Nanny's words made Janie's kiss across the gatepost seem like a manure pile after a rain
The monstropolous beast had left his bed. The two hundred miles a hour wind had loosed his chains. He seized hold of his dikes and ran forward until he met the quarters; uprooted them like grass and rushed on after his supposed-to-be conquerors, rolling the dikes, rolling the houses, rolling the people in the houses along with other timbers. The sea was walking the earth with a heavy heel.
No hour is ever eternity, but it has its right to weep.
The morning air was like a new dress. That made her feel the apron tied around her waist. She untied it and flung it on a low bush beside the road and walked on, picking flowers and making a bouquet… From now on until death she was going to have flower dust and springtime sprinkled over everything.
Ah done lived Grandma's way, now Ah means tuh live mine.
Of course he wasn't dead. He could never be dead until she herself had finished feeling and thinking. The kiss of his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall. Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.
The spirit of the marriage left the bedroom and took to living in the parlor.
All gods who receive homage are cruel. All gods dispense suffering without reason. Otherwise they would not be worshipped. Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion. It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom. Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood.
Oh to be a pear tree - any tree in bloom! With kissing bees singing of the beginning of the world!
There is a basin in the mind where words float around on thought and thought on sound and sight. Then there is a depth of thought untouched by words, and deeper still a gulf of formless feelings untouched by thought.
And I can't die easy thinking maybe the menfolks white or black is making a spit cup out of you. Have some sympathy for me. Put me down easy, Janie, I'm a cracked plate.
Please God, please suh, don't let him love nobody else but me. Maybe Ah'm is uh fool, Lawd, lak dey say, but Lawd, Ah been so lonesome, and Ah been waitin', Jesus. Ah done waited uh long time.
There was already something dead about him. He didn't rear back in his knees any longer. He squatted over his ankles when he walked. That stillness at the back of his neck. His prosperous-looking belly…sagged like a load suspended from his loins.
For the first time she could see a man's head naked of its skull. Saw the cunning thoughts race in and out through the caves and promontories of his mind long before they darted through the tunnel of his mouth.
She couldn't make him look just like any other man to her. He looked like the love thoughts of women. He could be a bee to a blossom - a pear tree blossom in the spring. He seemed to be crushing scent out of the world with his footsteps. Crushing aromatic herbs with every step he took. Spices hung above him. He was a glance from God.
They bowed down to him rather, because he was all of these things, and then again he was all of these things because the town bowed down.
From barren brown stems to glistening leaf-buds; from the leaf-buds to snowy virginity of bloom…It was like a flute song forgotten in another existence and remembered again. What? How? Why? This singing she heard that had nothing to do with her ears. The rose of the world was breathing out smell. It followed her through all her waking moments and caressed her in her sleep.
She didn't read books so she didn't know that she was the world and the heavens boiled down to a drop.
They plan and they fix and they do, and then some kitchen-dwelling fiend slips a scorchy, soggy, tasteless mess into their pots and pans…So when the bread didn't rise, and the fish wasn't quite done at the bone, and the rice was scorched, he slapped Janie until she had a ringing sound in her ears and told her about her brains before he stalked on back to the store.
She had an inside and an outside now and suddenly she knew how not to mix them.
Well, she thought, that big old dawg with the hatred in his eyes had killed her after all.
He was the average mortal. It troubled him to get used to the world one way and then suddenly have it turn different.
She had waited all her life for something, and it had killed her when it found her.
When God had made The Man, he made him out of stuff that sung all the time and glittered all over. Some angels got jealous and chopped him into millions of pieces, but still he glittered and hummed. So they beat him down to nothing but sparks but each little spark had a shine and a song. So they covered each one over with mud. And the lonesomeness in the sparks make them hunt for one another.
Her old thoughts were going to come in handy now, but new words would have to be made and said to fit them.
She tore off the kerchief from her head and let down her plentiful hair. The weight, the length, the glory was all there. She took careful stock of herself, then combed her hair and tied it back up again.
When Janie looked out of her door she saw the drifting mists gathered in the west -- that cloud field of the sky -- to arm themselves with thunders and march forth against the world. Louder and higher and lower and wider the sound and motion spread, mounting, sinking, darking.
In the cool afternoon the fiend from hell specifically sent to lovers arrived at Janie's ear. Doubt.
She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her. She saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight.
When the people sat around on the porch and passed around the pictures of their thoughts for the others to look at and see, it was nice. The fact that the thought pictures were always crayon enlargements of life made it even nicer to listen to.
She's got those big black eyes with plenty shiny white in them that makes them shine like brand new money and she knows what God gave women eyelashes for, too. Her hair is not what you might call straight. It's negro hair, but it's got a kind of white flavor. Like the piece of string out of a ham. It's not ham at all, but it's been around ham and got the flavor.
You'se something tuh make uh man forgit to git old and forgit tuh die.
Janie looked down on him and felt a self-crushing love. So her soul crawled out from its hiding place.
So Janie waited a bloom time, and a green time and an orange time.
Janie saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches
So she sat on the porch and watched the moon rise. Soon its amber fluid was drenching the earth, and quenching the thirst of the day.
Long before the year was up, Janie noticed that her husband had stopped talkin to he rin rhymes.
Somebody got to think for women and chillun and cows. I god, they sho don't think none theirselves… When Ah see one thing Ah understands ten. You see ten things and don't understand one.
Maybe if she had known some other way to try, she might have made his face different. But what the other way could be, she had no idea.
Tea Cake, the son of the Evening Sun, had to die for loving her.
More Zora Neale Hurston Quotations (Based on Topics)
Love - World - People - God - Mind - Nature - Thought & Thinking - Time - Man - Life - Anger - Sleep - Eternity - Hair - Singing - Fear - Place - Death & Dying - Woman - View All Zora Neale Hurston Quotations
More Zora Neale Hurston Quotations (By Book Titles)
- Their Eyes Were Watching God
Oscar Wilde - George Bernard Shaw - Philippe Quinault - Jean Racine - Henry Taylor - Henry Porter - Hannah Cowley - George S. Kaufman - Anton Chekhov - Alexandre Dumas