Wisp Quotes (displaying: 1 - 26 of 26 quotes )
The biggest challenge facing the great teachers and communicators of history is not to teach history itself, nor even the lessons of history, but why history matters. How to ignite the first spark of the will o'the wisp, the Jack o'lantern, the ignis fatuus [foolish fire] beloved of poets, which lights up one source of history and then another, zigzagging across the marsh, connecting and linking and writing bright words across the dark face of the present. There's no phrase I can come up that will encapsulate in a winning sound-bite why history matters. We know that history matters, we know that it is thrilling, absorbing, fascinating, delightful and infuriating, that it is life. Yet I can't help wondering if it's a bit like being a Wagnerite; you just have to get used to the fact that some people are never going to listen.
You can laugh," he said. "Dad's been ranting and muttering for an hour. Something about-" his gaze shifted and lingered on Shelby "-traitors and infidels. Hello, you must be the infidel."The friendly irony in his voice had Shelby's lips curving. "I must be.""Shelby Campbell, my brother, Caine.""The first Campbell ever to step into the MacGregor keep. Enter at your own risk." Caine offered his hand as Shelby crossed the threshold. His first thought was that she had the face of a mermaid-not quite beautiful, but alluring and not easily forgotten. Shelby glanced around the wide hall, approving the faded tapestries and heavy old furniture. She caught the scent of spring flowers, a wisp of dust and old polish. No, she couldn't have done it better herself. "Well, the roof didn't cave in," she commented as she studied a crested shield on the wall. "So far so good.
It doth not hurt", whispered a faint voice, "She will take you life and all you are and all you care'st for, and she will leave you with nothing but mist and fog. She'll take your joy. And one day you'll wake and your heart and soul will have gone. A husk you'll be, a wisp you'll be, and a thing no more than a dream on waking, or a memory of something forgotten.
...we never cease hoping--and thus did our Judge condemn us to suffer in saecula.' Ferrante asked: 'But what is it that you hope for?' You might as well ask what you will hope for yourself. ...You will hope that a wisp of wind, the slightest swell of the tide, the arrival of a single hungry leech, can return us, atom by atom, to the great Void of the Universe, where we would somehow again participate in the cycle of life.
Perhaps magic was once a mighty force in the world, but no longer. What little remains is no more than the wisp of smoke that lingers in the air after a great fire has burned out, and even that is fading. Valyria was the last ember, and Valyria is gone. The dragons are no more, the giants are dead, the children of the forest forgotten with all their lore.
History was not a matter of missing minutes on the tape. I did not stand helpless before it. I hewed to the texture of collected knowledge, took faith from the solid and availing stuff of our experience. Even if we believe that history is a workwheel powered by human blood -- read the speeches of Mussolini -- at least we've known the thing together. A single narrative sweep, not ten thousand wisps of disinformation. (82)
...So what I want to know is why it is that I can no longer find you, in my mind. You are still there, just, but you are there like a ghost, a will o' the wisp. Not long ago you burned--your heart burned--in my mind like silver fire. But after that night in the inn it became patchy and dim, and now it is not there at all.""Could it be that the heart that you seek is no longer my own? ...I have given my heart to another.""The boy? The one in the inn? With the unicorn?""Yes.""You should have let me take it back then, for my sisters and me. We could have been young again, well into the next age of the world. Your boy will break it, or waste it, or lose it. They all do.""Nonetheless, he has my heart. I hope your sisters will not be too hard on you, when you return to them without it.
I don't like animals. It's a strange thing, I don't like men and I don't like animals. As for God, he is beginning to disgust me. Crouching down I would stroke his ears, through the railings, and utter wheedling words. He did not realize he disgusted me. He reared up on his hind legs and pressed his chest against the bars. Then I could see his little black penis ending in a thin wisp of wetted hair. He felt insecure, his hams trembled, his little paws fumbled for purchase, one after the other. I too wobbled, squatting my heels. With my free hand I held on to the railings. Perhaps I disgusted him too. I found it hard to tear myself away from these vain thoughts.