Cruelty has a human heartAnd jealousy a human face,Terror the human form divine,And secrecy the human dress. The human dress is forged iron,The human form a fiery forge,The human face a furnace seal’d,The human heart its hungry gorge. — William Blake, from “The Divine Image,” Songs of Innocence and of Experience. (1789)
I needed to think backwards for a while. Thinking backwards I could remember the comfort of being curious and alone. — Michael Ondaatje, The Cat’s Table. (Jonathan Cape; 1st edition August 1, 2011)
The soul toois a debasementof a text, but, thus, itacquires salience, although ahuman salience, butinimitable, and, hence, memorable.God is the text.The soul is a corruptionand a mnemonic. — Li-Young Lee, from “The Cleaving,” The City in Which I Love You (BOA Editions Ltd., 1990)
For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then? ― George Orwell, 1984. (Signet Classic… Continue reading George Orwell
She does not love you.Your metaphors thrill her,You are her poetBut that’s all there is to it. — Mahmoud Darwish, from “She Does Not Love You,” Almond Blossoms and Beyond (Ka-zahr al-lawz aw ab’ad), trans. by Mohammad Shaheen. Interlink Pub Group, 2009.
Only one woman exists in this world, one woman with countless faces. ― Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ. (Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition March 1, 1998) Originally published 1952.
End of Winter Over the still world, a bird callswaking solitary among black boughs. You wanted to be born; I let you be born.When has my grief ever gottenin the way of your pleasure? Plunging aheadinto the dark and light at the same timeeager for sensation as though you were some new thing, wantingto express… Continue reading Louise Glück
The last memory I haveIs of a flower which cannot be touched, Through the bloom of which, all day,Fly crazed, missing bees. — Galway Kinnell, from “Flower Herding on Mount Monadnock,” Flower Herding on Mount Monadnock (Houghton Mifflin, 1964)
Much of poetry is an anguished waiting. — Theodore Roethke, On Poetry and Craft: Selected Prose. (Copper Canyon Press; First Edition (US) First Printing edition April 1, 2001) Originally published June 1st 1965.
I wrote on the windThe name of my love.I wrote it on the water.I did not knowThat the wind rushes by without listening,That names dissolve in the water. — Nizar Qabbani, from “The Book of Love,” On Entering the Sea: The Erotic and Other Poetry of Nizar Qabbani (Interlink Pub Group, 2013)