|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Breaking Point by Mary Roberts Rinehart:
brief, courteous replies. Then he lapsed into silence. They felt
shut off and uncomfortable, and creaked out again.
Only once did he seem shaken. That was when Elizabeth came swiftly
in and put her arms around him as he sat. He held her close to him,
saying nothing for a long time. Then he drew a deep breath.
"I was feeling mighty lonely, my dear," he said.
He was the better for her visit. He insisted on dressing that
evening, and on being helped down the stairs. The town, which
had seemed inimical for so long, appeared to him suddenly to be
holding out friendly hands. More than friendly hands. Loving,
tender hands, offering service and affection and old-time
The Breaking Point
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Within the Tides by Joseph Conrad:
part with him any more.
"That was the situation when she and Bamtz got acquainted casually.
She could not have had any illusions about that fellow. To pick up
with Bamtz was coming down pretty low in the world, even from a
material point of view. She had always been decent, in her way;
whereas Bamtz was, not to mince words, an abject sort of creature.
On the other hand, that bearded loafer, who looked much more like a
pirate than a bookkeeper, was not a brute. He was gentle - rather
- even in his cups. And then, despair, like misfortune, makes us
acquainted with strange bed-fellows. For she may well have
despaired. She was no longer young - you know.
Within the Tides
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The House of Dust by Conrad Aiken:
And before her quiet face he burned soft incense,
And brought her every day
Boughs of the peach, or almond, or snow-white cherry,
And somehow, she seemed to say,
That silent lady, young, and quietly smiling,
That she was happy there;
And sometimes, seeing this, he started to tremble,
And desired to touch her hair,
To lay his palm along her hand, touch faintly
With delicate finger-tips
The ghostly smile that seemed to hover and vanish
|The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from Flame and Shadow by Sara Teasdale:
but "Helen of Troy" (1911) was the true launch of her career,
followed by "Rivers to the Sea" (1915), "Love Songs" (1917),
"Flame and Shadow" (1920) and more. Her final volume, "Strange Victory",
is considered by many to be predictive of her suicide in 1933.
From an anthology of verse by Jessie B. Rittenhouse (1913, 1917):
"Teasdale, Sara (Mrs. Ernst B. Filsinger). Born in St. Louis, Missouri,
August 10, 1884. Educated at private schools. She is the author
of "Sonnets to Duse", 1907; "Helen of Troy, and Other Poems", 1911;
"Rivers to the Sea", 1915; "Love Songs", 1917. Editor of
"The Answering Voice: A Hundred Love Lyrics by Women", 1917.