Category Archives: dream

Butterfly and Mosquito


In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star in which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the haughtiest and most mendacious minute of “world history”- yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die.
One might invent such a fable and still not have illustrated sufficiently how wretched, how shadowy and flighty, how aimless and arbitrary, the human intellect appears in nature. There have been eternities when it did not exist; and when it is done for again, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no further mission that would lead beyond human life. It is human, rather, and only its owner and producer gives it such importance, as if the world pivoted around it. But if we could communicate with the mosquito, then we would learn that it floats through the air with the same self-importance, feeling within itself the flying center of the world. There is nothing within nature so despicable or insignificant that it cannot immediately be blown up like a bag by a slight breath of this power of knowledge; and just as every porter wants an admirer, the proudest human being, the philosopher, thinks that he sees the eyes of the universe telescopically focused on all sides on his actions and thoughts.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Excerpt from “On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense” found in The Portable Nietzsche. New York: Penguin, 1982. pp 42-43.

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it’s forever.
Carl Sagan, Cosmos, 1980.

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The Stars.

Ah! why, because the dazzling sun
Restored our Earth to joy,
Have you departed, every one,
And left a desert sky?

All through the night, your glorious eyes
Were gazing down in mine,
And, with a full heart’s thankful sighs,
I blessed that watch divine.

I was at peace, and drank your beams
As they were life to me;
And revelled in my changeful dreams,
Like petrel on the sea.

Thought followed thought, star followed star,
Through boundless regions, on;
While one sweet influence, near and far,
Thrilled through and proved us one!

Why did the morning dawn to break
So great, so pure, a spell;
And scorch with fire the tranquil cheek,
Where your cool radiance fell?

Blood-red, he rose, and arrow-straight,
His fierce beams struck my brow;
The soul of nature sprang, elate,
But mine sank sad and low!

My lids closed down, yet through their veil
I saw him, blazing still,
And steep in gold the misty dale,
And flash upon the hill.

I turned me to the pillow, then,
To call back night, and see
Your worlds of solemn light, again,
Throb with my heart, and me!

It would not do- the pillow glowed,
And glowed both roof and floor;
And birds sang loudly in the wood,
And fresh winds shook the door;

The curtains waved, the wakened flies
Were murmuring round my room,
Imprisoned there, till I should rise,
And give them leave to roam.

Oh, stars, and dreams, and gentle night;
Oh, night and stars, return!
And hide me from the hostile light
That does not warm, but burn;

That drains the blood of suffering men;
Drinks tears instead of dew;
Let me sleep through his blinding reign,
And only wake with you!

Bronte, Emily. Poems of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell with Cottage Poems by Patrick Bronte.  From The Works of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte in Twelve Volumes, Volume 8.  London: J.M. Dent and Company, 1893. pp 79-81.

Gezari, Janet. Last Things: Emily Bronte’s Poems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. pp 29-30.

*A great blog on all things Bronte here

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