The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

“Is demum miser est, cuius nobilitas miserias nobilitat.”

Unhappy is he whose fame makes his misfortunes famous.

– Lucius Accius, Telephus

  • Charlotte wove in and out of every dream, gorgeous, vituperative and haunted.Robert-Galbraith-The-Cuckoos-Calling
  • They saw what they wanted to see, blind to inconvenient, implacable truth.
  • Hers was the kind of family that commissioned painters to immortalize its young: a background utterly alien to Strike, and one he had come to know like a dangerous foreign country
  • The principal lesson that Strike had learned during his two months of home-based education was that cannabis, even if administered spiritually, could render the taker both dull and paranoid.
  • A lie would have no sense unless the truth were felt as dangerous.
  • …selecting four-figure bags of alligator skin with a pleasureless determination to get their money’s worth out of their loveless marriages.
  • Humans often assumed symmetry and equality where none existed.
  • Spanner was ten years younger than Strike, and he rarely wielded a pen by choice.
  • She had flailed, trying to find handholds in the merciless empty air; and then, without time to make amends, to explain, to bequeath or to apologize, without any of the luxuries permitted those who are given notice of their impending demise, she had broken on the road.
  • “Kairos. Kairos moment. An’ it means,” and from somewhere in his soused brain he dredged up words of surprising clarity, “the telling moment. The special moment. The supreme moment.”
  • It mirrored Charlotte’s restless day-to-day behavior, that craving for heightened emotion that expressed itself most typically in destructiveness.
  • They had not taken every reasonable precaution against violence or chance; they had not tethered themselves to life with mortgages and voluntary work, safe husbands and clean-faced dependents: their deaths, therefore, were not classed as “tragic,” in the same way as those of staid and respectable housewives.
  • How easy it was to capitalize on a person’s own bent for self-destruction; how simple to nudge them into non-being, then to stand back and shrug and agree that it had been the inevitable result of a chaotic, catastrophic life.
  • THE BRITISH ARMY REQUIRES OF its soldiers a subjugation of individual needs and ties that is almost incomprehensible to the civilian mind. It recognizes virtually no claims higher than its own; and the unpredictable crises of human life—births and deaths, weddings, divorces and illness—generally cause no more deviation to the military’s plans than pebbles pinging on the underbelly of a tank.
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Three Poems

My Sad Captain, by Thom Gunn

One by one they appear in

the darkness: a few friends, and

a few with historical

names. How late they start to shine!

but before they fade they stand

perfectly embodied, all

the past lapping them like a

cloak of chaos. They were men

who, I thought, lived only to

renew the wasteful force they

spent with each hot convulsion.

They remind me, distant now.

True, they are not at rest yet,

but now that they are indeed

apart, winnowed from failures,

they withdraw to an orbit

and turn with disinterested

hard energy, like the stars.


O Captain! My Captain, by Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;

                         But O heart! heart! heart!

                            O the bleeding drops of red,

                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,

                                  Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise upfor you the flag is flungfor you the bugle trills,

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreathsfor you the shores a-crowding,

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

                         Here Captain! dear father!

                            This arm beneath your head!

                               It is some dream that on the deck,

                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!

                            But I with mournful tread,

                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,

                                  Fallen cold and dead.


Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


Quote

No More

“There is no way for us to see what the Pillars of Creation — or anything in the universe — look like now. We see galaxies 3 billion light-years away as they looked 3 billion years ago. We see the Sun as it looked 8.5 minutes ago. If you were standing one foot in front of me, I would see you as you looked 1.01670336 nanoseconds ago, which is the time it would take for the light to reflect from your face to my pupil. While our brains live in their present, we see everything else in its past tense.”

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

“George and Harris and Montmorency are not poetic ideals, but things of flesh and blood—especially George, who weighs about twelve stone.”

“In the present instance, going back to the liver-pill circular, I had the symptoms, beyond all mistake, the chief among them being “a general disinclination to work of any kind.”sd

“…and trying to reach a point three inches beyond what was possible for him to reach, the string would slip, and down he would slide on to the piano, a really fine musical effect being produced by the suddenness with which his head and body struck all the notes at the same time.”

