"BASTARD-TOADFLAX. The small green fruits are a sweet, if not overly abundant, trailside nibble."
Edible Wild Plants by Lee Allen Peterson
"Where the slanting forest eves
Shingled light with greenest leaves
Sweep the scented meadow sedge
Let us snoop along the edge,
Let us pry in hidden nooks
Laden with our nature books,
Scaring birds with happy cries,
Rooting up each woodland plant,
Pinning beetle, fly and ant
So we may identify
What we've ruined by and by."
"To Nature Seekers" by Robert W. Chambers
"Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees. . ."
"Strange Fruit" by Abel Meeropol
"Crayfishes, in fact, are guilty of cannibalism in its worst form; and a French observer pathetically remarks, that, under certain circumstances, the males méconnaissent les plus saints devoirs; and, not content with mutilating or killing their spouses, after the fashion of animals of higher moral pretensions, they descend to the lowest depths of utilitarian turpitude, and finish by eating them."
The Crayfish by T.H. Huxley
"My wedding bouquet is made from wild African weeds, not flowers. The stagnant green pool is hidden with brightly colored balloons. White building sand covers the cow and horse shit in the paddock where Charlie and I exchange vows. The trees (bare-limbed in midwinter) are festooned with crepe-paper-covered hula hoops.
Dad puts all the hula hoops over his body, one on top of the other. He says, "You miserable buggers want light. I bring you the Timothy Donald Fuller Electricity Supply Commission." He lights a match and sets himself on fire.
Mum, singing and arms raised in triumph, shouts, "Olé!"
Dad is extinguished with a bottle of champagne by an alert, alarmed American guest.
I couldn't be more thoroughly married."
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
"Trees stir memories; live waters heal them. The creek is the mediator, benevolent, impartial, subsuming my shabbiest evils and dissolving them, transforming them into live moles, and shiners, and sycamore leaves. It is a place even my faithlessness hasn't offended; it still flashes for me, now and tomorrow, that intricate, innocent face. It waters an undeserving world, saturating cells with lodes of light. I stand by the creek over rock under trees."
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
"Oh, sometimes I go walking through fields where we walked
Long ago in the sweet used-to-be
And the flowers still grow, but they don’t smell as sweet
As they did when you picked them for me
And when I think of you and the love we once knew
How I wish we could go back in time
Do you ever think back on old memories like that
Or do I ever cross your mind?"
"Do I Ever Cross Your Mind" by Dolly Parton
"Christ climbed down
from His bare Tree
and ran away to where
there were no gilded Christmas trees
and no tinsel Christmas trees
and no tinfoil Christmas trees
and no pink plastic Christmas trees
and no gold Christmas trees
and no black Christmas trees
and no powderblue Christmas trees
hung with electric candles
and encircled by tin electric trains
and clever cornball relatives"
"Christ Climbed Down" by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
"Let him who is without my poems be assassinated!
Let the cow, the horse, the camel, the garden-bee -- let the mud-fish, the lobster, the mussel, the eel, the sting-ray, and the grunting pig-fish -- let these, and the like of these, be put on a perfect equality with man and woman!
Let churches accomodate serpents, vermin, and the corpses of those who have died of the most filthy diseases!"
"Respondez" by Walt Whitman
"And men will not understand us -- for the generation that grew up before us, though it has passed these years with us already had a home and a calling; now it will return to its old occupations and the war will be forgotten -- and the generation that has grown up after us will be strange to us and push us aside. We will be superfluous even to ourselves, we will grow older, a few will adapt themselves, some others will merely submit, and most will be bewildered;-- the years will pass by and in the end we shall fall into ruin."
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
"And one September dawn in my thirty-sixth year I crept out of my childhood home, slid behind the wheel of an aging Chevrolet Chevette lent me by my sainted and trusting mother, and guided it out through the flat, sleeping streets of the city. I cruised down the empty freeway, the only person with a mission in a city of 250,000 sleeping souls. The sun was already high in the sky and promised a blisteringly hot day. Ahead of me lay about a million square miles of quietly rustling corn. At the edge of town I joined Iowa Highway 163 and with a light heart headed toward Missouri. And it isn't often you hear anyone say that."
The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson
"The faces in the band room this morning are open and bright. The eyes are a row of shiny buttons, unclouded by the opacities of irony. Attentive, joyful groups of children like this often provoke adults to say goofy things like, 'The children are our future!' Of course this statement completely ignores the fact that everyone who has not stopped absorbing oxygen is our future. Children are fascinating, and surprising, and at their best heavenly sprites, but before you go in too deeply for the idea that the world would be a better place if we were all more childlike, try sticking three kids in one room with two toys. . . .The world is like it is because, on the whole, we tend to act like children."
Population 485 by Michael Perry
"How in hell are you going to recognize a legitimate holy man when you see one if you don't even know a cup of consecrated chicken soup when it's right in front of your nose? Can you tell me that?"
Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger
"In your company, on the contrary, O my Cricket, I feel the throbbing of life, which is the soul of our lump of clay, and that is why, under my rosemary hedge, I give but an absent glance at the constellation of the Swan and devote all my attention to your serenade! A living speck -- the merest dab of life -- capable of pleasure and pain, is far more interesting to me than all the immensities of mere matter."
Fabre's Book of Insects by Jean Henri Fabre
"I am proud to be a disappointment to almost everybody. Lend me money, and I will never pay you back. Fall in love with me, and I will fail to acknowledge you. Save your compassion for someone who really needs it, I am well engaged, trying to be my own worst enemy."
"Like the onetime logician from Hippo I have stolen pears and wasted them, sat under fig trees and heard things spoken in the air, and still I am uncertain about God's existence. Belief, after all, is impossible for an underachiever."
"Rather than saying 'Yes, yes' to life, the underachiever will say 'No, thank you.' If pressed, he will turn belligerent."
"Name all the people I have ever known and not one soul is finished, we are a litany of criminals-against-perfection that will last forever, or at least until our time on this spinning puddle comes to an end. Are you still listening, or have I lost you to private thoughts of joy and misery?"
An Underachiever's Diary by Benjamin Anastas