Treasure Island

Randall Jarrell

(May 6, 1914 – October 14, 1965 / Nashville)

Quotations

  • ''—Here, the flag snaps in the glare and silence
    Of the unbroken ice. I stand here,
    The dogs bark, my beard is black, and I stare
    At the North Pole. . .
    And now what? Why, go back.

    Turn as I please, my step is to the south.''
    Randall Jarrell (1914-1965), U.S. poet, critic. 90 North (l. 9-14). . . The Complete Poems [Randall Jarrell]. (1969; repr. 1989) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
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  • ''I wrung from the darkness—that the darkness flung me—
    Is worthless as ignorance: nothing comes from nothing,
    The darkness from the darkness. Pain comes from the darkness
    And we call it wisdom. It is pain.''
    Randall Jarrell (1914-1965), U.S. poet, critic. 90 North (l. 30-33). . . The Complete Poems [Randall Jarrell]. (1969; repr. 1989) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''A filmy trash
    Litters the black woods with the death
    Of men; and one last breath

    Curls from the monstrous chimney. . . .''
    Randall Jarrell (1914-1965), U.S. poet, critic. A Camp in the Prussian Forest (l. 30-33). . . The Complete Poems [Randall Jarrell]. (1969; repr. 1989) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''One year
    They sent a million here:
    Here men were drunk like water, burnt like wood.
    The fat of good
    And evil, the breast's star of hope
    Were rendered into soap.''
    Randall Jarrell (1914-1965), U.S. poet, critic. A Camp in the Prussian Forest (l. 15-20). . . The Complete Poems [Randall Jarrell]. (1969; repr. 1989) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''The soul has no assignments, neither cooks
    Nor referees: it wastes its time.
    It wastes its time.''
    Randall Jarrell (1914-1965), U.S. poet, critic. A Girl in a Library (l. 33-35). . . The Complete Poems [Randall Jarrell]. (1969; repr. 1989) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''The blind date that has stood you up: your life.''
    Randall Jarrell (1914-1965), U.S. poet. A Girl in a Library (l. 87). . . The Complete Poems [Randall Jarrell]. (1969; repr. 1989) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''The firelight of a long, blind, dreaming story
    Lingers upon your lips; and I have seen
    Firm, fixed forever in your closing eyes,
    The Corn King beckoning to his Spring Queen.''
    Randall Jarrell (1914-1965), U.S. poet, critic. A Girl in a Library (l. 104-107). . . The Complete Poems [Randall Jarrell]. (1969; repr. 1989) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''These calves, grown muscular with certainties;
    This nose, three medium-sized pink strawberries''
    Randall Jarrell (1914-1965), U.S. poet, critic. A Girl in a Library (l. 9-10). . . The Complete Poems [Randall Jarrell]. (1969; repr. 1989) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''An object among dreams, you sit here with your shoes off
    And curl your legs up under you;''
    Randall Jarrell (1914-1965), U.S. poet, critic. A Girl in a Library (l. 1-2). . . The Complete Poems [Randall Jarrell]. (1969; repr. 1989) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''bars of that strange speech
    In which each sound sets out to seek each other,
    Murders its own father, marries its own mother,
    And ends as one grand transcendental vowel.''
    Randall Jarrell (1914-1965), U.S. poet, critic. A Girl in a Library (l. 13-16). . . The Complete Poems [Randall Jarrell]. (1969; repr. 1989) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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Next Day

Moving from Cheer to Joy, from Joy to All,
I take a box
And add it to my wild rice, my Cornish game hens.
The slacked or shorted, basketed, identical
Food-gathering flocks
Are selves I overlook. Wisdom, said William James,

Is learning what to overlook. And I am wise
If that is wisdom.

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