I knew even before I had desire that it would be gnarled and knotted, black and hard, a tree that would never bear fruit, a fish that would never jump, a cat that would never meow. All my life, bitterness and regret, bitterness, and regret. "And yet," he said, briefly closing his eyes, "I was able to imagine the softness and sweetness of love, for a time." He rested his head upon his right hand, in a gesture worthy of a classical actor, and everyone in the Teatro Barbarossa heard his breathing.
Ezek nem köllenek. Csupa sár, semmi szín. Vagyis hát nem ilyen színekhez vagyok én szokva. Mert vegyük bár akármelyik amerikai várost, ősszel vagy télen, nézzük meg egy távoli dombtetőről, vagy csónakról az öbölből vagy a folyóról: bizony hogy bármelyik részletük sokkal, de sokkal szebb festmény, mint ez a lencsefőzelék itten, amit maguk, többiek is csak úgy tudnak szeretni, hogy mindenféle pedigrét aggatnak rá. Tolvaj vagyok, meglehet, de színben tudom, mi a szép, akár a mennyek tündöklésében, akár a Sátán mesterkedésében mutatkozik meg – és tudom azt is, mi a sár és szemét, és nem tévesztem össze. Mr. Knoedler, tőlem már nem kell féltenie a festményeit. Én ugyan el nem lopom őket. Rondák.Kiváló tisztelettel P. Soames
How, in good conscience," Alessandro asked, "can you ride across the countryside in perfect safety, as if you were on holiday, stopping mainly to swim and eat oysters, while men are crushed and pulverized in the filth of the trenches?" "Because the object of war is peace, and I have merely thrown out the middle. If everyone did the same, no one would be crushed and pulverized in the filth of the trenches." "Everyone doesn't have the privilege. You do because you're a field marshal in command of a microscopic unit." "I realize that," Strassnitzky answered, "and, given such a rare opportunity, of which most men cannot even dream, I would be unforgivably remiss if I failed to seize it, would I not? I exploit it to the full.
These are the things in which I was so helplessly caught up, the waves that took me, what I loved. When light filled my eyes and I was restless and could move, I knew not what all the color was about, but only that I had a passion to see. And now that I am still, I pass on to you my liveliness and my life, for you will be taken, as once I was, and although you must fight beyond your capacity to fight and feel beyond your capacity to feel, remember that it ends in perfect peace, and you will be as still and content as am I, for whom centuries are not even seconds.
Souls,” he said, “like rays of light, exist in perfect, parallel equality, always. But when for infinitely short a time they pass through the rough and delaying mechanism of life, they separate and disentangle, encountering different obstacles, traveling at different rates, like light refracted by the friction of things in its path. Emerging on the other side, they run together once more, in perfection. “For the short and difficult span when confounded by matter and time they are made unequal, they try to bind together as they always were and eventually will be. The impulse to do so is called love. The extent to which they succeed is called justice. And the energy lost in the effort is called sacrifice. On the infinite scale of things, this life is to a spark what a spark is to all the time man can imagine, but still, like a sudden rapids or a bend in the river, it is that to which the eye of God may be drawn from time to time out of interest in happenstance.” His expression hardened, and then softened a little. “But so what,” he said, rising. Pointing to the fire, he added, “That’s where I want to go, and I will, and there I’ll find peace—but not yet.
The difference between men and women," Alessandro went on, "is something that I've enjoyed a great deal. I would almost say that I wish I had enjoyed it more, except that at least half was the feeling that arose from restraint and modesty—and you have to go lightly with those, as I did. And perhaps I did it just right, even if at the time I thought I wasn't bold enough. I don't know, but here, at the end, I see that the most beautiful thing between a man and a woman is not the consummation of their love, but, simply, their regard for one another.
I returned to the university only after the Second World War, and, even then, not having been in the resistance, I had political difficulties." "Why weren't you in the resistance?" "I was tired. And you have to have a certain temperament. You have to be fixed on the point. You need what politicians have, which is the absence of a sense of mortality. It comes, like a drug, from adoration and deference. Revolutionaries get it from dreams. They say that nothing is apolitical, that politics, the bedrock of life, is something from which you cannot depart. I say, fuck them.
I found him. It was easy. The Church always seems to know where its priests are, even when they're traveling. He remembered me. His hair had turned almost all gray, but he still had his kindly, hesitant manner. "I told him the truth, exactly what had happened. "'The child was conceived out of wedlock,' he said, 'but the child's father was supposed to have been killed in the war. If you marry the mother now, you can adopt him. Then we will "discover" that he is not merely your adopted son, but your natural born son. So, he was your son, he is your son, he will be your son, you will have married his mother, you will have returned from the dead,' he said, counting on his fingers. 'What more can you want? Five out of six. I have no more fingers on this hand.' "'I don't want him to suffer illegitimacy,' I said. "'He won't'. "'Why?' "'I'll take care of it.' "'How?' "'I don't know, but I will.' "And he did.
When I was in school," Strassnitzky said, "I went out one morning in my riding clothes and shod in heavy boots, and as I left the last step I came down on a young bird that had been resting at the foot of the stairs, having been savaged by a hawk. My weight on it pushed the air out of its lungs, and when I turned to see what had made that unearthly noise, the bird looked at me in such a way that I knew that even animals have souls. Only a creature with a soul could have had eyes so expressive and so understanding, and I had crushed it as it lay dying. It took a full day to die, and since then I have been what is called a pacifist. The term is inexact and demeaning, for a pacifist has no peace in his soul, and he knows rage as much as anyone else, but he simply will not kill.