Beautiful Sentences Contest Entries: Please Vote for Your Favorite One

Well, what fun it has been to see the contest entries emerge in the last week. Eleven readers responded, some with one sentence, and some with several.  I had great plans to find a polling widget and install it on this site to make tracking easier, but I think the numbers are small enough that we can keep track of the votes through the comments section both here and in FaceBook.  I will try. Each contestant has been given a number and a name or nickname.  Please vote for the number, name, and (in the case of multiple entries) the sentence you like best.  It would be wonderful if you include your reasons.  Winners will be announced on June 4.  Have fun. At least one of these contestants will win a hand-picked memoir from my bookshelf.  Who shall it be?

1.amishguitar

The distance between Mooreland in 1965 and a city like San Francisco in 1965 is roughly equivalent to the distance starlight must travel before we look up casually from a cornfield and see it. –Haven Kimmel in A girl named Zippy

2.Christee

You promised me gloves from the skins of the fishes
The smile of the dolphin for a ring in my hands

From the song, “You Brought Me Up.” Words by Louis De Paor. I know the song from a CD by Karan Casey, who used to sing with the Irish group Solas.

3.MCME
“There were ten thousand, thousand fruit to touch, / cherish in hand, and not let fall.” — Robert Frost, from “After Apple Picking”

And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. — T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. — Psalm 139

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
— Shakespeare, sonnet 29

4.Wayne Ramsey
Coleridge’s “As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.”

A.E. Housman,

“LOVELIEST of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.”

Shakespeare

“I WONDER by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved ?”

Shakespeare
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.”

Yeats
“WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep
And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep

And older still, maybe we all begin to think in terms of gratitude and appreciation for being alive, for the blessings of life and the divine presence in life”

–A. Einstein

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

ee cummings
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
Meister Eckhart

“The gloom of the world is but a shadow,
behind it, yet within reach, is joy.
There is a radiance and glory in the darkness, could we but see,
and to see, we only have to look. I beseech you to look.”

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” –

Still, the most beautiful, intelligent and spiritual line I know may be from that great spiritual teacher Yogi Berra, who said:
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
5.Adam

Two from G. M. Hopkins:
…Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah ! bright wings.
—-from “God’s Grandeur”

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change;
Praise him.
—-from Pied Beauty

6.Bruce Hostetler

“But tonight they’ve forgotten their feet are so sore
and that’s what the wonderful night time is for.”

– Dr. Seuss (from The Sleep Book)

7.Mariposa

“It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.” -G. K. Chesterton in “Orthodoxy”

8.srogers

“You can’t test courage cautiously” — Annie Dillard

“An original life is unexplored territory. You don’t get there by taking a taxi — you get there by carrying a canoe.” — Alan Alda

9.Elaine Sayre

The most beautiful sentence…I love you.
The second most beautiful sentence…I forgive you.

10.Betty

Happiness is real only when shared.

11. Chin Pheng Oh

“Stand on the table once in awhile and open your eyes to a different view and perspective. Nothing is what it seems at first glance.”

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About Shirley Hershey Showalter

Author of memoir Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World. Blogging about Magical Memoir Moments and Jubilación -- vocation in the second half of life.
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19 Responses to Beautiful Sentences Contest Entries: Please Vote for Your Favorite One

  1. Betty says:

    I like Nr. 11, because it is so full of truth!

  2. Betty says:

    I like Nr. 11, because it is so full of truth!

  3. Gutsywriter says:

    “An original life is unexplored territory. You don’t get there by taking a taxi — you get there by carrying a canoe.” — Alan AldaSince I love adventure and the excitement of life, this is my favorite by srogers. I apologize for not entering. May the best one win.

  4. Gutsywriter says:

    “An original life is unexplored territory. You don’t get there by taking a taxi — you get there by carrying a canoe.” — Alan AldaSince I love adventure and the excitement of life, this is my favorite by srogers. I apologize for not entering. May the best one win.

  5. amishguitar says:

    Oh Shirley, your contest does vex me so! What is a sentence? And by what criteria shall the beauty be judged?Is a stanza of poetry a sentence? Or is poetry a special use of the written word and often at odds with conventional rules of grammar kept for prose?Or is a sentence a simple requirement of a subject and predicate in any form?Is beauty to be judged by the truth the sentence reveals? Or by the images evoked? Or the emotions revealed?Shall I judge, as I'm wont to do, by the sublime sentence construction?These are the questions that have dogged me as your readers shared their sentences. And they needle me even more so now that it is time to choose. I am a librarian. I need classification guidelines and cataloging rules. :)Until then, my vote is… Abstain, though my heart goes to the examples of prose over poetry.

