Quotes from Rose Under Fire

Elizabeth Wein ·  368 pages

Rating: (16.3K votes)


“Hope is the most treacherous thing in the world. It lifts you and lets you plummet. But as long as you're being lifted you don't worry about plummeting.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“But people need lift, too. People don't get moving, they don't soar, they don't achieve great heights, without someone buoying them up.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“Hope is treacherous, but how can you live without it?”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“It is so hard trying to say what you mean.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“It's an illusion I've noticed before-- words on a page are like oxygen to a petrol engine, firing up ghosts. It only lasts while the words are in your head. After you put down the paper or pen, the pistons fall lifeless again.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire



“Fight with realistic
hope, not to destroy

all the world's wrong,
but to renew its good.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“God knows what I thought! Your brain does amazing acrobatics when it doesn't want to believe something.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“Five years of destruction and mayhem, lives lost everywhere, shortages of food and fuel and clothing - and the insane mind behind it just urges us all on and on to more destruction. And we all keep playing.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“You can't just sit in a corner weeping or you'll die.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“These trials aren't about revenge. They're about justice. Don't you want justice, Rose Justice?”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire



“Incredible. It is just incredible that you can notice something like that when your face is so cold you can't feel it anymore, and you know perfectly well you are surrounded by death, and the only way to stay alive is to endure the howling wind and hold your course. And still the sky is beautiful.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“It had never occurred to me that simply being with a fellow prisoner would make me feel like I was still in prison.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“Tell me “The Subtle Briar” again,’ she asked. She knew I would still know it by heart. I whispered to her in the dark.

‘When you cut down the hybrid rose,
its blackened stump below the graft
spreads furtive fingers in the dirt.
It claws at life, weaving a raft
of suckering roots to pierce the earth.
The first thin shoot is fierce and green,
a pliant whip of furious briar
splitting the soil, gulping the light.
You hack it down. It skulks between
the flagstones of the garden path
to nurse a hungry spur in shade
against the porch. With iron spade
you dig and drag it from the gravel
and toss it living on the fire.

‘It claws up towards the light again
hidden from view, avoiding battle
beyond the fence. Unnoticed, then,
unloved, unfed, it clings and grows
in the wild hedge. The subtle briar
armors itself with desperate thorns
and stubborn leaves – and struggling higher,
unquenchable, it now adorns
itself with blossom, till the stalk
is crowned with beauty, papery white
fine petals thin as chips of chalk
or shaven bone, drinking the light.

‘Izabela, Aniela, Alicia, Eugenia,
Stefania, Rozalia, Pelagia, Irena,
Alfreda, Apolonia, Janina, Leonarda,
Czeslava, Stanislava, Vladyslava, Barbara,
Veronika, Vaclava, Bogumila, Anna,
Genovefa, Helena, Jadviga, Joanna,
Kazimiera, Ursula, Vojcziecha, Maria,
Wanda, Leokadia, Krystyna, Zofia.

‘When you cut down the hybrid rose
to cull and plough its tender bed,
trust there is life beneath your blade:
the suckering briar below the graft,
the wildflower stock of strength and thorn
whose subtle roots are never dead.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“Hope has no feathers
Hope takes flight
tethered with twine
like a tattered kite,
slave to the wind's
capricious drift
eager to soar
but needing lift

Hope waits stubbornly
watching the sky
for turmoil, feeding on
things that fly:
crows, ashes, newspapers,
dry leaves in flight
all suggest wind
that could lift a kite

Hope sails and plunges
firmly caught
at the end of her string -
fallen slack, pulling taught,
ragged and featherless.
Hope never flies
but doggedly watches
for windy skies.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“She gave me a dirty look. Then she broke into the bubbly champagne laugh. She turned and ran, limping but steady. She laughed over he shoulder, letting out the line as I held the kite above my head.

"Run with me, Rose," she cried.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire



“A poet and a doctor. Maybe I could.
This the first thought I have of it. Maybe I could.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“When you’re flying, the changing balance of lift and weight pulls you up or down. But another pair of forces pulls you forward or backward through the air: thrust and drag. Thrust is the power that pulls the kite forward—you run with it to get it up in the air. You have to have thrust to create lift. Drag is there because your kite’s surfaces push against the air and slow the kite down. Drag doesn’t pull you out of the sky; it makes you fly more slowly.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“Each force in flight is balanced by an opposing force. The opposite of lift is weight. Weight is always trying to pull an object back to earth, so to get something to stay up, lift has to be greater than weight. You’d think your weight would always be the same, but it isn’t. When you do aerobatics or go into a dive—like a kite that’s plunging into the sand at the beach—there’s an increase in gravity, and that makes you weigh more. If you want your heavy kite to stay in the air, you have to increase the lift, as well. Maybe by waiting for a stronger wind. Maybe by finding a windier place to fly your kite. Maddie brought lift back into my life by forcing me outside. So did Bob, who introduced me to the editors of this magazine. So did Fernande, the chambermaid at the Paris Ritz, who gave me her daughter’s clothes and made me get dressed and brought me coffee every morning for three weeks.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“And you know, it was like I was breathing my own self back into me to say these word,s to remember that these things existed--the green trees of the eastern woodland at home in North America, their strong and supple branches, sunlight through the trees.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“Róża laughed until she broke off choking. 'Oh, so now that I've got a decent coat I'm supposed to stay in the plane with the crazy _taran_ pilots!'

'Oh, Różyczka.' I sighed, too. I didn't know how to explain to her that she could _stop fighting_ now. Or stop fighting _us_, anyway.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire



“How can you grow to love a handful of strangers so fiercely just because you have to sleep on the same couple of wooden planks with them, when half the time you were there you wanted to strangle them, and all you ever talked about is death and imaginary strawberries?”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“Everything I know about passive resistance I learned from Micheline. She always appeared to be doing exactly as she was told, but everything she did took twice as long as it should have.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“There are four forces which work together if you want to put something into the sky and have it stay there. One of these is lift.

Lift is made when the air pressure under a wing is greater than the air pressure over the wing. Then the wing gets pushed upwards. That’s how birds fly. That’s how kites fly – a kite is basically just a solitary wing. That’s how airplanes fly.

But people need lift too. People don’t get moving, they don’t soar, they don’t achieve great heights, without something buoying them up.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“You know, it set you at war with yourself.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


“This is what’s so heartbreaking: the fact that I am here, alive, has no doubt given Fernande some grain of hope for her daughter. But the fact that I was there makes me sure there isn’t any.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire



“I am scared of the way they are clinging to the French and Belgian ports, even though they’ve been pushed out of most of the rest of France. There is something about it that spooks me. They’ve lost.”
― Elizabeth Wein, quote from Rose Under Fire


About the author

Elizabeth Wein
Born place: in New York, The United States
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