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Lines in books that make your throat catch

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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.

MrsFTHC Thu 29-Aug-13 16:41:12

That part of Dogger always gets me too, and also the end of When The World Was Waiting For You by Gillian Shields, it goes "Now the world still waits for you, to grow and bloom and be and do." I get teary everytime I read that

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 29-Aug-13 16:55:13

Elephants that's so interesting....I was reminded of The Children of Green Knowe by this thread....and watched a good portion of the original series the other night on Youtube. I wondered about it being a good way to get DD1 to drop her fear of ghosts!

Reastie Thu 29-Aug-13 18:20:47

Clicked on this thread from the DOTD intro and was just about to say all the quotes to have our kitchen redone made my eyes water, but I fear I may have got the wrong end of the stick confused

edam Thu 29-Aug-13 22:27:39

Lavender, that Pratchett quote about belief is my favourite as well - I've posted it on similar threads in the past. smile

Since you've already quoted it, I'll have to go for 'Reader, I married him'. Or, better still, 'What willl remain of us is love' - a startlingly positive line from Philip Larkin.

comingintomyown Thu 29-Aug-13 23:31:22

Owl Babies "And she came "

lorisparkle Fri 30-Aug-13 01:19:58

The last page of 'Once there were giants' always makes me cry when the girl has a baby of her own. I read it to DS2 last night and he thought I was a little crazy sobbing through the last few lines.

PaperSeagull Fri 30-Aug-13 02:25:49

Since we're on to poetry, I'll add a beautiful poem by Richard Wilbur. The language is so precise and perfect, the images are just amazing, and the depth of emotion that the father feels for his daughter is so beautifully articulated. It is just a little gem of a poem.

The Writer

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.

I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.

But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which

The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.

I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash

And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark

And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,

And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,

It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.

It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.

Tallalime Fri 30-Aug-13 02:36:40

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me

By Emily Dickinson, I'm not sure why.

Also Goodnight Mister Tom, lots of it but the bit with the cupboard and the baby, just gutting sad

LazyFaire Fri 30-Aug-13 08:36:52

"The idea hovered and shimmered delicately, like a soap bubble, and she dared not even look at it directly in case it burst. But she was familiar with the way of ideas, and she let it shimmer, looking away, thinking of something else." - His Dark Materials, I think the first book. There are lots in these books but that is my favourite!

" She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!" - The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

Others from The Velveteen Rabbit, Micheal Morphurgo's The Wreck of the Zanzibar, and Heidi, LOTR, The Toymaker... I spent quite a lot of childhood hiding under the covers with a torch and crying at my books! (In a good way!)

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 30-Aug-13 09:54:20

Lazy that puts me in mind of Terry Pratchett's Moving Pictures where he talks of "Holy Wood"....and how the idea of stardom was something which was base and wild...and how it emerged from the very hillside...

Something invisible. Something joyous and selfish and marvelous. Something as intangible as an idea, which is exactly what it was. A wild idea.

That always moves me oddly.

LazyFaire Fri 30-Aug-13 10:05:57

I also love:

"Of course it is happening in your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

LookingThroughTheFog Fri 30-Aug-13 10:11:14

Oddly, I can remain mostly dry-eyed through all of AA Milne's work, apart from the dedication from (I think) the first Pooh book:

You gave me Christopher Robin, and then
you breathed new life in Pooh.
Whatever of each has left my pen
Goes homing back to you.
My book is ready, and comes to greet
The mother it longs to see-
It would be my present to you, my sweet,
If it weren't your gift to me.

It's the last two lines.

ithaka Fri 30-Aug-13 10:37:39

I love the line at the end of Angela Carter's Magic Toyshop when they have escaped from the mad toymaker - a young man and woman:
"At night, in the garden, they gazed at each other with a wild surmise" - or something like that. It always makes me think of the start of my relationship with DH - that 'wild surmise' when you don't know each other and are deciding whether to risk your feelings....

MrsFrederickWentworth Fri 30-Aug-13 14:10:50


Your dog one has me in floods as we have recently got the most affectionate adoring pooch in the world.. where does it come from?

There is a heart rending Kipling equivalent about four feet pattering behind.

papalazaru Fri 30-Aug-13 14:20:45

Now we've mentioned Kipling I have to add "If" to the list. It always makes me tear up....

FatAssPantaloons Fri 30-Aug-13 14:29:58

The sunlight on the garden hardens and grows cold/ We cannot cage the minute within its nets of gold/When all is told, we cannot beg for pardon.

Louis MacNeice.

Wasapea Fri 30-Aug-13 14:33:33

The last line of Black Beauty. 'My troubles are all over, and I am at home; and often before I am quite awake, I fancy I am still in the orchard at Birtwick, standing with my old friends under the apple trees.'

Oh God <runs off crying>

givemushypeasachance Fri 30-Aug-13 14:43:15

So much sobbing; the His Dark Materials bits, and Watership Down particularly. To add to the tears:

“And I tell you, if you have the desire for knowledge and the power to give it physical expression, go out and explore. If you are a brave man you will do nothing: if you are fearful you may do much, for none but cowards have need to prove their bravery. Some will tell you that you are mad, and nearly all will say, “What is the use?” for we are a nation of shopkeepers, and no shopkeeper will look at research which does not promise him a financial return within a year. And so you will sledge nearly alone, but those with whom you sledge will not be shopkeepers: that is worth a good deal. If you march your Winter Journeys you will have your reward, so long as all you want is a penguin’s egg.”

From "The Worst Journey in the World". Heartbreaking.

ithaka Fri 30-Aug-13 14:57:54

YY to Black Beauty. The book is so moving & the film is an utter sobfest - even DH was teary. That bit at the end when he imagines himself back in the orchard with his mum & Merrylegs ~waaaaah!~

Wasapea Fri 30-Aug-13 15:06:35

Oh, and if we're doing songs as well....Scattered Black and Whites by Elbow is beautiful. Makes me cry every time I listen to it. I was brought up by my nan and grandad so it really resonates with me. Especially the line 'And he talks of people ten years gone like I've known them all my life, my scattered black and whites.'

They've always talked to me about their parents and I do feel like I knew them, even though I never met them. I want to do the same with my children.

SoniaGluck Fri 30-Aug-13 15:20:08

PaperSeagull That's lovely.

I've never come across Richard Wilbur before.

AViewfromtheFridge Sun 01-Sep-13 00:29:05

This got me, from the first Hunger Games book, especially the last line. I couldn't believe how much it affected me, even though I was only 25 pages in.

The something unexpected happens. At least, I don’t expect it because I don’t think of District 12 as a place that cares about me. But a shift has occurred since I stepped up to take Prim’s place, and now it seems I have become someone precious. At first one, then another, then almost every member of the crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hand to their lips and holds it out to me. It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love.

cuillereasoupe Sun 01-Sep-13 04:48:35

ithaka "wild surmise" is originally from a sonnet by Keats, "On first looking into Chapman's Homer".

Secretswitch Sun 01-Sep-13 05:31:42

Stopping by Woods on A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

The woods are lovely,dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Morgause Sun 01-Sep-13 05:45:12

So he left her and she was alone. Very few people cared for her, and she for very few people. She remained alone with herself, waiting.

D H Lawrence

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