Time is what stops history happening at once; time is the speed at which the past disappears.

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

The shade
falls like a lover’s sad black eyes.
Lie under me, speak of other worlds.

Jane Miller, ‘I Saw the Sun Rise in the West Today’

I let time go as slow as moss, I stand
and try to get the dragonflies to land
their gypsy-coloured engines on my hand

Alice Oswald, Dart

‘Have you ever thought what a remarkable thing it is that the moon and the sun look to our eyes approximately the same size?… So much mythology and symbolism depends on the equivalence of those two round disc-shapes in our sky, one presiding over the day and the other over the night, as if they were twins. Yet it’s just a trick of perspective, the product of the relative size of the moon and the sun, and their distance from us and from each other. The odds against its happening must be billions to one.’

David Lodge, Small World

It was one of the most horrific tragedies in Renaissance art. In 1857, Pope Pius IX decided that the accurate representation of the male form might incite lust inside the Vatican. So he got a chisel and mallet and hacked off the genitalia of every single male statue inside the Vatican City. He defaced works by Michelangelo, Bramante, and Bernini. Plaster fig leaves were used to patch the damage. Hundreds of sculptures had been emasculated. Langdon had often wondered if there was a huge crate of stone penises someplace.

Dan Brown, Angels and Demons

My English class had read Macbeth in the fall, but only now was it starting to make sense why Lady Macbeth could never scrub the blood off her hands, why it was still there after she washed it away.

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch