The Birth of a Quote: “She was free in her wildness…”

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.”

  • Roman Payne (“The Wanderess”)

 

How this quote became so popular, I have no idea.  I wrote it about one woman:  The heroine of “The Wanderess,” Saskia; yet I wrote these lines to describe Saskia at her best—praising the qualities of a heroine that all women should strive to have, or keep if they have them.  I wrote these lines to make Saskia be like a statue of Psyche or Demeter.  The masculine sculptor doesn’t see rock when he carves Aphrodite.  He sees before him the carving of the perfect feminine creature.

 

I was creating my ‘perfect feminine creature’ when I wrote about Saskia.  She is completely wild and fearless in her dramatic performance of life.  She knows that she may only have one life to live and that most people in her society wish to see her fail in her dream of living a fulfilled life.  For if a woman acts and lives exactly as society wants her to live, she will never be truly happy, never fulfilled.  For societies do not want girls and women to wander.

 

I am surprised that this quote became so famous, since I didn’t spend more than a few seconds writing it.  It was written merely as three sentences in a novel.  I didn’t write it to be a solitary poem.  This quote that touches so many people is no more than an arrangement of twenty-four words in a book of three-hundred pages.

What touches me the most is when fans send me photos of tattoos they’ve had done of this quote—either a few words from it or the whole quote. The fact that these wonderful souls are willing to guard words that I’ve written on their precious skin for the rest of their lives makes me feel that what I am writing is worth something and not nothing.  When I get depressed and feel the despair that haunts me from time to time, and cripples me, I look at these photos of these tattoos, and it helps me to think that what I am doing is important to some people, and it helps me to start writing again.

Am I a masculine version of the wanderess in this quote?  Of course I am!  I am wild and fearless, I am a wanderer who belongs to no city and to nobody; I am a drop of free water.  I am—to cite one of my other quotes—“free as a bird.  King of the world and laughing!”

(-Roman Payne, January 1, 2018, Marrakech, Morocco)

 

* * *  Ask the novelist and poet who wrote this famous quote a question.  Ask him anything at:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/359352.Roman_Payne/questions

 

 

 

Not to waste the spring… (a poem)

Roman Payne Quote Image Ode to Spring
Not to waste the spring
I threw down everything,
And ran into the open world
To sing what I could sing…
To dance what I could dance!
And join with everyone!
I wandered with a reckless heart
beneath the newborn sun.
First stepping through the blushing dawn,
I crossed beneath a garden bower,
counting every hermit thrush,
counting every hour.
When morning’s light was ripe at last,
I stumbled on with reckless feet;
and found two nymphs engaged in play,
approaching them stirred no retreat.
With naked skin, their weaving hands,
in form akin to Calliope’s maids,
shook winter currents from their hair
to weave within them vernal braids.
I grabbed the first, who seemed the stronger
by her soft and dewy leg,
and swore blind eyes,
Lest I find I,
before Diana, a hunted stag.
But the nymphs they laughed,
and shook their heads.
and begged I drop beseeching hands.
For one was no goddess, the other no huntress,
merely two girls at play in the early day.
“Please come to us, with unblinded eyes,
and raise your ready lips.
We will wash your mouth with watery sighs,
weave you springtime with our fingertips.”
So the nymphs they spoke,
we kissed and laid,
by noontime’s hour,
our love was made,
Like braided chains of crocus stems,
We lay entwined, I laid with them,
Our breath, one glassy, tideless sea,
Our bodies draping wearily.
We slept, I slept so lucidly,
with hopes to stay this memory.
I woke in dusty afternoon,
Alone, the nymphs had left too soon,
I searched where perched upon my knees
Heard only larks’ songs in the trees.
“Be you, the larks, my far-flung maids?
With lilac feet and branchlike braids…
Who sing sweet odes to my elation,
in your larking exaltation!”
With these, my clumsy, carefree words,
The birds they stirred and flew away,
“Be I, poor Actaeon,” I cried, “Be dead…
Before they, like Hippodamia, be gone astray!”
Yet these words, too late, remained unheard,
By lark, that parting, morning bird.
I looked upon its parting flight,
and smelled the coming of the night;
desirous, I gazed upon its jaunt,
as Leander gazes Hellespont.
Now the hour was ripe and dark,
sensuous memories of sunlight past,
I stood alone in garden bowers
and asked the value of my hours.
Time was spent or time was tossed,
Life was loved and life was lost.
I kissed the flesh of tender girls,
I heard the songs of vernal birds.
I gazed upon the blushing light,
aware of day before the night.
So let me ask and hear a thought:
Did I live the spring I’d sought?
It’s true in joy, I walked along,
took part in dance,
and sang the song.
and never tried to bind an hour
to my borrowed garden bower;
nor did I once entreat
a day to slumber at my feet.
Yet days aren’t lulled by lyric song,
like morning birds they pass along,
o’er crests of trees, to none belong;
o’er crests of trees of drying dew,
their larking flight, my hands, eschew
Thus I’ll say it once and true…
From all that I saw,
and everywhere I wandered,
I learned that time cannot be spent,
It only can be squandered.”
Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

