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At Regensburg he crossed the Danube on his cloak, and there made a broken glass whole again; and, in the house of a wheelwright too mean to spare the kindling, lit a fire with icicles. This story of the burning of the frozen substance of life has, of late, meant much to me, and I wonder now whether inner coldness and desolation may not be the pre-condition for making the world believe, by a kind of fraudulent showmanship, that one's own wretched heart is still aglow. -- W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn
And if poetry is not to be the agency of his transfiguration from ignoble to noble, why bother with poetry at all? -- J.M. Coetzee, Youth
For Glenda and Julia, with love and gratitude.
It's been a long day for Mister Nightingale.
High in the air, in my sterile, off-white canister of a room, with only the white noise of a mechanical bird and the mere memory of the scent of apple blossoms, I settled uneasily into my seat and turned the pale blue pages of Lillian's childlike, handwritten script.