if you are to be my fate…

Longing, and mystery, and delight,
and like a distant supplication…
My heart must travel on.
But if you are to be my fate…

Vladimir Nabokov

unlock the mysteries

January 2, 2018

i’ve always known since i was a stringy-headed knobbed knee little girl that there was something or someone spectacular guiding my life. every little unknown childish step was wisely and patiently being guided. directing my eyes toward the ground where i would pick up that one special leaf. directing my eyes to notice that one piece of gravel that didn’t look like typical driveway gravel. no, this gravel had that one side that sparkled when the sunlight hit it just right. in my mind, it was no longer gravel. it would now become a magic rock. my very own magic rock. with my magic rock in one dirty impish hand and my special leaf in the other, i felt like i was on to something. like a hidden truth. a mystery that i would strive to unlock for the rest of my days. I was 10.

i’m now making home in my 40’s. i still have knobby knees and stringy hair most days. i have earned some wisdom lines around my eyes. and yes, they are still childishly wide open with wonder. My nature walks are still just as enchanted. I am still looking for magic rocks, feathers, shells and leaves. i am still striving to unlock the mysteries of my life. my journey has taken me all over the place. i spent many years trying to conform to organized religion thinking this was the way to god. it had the appearance of genuine spirituality, but denied the power to truly connect me to my source. too many strings attached, too many opinions, too many contradictions. but something as simple and soothing as disconnecting from the noise and the opinions of others, and just sitting on the ground, and breathing in and out, did my soul some serious good. here it is nature again, gently wooing me. my guides, my angels, my faeries, my entire unseen holistic team, wooing me out off the confusion and into nature, into my element, where i can just be me.

Selena Parsley (MOONTIQUITY)

maninspace

Today, for the mass of humanity, science and technology embody ‘miracle, mystery, and authority’. Science promises that the most ancient human fantasies will at last be realized. Sickness and ageing will be abolished; scarcity and poverty will be no more; the species will become immortal. Like Christianity in the past, the modern cult of science lives on the hope of miracles. But to think that science can transform the human lot is to believe in magic. Time retorts to the illusions of humanism with the reality: frail, deranged, undelivered humanity. Even as it enables poverty to be diminished and sickness to be alleviated, science will be used to refine tyranny and perfect the art of war.

John N. Gray
Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals