Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
When I was twelve, I started reading Eudora Welty, Thomas Wolfe, Flannery O’Connor, James Agee, and – do we dare breathe the name – William Faulkner.
With their souls of patent leather, they come down the road. Hunched and nocturnal, where they breathe they impose, silence of dark rubber, and fear of fine sand.
A man who waits to believe in action before acting is anything you like, but he’s not a man of action. You must act as you breathe.
We can no longer take our own way of life for granted – we know that it may be challenged. And we know this, too – and know it ever more deeply – we know that freedom and democracy are not just big words mouthed by orators but the rain and the wind and the sun, the air and the light by which we breathe and live.
The ‘I think’ which Kant said must be able to accompany all my objects, is the ‘I breathe’ which actually does accompany them.
Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend in a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment when in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God.
Happy the man whose wish and care a few paternal acres bound, content to breathe his native air in his own ground.
It has always been the aim of royalty and aristocracy to lower the individual liberty and independence of the common people. A baron and a minute-man could not breathe the same air.
Thus one memory follows another until the waves dash together over our heads, and a deep sigh swells the breast, which warns us that we have forgotten to breathe in the midst of these pure thoughts.