Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quote of the day: in praise of E.B. White

Got an email today from a friend whose mother is dying, saying, "Some days I dream of reading Strunk & White cover to cover. Now, that's leisure."

Here's a little E.B. White for those without leisure.


At eight of a hot morning, the cicada speaks his first piece. He says of the world: heat. At eleven of the same day, still singing, he has not changed his note but has enlarged his theme. He says of the morning: love. In the sultry middle of the afternoon, when the sadness of love and of heat has shaken him, his symphonic soul goes into the great movement and he says: death. But the thing isn't over. After supper he weaves heat, love, death into a final stanza, subtler and less brassy than the others. He has one last heroic monosyllable at his command. Life, he says, reminiscing. Life.

From Writings from The New Yorker 1927-1976, edited by Rebecca M. Dale, which is absolutely excellent bathroom reading.

No comments: