Some Famous Poetic Quotes in English

“Art takes time—Monet grew his gardensbefore he painted them.”

-Atticus Poetry

“The inmost spirit of poetry, in other words, is at bottom, in every recorded case, the voice of pain – and the physical body, so to speak, of poetry, is the treatment by which the poet tries to reconcile that pain with the world.”

-Ted Hughes

“Truth And if sun comes How shall we greet him?Shall we not dread him,Shall we not fear himAfter so lengthy aSession with shade?Though we have wept for him,Though we have prayedAll through the night-years—What if we wake one shimmering morning toHear the fierce hammeringOf his firm knucklesHard on the door?Shall we not shudder?—Shall we not fleeInto the shelter, the dear thick shelterOf the familiarPropitious haze?Sweet is it, sweet is itTo sleep in the coolnessOf snug unawareness.The dark hangs heavilyOver the eyes.”

-Gwendolyn Brooks

“Love one another, but make not a bond of love:Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”

-Khalil Gibran

“Every poem should remind the reader that they are going to die.”

-Edgar Allen Poe

“Then others for breath of words respect,Me for my dumb thoughts, speaking in effect.”

-William Shakespeare

“My heart is small, like a love of buttons or black pepper.”

-S. Jane Sloat

“I am not I; pity the tale of me.”

-Philip Sidney

“…how it would be nice if, for every sea waiting for us, there would be a river, for us. And someone -a father, a lover, someone- able to take us by the hand and find that river -imagine it, invent it- and put us on its stream, with the lightness of one only word, goodbye. This, really, would be wonderful. It would be sweet, life, every life. And things wouldn’t hurt, but they would get near taken by stream, one could first shave and then touch them and only finally be touched. Be wounded, also. Die because of them. Doesn’t matter. But everything would be, finally, human. It would be enough someone’s fancy -a father, a lover, someone- could invent a way, here in the middle of the silence, in this land which don’t wanna talk. Clement way, and beautiful.A way from here to the sea.”

-Alessandro Baricco

“Nobody can tell you about that sword all that there is to be told of it; for those that know of those paths of Space on which its metals once floated, till Earth caught them one by one as she sailed past on her orbit, have little time to waste on such things as magic and so cannot tell you how the sword was made, and those who know whence poetry is, and the need that man has for song, or know any one of the fifty branches of magic, have little time to waste on such things as science, and so cannot tell you whence its ingredients came. Enough that it was once beyond our Earth and was now here amongst our mundane stones; that it was once but as those stones, and now had something in it such as soft music has; let those that can define it.”

-Lord Dunsany

“He drove his mind into the abyss where poetry is written.”

-George Orwell

“A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.”

-Robert Frost

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?”

-Emily Dickinson

“Even the most political poem is an act of faith.”

-Martin Espada

“Un día habré dormido con un sueño tan largo que ni tus besos puedan avivar el letargo. Un día estaré sola, como está la montaña entre el largo desierto y la mar que la baña.”

-Alfonsina Storni

“Thus, though we cannot make our sun Stand still, yet we will make him run.”

-Andrew Marvell

“History is a hermaphrodite with many distinguished lovers. We are neither mysteries nor strangers but the living breath of revelation made flesh by the unrestrained desires of a free and universal love. Universal me. Universal you.”--from Past Present and Future are One”


“Like poetry, fashion does not state anything. It merely suggests”

-Karl Lagerfeld

“With heaven in our hearts,life is romancing uswith glimpses ofthe universe dancing.”

-Ann Louise Ramsey

“Conceptions are artificial. Perceptions are essential.”

-Wallace Stevens

“I would love to saythat youmake meweak in the kneesbutto be quite upfrontand completelytruthfulyoumake my bodyforgetit has kneesat all.”

-Tyler Knott Gregson

“We ran as if to meet the moon.”

-Robert Frost

“So come to the pond, or the river of your imagination, or the harbor of your longing,and put your lips to the world.And live your life.”

-Mary Oliver

“If my like for you was a football crowd, you’d be deaf ’cause of the roar. And if my like for you was a boxer, there’d be a dead guy lying on the floor. And if my like for you was sugar, you’d lose your teeth before you were twenty. And if my like for you was money, let’s just say you’d be spending plenty.”

-Cath Crowley

“Who could have foretoldthe heart grows oldfrom touching others”

-Leonard Cohen

“The purpose of poetry is to remind ushow difficult it is to remain just one person,for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors, and invisible guests come in and out at will.”

-Czeslaw Milosz

“Maybe love was meant to save us from ourselves.”

