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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.

Housemum Tue 21-Jan-14 20:40:39

I've never read Peter Pan, but the Disney version always makes me want to cry at the loss of childhood/having to grow up - stupid I know!

1974rach Tue 21-Jan-14 22:05:49

sobbing on the sofa and have informed OH that I won't be reading winnie the pooh to our dc's.

Each and every time I hear or rwady Ae Fond Kiss by Robert Burns I blub

"Never met nor never parted, we would never be so broken hearted"


SelectAUserName Sun 26-Jan-14 22:03:33

Oh, so much beauty and heartache here!

Many of my favourites (if that's the right word for something that leaves you a limp emotional wreck) have already been covered, byt here's one that never fails to bring a lump to my throat:

"When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars."

"When You Are Old", WB Yeats

I know this has been mentioned upthread but it deserves the full quote:

""There are all kinds of courage," said Dumbledore, smiling. "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends. I therefore award ten points to Mr. Neville Longbottom.""


These lyrics from Dire Straits' "Hand in Hand" get me every time:

"Now you and me go parallel together and apart
And you keep your perfect distance and it's tearing at my heart
Did you never feel the distance?
You never tried to cross no line
'Cause it's another dirty river and another dirty scar
And I don't know who's kissing you and I don't know where you are
So far from home don't you think of me sometime?"

CheerfulYank Tue 28-Jan-14 02:02:29

Oh I am crying.

For me the most poignant Anne of Green Gables moment isn't when Matthew dies, although I am a sobbing mess then. It's the bit where Anne breaks her ankle and is being carried home heart and Marilla realizes how much Anne means to her.

"In the sudden stab of fear that pierced her very heart she realized what Anne had come to mean to her. She would have admitted that she liked Anne-nay, that she was very fond of Anne. But now she knew as she hurried wildly down the slope that Anne was dearer to her than anything else on earth." Gets me EVERY TIME.

And the James Herriot story where the old lady adopts the neglected dog and every time she sees the vet says "Mr Herriot, haven't I made a difference to this dog!"

Also every one of the Casson family books, for some reason!

Fishandjam Tue 28-Jan-14 12:51:34

This thread is not the one to read at work, is it?

Sticking with the original OP, this poem always makes my throat catch (as opposed to choke up in a flood of snotty tears). Apologies if it's already been posted:

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

(Those Winter Sundays - Robert Hayden)

As regards books, parts of Terry Pratchett often make my throat ache, but this passage in particular (from "Thud!"):

“Night, forever. But within it, a city, shadowy and only real in certain ways.
The entity cowered in its alley, where the mist was rising. This could not have happened!
Yet it had. The streets had filled with… things. Animals! Birds! Changing shape! Screaming and yelling! And, above it all, higher than the rooftops, a lamb rocking back and forth in great slow motions, thundering over the cobbles…
And then bars had come down, slamming down, and the entity had been thrown back.
But it had been so close! It had saved the creature, it was getting through, it was beginning to have control… and now this…
In the darkness of the inner city, above the rustle of the never-ending rain, it heard the sound of boots approaching.
A shape appeared in the mist.
It drew nearer.
Water cascaded off a metal helmet and an oiled leather cloak as the figure stopped and, entirely unconcerned, cupped its had in front of its face and lit a cigar.
Then the match was dropped on the cobbles, where it hissed out, and the figure said: “What are you?”
The entity stirred, like an old fish in a deep pool. It was too tired to flee.
“I am the Summoning Dark.” It was not, in fact, a sound, but had it been, it would have been a hiss. “Who are you?”
“I am the Watchman.”
“They would have killed his family!” The darkness lunged, and met resistance. “Think of the deaths they have caused! Who are you to stop me?”
“He created me. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen? Me. I watch him. Always. You will not force him to murder for you.”
“What kind of human creates his own policeman?”
“One who fears the dark.”
“And so he should,” said the entity, with satisfaction.
“Indeed. But I think you misunderstand. I am not here to keep the darkness out. I am here to keep it in.” There was a clink of metal as the shadowy watchman lifted a dark lantern and opened its little door. Orange light cut through the blackness. “Call me… the Guarding Dark. Imagine how strong I must be.”
The Summoning Dark backed desperately into the alley, but the light followed it, burning it.
“And now,” said the watchman, “get out of town.”

CheerfulYank Tue 28-Jan-14 14:34:52

I know some people added songs...I'm usually no Taylor Swift fan but her song "Ronan" about a little boy who died of cancer gets me every time. The line "what if I kept the hand me downs you won't grow into" is brutal, and the end of the chorus is "you best four years." It was like a punch to the stomach the first time I heard it. sad

JBrd Thu 06-Feb-14 21:47:49

...if a bird with a broken neck could fly away, what else might be possible? Water may be older than light, diamonds crack in hot goat's blood, mountaintops give off cold fire, forests appear mid-ocean, it may happen that a crab is caught with the shadow of a hand on its back, that the wind be imprisoned in a bit of knotted string. And it may be that love sometimes occurs without pain or misery.

The Shipping News, by E. Annie Proux. Gets me every time.

Puffinlover Fri 07-Feb-14 19:36:59

If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together... there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you.”

Another Winnie to pooh one.

Catnuzzle Mon 10-Feb-14 12:18:37

Wibbly Pig's Silly Big Bear:

And when he is gone, we will miss him more than anyone.


normalishdude Thu 20-Feb-14 15:54:39

I made the mistake of reading House at Pooh Corner and now I am no good for anything at all.

nyldn Fri 14-Mar-14 00:01:25

A Fine White Dust by Cynthia rylant. Heartbreaking and gives you something very different when read at different points in your life.

