33 Total Quotes

Alice Miller Quotes Page 2

Wherever I look, I see signs of the commandment to honor one's parents and nowhere of a commandment that calls for the respect of a child.
Alice Miller
#Swiss Psychologist

I I have loved England, dearly and deeply, Since that first morning, shining and pure, The white cliffs of Dover I saw rising steeply Out of the sea that once made her secure. I had no thought then of husband or lover, I was a traveller, the guest of a week; Yet when they pointed 'the white cliffs of Dover', Startled I found there were tears on my cheek. I have loved England, and still as a stranger, Here is my home and I still am alone. Now in her hour of trial and danger, Only the English are really her own. II It happened the first evening I was there. Some one was giving a ball in Belgrave Square. At Belgrave Square, that most Victorian spot.-- Lives there a novel-reader who has not At some time wept for those delightful girls, Daughters of dukes, prime ministers and earls, In bonnets, berthas, bustles, buttoned basques, Hiding behind their pure Victorian masks Hearts just as hot - hotter perhaps than those Whose owners now abandon hats and hose? Who has not wept for Lady Joan or Jill Loving against her noble parent's will A handsome guardsman, who to her alarm Feels her hand kissed behind a potted palm At Lady Ivry's ball the dreadful night Before his regiment goes off to fight; And see him the next morning, in the park, Complete in busbee, marching to embark. I had read freely, even as a child, Not only Meredith and Oscar Wilde But many novels of an earlier day-- Ravenshoe, Can You Forgive Her?, Vivien Grey, Ouida, The Duchess, Broughton's Red As a Rose, Guy Livingstone, Whyte-Melville-- Heaven knows What others. Now, I thought, I was to see Their habitat, though like the Miller of Dee, I cared for none and no one cared for me. III A light blue carpet on the stair And tall young footmen everywhere, Tall young men with English faces Standing rigidly in their places, Rows and rows of them stiff and staid In powder and breeches and bright gold braid; And high above them on the wall Hung other English faces-all Part of the pattern of English life-- General Sir Charles, and his pretty wife, Admirals, Lords-Lieutenant of Shires, Men who were served by these footmen's sires At their great parties-none of them knowing How soon or late they would all be going In plainer dress to a sterner strife- Another pattern of English life. I went up the stairs between them all, Strange and frightened and shy and small, And as I entered the ballroom door, Saw something I had never seen before Except in portraits-- a stout old guest With a broad blue ribbon across his breast-- That blue as deep as the southern sea, Bluer than skies can ever be-- The Countess of Salisbury--Edward the Third-- No damn merit-- the Duke-- I heard My own voice saying; 'Upon my word, The garter!' and clapped my hands like a child. Some one beside me turned and smiled, And looking down at me said: "I fancy, You're Bertie's Australian cousin Nancy. He toId me to tell you that he'd be late At the Foreign Office and not to wait Supper for him, but to go with me, And try to behave as if I were he." I should have told him on the spot That I had no cousin--that I was not Australian Nancy--that my name Was Susan Dunne, and that I came From a small white town on a deep-cut bay In the smallest state in the U.S.A. I meant to tell him, but changed my mind-- I needed a friend, and he seemed kind; So I put my gloved hand into his glove, And we danced together-- and fell in love. IV Young and in love-how magical the phrase! How magical the fact! Who has not yearned Over young lovers when to their amaze They fall in love and find their love returned, And the lights brighten, and their eyes are clear To see God's image in their common clay. Is it the music of the spheres they hear? Is it the prelude to that noble play, The drama of Joined Lives? Ah, they forget They cannot write their parts; the bell has rung, The curtain rises and the stage is set For tragedy-they were in love and young. V We went to the Tower, We went to the Zoo, We saw every flower In the gardens at Kew. We saw King Charles a-prancing On his long-tailed horse, And thought him more entrancing Than better kings, of course. At a strange early hour, In St. James's palace yard, We watched in a shower The changing of the guard. And I said, what a pity, To have just a week to spend, When London is a city Whose beauties never end! VI When the sun shines on England, it atones For low-hung leaden skies, and rain and dim Moist fogs that paint the verdure on her stones And fill her gentle rivers to the brim. When the sun shines on England, shafts of light Fall on far towers and hills and dark old trees, And hedge-bound meadows of a green as bright-- As