“These fellow-mortals, every one, must be accepted as they are: you can neither straighten their noses, nor brighten their wit, nor rectify their dispositions…”

“For the first time in several minutes, I glanced around at the tiny elderly man with the unlighted cigar. The delay didn’t seem to affect him. His standard of comportment for sitting in the rear seat of cars – cars in motion, cars stationary, and even, one couldn’t help imagining, cars that were driven off bridges into rivers – seemed to be fixed. It was wonderfully simple. You just sat very erect, maintaining a clearance of four or five inches between your top hat and the roof, and you stared ferociously ahead at the windshield. If Death – who was out there all the time, possibly sitting on the hood – if Death stepped miraculously through the glass and came in after you, in all probability you just got up and went along with him, ferociously but quietly.”

“You know that song ‘If a body catch a body comin’ through the rye’? I’d like — ”
“It’s ‘If a body meet a body coming through the rye’!” old Phoebe said. “It’s a poem. By Robert Burns.”
“I know it’s a poem by Robert Burns.”
She was right, though. It is “If a body meet a body coming through the rye.” I didn’t know it then, though.
“I thought it was ‘If a body catch a body,'” I said. “Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody’s around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I’m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy.”

“I don’t know. Poets are always taking the weather so personally. They’re always sticking their emotions in things that have no emotions”

Delighted. Poetry.

Bannanafish.

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