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Craig Raine quotes (showing 1-16 of 16)

“The task of the artist at any time is uncompromisingly simple — to discover what has not yet been done, and to do it.”
Craig Raine
“Begin with the soft smelted upturned heart-shaped mouth made for smiling a smile kept for kindness, tenderness, incapable of malice.

Am I going too fast for you?

The almond eyes see out through their sleepy epicanthic fold. Trusting and calm, if a flicker from slowness, a further flicker from stupidity.

Settled in slow-motion beauty, heart-breaking beauty.”
Craig Raine
“Friendship is one friend betraying another friend to a third friend. With a fond friendly smile. The greater the betrayal, the greater the intimacy - the greater the friendship.”
Craig Raine, Heartbreak
“Her laugh. The way she smoked before she gave up. Smoke trickling up her nostrils. Spokes of smoke when she spoke.”
Craig Raine, Heartbreak
“He was making music - Howells, Finzi, Holst - so you could see the sounds in the serried air.

Serried. Then just as suddenly empty when his sound-proof right hand closed off the notes.”
Craig Raine
“It was like being trapped forever in the present tense of the first line of a first reader.”
Craig Raine, Heartbreak
“What the poet does is as ordinary and mysterious as digesting. I question. I break life down. I impose chaos on order. For instance, we think we know how food is ingested, digested, divided into energy and excrement. The neat theory, however, is one thing; control of the process is another; consciousness of the process yet another. Are we aware of protein in the stomach being acted on by pepsin, the appropriate enzyme? Digestion, thinking and breathing are all functions we perform without knowing how we perform them. The body is a dark continent. The mind is another. So I can say very little about what I do. I accept nothing as read. I attack the pretence that we know how things work, whether they happen to be the action of saliva or sexual love from adolescence to old age.”
Craig Raine
“...much of poetry in the making is the fiddle with a few items. You lay a word against another and wait. You try another word. And another. Yet another. You wait. You begin again. Listening. Looking. For the elusive inevitable thing which has to arrive before it is recognised. And, like Odysseus, may not be recognised at first.”
Craig Raine, Heartbreak
tags: poetry
“In the morning, when she walked to the consulate, carefully watching her sandals on the pavement, she glanced up and saw a Negro wearing a stack of panama hats. Maybe twelve. She never forgot the bandoeon of brims, the perfect stutter of hat.”
Craig Raine, Heartbreak
“Here she is at her kitchen table, fingering a jigsaw of thalidomide ginger, thinking about the arthritis in her hands.”
Craig Raine, Heartbreak
“I am awaiting the return of the nerves to the epidermis. They're being pretty damn slow about it.”
Craig Raine, Heartbreak
“The jery, impeded walk of a man stuck in a turnstile, admitted, and stuck in a turnstile, admitted, and stuck in a turnstile. He said it was rheumatoid arthritis. It looked as likely to be cancer of the prostrate metastatising to his hips.”
Craig Raine, Heartbreak
“In his autobiography Stravinsky relates that the first music he remembers was made by a peasant, working his hand in his armpit to produce a rhytmic farting.”
Craig Raine, Heartbreak
“When Julia was twenty-nine, her hair was already bar-coded. Now, at sixty-two, it was a solid helmet of bright pewter, level with her lean, brown jawbone.”
Craig Raine
“No one is exempt
and everyone's pain has a different smell.

At night, when all the colours die,
they hide in pairs

and read about themselves—
in colour, with their eyelids shut.”
Craig Raine
“Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings
and some are treasured for their markings--

they cause the eyes to melt
or the body to shriek without pain.

I have never seen one fly, but
sometimes they perch on the hand.

Mist is when the sky is tired of flight
and rests its soft machine on the ground:

then the world is dim and bookish
like engravings under tissue paper.

Rain is when the earth is television.
It has the properites of making colours darker.

Model T is a room with the lock inside --
a key is turned to free the world

for movement, so quick there is a film
to watch for anything missed.

But time is tied to the wrist
or kept in a box, ticking with impatience.

In homes, a haunted apparatus sleeps,
that snores when you pick it up.

If the ghost cries, they carry it
to their lips and soothe it to sleep

with sounds. And yet, they wake it up
deliberately, by tickling with a finger.

Only the young are allowed to suffer
openly. Adults go to a punishment room

with water but nothing to eat.
They lock the door and suffer the noises

alone. No one is exempt
and everyone's pain has a different smell.

At night, when all the colours die,
they hide in pairs

and read about themselves --
in colour, with their eyelids shut.”
Craig Raine

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