bright as is the blue of tropic seas. When the sun shines, it is as if the face Of some proud man relaxed his haughty stare, And smiled upon us with a sudden grace, Flattering because its coming is so rare. VII The English are frosty When you're no kith or kin Of theirs, but how they alter When once they take you in! The kindest, the truest, The best friends ever known, It's hard to remember How they froze you to a bone. They showed me all London, Johnnie and his friends; They took me to the country For long week-ends; I never was so happy, I never had such fun, I stayed many weeks in England Instead of just one. VIII John had one of those English faces That always were and will always be Found in the cream of English places Till England herself sink into the sea-- A blond, bowed face with prominent eyes A little bit bluer than English skies. You see it in ruffs and suits of armour, You see it in wigs of many styles, Soldier and sailor, judge and farmer-- That face has governed the British Isles, By the power, for good or ill bestowed, Only on those who live by code. Oh, that inflexible code of living, That seems so easy and unconstrained, The Englishman's code of taking and giving Rights and privileges pre-ordained, Based since English life began On the prime importance of being a man. IX And what a voice he had-gentle, profound, Clear masculine!--I melted at the sound. Oh, English voices, are there any words Those tones to tell, those cadences to teach! As song of thrushes is to other birds, So English voices are to other speech; Those pure round 'o's '--those lovely liquid 'l's' Ring in the ears like sound of Sabbath bells. Yet I have loathed those voices when the sense Of what they said seemed to me insolence, As if the dominance of the whole nation Lay in that clear correct enunciation. Many years later, I remember when One evening I overheard two men In Claridge's-- white waistcoats, coats I know Were built in Bond Street or in Savile Row-- So calm, so confident, so finely bred-- Young gods in tails-- and this is what they said: 'Not your first visit to the States?' 'Oh no, I'd been to Canada two years ago.' Good God, I thought, have they not heard that we Were those queer colonists who would be free, Who took our desperate chance, and fought and won Under a colonist called Washington? One does not lose one's birthright, it appears. I had been English then for many years. X We went down to Cambridge, Cambridge in the spring. In a brick court at twilight We heard the thrushes sing, And we went to evening service In the chapel of the King. The library of Trinity, The quadrangle of Clare, John bought a pipe from Bacon, And I acquired there The Anecdotes of Painting From a handcart in the square. The Playing fields at sunset Were vivid emerald green, The elms were tall and mighty, And many youths were seen, Carefree young gentlemen In the Spring of 'Fourteen. XI London, just before dawn-immense and dark-- Smell of wet earth and growth from the empty Park, Pall Mall vacant-Whitehall deserted. Johnnie and I Strolling together, averse to saying good-bye-- Strolling away from some party in silence profound, Only far off in Mayfair, piercing, the sound Of a footman's whistle--the rhythm of hoofs on wood, Further and further away. . . . And now we stood On a bridge, where a poet came to keep Vigil while all the city lay asleep-- Westminster Bridge, and soon the sun would rise, And I should see it with my very eyes! Yes, now it came-- a broad and awful glow Out of the violet mists of dawn. 'Ah, no', I said. 'Earth has not anything to show More fair-- changed though it is-- than this.' A curious background surely for a kiss-- Our first-- Westminster Bridge at break of day-- Settings by Wordsworth, as John used to say. XII Why do we fall in love? I do believe That virtue is the magnet, the small vein Of ore, the spark, the torch that we receive At birth, and that we render back again. That drop of godhood, like a precious stone, May shine the brightest in the tiniest flake. Lavished on saints, to sinners not unknown; In harlot, nun, philanthropist, and rake, It shines for those who love; none else discern Evil from good; Men's fall did not bestow That threatened wisdom; blindly still we yearn After a virtue that we do not know, Until our thirst and longing rise above The barriers of reason--and we love. XIII And still I did not see my life was changed, Utterly different--by this love estranged For ever and ever from my native land; That I was now of that unhappy band Who lose the old, and cannot gain the new However loving and however true To their new duties. I could never be An English woman, there was that in me Puritan, stubborn that would not agree To English standards, though I did not see The truth, because I thought them, good or ill, So great a people--and I think so still. But a day came when I was forced to face Facts. I was taken down to see the place, The family place in Devon-- and John's mother. 