A while ago, Imogen Russell Williams wrote about the very appealing idea that poetry lovers are “made up” of their favourite lines and phrases. About poetry that has been “absorbed bone deep” to find itself called upon to help deal with difficult or intense emotional moments.
This image has stayed with me. So excuse me, reader, while I crack open my ribcage and pour out some of the quotes that I keep stored inside.
In Alan Bennet’s The History Boys, Hector voices something that any literature lover will agree with:
The best moments in reading are when you come across something — a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things — that you’d thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you’ve never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it’s as if a hand has come out and taken yours.
My feet are at Moorgate and my heart under my feet
You’re just smelling for smoke,so you can follow the trail back to a burning houseto find the boy who lost everything in the fireto see if you can save himor else find the boy who lit the fire in the first placeto see if you can change him
not let a second go by that does not remind you that your heart beats nine hundred times a day, and there are enough gallons of blood to make you an ocean.
Family isn’t a word. It’s a sentence.