“And, finally, I know, too. That throwing away this mess doesn't mean I'm giving something up. Or losing something I can't get back. It's just that there are too many pieces and too much dust. I'm just ready for something whole."

pookamoo Fri 14-Mar-14 00:19:23

Why do I read these threads?!!! SOB! sad

CakesALot Mon 17-Mar-14 16:26:00

This thread is wonderful! So many of my favourites reads mentioned! I've not been able to read it all, so apologies if this has already been mentioned, but this is my favourite poem, by Yeats

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

Chokes me every time!

CakesALot Mon 17-Mar-14 16:37:45

Oh and the bit at the end of the Hunger Games trilogy

'"You love me, real or not real?" and I say, "real"'

I read that over and over! Sob

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 20-Mar-14 12:31:37

I've just cried at work AGAIN reading this. Some lovely things here.

pookamoo Fri 21-Mar-14 23:11:25

DD2 picked out Floss from the bucket of books at toddlers the other day.

I sobbed my way to the end, then I sobbed again while recounting the earlier sobbing to DH! The picture by the dedication in the front, of a shepherd's crook and a dog lead started me off!! I always think tales of old farmers and their dogs/animals get to me. (Think "That'll do, Pig") <sniff>

DD1 finds Tabby McTat heartbreaking - mainly when they give away the kittens to their new homes!

Both reminded me of this thread.

pookamoo Fri 21-Mar-14 23:12:26

and cakes I have always loved that poem, too.

Mireio Mon 24-Mar-14 16:30:43

Some parts of the Dead School by Patrick McCabe, especially the parts about Malachy and Marion's relationship breaking down.

"Everything was OK now as they sat watching the ducks. The bad times were over at last. They sat there as happy as they had ever been looking at the old ducks swimming away. 'They love their bread,' said an old woman in a rain hood as she chucked half a loaf onto the water. 'They go mad without their bread.'
'They do,' said Marion as she blushed a bit then laughed.
'They do,' said Malachy.
'I never seen anything like ducks for bread,' said the woman.
Part of him wanted to cry out, 'Please, Marion!'
The late afternoon sky was the colour of lead."


"Tonight she was watching Coronation Street and he was sitting beside her but he was no more interested in Coronation Street than the man in the moon. (...) A few times he stroked her hair without thinking and she said 'Oh, please - I can't concentrate!'
He knew what she meant. It can be irritating trying to watch something when someone is distracting you. So he went into the kitchen and sat down in the armchair to read for a while, but suddenly he wanted to go back into the sitting room and ask Marion if she still loved him. He was on the verge of it but then he said to himself no -don't! When she came in he was just standing there staring into space. (...) 'Is there any pickle left?' she asked. 'I really fancy a sandwich.'
She hummed to herself as she opened the fridge door and it was just then that he wanted to hold her and say, 'Please help me, Marion, I think there's something wrong' but all he said was 'Yes, Marion, there is.' Meaning the pickle, of course.
But it didn't matter because when he looked again she was gone.

nouvellevag Fri 04-Apr-14 20:54:57

Tich died when she was twelve. <howl>

And there was a book I read as a kid, can't remember for the life of me what it was called or who it was by, but it's about a girl and her family being taken to a concentration camp. At the end they herd the girls and women all naked into a chamber, tell them they're going to have a shower, and she puts up her face ready to feel the water on it, and that's where the book ends. Aaaaaaa I can't bear it.

Teladi Tue 22-Apr-14 20:12:51

Resurrecting this thread after doing a search for The Paper Dolls to see if anyone else had been ambushed by it. I took it out of the library thinking it was a bit of rhyming fun like 'Jack and the Flumflum Tree' and promptly burst into tears halfway through. Poor DD (2.5) was very concerned and offered to get her Daddy to give me a cuddle.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes used to make me cry as well, I see someone else has mentioned this so at least I'm not the only one.

CarryOn90 Sun 10-Aug-14 14:38:58

The Kite Runner: "for you, a thousand times over". Not when Hassan says it near the beginning, but at the end when Amir repeats it to Sohrab.

Harry Potter 7, when Harry is burying Dobby and carves on the stone "Here lies Dobby, a free elf."

And Harry Potter 6, when Harry says to Dumbledore something like "Don't worry, it's going to be all right" and Dumbeldore says "I am not worried Harry - I am with you."


JayBat Wed 13-Aug-14 18:54:23

I love so many of these. But something that hasn't been mentioned yet, that devastates me every time I read it, from The Little Prince:

My life is very monotonous. I run after the chickens; the men run after me. All the chickens are the same, and all the men are the same. Consequently, I get a little bored. but if you tame me, my days will be as if filled with sunlight. I shall know a sound of footstep different from all the rest. Other steps make me run to earth. Yours will call me out of my foxhole like music. And besides, look over there! You see the fields of corn ? Well, I don't eat bread. Corn is of no use for me. Corn fields remind me of nothing. Which is sad! On the other hand, your hair is the colour of gold. So think how wonderful it will be when you have tamed me. The corn, which is golden, will remind me you. And I shall come to love the sound of the wind in the field of corn...."

And the follow-on from that that I live by utterly:

'People have forgotten this truth,' said the fox. 'But you must not forget. You become responsible, for ever, for what you have tamed.

WilburIsSomePig Sun 31-Aug-14 09:35:39

Every single page of 'The Dancing Tiger'. DS (now 10) loved it when he was tiny and it's such a beautifully written, warm book with wonderful illustrations. I've never been able to get to the end of it without a catch in my throat, even more so now as it reminds me of lying in bed with my little boy reading it. I'm actually having a wee tear just now thinking about it.

LadyFlumpalot Sun 31-Aug-14 09:56:02

I can't find the book to quote from right now, but the bit in Richard Hammonds autobiography where his wife describes his childrens reaction to seeing him for the first time after his accident, and how his elder daughter held it together until the lift doors shut.

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