Cruelty is a mystery, and the waste of pain. But if we describe a word to compass these things, a world that is a long, brute game, then we bump against another mystery: the inrush of power and delight, the canary that sings on the skull.
Annie Dillard (b. 1945), U.S. essayist and autobiographer. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, ch. 1 (1974).