THE WINE OF A WOMAN (by Roman Payne)

 

She came to my bed
and begged me with sighs
not to tempt her towards passion
nor actions unwise.

.

I told her I’d spare her
and kissed her closed eyes,
then unbraided her body
of its clothing disguise

.

While our bodies were nude
bathed in candlelight fine
I devoured her mouth,
tender lips divine;
and I drank through her thighs
her feminine wine.

.

Ô, the wine of a woman
from heaven is sent,
more perfect than all
that a man can invent.

.

– Roman Payne (October, 2016, Marrakech)

Wanderess Fans and their Tattoos…

I am thankful for all of the photos I have received from women around the world who tattoo words from my books and poems, or simply inscribe the title of my novel The Wanderess anywhere from their breasts to their dimples of Venus; or on their wrists,  ankles, and toes.

 
A special ‘Thank You’ to this young woman (below) who sent me this testimony of her body’s permanent appreciation of my art. I only hope that she doesn’t grow to hate me before her skin withers from age and dies.

tatoo_wanderess

…In any case, by tattooing my words on your delicate self, I am obliged to love you for your entire life, you realize… to answer all of your letters (though otherwise I almost never answer readers’ letters [simply because I am lazy]). Yet now, I am obliged, you understand, to treat you always with profound kindness, replying with courtesy to every message you send me. For I would never forgive myself if a woman started to hate one of her body parts because she found out just how selfish, idle and monstrous the author of her tattoo is in real life. So for you, My Loves, I will offer my eternal affection, and I will pretend that I am a good person – God forbid you should learn that my soul is dirty and I am only “slightly” better than the Devil.

Yours Forever,

Roman Payne

Morocco, 2016

 

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“Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling.”

roman-payne_a-queen-must-travel

“Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling.”

― Roman Payne, The Wanderess

Literary Quote for Spring: She Wakes in a Puddle of Sunlight

roman-payne-she-wakes-in-sunlight

“She wakes in a puddle of sunlight.
Her hands asleep beside her.
Her hair draped on the lawn
like a mantle of cloth.”
– Roman Payne

Men Must Live for Pleasure and Beauty

Literary Quote about Manhood

“As I look back on my life, I think of how few rules should be followed. As for men, we must learn bravery and live for Pleasure and for Beauty. More important than those two things should stand only one thing for us… Honor. A man’s honor should be more sacred to him than his life — especially in our age, a time when very few men know what honor is.”

– Roman Payne

Quote for Young Women, from “The Serenade” by Roman Payne

Quote for Young Women, by Roman Payne

“As for you girls, you must risk everything for Freedom, and give everything for Passion, loving everything that your hearts and your bodies love. The only thing higher for a girl and more sacred for a young woman than her freedom and her passion should be her desire to make her life into poetry, surrendering everything she has to create a life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in her imagination.”

– Roman Payne

Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.

“Cities were always like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, friendship, or enmity. Where one city will rise a certain individual to glory, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality. Only through travel can we know where we belong or not, where we are loved and where we are rejected.”       

