CAPTURING THE QUIET MOMENTS… examples of good writing
I’ve come across three figures of speech that I like very much and thought I would share because of their gentle, soft quality. It’s easy to be dramatic. It’s much harder to capture the smaller moments
The first is from the poet Ezra Pound (who I admit isn’t a personal favourite, but I do like this).
And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass
The idea of something NOT happening is arresting, isn’t it? What else might not happen…a hand no longer raised in anger but the fear remains, the light of recognition gone from an elderly relative’s eyes, a key no longer turning in the front door at 7 O’Clock…any of these could be the start of/or part of a poem or a story or a passage of writing that might turn out to be anything….
The image of a door and lock leads me to a line from To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. A mother slowly closes the children’s bedroom door. so slowly that “the tongue of the door slowly lengthens in the lock.” You can feel how gently that door is closed, how carefully the handle turned so the children won’t wake. Good writing is about being there.
The last one comes from the New Zealand short story writer Katherine Mansfield who was a friend of Virginia Woolf. Here a girl is listening to her grandmother in bed saying her prayers last thing at night:
‘a long, soft whispering, as though someone was gently, gently rustling among tissue paper to find something.’
Have you come across a line or an image that struck you – made you feel you were in the scene or sent the hairs at the back of your neck stand up?
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