How should we like it were stars to burn With a passion for us we could not return? If equal affection cannot be, Let the more loving one be me. — W.H. Auden, from “The More Loving One,” Homage to Clio. (Random House 1960)
The figures of the past go cloaked. They walk in mist and rain and snow And go, go slowly, but they go. — Wallace Stevens, from “Poesie Abrutie,” The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens (Vintage 1990)
The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh. ― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot. (Grove Press; 1 edition, May 17, 2011) Originally published 1952. Premiered 5 January 1953 at theThéâtre de Babylone, Paris France.
I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other. ― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet. (Dover Publications May 8, 2002) Originally published 1929.
this much belongs to us, to touch each other thus; the gods can grip us more forcefully. The choice is theirs. — Rainer Maria Rilke, from “The Second Elegy,” Duino Elegies, transl. by Edward Snow (North Point Press, 2001)
I would never re-write you. You are by far my most complete and greatest novel. You and your splendor; lingering in my brain across a timelessly barefoot reality. — Virginia Woolf, from a letter to Vita Sackville-West, 23 November 1926.
So-shu dreamed, And having dreamed that he was a bird, a bee, and a butterfly, He was uncertain why he should try to feel like anything else, Hence his contentment. — Ezra Pound, “Ancient Wisdom, Rather Cosmic,” Collected Early Poems of Ezra Pound. Edited by Michael King. (New Directions Publishing November 17, 1982)