She was at once so resolute and so dreamy, so sensual and so intelligent. She also was intensely private. What she knew best was how it felt to be alone, unique, isolated. She was lacking in the sense of a solid communal life; What bound people together escaped her. What separated them was an object of wonder, delight and despair. She seemed as detached from herself as from everyone else.
People who respect themselves … are willing to invest something of themselves; they may not play at all, but when they do play, they know the odds. That kind of self-respect is a discipline, a habit of mind that can never be faked but can be developed, trained, coaxed forth.
What is the point of “Days of Heaven”—the payoff, the message? This is a movie made by a man who knew how something felt, and found a way to evoke it in us. That feeling is how a child feels when it lives precariously, and then is delivered into security and joy, and then has it all taken away again—and blinks away the tears and says it doesn’t hurt
Knowing no longer what it is I want,
flayed by the memory of what I wanted,
the possible, the uses of the hands,
the uses, later, deeper, of the body,
I think of River Road turning to moonlight
beneath the lyric hissing of the tires,
moonlight becoming water, water woods,
everything turning much too deep to guess
Herbert Morris, from “River Road,” in Peru: Poems (Harper & Row, 1983)