Lines in books that make your throat catch

(636 Posts)

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pongping Sun 25-Aug-13 08:50:52

Just been re-reading When We Were Very Young, and the lines in the last poem, Vespers, bring a tear to my eye every time:

Hush, hush, whisper who dares,
Christopher Robin is saying his prayers

I'm not sure why - I think it's the beauty of the innocence, the image of a lost world (the book is all nurses and stockings)?

In fact, just the title of the collection gives me a shiver.

orozing Mon 25-Apr-16 23:22:33

"Stephen remained as always, though barely consciously, on the watch for children, for a five year old girl. It was more than a habit, for a habit could be broken. It was a deep disposition, the outline experienced had stencilled on character.

It was not principally a search, though it had once been an obsessive hunt, for a long time too. Two years on, only vestiges of that remained; now it was a longing, a dry hunger.

There was a biological clock, dispassionate in its unstoppability, which made his daughter carry on growing, extended and complicated her simple vocabulary, made her stronger, her movements surer... she would be drawing, she would be starting to read, she would be losing a milk tooth. She would be familiar, taken for granted.

It seemed as though the proliferating instances might wear down the frail, semi-opaque screen whose tissues of time and chance separated her from him...

Any five year old girl - though boys would do - gave substance to her continued existence. He could not fail to watch out for Kate in other children or fail to feel the untapped potency of weeks and months, the time that should have been hers. Kate's phantom growth, the product of an obsessive sorrow, was not only inevitable , but necessary. Without the fantasy of her continued existence, he was lost. Time would stop.

He was the father of an invisible child."

Ian Mc Ewan, The Child in Time

Allthatnonsense Thu 09-Jul-15 22:20:15

My Henry by Judith Kerr

The bit where they reminisce about their happy life together kills me every time.

chanelfreak Wed 08-Jul-15 11:11:07

Sincere condolences to thos of you that have lost loved ones flowers

The animal ones just kill me, especially Lee and Hester in His Dark Materials - I got to that part late one night and I cried so much that I woke DH up and then vomited from the sobbing. Was vay hormonal at the time, but still.

Also, Manchee in the Patrick Ness book, I read that when I was having chemo and was so mad I tweeted him in a rage, the poor man tweeted me back too apologising heh heh.

Love this thread, but have had to pretend that I have severe hayfever today to account for the watery eyes.

FatherHenderson Wed 08-Jul-15 00:15:20

In Under the Skin.

Blew me away. I had to put the book down and walk round the room.

fallingoffthetoast Wed 08-Jul-15 00:12:50

slithytove so sorry to hear about your baby daughter flowers (hug). I've cried myself through much of this thread but I've found comfort in others thoughts/posts.

slithytove Tue 07-Jul-15 00:39:04

It's taken me all these months to finish reading this thread.

How can words cause such a huge emotional reaction, so strong that it actually gives pain?

I lost a baby girl and some of these words are so poignant. Add to that the fear of losing one of my other two children, the knowledge that I will one day lose my parents, the bittersweet hope that my children will grow up but with that will grow away from me.

I'm a mess. No one should have to lose a child. It feels like the worst cruelty.

KittyandTeal Sun 10-May-15 12:13:57

Oh and paper dolls gets me, when the dolls are cut up and float into the little girls memory.

Was bought for my dd1 when we lost dd2, she doesn't understand as she is only 2.6yo. I can just about get through it without sobbing now.

KittyandTeal Sun 10-May-15 12:11:25

No matter what was read at my dd2s service and we have the last line on her plaque.

Love, like starlight, never dies.

Stitchintime1 Sun 10-May-15 11:34:10

There are parts of 'Adam Bede' that give me the shakes even when I just remember reading them. When Hetty confesses and when the pardon comes. I can't even type them out.

Stitchintime1 Sun 10-May-15 11:32:42

skittish heels. Can't type today.

Stitchintime1 Sun 10-May-15 11:32:23

"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope." Wentworth in 'Persuasion.'
"Daddy, my daddy."
"I have danced at your skitting heels, my beautiful Bathsheba..."

aliasjoey Sun 10-May-15 11:28:56

Some years ago DH and I split up for a few months. I felt horribly guilty at the damage this might cause to the kids, and this Elvis song had me bawling!

Don't cry, daddy
Daddy, please don't cry
Daddy, you've still got me and little Tommy
And together we'll find a brand new mommy
Daddy, daddy, please laugh again
Daddy, ride us on your back again
Oh, daddy
Don't cry

Why are children always first
To feel the pain and the hurt the worst
It's true but somehow
It just don't seem right

Passmethecrisps Sat 09-May-15 22:13:06

That is the one I mean slithy.

I remember being taught that at school and just being a bit confused by it.

Now, reading it through, I am sure that I was right when I though that English was not the subject I should teach. I would have been hopeless trying to read that

slithytove Sat 09-May-15 22:06:10

The seamus Heaney poem about 70 posts in.

That took my breath away to the point of pain. I can't stop crying now.

