American Literature · Classic · Excerpt · Fiction · LGBT · Paraphrase · Passage · Queer · Quote

Djuna Barnes

We are but skin about a wind, with muscles clenched against mortality. We sleep in a long reproachful dust against ourselves. We are full to the gorge with our own names for misery. Life, the pastures in which the night feeds and prunes the cud that nourishes us to despair. Life, the permission to know death. We were created that the earth might be made sensible of her inhuman taste; and love that the body might be so dear that even the earth should roar with it. Yes, we who are full to the gorge with misery should look well around, doubting everything seen, done, spoken, precisely because we have a word for it, and not its alchemy. ― Djuna Barnes, Nightwood. (New Directions; unknown edition September 26, 2006) Originally published 1936.

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