Nocturnal Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 35 quotes )
When the ship approached the equator, I stopped going out on deck in the daytime. The sun burned like a flame. The days had shortened and night came swiftly. One moment it was light, the next it was dark. The sun did not set but fell into the water like a meteor. Late in the evening, when I went out briefly, a hot wind slapped my face. From the ocean came a roar of passions that seemed to have broken through all barriers:'We mus procreate and multiply! We must exhaust all the powers of lust!' The waves glowed like lava, and I imagined I could see multitudes of living beings - algae, whales, sea monsters - reveling in an orgy, from the surface to the bottom of the sea. Immortality was the law here. The whole planet raged with animation. At times, I heard my name in the clamor: the spirit of the abyss calling me to join them in their nocturnal dance. ("Hanka")
It was in this man's class that I first began to wonder if people who wrote fiction were not suffering from some kind of disorder--from what I've since come to think of, remembering the wild nocturnal rocking of Albert Vetch, as the midnight disease. The midnight disease is a kind of emotional insomnia; at every conscious moment its victim--even if he or she writes at dawn, or in the middle of the afternoon--feels like a person lying in a sweltering bedroom, with the window thrown open, looking up at a sky filled with stars and airplanes, listening to the narrative of a rattling blind, an ambulance, a fly trapped in a Coke bottle, while all around him the neighbors soundly sleep. this is in my opinion why writers--like insomniacs--are so accident-prone, so obsessed with the calculus of bad luck and missed opportunities, so liable to rumination and a concomitant inability to let go of a subject, even when urged repeatedly to do so.
For the city, his city, stood unchanging on the edge of time: the same burning dry city of his nocturnal terrors and the solitary pleasures of puberty, where flowers rusted and salt corroded, where nothing had happened for four centuries except a slow aging among withered laurels and putrefying swamps. In winter sudden devastating downpours flooded the latrines and turned the streets into sickening bogs. In summer an invisible dust as harsh as red-hot chalk was blown into even the best-protected corners of the imagination by mad winds that took the roofs off the houses and carried away children through the air.
Wild geese fly south, creaking like anguished hinges; along the riverbank the candles of the sumacs burn dull red. It's the first week of October. Season of woolen garments taken out of mothballs; of nocturnal mists and dew and slippery front steps, and late-blooming slugs; of snapdragons having one last fling; of those frilly ornamental pink-and-purple cabbages that never used to exist, but are all over everywhere now.
Then, already, it had brought to his mind the silence brooding over beds in which he had let men die. There as here it was the same solemn pause, the lull that follows battle; it was the silence of defeat. But the silence now enveloping his dead friend, so dense, so much akin to the nocturnal silence of the streets and of the town set free at last, made Rieux cruelly aware that this defeat was final, the last disastrous battle that ends a war and makes peace itself an ill beyond all remedy. The doctor could not tell if Tarrou had found peace, now that all was over, but for himself he had a feeling that no peace was possible to him henceforth, any more than there can an armistice for a mother bereaved of a son or for a man who buries his friend.
He feels, as he sometimes does, as most people must, a presence in the room, what he can only think of as his and Rebecca's living ghosts, the amalgamation of their dreams and their breathing, their smells. He does not believe in ghosts, but he believes in...something. Something viable, something living, that's surprised when he wakes at this hour, that's neither glad nor sorry to see him awake but that recognizes the fact, because it has been interrupted in its nocturnal inchoate musings.
Naoko stayed frozen in place, like a small nocturnal animal that has been lured out by the moonlight. The direction of the glow exaggerated the silhouette of her lips. Seeming utterly fragile and vulnerable, the silhouette pulsed almost imperceptibly with the beating of her heart or the motions of her inner heart, as if she were whispering soundless words to the darkness. I swallowed in hopes of easing my thirst, but in the stillness of the night, the sound I made was huge. As if this were a signal to her, Naoko stood and glided toward the head of the bed, gown rustling faintly. She knelt on the floor by my pillow, eyes fixed on mine. I stared back at her, but her eyes told me nothing. Strangely transparent, they seemed like windows to a world beyond, but however long I peered into their depths, there was nothing I could see. Our faces were no more than ten inches apart, but she was light-years away from me.