'Of course, you understand,' he said, 'my brother Will have the place.' He smiled; he was so sure The world was better for primogeniture. And yet he loved that place, as Englishmen Do love their native countryside, and when The day should be as it was sure to be-- When this was home no more to him-- when he Could go there only when his brother's wife Should ask him--to a room not his-- his life Would shrink and lose its meaning. How unjust, I thought. Why do they feel it must Go to that idle, insolent eldest son? Well, in the end it went to neither one. XIV A red brick manor-house in Devon, In a beechwood of old grey trees, Ivy climbing to the clustered chimneys, Rustling in the wet south breeze. Gardens trampled down by Cromwell's army, Orchards of apple-trees and pears, Casements that had looked for the Armada, And a ghost on the stairs. XV Johnnie's mother, the Lady Jean, Child of a penniless Scottish peer, Was handsome, worn high-coloured, lean, With eyes like Johnnie's--more blue and clear-- Like bubbles of glass in her fine tanned face. Quiet, she was, and so at ease, So perfectly sure of her rightful place In the world that she felt no need to please. I did not like her--she made me feel Talkative, restless, unsure, as if I were a cross between parrot and eel. I thought her blank and cold and stiff. XVI And presently she said as they Sooner or later always say: 'You're an American, Miss Dunne? Really you do not speak like one.' She seemed to think she'd said a thing Both courteous and flattering. I answered though my wrist were weak With anger: 'Not at all, I speak-- At least I've always thought this true-- As educated people do In any country-even mine.' 'Really?' I saw her head incline, I saw her ready to assert Americans are easily hurt. XVII Strange to look back to the days So long ago When a friend was almost a foe, When you hurried to find a phrase For your easy light dispraise Of a spirit you did not know, A nature you could not plumb In the moment of meeting, Not guessing a day would come When your heart would ache to hear Other men's tongues repeating Those same light phrases that jest and jeer At a friend now grown so dear-- so dear. Strange to remember long ago When a friend was almost a foe. XVIII I saw the house with its oaken stair, And the Tudor Rose on the newel post, The panelled upper gallery where They told me you heard the family ghost-- 'A gentle unhappy ghost who sighs Outside one's door on the night one dies.' 'Not,' Lady Jean explained, 'at all Like the ghost at my father's place, St. Kitts, That clanks and screams in the great West Hall And frightens strangers out of their wits.' I smiled politely, not thinking I Would hear one midnight that long sad sigh. I saw the gardens, after our tea (Crumpets and marmalade, toast and cake) And Drake's Walk, leading down to the sea; Lady Jean was startled I'd heard of Drake, For the English always find it a mystery That Americans study English history. I saw the picture of every son-- Percy, the eldest, and John; and Bill In Chinese Customs, and the youngest one Peter, the sailor, at Osborne still; And the daughter, Enid, married, alas, To a civil servant in far Madras. A little thing happened, just before We left-- the evening papers came; John, flicking them over to find a score, Spoke for the first time a certain name-- The name of a town in a distant land Etched on our hearts by a murderer's hand. Mother and son exchanged a glance, A curious glance of strength and dread. I thought: what matter to them if Franz Ferdinand dies? One of them said: This might be serious.' 'Yes, you're right.' The other answered, 'It really might.' XIX Dear John: I'm going home. I write to say Goodbye. My boat-train leaves at break of day; It will be gone when this is in your hands. I've had enough of lovely foreign lands, Sightseeing, strangers, holiday and play; I'm going home to those who think the way I think, and speak as I do. Will you try To understand that this must be good-bye? We both rooted deeply in the soil Of our own countries. But I could not spoil Our happy memories with the stress and strain Of parting; if we never meet again Be sure I shall remember till I die Your love, your laugh, your kindness. But--goodbye. Please do not hate me; give the devil his due, This is an act of courage. Always, Sue. XX The boat-train rattling Through the green country-side; A girl within it battling With her tears and pride. The Southampton landing, Porters, neat and quick, And a young man standing, Leaning on his stick. 'Oh, John, John, you shouldn't Have come this long way. . . 