Lightly Child, Lightly.

A trio of tulips in an earthenware pot stopped me in the middle of my mind. I had woken abruptly and, still dazed from sleep, mistook the dawn light hitting the petals for the flowers emitting their own luminescence. I crawled to the glowing cups, thinking I was seeing a miracle, my own burning bush. But when I got closer, my head blocked the rays and the tulips turned off. This also means nothing, I know. But some nothings change everything after them.

Ocean Vuong, from his new book titled: “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel” (Penguin Press, June 4, 2019)



  • Photo: Tulips @
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”


  1. All those little nothings that become profound somethings…this book is in my ever-growing queue

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s right Mimi.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “Yet Mr. Vuong’s lyricism often feels labored. His sentences are so bedecked with metaphors and analogies that there are moments when one might crave a little more restraint. His efforts to transform nearly every observation into something profound yields many overwritten lines, such as “I drove my face into him as if into a climate, the autobiography of a season.” The experience of adolescent smoking becomes “We reduced fire to the size of cartoon raindrops, then sucked them through cigarillo tips, like myths.” This is a shame. The material is so good and original that more of it could speak for itself.”

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      • Still…

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        • Correct. Here’s another that I can’t get out of my head.

          “Never veal. Fuck that, never again after his daddy told him the story when he was seven, at the table, veal roasted with rosemary. How they were made. How the difference between veal and beef is the children. The veal are the children of cows, are calves. They are locked in boxes the size of themselves. A body-box, like a coffin, but alive, like a home. The children, the veal, they stand very still because tenderness depends on how little the world touches you. To stay tender, the weight of your life cannot lean on your bones. We love eatin’ what’s soft, his father said, looking dead.

          – Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel (Penguin Press, June 4, 2019) 

          Liked by 3 people

          • This affected me viscerally – for the obvious reasons (I too can’t eat veal and stopped as a child – which reminds me to tell you why as a small child, I went nuts one day when served scrambled eggs – true story), and also for those evoked by its imagery. It’s going to stay in my head.

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          • I so get it. I don’t eat veal either.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. WMS. This book is clearly a must….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This tiny passage and – even more so – the spoken sampler on the linked A-site made me tear up for a moment.
    These words, piercing through the mist of the ‘before’, the last moments, hours, nights – incredibly captivating, all encompassing, strong and yet soft in their approach. A master indeed.
    And how did you find this matching photo?! Bravo.

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  4. those moments change us.

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  5. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    A trio of tulips in an earthenware pot … ‘Ocean Vuong, from his new book titled: “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel” (Penguin Press, June 4, 2019)’


  6. Christie says:

    He was experiencing a miracle…he has the color rods in his eyes to see color…the finger rays of the sun traveled for 8 min 20 sec ( ” Photons emitted from the surface of the Sun need to travel across the vacuum of space to reach our eyes”) to illuminate the stunning beauty of the tulips in full glorious bloom…and he was the only one to see such majesty at that solitary moment of gaze…where his mind recognized the power of light…and how he physically got in the way of the light with out side stepping back to give the sun an open path for a few more seconds of illumination before rising further as the earth’s orbit rotates, allowing illumination along it path, nourishing and sustaining life through light…for me I think of the the 3 earthen pots as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost gifting their contents of blooming perennials rebirth that happens every spring…/// and I reminiscence of the clear thin nearly round amber in the soft wood door in the bathroom of the beach cabin we sometimes rent…if you go into the bathroom at just the right moment, as the sun is laying down its rays that travel from the ocean front window deep into the bedroom the sun stops on the door and the amber shines red, the beauty stunning…and we know that very few people or else just perhaps us are greeted with a treasure of delight…and we think of another door in a cabin, that gifts us with that delight as well, in a dry dense pine forest…discovery brings forth awe …such a gift as we journey through life…

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  7. WOW, I just feel as if I’ve read the whole book already….
    Mimi; I so agree with you! No veal for me either – for same reasons…. I couldn’t even eat the gifted rabbit we helped fattening up – a friend kept some 10-15 rabbits in his garden and we ‘donated’ bread etc…
    Great comments! (as usual)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sometimes we read an article or a book with lots of efforts. In the end, we re-read to find the hidden meanings. We finally are happy with our effort and wants to share this experience with those who are likewise reading and toiling. Sharing is never boring one writer shares and all readers share too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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