Her antiquity in preceding and surviving succeeding tellurian generations: her nocturnal predominance: her satellitic dependence: her luminary reflection: her constancy under all her phases, rising and setting by her appointed times, waxing and waning: the forced invariability of her aspect: her indeterminate response to inaffirmative interrogation: her potency over effluent and refluent waters: her power to enamour, to mortify, to invest with beauty, to render insane, to incite to and aid delinquency: the tranquil inscrutability of her visage: the terribility of her isolated dominant resplendent propinquity: her omens of tempest and of calm: the stimulation of her light, her motion and her presence: the admonition of her craters, her arid seas, her silence: her splendour, when visible: her attraction, when invisible.
I have the courage, I believe, to doubt everything; I have the courage, I believe, to fight with everything; but I have not the courage to know anything; not the courage to possess, to own anything. Most people complain that the world is so prosaic, that life is not like romance, where opportunities are always so favorable. I complain that life is not like romance, where one had hard-hearted parents and nixies and trolls to fight, and enchanted princesses to free. What are all such enemies taken together, compared with the pale, bloodless, tenacious, nocturnal shapes with which I fight, and to whom I give life and substance?
Before we invented civilization our ancestors lived mainly in the open out under the sky. Before we devised artificial lights and atmospheric pollution and modern forms of nocturnal entertainment we watched the stars. There were practical calendar reasons of course but there was more to it than that. Even today the most jaded city dweller can be unexpectedly moved upon encountering a clear night sky studded with thousands of twinkling stars. When it happens to me after all these years it still takes my breath away.
To what temptations, to what extremities does lucidity lead! Shall we desert it now to take refuge in unconsciousness? Anyone can escape into sleep, we are all geniuses when we dream, the butcher the poet’s equal there. But our perspicacity cannot bear that such a marvel should endure, nor that inspiration should be brought within everyone’s grasp; daylight strips us of the night’s gifts. Only the madman enjoys the privilege of passing smoothly from a nocturnal to a daylight existence: no distinction between his dreams and his waking. He has renounced our reason, as the beggar has renounced our belongings. Both have found a way that leads beyond suffering and solved all our problems; hence they remain examples we cannot follow, saviors without adepts.
(Decadent style) is ingenious, complicated, learned, full of shades of meaning and research, always pushing further the limits of language... forcing itself to express in thought that which is most ineffable, and in form the vaguest and most fleeting contours; listening that it may translate them to the subtle confidences of the neuropath, to the avowals of aging and depraved passion, and to the singular hallucinations of the fixed idea verging on madness... In opposition to the classic style, it admits of shading, and these shadows teem and swarm with the larvae of superstitions, the haggard phantoms of insomnia, nocturnal terrors, remorse which starts and turns back at the slightest noise, monstrous dreams stayed only by impotence, obscure phantasies at which daylight would stand amazed, and all that the soul conceals of the dark, the unformed, and the vaguely horrible, in its deepest and furthest recesses.
I've always known that the quality of love was the mind, even though the body sometimes refuses this knowledge. The body lives for itself. It lives only to feed and wait for the night. It's essentially nocturnal. But what of the mind which is born of the sun, William, and must spend thousands of hours of a lifetime awake and aware? Can you balance off the body, that pitiful, selfish thing of night against a whole lifetime of sun and intellect? I don't know. I only know there has been your mind here and my mind here, and the afternoons have been like none I can remember.
There should be a word for that brief period just after waking when the mind is full of warm pink nothing. You lie there entirely empty of thought, except for a growing suspicion that heading towards you, like a sockful of damp sand in a nocturnal alleyway, are all the recollections you'd really rather do without, and which amount to the fact that the only mitigating factor in your horrible future is the certainty that it will be quite short.
That image - of a little child being suffocated, or almost suffocated, by others who thought the whole thing was a game - melded with the furtive nocturnal slugs, and my solitary pacing and singing, and the separate, claustrophobic stairway, and the charmless abstract painting, and the gold-framed mirror, and the slithery green satin bedspread, and became inseperable from them. It wasn't a cheerful composite. As a memory, it is more like a fog bank than a sunlit meadow. Yet I think of that period as having been a happy time in my life. Happy is the wrong word. Important.
You shall suffer for ever the influence of my kiss. You shall be beautiful in my fashion. You shall love that which I love and that which loves me: water, clouds, silence and the night; the immense green sea; the formless and multiform streams; the place where you shall not be; the lover whom you shall not know; flowers of monstrous shape; perfumes that cause delirium; cats that shudder, swoon and curl up on pianos and groan like women, with a voice that is hoarse and gentle! And you shall be loved by my lovers, courted by my courtiers. You shall be the queen of all men that have green eyes, whose necks also I have clasped in my nocturnal caresses; of those who love the sea, the sea that is immense, tumultuous and green, the formless and multiform streams, the place where they are not, the woman whom they do not know, sinister flowers that resemble the censers of a strange religion, perfumes that confound the will; and the savage and voluptuous animals which are the emblems of their dementia.
Tomas turned the key and switched on the ceiling light. Teraza saw two beds pushed together, one of them flanked by a bedside table and a lamp. Up out of the lampshade, startled by the overhead light, flew a large nocturnal butterfly that began circling the room. The strains of the piano and violin rose up weakly from below.
And no one moans: there is no anguish. Only our nocturnal silence when we crawl on all fours toward the fires that someone has lit for us at a mysterious hour and with incomprehensible finality. We're guided by fate, though we've left nothing to chance. A writer must resemble a censor, our elders told us, and we've followed that marvelous thought to its penultimate consequence. A writer must resemble a newspaper columnist. A writer must resemble a dwarf and MUST survive. If we didn't have to read too, our work would be a point suspended in nothingness, a mandala pared down to a minimum of meaning, our silence, our certainty of standing with one foot dangling on the far side of death. Fantasies. Fantasies. In some lost fold of the past, we wanted to be lions and we're no more than castrated cats. Castrated cats wedded to cats with slit throats.
When I opened my eyes I saw nothing but the pool of nocturnal sky, for I was lying on my back with out-stretched arms, face to face with that hatchery of stars. Only half awake, still unaware that those depths were sky, having no roof between those depths and me, no branches to screen them, no root to cling to, I was seized with vertigo and felt myself as if flung forth and plunging downward like a diver.
Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon, dark smell of seaweed, crush of mud and light, what secret knowledge is clasped between your pillars? What primal night does Man touch with his senses? Ay, Love is a journey through waters and stars, through suffocating air, sharp tempests of grain: Love is a war of lightning, and two bodies ruined by a single sweetness. Kiss by kiss I cover your tiny infinity, your margins, your rivers, your diminutive villages, and a genital fire, transformed by delight, slips through the narrow channels of blood to precipitate a nocturnal carnation, to be, and be nothing but light in the dark.
The nocturnal glory of being great without beinganything! The sombre majesty of splendours no oneknow? And I suddenly experience the sublime feelingof a monk in the wilderness or of a hermit in his retreat,acquainted with the substance of Christ in the sands andin the caves of withdrawal from the world.
Sometimes, if the two old womenwere not asleep, they heard him pacing slowly along the walks at a veryadvanced hour of the night. He was there alone, communing with himself, peaceful, adoring, comparing the serenity of his heart with theserenity of the ether, moved amid the darkness by the visible splendor ofthe constellations and the invisible splendor of God, opening his heart tothe thoughts which fall from the Unknown. At such moments, while heoffered his heart at the hour when nocturnal flowers offer their perfume, illuminated like a lamp amid the starry night, as he poured himself outin ecstasy in the midst of the universal radiance of creation, he could nothave told himself, probably, what was passing in his spirit; he feltsomething take its flight from him, and something descend into him. Mysterious exchange of the abysses of the soul with the abysses of theuniverse!