– Roman Payne

“If Only One Could Leave This Life Slowly” (Roman Payne by Photographer Marta Szczesniak)

Photo Copyright 2014 Marta Szczesniak

roman-payne_marta01“It’s not that we have to quit
this life one day, but it’s how
many things we have to quit
all at once: music, laughter,
the physics of falling leaves,
automobiles, holding hands,
the scent of rain, the concept
of subway trains… if only one
could leave this life slowly!”
Roman Payne,

Saul on “Youth” (Quote from The Wanderess)

roman-payne_saul-on-youth
SAUL FROM THE WANDERESS:  “When I was younger,
I would cling to life because life was at the top of the
turning wheel. But like the song of my gypsy-girl, the
great wheel turns over and lands on a minor key. It is
then that you come of age and life means nothing to
you. To live, to die, to overdose, to fall in a coma in
the street… it is all the same. It is only in the peach
innocence of youth that life is at its crest on top of
the wheel. And there being only life, the young cling
to it, they fear death… And they should! …For they
are in life.”

― Roman Payne
(The Wanderess, Chapter XVII)

Pour La France !! (“For France!”)

 

Cliquez sur l'image pour l'agrandir.

Cliquez sur l’image pour l’agrandir.

Incipit de la version française du roman Wanderess, (bientôt disponible en France !) http://www.wanderess.com (infos, email : francais@wanderess.com)

 

 

(Quote from “The Wanderess” – Chapter XXV)

She was a free bird one minute: queen of the world and laughing. The next minute she would be in tears like a porcelain angel, about to teeter, fall and break. She never cried because she was afraid that something 'would' happen; she would cry because she feared something that could render the world more beautiful, 'would not' happen.... Roman Payne, The Wanderess

“She was a free bird one minute: queen of the world and laughing. The next minute she would be in tears like a porcelain angel, about to teeter, fall and break. She never cried because she was afraid that something ‘would’ happen; she would cry because she feared something that could render the world more beautiful, ‘would not’ happen.”

― Roman Payne, The Wanderess, Chapter XXV

 

 

On the Beauty of Women and Champagne… (Literary Quote from Rooftop Soliloquy)

roman-payne_night-with-women-champagne_24

“One of my favorite lyric passages in Rooftop Soliloquy.” – Roman Payne

“Champagne arrived in flûtes on trays, and we emptied them with gladness in our hearts… for when feasts are laid and classical music is played, where champagne is drunk once the sun has sunk and the season of summer is alive in spicy bloom, and beautiful women fill the room, and are generous with laughter and smiles… these things fill men’s hearts with joy and remind one that life’s bounty is not always fleeting but can be captured, and enjoyed. It is in writing about this scene that I relive this night in my soul.”

― Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

“She was free in her wildness…” (Literary Quote)

roman payne literary quote image

ABOVE: Thank you to Jawed Akhtar for sourcing the photograph of this sublime woman of the sea.

BELOW-TOP: Canadian Artist Desere Pressey created her own visual with my quote. 

BELOW-BOTTOM: Pressey’s portfolio on Facebook is inspiring!  I wished I’d had this scene of the girl/woman and child vagabonding in the forest to frame the words of my Wanderess … https://www.facebook.com/DeserePressey.Artist 

1376596_10153948909855195_1990482648_n

perssey-painting

“In my errant life I roamed…” (literary quote from “The Wanderess”)

Roman Payne Literary Quote Travel

“In my errant life I roamed

To learn the secrets of women and men,

Of gods and dreams.

I’ve known all the countries of our world,

I’ve lived a thousand lives:

Many lives I lived in love,

other lives I squandered.

For in my life I never traveled,

All I did was wander.”

– Roman Payne, from The Wanderess

www.wanderess.com

What the Poet Believed… (Literary Quote)

The poet believed that 'Beauty' first entered  the world not at its creation, nor with the first  garden, the first sunrise, the birth of the first  man and woman and their first sexual act.  The poet believed that 'Beauty' entered the  world the day the first child blushed. - Roman Payne

“The poet believed that ‘Beauty’ first entered
the world not at its creation, nor with the first
garden, the first sunrise, the birth of the first
man and woman and their first sexual act.
The poet believed that ‘Beauty’ entered the
world the day the first child blushed.”