  6. amishguitar says:

    Oh Shirley, your contest does vex me so! What is a sentence? And by what criteria shall the beauty be judged?Is a stanza of poetry a sentence? Or is poetry a special use of the written word and often at odds with conventional rules of grammar kept for prose?Or is a sentence a simple requirement of a subject and predicate in any form?Is beauty to be judged by the truth the sentence reveals? Or by the images evoked? Or the emotions revealed?Shall I judge, as I'm wont to do, by the sublime sentence construction?These are the questions that have dogged me as your readers shared their sentences. And they needle me even more so now that it is time to choose. I am a librarian. I need classification guidelines and cataloging rules. :)Until then, my vote is… Abstain, though my heart goes to the examples of prose over poetry.

  7. shirleyhs says:

    Thanks for your votes, Betty, Gutsy Writer, Marilyn, (via FaceBook) and Amish Guitar!So far, truth is the form of beauty most admired, and prose is winning over poetry. Who out there speaks for the poetic? And which “sentence”? If you just want to talk about the vexation of the choice, that's okay too.

  8. shirleyhs says:

    Thanks for your votes, Betty, Gutsy Writer, Marilyn, (via FaceBook) and Amish Guitar!So far, truth is the form of beauty most admired, and prose is winning over poetry. Who out there speaks for the poetic? And which “sentence”? If you just want to talk about the vexation of the choice, that's okay too.

  9. Karin says:

    I am voting for number 4. Wayne Ramsey. For one thing he's a sure bet to win seeing as he put in so many sentences (just kidding!). I can see that he really has an appreciation for image. I pick the sentence(s) by Yeats. I think I find beauty in it because of the looking forward to the dusk of our lives and seeing a soft beauty there, and experiencing again the rich love that is expressed through a book. This book stands out to me because of my love for memoir, but also because I have a book of love letters that my husband and I have continued to send back and forth across the pillows over the 14 years we have been married. These are the real love letters, the ones with guts and terrible beauty as well as the soft cotton-cloud love letters. I believe that one day one of us will also say to the other: WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleepAnd nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream… Now I shall see whom the others voted for.

  10. Karin says:

    I am voting for number 4. Wayne Ramsey. For one thing he's a sure bet to win seeing as he put in so many sentences (just kidding!). I can see that he really has an appreciation for image. I pick the sentence(s) by Yeats. I think I find beauty in it because of the looking forward to the dusk of our lives and seeing a soft beauty there, and experiencing again the rich love that is expressed through a book. This book stands out to me because of my love for memoir, but also because I have a book of love letters that my husband and I have continued to send back and forth across the pillows over the 14 years we have been married. These are the real love letters, the ones with guts and terrible beauty as well as the soft cotton-cloud love letters. I believe that one day one of us will also say to the other: WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleepAnd nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream… Now I shall see whom the others voted for.

  11. shirleyhs says:

    Karin, what a lovely form of pillow talk. I'm glad Yeats–and Wayne–has your vote. Let's see if there are any other poetry lovers out there. Or more voters at all.

  12. shirleyhs says:

    Karin, what a lovely form of pillow talk. I'm glad Yeats–and Wayne–has your vote. Let's see if there are any other poetry lovers out there. Or more voters at all.

  13. Connie L. says:

    I vote for No.1, amishguitar ….. It is a sentence that conveys a clear thought, a very interesting comparison or two, nad causes me to wonder about and want to know more about the “rest of the story”.

  14. Connie L. says:

    I vote for No.1, amishguitar ….. It is a sentence that conveys a clear thought, a very interesting comparison or two, nad causes me to wonder about and want to know more about the “rest of the story”.

  15. shirleyhs says:

    Thanks for your vote and your perceptive comments, Connie!

  16. shirleyhs says:

    Thanks for your vote and your perceptive comments, Connie!

  17. shirleyhs says:

    Thanks for your vote and your perceptive comments, Connie!

  18. Pingback: Beautiful Sentences Contest Winners: Toujours Bon Appetit! | 100 Memoirs

  19. shirleyhs says:

    Esquire magazine has listed its top 70 sentences here: http://www.esquire.com/features/70th-anniv/ESQ1…Check them out!

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