Thursday, May 15, 2014

Origins of arrest

   The young man's movements,
   however, betrayed no con-
   sistency of attention -
   not even, for that matter,
   when one of his arrests had
   proceeded from possibilities
   in faces shaded, as they 
   passed him on the pavement,
   by huge beribboned hats, or
   more delicately tinted still
   under the tense silk of para-
   sols held at perverse angles
   in waiting victorias.

     I admit to having needed
     to be trained in the in-
     heritance of literature,
     as in anything else, for
     this comes down and does
     proceed from possibility.
     I never mind, not having
     written a sentence I see
     as brilliant, but I have
     been astounded to be un-
     prepared for it. I know,
     it is customary to comp-
     lain of Henry James, for
     his preservation of pos-
     sibility beyond ordinary
     endurance. Is there any-
     thing worthier enduring?

Henry James
The Golden Bowl
  page 1
Alfred A. Knopf
Everyman, 1992©

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