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In Which I Enjoy de Saint-Exupery

Watch how de Saint-Exupery builds his ideas brick-by-brick, each sentence resting atop the previous, until the last sentence of each paragraph sets the keystone, and the paragraphs together create an arch:

In a world in which life so perfectly responds to life, where flowers mingle with flowers in the wind’s eye, where the swan is the familiar of all swans, man alone builds his isolation. What a space between men their spiritual natures create! A girl’s reverie isolates her from me, and how shall I enter into it? What can one know of a girl who passes, walking with slow steps homeward, eyes lowered, smiling to herself, filled with adorable inventions and with fables? Out of the thoughts, the voice, the silences of a lover, she can form an empire, and thereafter she sees in all the world but him a people of barbarians. More surely than if she were on another planet, I feel her to be locked up in her language, in her secret, in her habits, in the singing echoes of her memory. Born yesterday of the volcanoes, of greenswards, of brine of the sea, she walks here already half divine.

Punta Arenas! I lean against a fountain. Old women come up to draw water: of their drama I shall know nothing but these gestures of farm servants. A child, his head against a wall, weeps in silence: there will remain of him in my memory only a beautiful child forever inconsolable. I am a stranger. I know nothing. I do not enter into their empires. Man in the presence of man is as solitary as in the face of a wide winter sky in which there sweeps, never to be tamed, a flight of trumpeting geese.

— Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand and Stars

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