Desert Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 572 quotes )
Deserts possess a particular magic, since they have exhausted their own futures, and are thus free of time. Anything erected there, a city, a pyramid, a motel, stands outside time. It's no coincidence that religious leaders emerge from the desert. Modern shopping malls have much the same function. A future Rimbaud, Van Gogh or Adolf Hitler will emerge from their timeless wastes.
It was a little like Into the Sands, with Claude Barron, which she'd seen a couple of weeks ago. In that picture Claude Barron enlists in the Foreign Legion because Rita Carrol marries another guy. The other guy turns out to be a cheater and drinker, and so Rita Carrol leaves him and travels out to the desert where Claude Barron if fighting the Arabs. By the time Rita Carrol gets there he’s in the hospital, wounded, or not a hospital really but just a tent and she tells him she loves him and Claude Barron says, “I went into the desert to forget about you. But the sand was the color of your hair. The desert sky was the color of your eyes. There was nowhere I could go that wouldn’t be you.” And then he dies. Tessie cried buckets. Her mascara ran, staining the collar of her blouse something awful.
it wont be long now it wont be longman is making deserts of the earthit wont be long nowbefore man will have used it upso that nothing but antsand centipedes and scorpionscan find a living on it....what man calls civilizationalways results in deserts....men talk of money and industryof hard times and recoveriesof finance and economicsbut the ants wait and the scorpions waitfor while men talk they are making deserts all the timegetting the world ready for the conquering antdrought and erosion and desertbecause men cannot learn....it wont be long now it wont be longtill earth is barren as the moonand sapless as a mumbled bone
We will live in this world, which for us has all the disquieting strangeness of the desert and of the simulacrum, with all the veracity of living phantoms, of wandering and simulating animals that capital, that the death of capital has made of us—because the desert of cities is equal to the desert of sand—the jungle of signs is equal to that of the forests—the vertigo of simulacra is equal to that of nature—only the vertiginous seduction of a dying system remains, in which work buries work, in which value buries value—leaving a virgin, sacred space without pathways, continuous as Bataille wished it, where only the wind lifts the sand, where only the wind watches over the sand.
The waters which we spread upon the desert have become blood. Blood upon our land! Behold our desert which could rejoice and blossom; it has lured the stranger and seduced him in our midst. They come for violence! Their faces are closed up as for the last wind of Kralizec! They gather the captivity of the sand. They suck up the abundance of the sand, the treasure hidden in the depths. Behold them as they go forth to their evil work. It is written: 'And I stood upon the sand, and I saw a beast rise up out of that sand, and upon the head of that beast was the name of God!
Full many a gem of purest ray serene. The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear: Full many a flower is born to blush unseen. And waste its sweetness on the desert air"A good many flowers bloom and fade away in deserted places, seen by no one. In its context in Thomas Gray's "Elegy" it is actually a metaphor for common folk who do heroic things that are never reported in the news or recorded in history. Like a precious stone unmined at the bottom of the ocean or a beautiful flower blooming in the deep woods, their work may not be seen or known, but it is nevertheless heroic. Rubies and roses are beautiful, Gray would say, whether anyone ever sees them or not.
The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts, huge, standing to the sky for what looked like eternity in all directions. It was white and blinding and waterless and without feature save for the faint, cloudy haze of the mountains which sketched themselves on the horizon and the devil-grass which brought sweet dreams, nightmares, death. An occasional tombstone sign pointed the way, for once the drifted track that cut its way through the thick crust of alkali had been a highway. Coaches and buckas had followed it. The world had moved on since then. The world had emptied.
Fatima went back to her tent, and, when daylight came, she went out to do the chores she had done for years. But everything had changed. The boy was no longer at the oasis, and the oasis would never again have the same meaning it had had only yesterday. It would no longer be a place with fifty thousand palm trees and three hundred wells, where the pilgrims arrived, relieved at the end of their long journeys. From that day on, the oasis would be an empty place for her. From that day on, it was the desert that would be important. She would look to it everyday, and would try to guess which star the boy was following in search of his treasure. She would have to send her kisses on the wind, hoping that the wind would touch the boy's face, and would tell him that she was alive. That she was waiting for him, a woman awaiting a courageous man in search of his treasure. From that day on, the desert would represent only one thing to her: the hope for his return.
[The Devil] A new method, sir: when you've completely lost faith in me, then you'll immediately start convincing me to my face that I am not a dream but a reality--I know you now; and then my goal will be achieved. And it is a noble goal. I will sow just a tiny seed of faith in you, and from it an oak will grow--and such an oak that you, sitting in that oak, will want to join 'the desert fathers and the blameless women'; because secretly you want that very ver-ry much, you will dine on locusts, you will drag yourself to the desert to seek salvation!
I've crossed these sands many times," said one of the camel drivers one night. "But the desert is so huge, and the horizons so distant, that they make a person feel small, and as if he should remain silent."The boy understood intuitively what he meant, even without ever having set foot in the desert before. Whenever he saw the sea, or a fire, he fell silent, impressed by their elemental force.
The lives of men who have to live in our great cities are often tragically lonely. In many more ways than one, these dwellers in the hive are modern counterparts of Tantalus. They are starving to death in the midst of abundance. The crystal stream flows near their lips but always falls away when they try to drink of it. The vine, rich-weighted with its golden fruit, bends down, comes near, but springs back when they reach out to touch it...In other times, when painters tried to paint a scene of awful desolation, they chose the desert or a heath of barren rocks, and there would try to picture man in his great loneliness--the prophet in the desert, Elijah being fed by ravens on the rocks. But for a modern painter, the most desolate scene would have to be a street in almost any one of our great cities on a Sunday afternoon.