“Everything has its drawbacks, as the man said when his mother-in-law died, and they came down upon him for the funeral expenses.”

“He said he dearly loved a bit of cheese, but it was beyond his means; so he determined to get rid of them.  He threw them into the canal; but had to fish them out again, as the bargemen complained.  They said it made them feel quite faint.  And, after that, he took them one dark night and left them in the parish mortuary.  But the coroner discovered them, and made a fearful fuss. He said it was a plot to deprive him of his living by waking up the corpses.”

“I rummaged the things up into much the same state that they must have been before the world was created, and when chaos reigned.”

“I wonder if there is real intrinsic beauty in the old soup-plates, beer-mugs, and candle-snuffers that we prize so now, or if it is only the halo of age glowing around them that gives them their charms in our eyes.”

“We are creatures of the sun, we men and women.  We love light and life.  That is why we crowd into the towns and cities, and the country grows more and more deserted every year.  In the sunlight—in the daytime, when Nature is alive and busy all around us, we like the open hill-sides and the deep woods well enough: but in the night, when our Mother Earth has gone to sleep, and left us waking, oh! the world seems so lonesome, and we get frightened, like children in a silent house.  Then we sit and sob, and long for the gas-lit streets, and the sound of human voices, and the answering throb of human life.  We feel so helpless and so little in the great stillness, when the dark trees rustle in the night-wind.  There are so many ghosts about, and their silent sighs make us feel so sad.  Let us gather together in the great cities, and light huge bonfires of a million gas-jets, and shout and sing together, and feel brave.”

“When they tittered, I tittered; when they roared, I roared; and I also threw in a little snigger all by myself now and then, as if I had seen a bit of humour that had escaped the others.  I considered this particularly artful on my part.”

“That is my opinion of tow-lines in general.  Of course, there may be honourable exceptions; I do not say that there are not.  There may be tow-lines that are a credit to their profession—conscientious, respectable tow-lines—tow-lines that do not imagine they are crochet-work, and try to knit themselves up into antimacassars the instant they are left to themselves.  I say there may be such tow-lines; I sincerely hope there are.  But I have not met with them.”

“He was so firmly wrapped round and tucked in and folded over, that he could not get out.  He, of course, made frantic struggles for freedom—the birth right of every Englishman,—and, in doing so (I learned this afterwards)”

“That is the only way to get a kettle to boil up the river.  If it sees that you are waiting for it and are anxious, it will never even sing.  You have to go away and begin your meal, as if you were not going to have any tea at all.  You must not even look round at it.  Then you will soon hear it sputtering away, mad to be made into tea.

It is a good plan, too, if you are in a great hurry, to talk very loudly to each other about how you don’t need any tea, and are not going to have any.  You get near the kettle, so that it can overhear you, and then you shout out, “I don’t want any tea; do you, George?” to which George shouts back, “Oh, no, I don’t like tea; we’ll have lemonade instead—tea’s so indigestible.” Upon which the kettle boils over, and puts the stove out.”

“People who have tried it, tell me that a clear conscience makes you very happy and contented; but a full stomach does the business quite as well, and is cheaper, and more easily obtained.”

“They cursed us—not with a common cursory curse, but with long, carefully-thought-out, comprehensive curses, that embraced the whole of our career, and went away into the distant future, and included all our relations, and covered everything connected with us—good, substantial curses.”

“What the eye does not see, the stomach does not get upset over.”

“Six shillings a week does not keep body and soul together very unitedly.  They want to get away from each other when there is only such a very slight bond as that between them.”

“The boy went, and re-appeared five minutes afterwards, struggling with an antediluvian chunk of wood, that looked as though it had been recently dug out of somewhere, and dug out carelessly, so as to have been unnecessarily damaged in the process. My own idea, on first catching sight of the object, was that it was a Roman relic of some sort,—relic of what I do not know, possibly of a coffin.”