''Some say that no one ever leaves Montreal, for that city, like Canada itself, is designed to preserve the past, a past that happened somewhere else.''
''Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.''
''Israel, and you who call yourself Israel, the Church that calls itself Israel, and the revolt that calls itself Israel, and every nation chosen to be a nationnone of these lands is yours, all of you are thieves of holiness, all of you at war with Mercy.''
''Prayer is translation. A man translates himself into a child asking for all there is in a language he has barely mastered.''
''Let judges secretly despair of justice: their verdicts will be more acute. Let generals secretly despair of triumph; killing will be defamed. Let priests secretly despair of faith: their compassion will be true.''
''I am an old scholar, better-looking now than when I was young. That's what sitting on your ass does to your face.''
''The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.''
''To every people the land is given on condition. Perceived or not, there is a Covenant, beyond the constitution, beyond sovereign guarantee, beyond the nation's sweetest dreams of itself.''
''The term clinical depression finds its way into too many conversations these days. One has a sense that a catastrophe has occurred in the psychic landscape.''
''I have nothing against the Queen of England. Even in my heart I never resented her for not being Jackie Kennedy. She is, to my mind, a very gallant lady, victimized by whoever it is who designs the tops of her uniforms.''
''It is painful to recall a past intensity, to estimate your distance from the Belsen heap, to make your peace with numbers. Just to get up each morning is to make a kind of peace.''
''In dreams the truth is learned that all good works are done in the absence of a caress.''
''Raise a million filters and the rain will not be clean, until the longing for it be refined in deep confession. And still we hear, If only this nation had a soul, or, Let us change the way we trade, or, Let us be proud of our region.''
''A woman watches her body uneasily, as though it were an unreliable ally in the battle for love.''