Like eating popcorn, the habit of reading chiasmus is impossible to resist, as Dr. Mardy Grothe has demonstrated to several of us devoted subscribers to his free newsletter.
Here’s some favorites, culled by Mardy.
• "The instinct of a man is to pursue everything that flies from him,
and to fly from all that pursue him."
• One afternoon, John F. Kennedy and his crusty father Joseph were proudly watching First Daughter Caroline at play.
As they sat, no words passed between the two men for quite some time. Finally, the elder Kennedy observed thoughtfully, "Caroline's very bright, Jack."
Then, after a pause, he added, "Smarter than you were at that age."
JFK adopted a similar demeanor and said, "Yes, she is."
Then, after a pause of his own, he added: "But look who she has for a father."
• On May 6, 1862, Henry David Thoreau died at age 45 in his family home in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau was a deeply spiritual person who read the Bible and the sacred writings of other religious traditions, but he rejected the trappings of organized religion.
As he lay dying of tuberculosis, friends and family gathered around him. When Thoreau's aunt, a strict Calvinist, asked, "Henry, have you made your piece with God?" he replied:
"I was not aware we had ever quarreled."