– Roman Payne

Literary Quote: “The disappearance of beauty…” by Roman Payne

I sat up in the strange bed fearing it  had been a dream, afraid I would never  see her again. Not because I wanted  anything from her, only her presence.  The disappearance of the presence of  beauty is the most despairing of events  on this time-wheel of ours that rolls  onward towards death. -- Roman Payne

“I sat up in the strange bed fearing it
had been a dream, afraid I would never
see her again. Not because I wanted
anything from her, only her presence.
The disappearance of the presence of
beauty is the most despairing of events
on this time-wheel of ours that rolls
onward towards death.”

– Roman Payne

“When she was a child, my love carried a roadmap…” (Literary Quote by Roman Payne)

“When she was a child, my love carried a road-map in her hand the way other girls carried handkerchiefs.” ― Roman Payne

“When she was a child,

my love carried a road-map in her hand

the way other girls carried handkerchiefs.”

― Roman Payne

@RomanPayne | www.romanpayne.com | www.wanderess.com | www.facebook.com/payneroman | www.culturalbook.com/profile/RomanPayne

“I like the posture but not the yoga…” (Literary Quote by Roman Payne)

“I like the posture, but not the yoga. I like the inebriated morning, but not the opium. I like the flower but not the garden, the moment but not the dream. Quiet, my love. Be still. I am sleeping.” ― Roman Payne

“I like the posture, but not the yoga.

I like the inebriated morning, but not the opium.

I like the flower but not the garden, the moment but not the dream.

Quiet, my love. Be still. I am sleeping.”

― Roman Payne

Literary Quote: “She wakes in a puddle of sunlight…”

 

“She wakes in a puddle of sunlight. Her hands asleep beside her. Her hair draped on the lawn like a mantle of cloth.” ― Roman Payne

“She wakes in a puddle of sunlight.
Her hands asleep beside her.
Her hair draped on the lawn
like a mantle of cloth.”

― Roman Payne

@RomanPayne | http://www.romanpayne.com | http://www.wanderess.com | http://www.facebook.com/payneroman | http://www.culturalbook.com/profile/RomanPayne

Literary Quote: “Life was pure pleasure” (from “Rooftop Soliloquy” – a novel by Roman Payne)

“I was surrounded by friends, my work was immense, and pleasures were abundant. Life, now, was unfolding before me, constantly and visibly, like the flowers of summer that drop fanlike petals on eternal soil. Overall, I was happiest to be alone; for it was then I was most aware of what I possessed. Free to look out over the rooftops of the city. Happy to be alone in the company of friends, the company of lovers and strangers. Everything, I decided, in this life, was pure pleasure.” – Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy

“I’ve decided the act that cannot wait, is the important will to create.” – A Literary Quote by Roman Payne

“I’ve decided the act that cannot wait

is the important will to create.

But, ah, if my belly is ignored

the pantry door I shall implore.

But I’ve been known to reach the bed

ideas still famished in my head.”
                  

                              ― Roman Payne

www.romanpayne.com / @RomanPayne / www.wanderess.com / www.culturalbook.com/profile/RomanPayne

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water.

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city”
“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city” ―Roman Payne, “The Wanderess”

“Wine gives one ‘ideas,’ whereas champagne gives one ‘strategies.'” – Roman Payne

Roman Payne Quote 'Wine gives one ideas, whereas champagne gives one strategies.'

This quote image is free for non-commercial use without restriction as long as credit is given to the author, Roman Payne. Share and distribute freely! (Reproducing this image for sale, or using this quote for commercial purposes, however, is strictly forbidden.)

“I like the posture, but not the yoga…” A Quote by Roman Payne

“I like the posture, but not the yoga.
I like the inebriated morning, but not the opium. I like the flower but not the garden, the moment but not the dream. Quiet, my love. Be still. I am sleeping.”
― Roman Payne

Roman Payne Quote Yoga Opium Flower Garden Sleeping

This quote image is free for non-commercial use without restriction as long as credit is given to the author, Roman Payne. Share and distribute freely! (Reproducing this image for sale, or using this quote for commercial purposes, however, is strictly forbidden.)