Depth in the Shallows

Month: November, 2016

Quibbles And Bits

Love In The In Between

Two Lives by William Trevor 

William Trevor (1928-2016) was an Irish novelist, playwright and short story writer. Less than two weeks ago, Trevor joined the ranks of the grateful dead. He lived a full life, at least a full writer’s life, in which he won many prizes for his stories. Trevor told tales of life on the margin, and marginal lives, of incomplete people being completely human. A generosity toward his characters gives Trevor a discerning eye for greatness in the smallness of things. In this book, really two novellas, Trevor writes about two women, two messy lives, and love in the bits and pieces. In the end, it is all any of us really have.

“A person’s life isn’t orderly …it runs about all over the place, in and out through time. The present’s hardly there; the future doesn’t exist. Only love matters in the bits and pieces of a person’s life.”


Wisdom Of Other


Collected Poems by Jane Kenyon 

Jane Kenyon (1947-1995) was a poet and translator from Michigan. After taking degrees from the University of Michigan, she moved with with her husband, poet Donald Hall, to a farm in the northeast. At the time of her death at the young age of forty-seven, she was the poet laureate of New Hampshire.

Kenyon wrote about nature, faith, melancholy, and the everyday. She had a profound spiritual vision rooted in simplicity. Kenyon resonates with us still because of her ability to unearth the joy and terror of being human in the most ordinary things on the most ordinary of days. But, even in her darker verse, the rim of light is always on the horizon. She reminds us in this poem, and in much of her other work, that we must live fully in the now. For, as she says, one day it will be otherwise.


I got out of bed

on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

Give A Man A Fish…

Teach A Fish To Sing

The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness

Halldór Laxness (1902-1998), an Icelandic writer, produced novels, plays, short stories, and poetry. Back when the Nobel Prize was awarded to people who arguably deserved it, Laxness was the 1955 laureate. His works are dominated by the people and places of his native Iceland. Spare and simple, yet spiritual and majestic as the Icelandic landscape, Laxness’ novels are teeming with human energy. In this book, a kind of coming of age story, Álfgrímur shows us that sometimes leaving and loving are bound up in each other, a necessary coupling that helps us find our singleness of purpose.

“Learn never to look forward to anything. It is the beginning of knowing how to endure everything.”


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