5.16.2023 – rise in morning torn

rise in morning torn
desire improve, enjoy world
makes day hard to plan

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy.

If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem.

But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world.

This makes it hard to plan the day.

E. B. White: Notes and Comment, interview with Israel Shenker, July 11, 1969; New York Times; quoted in E. B. White: A Biography, by Scott Elledge, p. 3

5.1.2023 – dyeing an orange,

dyeing an orange,
orange, man’s most impudent
gesture to this date

In the kitchen cabinet is a bag of oranges for morning juice.

Each orange is stamped “Color Added.”

The dyeing of an orange, to make it orange, is man’s most impudent gesture to date.

It is really an appalling piece of effrontery, carrying the clear implication that Nature doesn’t know what she is up to.

On a Florida Key, February 1941; Essays of E. B. White, p. 13

4.24.2025 – suspended between

suspended between
the bottom of the sea and
the top of the sky

Men who ache all over for tidiness and compactness in their lives often find relief for their pain in the cabin of a thirty-foot sailboat at anchor in a sheltered cove. Here the sprawling panoply of The Home is compressed in orderly miniature and liquid delirium, suspended between the bottom of the sea and the top of the sky, ready to move on in the morning by the miracle of canvas and the witchcraft of rope. It is small wonder that men hold boats in the secret place of their mind, almost from the cradle to the grave. —

“The Sea and the Wind That Blows,” 1963; Essays of E. B. White, pp. 205–206.

Part of the series of Haiku inspired by from In the Words of E. B. White: Quotations from America’s Most Companionable of Writers (2011, Cornell University Press) by Mary White. This book was compiled by Mr. White’s grand daughter and while I am grateful she pulled all these together in one book, I am not sure I don’t consider this cheating.

4.21.2023 – eyes that often seem

eyes that often seem
capable seeing things not
visible to men

Any sort of disturbance, whether man-made or elemental, is of immense interest to a goose, and geese watch the world through eyes that often seem capable of seeing things not visible to men. I have always envied a goose its look of deep, superior wisdom. I miss the cordiality of geese, the midnight cordiality. And they are the world’s best drinkers, forever at it. —

Postscript to “The Eye of Edna,” April 1962; Points of My Compass, p. 14

Part of the series of Haiku inspired by from In the Words of E. B. White: Quotations from America’s Most Companionable of Writers (2011, Cornell University Press) by Mary White. This book was compiled by Mr. White’s grand daughter and while I am grateful she pulled all these together in one book, I am not sure I don’t consider this cheating.

4.19.2021 – uncanny – was like

uncanny – was like
nothing that had ever come
to the world before

It was the miracle God had wrought. And it was patently the sort of thing that could only happen once. Mechanically uncanny, it was like nothing that had ever come to the world before. Flourishing industries rose and fell with it. As a vehicle, it was hard-working, commonplace, heroic; and it often seemed to transmit those qualities to the persons who rode in it.—

“Farewell, My Lovely,” ca. 1936; Essays of E. B. White, p. 162, and Farewell to Model T; From Sea to Shining Sea, pp. 16–17.

Part of the series of Haiku inspired by the book In the Words of E. B. White: Quotations from America’s Most Companionable of Writers (2011, Cornell University Press) by Mary White.

This book was compiled by Mr. White’s grand daughter and while I am grateful she pulled all these together in one book, I am not sure I don’t consider this cheating.