Passmethecrisps Sat 09-May-15 21:59:41

plummy I attended a Seamus Heaney lecture/reading very soon before he died.

Hearing him read this was beautiful

Mummatron3000 Sat 09-May-15 21:37:03

This will sound daft but there's one of the Thomas and Friends books about an old tractor - Terence? - who's being sent for scrap, there's a bit where he's reminiscing about how happy he was in the past when he got to see children that makes me so teary!

gabsdot45 Sat 09-May-15 20:58:22

Here's a very moving quote from Anne of Ingleside

Walter was smiling in his sleep as someone who knew a charming secret. The moon was shining on his pillow through the bars of the leaded window, casting the shadow of a clearly defined cross on the wall above his head. In long after years Anne was to remember that and wonder if it was an omen of Courcelette...of a cross marked grave "somewhere in France". But tonight it was just a shadow, nothing else.

BatmanLovesRobin Sat 09-May-15 20:42:41

Another Harry Potter one here - when Harry, Hermione and Ron see Greyback crouched over Lavender's "feebly stirring body".

And another vote for I Am David - not just when he finds his mother, but also when the dog takes the bullet for him.

gabsdot45 Sat 09-May-15 20:18:23

From Harry Potter and the Philosphers stone
"A love as powerful as your mothers for you leaves it's own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign...To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone. will give us some protection for ever. It is in your very skin."

My friend died of cancer last December and left behind a 12 year old daughter. She was single so the little girl is with her grandparents now. I had been reading this book to DS and the night before her funeral we read this passage. I cried and cried. I wrote it in a card for her daughter.

I bawl at "I'll love you forever" every time.

I have a book called Baboushka and the 3 kings. It's a Russian tale about a woman who lets the 3 kings stay at her house on their way to find Baby Jesus. They invite her to come but she leaves late and misses him. The book finishes with Baboushka travelling the world looking for the Christ child and saying "is he here, is the Christ child here". Sniff

The entire chapter in Call The Midwife about Mrs Jenkins' life just broke me. I couldn't pick the book up again for a week after that.

AlmaMartyr Mon 26-Jan-15 15:58:50

This thread has made me sob! The worst for me is the final paragraph of The Last Battle:

"The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning."

Has been quoted before on this thread. Had to read it to DD recently and couldn't control myself.

DancingCrown Mon 26-Jan-15 13:50:15

Yes yes to Wilde. "And he kissed the Happy Prince on the lips, and fell down dead at his feet. At that moment a curious crack sounded inside the statue, as if something had broken. The fact is that the leaden heart had snapped right in two. It certainly was a dreadfully hard frost." The knowingness of the narrator attributing the heartbrake to the frost rather than the death.

And if we are having songs, Cat Power.

"His name was Perry
He had a learning difficulty
His father was a very mean man
His father burned his skin
His father send him to his death
He was ten years old
He was ten years old
He was ten years old

Her name was Naomi
Beautiful round face, so ashamed
Told me how to please a man
After school in the back of a bus
She was doing it every day
She was eleven years old
She was eleven years old
She was eleven years old

Her name was Sheryl
Black hair, like an electric space
She would pretty paint my face
She was a very good friend
Her father would come to her in the night
She was twelve years old
She was twelve years old
She was twelve years old

His name was Donovan
He was a very good friend
The cards were stacked against him
He was selling cocaine
The last time I saw him
He was thirteen years old
He was thirteen years old
He was thirteen years old

His name was Charles
He said he was in love with me
We were both fourteen
Then I had to move away
Then he begin to smoke crack
Then he had to sell ass
I don't know where he is
I don't know where they are"

PlummyBrummy Mon 26-Jan-15 09:33:56

"A four foot box, a foot for every year."

Seamus Heaney's poem, Mid-Term Break, about his younger brother who was killed in a car accident, aged four. I'm snivelling just writing it.

tiredvommachine Sun 28-Dec-14 16:24:00

This thread has destroyed me!

TheCatsFlaps Sat 27-Dec-14 01:45:19

Good old Norman Maccaig in Visiting Hour

he hospital smell
combs my nostrils
as they go bobbing along
green and yellow corridors.

What seems a corpse
is trundled into a lift and vanishes

I will not feel, I will not
feel, until
I have to.

Nurses walk lightly, swiftly,
here and up and down and there,
their slender waists miraculously
carrying their burden
of so much pain, so
many deaths, their eyes
still clear after
so many farewells.

Ward 7. She lies
in a white cave of forgetfulness.
A withered hand
trembles on its stalk. Eyes move
behind eyelids too heavy
to raise. Into an arm wasted
of colour a glass fang is fixed,
not guzzling but giving.
And between her and me
distance shrinks till there is none left
but the distance of pain that neither she nor I
can cross.

She smiles a little at this
black figure in her white cave
who clumsily rises
in the round swimming waves of a bell
and dizzily goes off, growing fainter,
not smaller, leaving behind only
books that will not be read
and fruitless fruits.

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