Far out on the desert to the north dustspouts rose wobbling and augered the earth and some said they'd heard of pilgrims borne aloft like dervishes in those mindless coils to be dropped broken and bleeding upon the desert again and there perhaps to watch the thing that had destroyed them lurch onward like some drunken djinn and resolve itself once more into the elements from which it sprang. Out of that whirlwind no voice spoke and the pilgrim lying in his broken bones may cry out and in his anguish he may rage, but rage at what? And if the dried and blackened shell of him is found among the sands by travelers to come yet who can discover the engine of his ruin?
We will go out into the world and plant gardens and orchards to the horizons, we will build roads through the mountains and across the deserts, and terrace the mountains and irrigate the deserts until there will be garden everywhere, and plenty for all, and there will be no more empires or kingdoms, no more caliphs, sultans, emirs, khans, or zamindars, no more kings or queens or princes, no more quadis or mullahs or ulema, no more slavery and no more usury, no more property and no more taxes, no more rich and no more poor, no killing or maiming or torture or execution, no more jailers and no more prisoners, no more generals, soldiers, armies or navies, no more patriarchy, no more caste, no more hunger, no more suffering than what life brings us for being born and having to die, and then we will see for the first time what kind of creatures we really are.
Night poured over the desert. It came suddenly, in purple. In the clear air, the stars drilled down out of the sky, reminding any thoughtful watcher that it is in the deserts and high places that religions are generated. When men see nothing but bottomless infinity over their heads they have always had a driving and desperate urge to find someone to put in the way.
Extreme intelligence is accused of being as foolish as extreme lack of it; only moderation is good. The majority have laid this down and attack anyone who deviates from it towards any extreme whatever. I am not going to be awkward, I readily consent to being put in the middle and refuse to be at the bottom end, not because it is the bottom but because it is the end, for I should refuse just as much to be put at the top. It is deserting humanity to desert the middle way. The greatness of the human soul lies in knowing how to keep this course; greatness does not mean going outside it, but rather keeping within it.
Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it. In using Escape in this way the critics have chosen the wrong word, and, what is more, they are confusing, not always by sincere error, the Escape of the Prisoner with the Flight of the Deserter. just so a Party-spokesman might have labeled departure from the misery of the Fuhrer's or any other Reich and even criticism of it as treachery .... Not only do they confound the escape of the prisoner with the flight of the deserter; but they would seem to prefer the acquiescence of the "quisling" to the resistance of the patriot.
So he was deserted. The whole world was clamouring: Kill yourself, kill yourself, for our sakes. But why should he kill himself for their sakes? Food was pleasant; the sun hot; and this killing oneself, how does one set about it, with a table knife, uglily, with floods of blood, - by sucking a gaspipe? He was too weak; he could scarcely raise his hand. Besides, now that he was quite alone, condemned, deserted, as those who are about to die are alone, there was a luxury in it, an isolation full of sublimity; a freedom which the attached can never know.
Great laughter rang from all sides. I wondered what the spirit of the Mountain was thinking; and looked up and saw jackpines in the moon, and saw ghosts of old miners, and wondered about it. In the whole eastern dark wall of the Divide this night there was silence and the whisper of the wind, except in the ravine where we roared; and on the other side of the Divide was the great western slope, and the big plateau that went to Steamboat Springs, and dropped, and led you to the eastern Colorado desert and the Utah desert; all in darkness now as we fumed and screamed in our mountain nook, mad drunken Americans in the mighty land. And beyond, beyond, over the Sierras the other side if Carson sink was bejeweled bay-encircled nightlike old Frisco of my dreams. We were situated on the roof of America and all we could do was yell, I guess - across the night, eastward over the plains where somewhere a man with white hair was probably walking toward us with the Word and would arrive any minute and make us silent.
If it crosses your mind that water running through hundreds of miles of open ditch in a desert will evaporate and end up full of concentrated salts and muck, then let me just tell you, that kind of negative thinking will never get you elected to public office in the state of Arizona. When this giant new tap turned on, developers drew up plans to roll pink stucco subdivisions across the desert in all directions. The rest of us were supposed to rejoice as the new flow rushed into our pipes, even as the city warned us this water was kind of special. They said it was okay to drink but don't put it in an aquarium because it would kill the fish. Drink it we did, then, filled our coffee makers too, and mixed our children's juice concentrate with fluid that would gag a guppy. Oh, America the Beautiful, where are our standards?
What had he said to them? "I bow my knees before the country, before the masses, before the whole people...." And what then? What happened to these masses, to this people? For forty years it had been driven through the desert, with threats and promises, with imaginary terrors and imaginary rewards. But where was the Promised Land? Did there really exist any such goal for this wandering mankind? That was a question to which he would have liked an answer before it was too late. Moses had not been allowed to enter the land of promise either, But he had been allowed to see it, from the top of the mountain, spread at his feet. Thus, it was easy to die, with the visible certainty of one's goal before one's eyes. He, Nicolas Salmanovitch Rubashov, had not been taken to the top of a mountain; and wherever his eye looked, he saw nothing but desert and the darkness of night.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand; A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds. The darkness drops again but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?