Quotation Archive

August 18, 2009
Ever some new tiny notion
Making every limb all motion—
Catching up of legs and arms,
Throwings back and small alarms,
Clutching fingers—straightening jerks,
Twining feet whose each toe works,
Kickings up and straining risings,
Mother’s ever new surprisings,
Hands all wants and looks all wonder
At all things the heavens under
William Cox Bennett, from “Baby May”

June 12, 2009
Like a shipwrecked Sailor tost
By rough waves on a perilous coast,
Lies the Babe, in helplessness
And in tenderest nakedness,
Flung by labouring nature forth
Upon the mercies of the earth.

William Wordsworth, from “Upon the Birth of Her First-Born Child, March 1833”

February 27, 2009
A new baby is like the beginning of all things—wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities. In a world that is cutting down its trees to build highways, losing its earth to concrete . . . babies are almost the only remaining link with nature, with the natural world of living things from which we spring.
Eda Le Shan

February 17, 2009
Writing a book is like rearing children—willpower has very little to do with it. If you have a little baby crying in the middle of the night, and if you depend only on willpower to get you out of bed to feed the baby, the baby will starve. You do it out of love. Willpower is a weak idea; love is strong. You don’t have to scourge yourself with a cat-o’-nine tails to go to the baby. You go to the baby out of love for that particular baby. That’s the same way you go to your desk.
Annie Dillard, from “To Fashion a Text”

February 8, 2009
Little wild baby, that knowest not where thou art going,
Lie still! lie still! Thy mother will do the rowing.

Margaret Thomson Janvier, from “Little Wild Baby”

January 29, 2009
People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.
Leo J. Burke

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One Response

  1. I know how you feel about Emerson, but I thought of you when I came across this, nonetheless.

    “What pretty oracles nature yields on this text in the face of children, babes, and even brutes… Their mind being whole, their eye is as yet unconquered, and when we look in their faces, we are disconcerted. Infancy conforms to nobody: all conform to it, so that one babe commonly makes four or five out of the adults who prattle and play to it… Do not think that the youth has no force because he cannot speak to you and me. Hark! in the next room, who spoke so clear and emphatic? Good heavens! it is he! it is that very lump of bashfulness and phlegm which for weeks has done nothing but eat when you were by, and now rolls out these words like bell-strokes. It seems he knows how to speak to his contemporaries. Bashful or bold, then, he will know how to make us seniors very unnecessary.” (From “Self Reliance”)

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