Battlefield Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 108 quotes )
Call listened with amusement--not that the incident hadn't been terrible. Being decapitated was a grisly fate, whether you were a Yankee or not. But then, amusing things happened in battle, as they did in the rest of life. Some of the funniest things he had ever witnessed had occurred during battles. He had always found it more satisfying to laugh on a battlefield than anywhere else, for if you lived to laugh on a battlefield, you could feel you had earned the laugh. But if you just laughed in a saloon, or at a social, the laugh didn't reach deep.
Perfectly prepared to be an eavesdropper but unwilling to look like one, Philippa backed quickly towards the door and collided, hard, with an unseen person striding forward equally fast into the room. There was a hiss, more than echoed by herself as the breath was struck from her body. Then two cool, friendly hands held and steadied her, one on her shoulder and one on her flat waist, and a low voice said, ‘Admirable Philippa. I always enter my battlefields in reverse, too. But my own battlefields, my little friend. Not other people’s.
All stories are about battles, of one kind or another, which end in victory and defeat. Everything moves toward the end, when the outcome will be known. Poems, regardless of any outcome, cross the battlefields, tending the wounded, listening to the wild monologues of the triumphant or the fearful. They bring a kind of peace. Not by anaesthesia or easy reassurance, but by the promise that what has been experienced cannot disappear as if it had never been. Yet the promise is not of a monument. (Who, still on a battlefield, wants monuments?) The promise is that language has acknowledged, has given shelter, to the experience which demanded, which cried out
Most people think Marv is crazy, but I don't believe that. I'm no shrink and I'm not saying I've got Marv all figured out or anything, but "crazy" just doesn't explain him. Not to me. Sometimes I think he's retarded, a big, brutal kid who never learned the ground rules about how people are supposed to act around each other. But that doesn't have the right ring to it either. No, it's more like there's nothing wrong with Marv, nothing at all--except that he had the rotten luck of being born at the wrong time in history. He'd have been okay if he'd been born a couple of thousand years ago. He'd be right at home on some ancient battlefield, swinging an ax into somebody's face. Or in a roman arena, taking a sword to other gladiators like him. They'd have tossed him girls like Nancy, back then.
I have a burden on my soul. During my long life, I did not make anyone happy, neither my friends, nor my family, nor even myself. I have done many evil things...I was the cause of the beginning of three big wars. About 800,000 people were killed because of me on the battlefields., and their mothers, brothers, and widows cried for them. And now this stands between me and God.
To his surprise he felt a moment of regret, of sadness that his quest for his mother and father would soon be over. As long as he searched for them he was prepared to be hungry and ill, but now that the search had ended he felt saddened by the memory of all he had been through, and of how much he had changed. He was closer now to the ruined battlefields and this fly-infested truck, to the nine sweet potatoes in the sack below the driver's seat, even in a sense to the detention center, than he would ever be again to his house in Amherst Avenue.
Nowadays, of course, just about our only solvent industry is the merchandising of death, bankrolled by our grandchildren, so that the message of our principal art forms, movies and television and political speeches and newspaper columns, for the sake of the economy, simply has to be this: War is hell, all right, but the only way a boy can become a man is in a shoot-out of some kind, preferably, but by no means necessarily, on a battlefield.
Acts of bravery don't always take place on battlefields. They can take place in your heart, when you have the courage to honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations, and yes, your soul by listening to its clearn, clear voice of direction instead of following the muddied messages of a timid world.
philosophyI studied philosophy for four years. But I'd trade everything I learned for this passage... quoted in the Britannica:'But we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted into battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses.'Amen.
After all, what is happiness? Love, they tell me. But love doesn't bring and never has brought happiness. On the contrary, it's a constant state of anxiety, a battlefield; it's sleepless nights, asking ourselves all the time if we're doing the right thing. Real love is composed of ecstasy and agony.
Yet it is the masculine values that prevail. Speaking crudely, football and sport are ‘important’; the worship of fashion, the buying of clothes ‘trivial’. And these values are inevitably transferred from life to fiction. This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room. A scene in a battle-field is more important than a scene in a shop — everywhere and much more subtly the difference of value persists.
Heterosexual relationships seem to lead only to marriage, and for most poor dumb brainwashed women marriage is the climactic experience. For men, marriage is a matter of efficient logistics: the male gets his food, bed, laundry, TV, pussy, offspring and creature comforts all under one roof, where he doesn't have to dissipate his psychic energy thinking about them too much - then he is free to go out and fight the battles of life, which is what existence is all about. But for a woman, marriage is surrender. Marriage is when a girl gives up the fight, walks off the battlefield and from then on leaves the truly interesting and significant action to her husband, who has bargained to 'take care' of her. What a sad bum deal. Women live longer than men because they really haven't been living. Better blue-in-the-face dead of a heart attack at fifty than a healthy seventy-year old widow who hasn't had a piece of life's action since girlhood.
It struck him that in moments of crisis one is never fighting against an external enemy, but always against one’s own body... On the battlefield, in the torture chamber, on a sinking ship, the issues that you are fighting for are always forgotten, because the body swells up until it fills the universe, and even when you are not paralysed by fright or screaming with pain, life is a moment-to-moment struggle against hunger or cold or sleeplessness, against a sour stomach or an aching tooth.
The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.--as quoted in THE RIVER OF WINGED DREAMS
No fear can stand up to hunger, no patience can wear it out, disgust simply does not exist where hunger is; and as to superstition, beliefs, and what you may call principles, they are less than chaff in a breeze. Don't you know the devilry of lingering starvation, its exasperating torment, its black thoughts, its sombre and brooding ferocity? Well, I do. It takes a man all is inborn strength to fight hunger properly. It's really easier to face bereavement, dishonour, and the perdition of one's soul - than this kind of prolonged hunger. Sad, but true. And these chaps, too, had no earthly reason for any kind of scruple. Restraint! I would just as soon have expected restraint from a hyena prowling amongst the corpses of a battlefield.
On the third play he dropped back to pass, and it was unadulterated chaos: The pocket was immediately collapsing, people were yelling, everything was happening at the same time, and it felt like he was trying to defuse a pipe bomb while learning to speak Cantonese."He believed it was his destiny to kill faceless foreigners for complex reasons that were beyond his control, and to deeply question the meaning of those murders, and to kill despite those questions, and to eventually understand the meaning of his own life through the battlefield executions of total strangers."Teaching history to eighth graders is like being a tour guide for people who hate their vacation."There is no feeling that can match the emotive intensity of an attraction devoid of explanation.
And last are the few whose delight is in meditation and understanding; who yearn not for goods, nor for victory, but for knowledge; who leave both market and battlefield to lose themselves in the quiet clarity of secluded thought; whose will is a light rather than a fire, whose haven is not power but truth: these are the men of wisdom, who stand aside unused by the world.