Past, The

Related to Past, The: past perfect, Past simple

Past, The



  1. Events … had receded so swiftly into the near-forgotten past, like a movie seen years before and dimly remembered —Harvey Swados
  2. The events [of the past] were astir in me, like the loosening phlegm in an attack of bronchitis, waiting to come up —L. P. Hartley
  3. Felt himself sliding … back into a bumpy past where old humiliations still waited to confront him like hills grown taller with the dust of years —Helen Hudson
  4. Going back is like lifting elephants with your teeth —Paul West
  5. He [Sherwood Anderson] carried his childhood like a hurt warm bird held to his middle-aged breast —Herbert Gold
  6. Her past years washed away like so many ridges of sand at high tide —Peter Meinke
  7. Inheritance, like grace, is something you deserve —Hollis Summers

    The inheritance being compared to grace is family achievement.

  8. It was like those years were just a ghost town she’d walked through and then decided to forget —Lee Smith
  9. Kept coming back like a song —J. W. Rider
  10. Like a ball of wool that kittens have got at … all the disposed-of process of my past unravelled on the floor —Louis MacNeice
  11. The man who has not anything to boast of but his illustrious ancestors is like a potato … the only good belonging to him is under ground —Sir Thomas Overbury
  12. Our past … clings to us like strange mystical lint —W. P. Kinsella
  13. The past … always affected her eyes like salt water. It filled her head as if she had stayed underwater too long —Susan Fromberg Schaeffer
  14. The past, as steep as stone, wider than water, like all land and ocean stretches —Archibald MacLeish
  15. Past and future lie joined like a lunatic serpent —Robert Silverberg
  16. The past … held him like a pain —Wallace Stegner
  17. The past is a bucket of ashes —Carl Sandburg
  18. The past is like a funeral gone by —Edmond Gosse
  19. The past lies like an Alp upon the mind —Delmore Schwartz
  20. Past … like a burnt book —Lynne Sharon Schwartz
  21. The past, like an inspired rhapsodist, fills the theatre of everlasting generations with her harmony —Percy Bysshe Shelley
  22. The past was drumming, like a train coming nearer and nearer, in her head —V. S. Pritchett
  23. A record as long as your arm —George Garrett

    The simile is the title of a short story.

  24. Rolled up his past like a carpet —Anon
  25. The sense of accummulated riches of time and tradition pressed past him like a crowd moving in rank after rank, through unending centuries —G. K. Chesterton
  26. Sometimes I want to go back to everything I had, as in a museum —Yehuda Amichai
  27. She wears her past like other women wear perfume —Anon ambassador about Nora Astorga of Nicaragua, New York Times Magazine, September 28, 1986

    True to form, the simile was pulled out of the article and used as the caption for the main illustration.

  28. Sloughed off my past … like a skin that shuns the light of day —Natascha Wodin
  29. The thoughts of my past life rise like the ghosts of an unquiet dream —Percy Bysshe Shelley
  30. Treated his past gingerly as if it were unfriendly to him —Jean Garrigue
  31. Where she has been, she drags behind her, heavy and slurred as the speech of the deaf —Lisa Ress
  32. Worrying about the past is like trying to make birth control pills retroactive —Joey Adams


References in periodicals archive ?
In the past, the state and slave masters defined the parameters of racial identity (who was white, who was not); in the present, black communities deploy color as a gauge to determine inclusion.
While their cores push only 600 to 1,000 years into the past, the scientists have matched many of their sand layers to hurricanes documented in the historical record.
After the acrimonious standoffs of the past, the MTA, unions and board Chairman Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the agreement historic and proof that a new, more respectful negotiating style embraced by the mayor and the MTA could work.