Monday, July 23, 2012
Thoughts of Summer
Today I was having thoughts of summer and was remembering the prologue in James Agee's book, A Death in the Family. Blogger Stephen Janson called this prologue "one of the greatest pieces of prose in the English language". I agree. Below are a couple of quotes from the prologue, favorites of mine.
KNOXVILLE: SUMMER 1915
We are talking now of summer evenings in Knoxville Tennessee in that time that I lived there so successfully disguised to myself as a child. (one of my favorite quotes from the book)
On the rough wet grass of the back yard my father and mother have spread quilts. We all lie there, my mother, my father, my uncle, my aunt, and I too am lying there… They are not talking much, and the talk is quiet, of nothing in particular, of nothing at all. The stars are wide and alive, they seem each like a smile of great sweetness, and they seem very near. All my people are larger bodies than mine… with voices gentle and meaningless like the voices of sleeping birds. One is an artist, he is living at home. One is a musician, she is living at home. One is my mother who is good to me. One is my father who is good to me. By some chance, here they are, all on this earth; and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying, on quilts, on the grass, in a summer evening, among the sounds of the night. May God bless my people, my uncle, my aunt, my mother, my good father, oh, remember them kindly in their time of trouble; and in the hour of their taking away. (This passage I can relate to very much. In my family we would lie out at night on spread quilts, watching the stars while homemade ice cream was being churned. Sometimes the quilts would be spread when we would be eating watermelons. I have such strong and sweet memories of such simple old times)