“Poetry is my understanding with the world, my intimacy with things, my participation in what is real, my engagement with voices and images. This is why a poem speaks not of ideal life but of actual life: the angle of a window; the reverberation of streets, cities, rooms; shadows along a wall.”—Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen
“How well I know that rapture that comes sometimes when one is alone. I think perhaps it is the greatest joy of all. If only it would stay - if only one might live like that, always. I sometimes think that if one were well there is no reason why it should ever go. But that is nonsense. The feeling I mean is … it’s as though the barriers were down and you stepped into another world where even the silence lives and you are accepted, you are received as part of everything. Nothing is hidden. And there is that precious sense of awareness.”—Katherine Mansfield, from a letter to Ottoline Morrell, 27 December 1921 (via katherine-mansfield)
“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason.
In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.”—Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (via weelittleactress)
“Widow, the compassionate trees bend in,
The trees of loneliness, the trees of mourning.
They stand like shadows about the green landscape —-
Or even like black holes cut out of it.
A widow resembles them, a shadow-thing…”—Sylvia Plath, from “Widow”
“Very gently and quietly, almost as if it were the blood singing in her veins, or the water of the stream running over stones, she became conscious of a new feeling within her. She wondered for a moment what it was, and then said to herself, with a little surprise at recognising in her own person so famous a thing: is happiness.”—Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out. (via fuckyeahvirginiawoolf)
“So we turn back through the forest, walk among trees with long blue needles.
It’s silent here, like the silence when the hawk nears.
These are woods that forgive everything but forget nothing.”—Tomas Tranströmer, from “Molokai” in The Great Enigma, trans. Robin Fulton (via proustitute)
“We’re suspended for a moment on this spinning blue pearl, here together and alive right now, conscious, though no one knows why. It is a question of caring. When one of us considers the experiences of another, all the failings and the achievements in someone else’s life, we are seeing from this common place, knowing that it’s all taking place in doubt and the absolute solitude and terror of being human, and knowing that it’s all temporary. All those who are unsure of themselves and suspect themselves of the worst falseness and wrong, bad things are to be not only pitied but loved, identified with and known. Wallace taught that, and suffered for it, and in a way he died of it, too.”—Maria Bustillos, Inside David Foster Wallace’s Private Self-Help Library
“She did not want to go to work, although she was very late; and so she remained in bed. She was empty and she could not bear being empty and covering the space she felt with clothes and walking streets crowded with fuller people, people going someplace important to them and doing things essential to them in these places, and then returning, much later in the evening, to better places to meet the valued persons who were the very reason for their coming and going and living each day just for the end of it. She had none of these things and did not want to be near people who felt something more than the nullity she knew was within her.”— James Alan McPherson, Hue and Cry (via underthechinaberrytree)
“Earth dropped on the coffin; three pebbles fell on the hard shiny surface; and as they dropped she was possessed by a sense of something everlasting; of life mixing with death, of death becoming life. For as she looked she heard the sparrows chirp quicker and quicker; she heard wheels in the distance sound louder and louder; life came closer and closer…”—Virginia Woolf, The Years
“It is not your memories which haunt you.
It is not what you have written down.
It is what you have forgotten, what you must forget.
What you must go on forgetting all your life.”—James Fenton, from “A German Requiem”
“Still you are here, as silence
gathers like birds in the trees around you.
You will be digging here,
perhaps all night, clearing,
finally, a throat for the mute earth,
for the bones that knock and knock
against your blade.
You are waiting for them to sing.”—Leon Weinmann, from "Broken Ground”
the past to go away, I wanted
to leave it, like another country; I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;
to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,
whoever I was, I was
“The dreamer isn’t lonely. Not when, like van Gogh, he has reached that level of spiritual perfection. The dreamer, the artist, the saint, the monk on the snow levels of Tibet, are frightfully and dynamically and electrically unlonely people…This man isn’t lonely. He is simply drunk with colours, as lonely, yes exactly, as a bee or moth on the cup of whatever it happens to be, colour; trumpet flower, coral berry, wax-berry, gold-frilled petal of the evening primrose, green where a stem grows silver or where another green turns moss-green or under-apple-leaf green; these were things that for him had their exact counterpart on that miraculous palette.”—H.D., Vincent Van Gogh