Mark Helprin Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 104 quotes)
You know," said Al in a daze of hunger and cold, "when you see this, you realize that despite all the crap that goes on in the cities, despite all the words and accusations, the country has balance and momentum. The whole thing is symmetrical and beautiful; it works. The cities are like bulbs on a Christmas tree. They may bum, swell, and shatter, but the green stays green. Look at it," he said, eyes fixed on the horizon, not unmoved by the motion of the train. "Look at it. It's alive.
I see no justice in that plan."Who said," lashed out Isaac Penn, "that you, a man, can always perceive justice? Who said that justice is what you imagine? Can you be sure that you know it when you see it, that you will live long enough to recognize the decisive thunder of its occurrence, that it can be manifest within a generation, within ten generations, within the entire span of human existence? What you are talking about is common sense, not justice. Justice is higher and not as easy to understand -- until it presents itself in unmistakable splendor. The design of which I speak is far above our understanding. But we can sometimes feel its presence."No choreographer, no architect, engineer, or painter could plan more thoroughly and subtly. Every action and every scene has its purpose. And the less power one has, the closer he is to the great waves that sweep through all things, patiently preparing them for the approach of a future signified not by simple human equity (a child could think of that), but by luminous and surprising connections that we have not imagined, by illustrations terrifying and benevolent -- a golden age that will show not what we wish, but some bare awkward truth upon which rests everything that ever was and everything that ever will be. There is justice in the world, Peter Lake, but it cannot be had without mystery.
Then in the darkness and purity of the meadows he began to feel that the world had many secrets, that they were shattering even to glimpse or sense, and that they were not necessarily unpleasant. In certain states of light he could see, he could begin to sense, things most miraculous indeed. Although it seemed self-serving, he concluded nonetheless, after a lifetime of adhering to the diffuse principles of a science he did not know, that there was life after death, that the dead rose into a mischievous world of pure light, that something most mysterious lay beyond the the enfolding darkness, something wonderful.
You can't expect anyone to trust revelation if he hasn't experienced it himself. Those who haven't only know reason. And since revelation is a thing apart, and cannot be accounted for reasonably, they never will believe you. This is the great division of the world and always has been. When reason and revelation run together, why, then you have something great, a great age.
When your parents die, Alessandro, you feel that you have betrayed them."Why?" Luciana asked. "Because you come to love your children more. I lost my mother and father to images in photographs and handwriting on letters, and as I abandoned them for you, the saddest thing was that they made no protest."Even now that I'm going back to them, I regret above all that I must leave you."You're not going back to anybody," Alessandro told him. "We'll solve those problems later."Alessandro," his father said, almost cheerfully. "You don't understand. This kind of problem is very special: it has no solution.
In the same way that certain sections of the city were mortal battlegrounds, some parts of the calendar were always more warlike than others, and during the days between Christmas and the new year all elements seemed to conspire to subdue the soul. Fire, rain, sickness, cold, and death were everywhere spread through the dark as in a painting of hell. People struggled until exhaustion, giving everything they had, and the days were packed with trials and mysteries.
Winter then in its early and clear stages, was a purifying engine that ran unhindered over city and country, alerting the stars to sparkle violently and shower their silver light into the arms of bare upreaching trees. It was a mad and beautiful thing that scoured raw the souls of animals and man, driving them before it until they loved to run. And what it did to Northern forests can hardly be described, considering that it iced the branches of the sycamores on Chrystie Street and swept them back and forth until they rang like ranks of bells.