'Did you really think I wouldn't Be here to make you stay?' I can't remember whether There was much stress and strain, But presently, together, We were travelling back again. XXI The English love their country with a love Steady, and simple, wordless, dignified; I think it sets their patriotism above All others. We Americans have pride-- We glory in our country's short romance. We boast of it and love it. Frenchmen when The ultimate menace comes, will die for France Logically as they lived. But Englishmen Will serve day after day, obey the law, And do dull tasks that keep a nation strong. Once I remember in London how I saw Pale shabby people standing in a long Line in the twilight and the misty rain To pay their tax. I then saw England plain. XXII Johnnie and I were married. England then Had been a week at war, and all the men Wore uniform, as English people can, Unconscious of it. Percy, the best man, As thin as paper and as smart as paint, Bade us good-by with admirable restraint, Went from the church to catch his train to hell; And died-saving his batman from a shell. XXIII We went down to Devon, In a warm summer rain, Knowing that our happiness Might never come again; I, not forgetting, 'Till death us do part,' Was outrageously happy With death in my heart. Lovers in peacetime With fifty years to live, Have time to tease and quarrel And question what to give; But lovers in wartime Better understand The fullness of living, With death close at hand. XXIV My father wrote me a letter-- My father, scholarly, indolent, strong, Teaching Greek better Than high-school students repay-- Teaching Greek in the winter, but all summer long Sailing a yawl in Narragansett Bay; Happier perhaps when I was away, Free of an anxious daughter, He could sail blue water Day after day, Beyond Brenton Reef Lightship, and Beavertail, Past Cuttyhunk to catch a gale Off the Cape, while he thought of Hellas and Troy, Chanting with joy Greek choruses-- those lines that he said Must be written some day on a stone at his head: 'But who can know As the long years go That to live is happy, has found his heaven.' My father, so far away-- I thought of him, in Devon, Anchoring in a blind fog in Booth Bay. XXV 'So, Susan, my dear,' the letter began, 'You've fallen in love with an Englishman. Well, they're a manly, attractive lot, If you happen to like them, which I do not. I am a Yankee through and through, And I don't like them, or the things they do. Whenever it's come to a knock-down fight With us, they were wrong, and we right; If you don't believe me, cast your mind Back over history, what do you find? They certainly had no justification For that maddening plan to impose taxation Without any form of representation. Your man may be all that a man should be, Only don't you bring him back to me Saying he can't get decent tea-- He could have got his tea all right In Boston Harbour a certain night, When your great-great-grandmother-- also a Sue-- Shook enough tea from her husband's shoe To supply her house for a week or two. The war of 1812 seems to me About as just as a war could be. How could we help but come to grips With a nation that stopped and searched our ships, And took off our seamen for no other reason Except that they needed crews that season. I can get angry still at the tale Of their letting the Alabama sail, And Palmerston being insolent To Lincoln and Seward over the Trent. All very long ago, you'll say, But whenever I go up Boston-way, I drive through Concord--that neck of the wood, Where once the embattled farmers stood, And I think of Revere, and the old South Steeple, And I say, by heck, we're the only people Who licked them not only once, but twice. Never forget it-that's my advice. They have their points--they're honest and brave, Loyal and sure--as sure as the grave; They make other nations seem pale and flighty, But they do think England is god almighty, And you must remind them now and then That other countries breed other men. From all of which you will think me rather Unjust. I am. Your devoted Father. XXVI I read, and saw my home with sudden yearning-- The small white wooden house, the grass-green door, My father's study with the fire burning, And books piled on the floor. I saw the moon-faced clock that told the hours, The crimson Turkey carpet, worn and frayed, The heavy dishes--gold with birds and flowers-- Fruits of the China trade. I saw the jack o' lanterns, friendly, frightening, Shine from our gateposts every Hallow-e'en; I saw the oak tree, shattered once by lightning, Twisted, stripped clean. I saw the Dioscuri-- two black kittens, Stalking relentlessly an empty spool; I saw a little girl in scarlet mittens Trudging through snow to school. XXVII John read the letter with his lovely smile. 'Your father has a vigorous English style, And what he says is true, upon my word; But what's this war of which I never heard? We didn't fi
Alice Miller
#Hate #Stress