-robert m drake

“I’m not aspiring to be someone else – If I’m me for the rest of my life then so be it”

-Terry Lander

“SolitudeHappy the man, whose wish and care A few paternal acres bound, Content to breathe his native air In his own ground. Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread, Whose flocks supply him with attire; Whose trees in summer yield him shade, In winter fire. Blest, who can unconcern’dly find Hours, days, and years, slide soft away In health of body, peace of mind, Quiet by day. Sound sleep by night; study and ease Together mix’d, sweet recreation, And innocence, which most does please With meditation. Thus let me live, unseen, unknown; Thus unlamented let me die; Steal from the world, and not a stone Tell where I lie.”

-Alexander Pope

“The Uses Of Sorrow(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)Someone I loved once gave mea box full of darkness.It took me years to understandthat this, too, was a gift.”

-Mary Oliver

“anyone who has no feelings for animals has a dead heart.”

-Raegan Butcher

“I loved a woman whose beauty Like the moon moved all the humming heavens to music till the stars with their tiny teeth burst into song and I fell on the ground before her while the sky hardened and she laughed and turned me down softly, I was so young.”

-Peter Meinke

“I am—yet what I am none cares or knows; My friends forsake me like a memory lost: I am the self-consumer of my woes— They rise and vanish in oblivious host, Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed”

-John Clare

“Walk a bit further. There is a different land not far away. The people in it have the magic to break the icy fingers of the great death.I heard that you don’t even have to pay.However, you have to find their door.It is only found by those who pay the other price.”

-Donna Goddard

“There is nothing prettier in thewhole wide world than a girlin lovewith every breath she takes.”

-Atticus Poetry

“So dawn goes down today... Nothing gold can stay.-- Robert Frost”

-John Green

“if you’re going to use the word ‘dream’ in a poem, you had better be langston hughes.”

-Jewelle Gomez

“the only thing required to be a woman is to identifyas one.- period, end of story.”

-Amanda Lovelace

“a woman will tell youevery home she has ever inhabitedhas been broken intostarting with her body”

-Suheir Hammad

“I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. I learn by going where I have to go.”

-Theodore Roethke

“O how we call each other namesYou call me schizophrenicI call you GodBut we do agree on oneDeluded are we both.”

-Sunil Vidyarthi

“Sometimes life requires more of you than you have to give & demands you plunge into the reinvention of yourself if you truly wanna live.”

-Curtis Tyrone Jones

“Falling in love is very real, but I used to shake my head when people talked about soul mates, poor deluded individuals grasping at some supernatural ideal not intended for mortals but sounded pretty in a poetry book. Then, we met, and everything changed, the cynic has become the converted, the sceptic, an ardent zealot.”

-E.A. Bucchianeri

“No’ might make them angry but it will make you free.”

-Nayyirah Waheed

“But drunkenly, or secretly, we swore,Disciples of that astigmatic saint,That we would never leave the islandUntil we had put down, in paint, in words,As palmists learn the network of a hand,All of its sunken, leaf-choked ravines,Every neglected, self-pitying inletMuttering in brackish dialect, the ropes of mangrovesFrom which old soldier crabs slippedSurrendering to slush,Each ochre track seeking some hilltop andLosing itself in an unfinished phrase,Under sand shipyards where the burnt-out palmsInverted the design of unrigged schooners,Entering forests, boiling with life,Goyave, corrosol, bois-canot, sapotille.Days!The sun drumming, drumming,Past the defeated pennons of the palms,Roads limp from sunstroke,Past green flutes of the grassThe ocean cannonading, come!Wonder that opened like the fanOf the dividing frondsOn some noon-struck sahara,Where my heart from its rib cage yelped like a pupAfter clouds of sanderlings rustily wheelingThe world on its ancient,Invisible axis,The breakers slow-dolphining over more breakers,To swivel our easels down, as firmAs conquerors who had discovered home.”

-Derek Walcott

“A poem should not meanBut be.”

-Archibald MacLeish

“The subtleties of the mind cannot be transmitted in words, but can be seen in words.”

-Juefan Huihong

“Poetry is a life-cherishing force.”

-Mary Oliver

“I began composing the next poem, the one that was to be written next. Not the last poem of those I had read, but the poem written in the head of someone who may never have existed but who had certainly written another poem nonetheless, and just never had the chance to commit it to ink and the page.”

-Steve Erickson

“Use the wings of the flying Universe, Dream with open eyes; See in darkness.”

-Dejan Stojanovic

“This, this indeed is to be accursed, For if we mortals love, or if we sing, We count our joys not by what we have, But by what kept us from that perfect thing.”

-Paul Laurence Dunbar

“My NameOnce when the lawn was a golden green and the marbled moonlit trees rose like fresh memorials in the scented air, and the whole countryside pulsed with the chirr and murmur of insects, I lay in the grass, feeling the great distances open above me, and wondered what I would become and where I would find myself, and though I barely existed, I felt for an instant that the vast star-clustered sky was mine, and I heard my name as if for the first time, heard it the way one hears the wind or the rain, but faint and far off as though it belonged not to me but to the silence from which it had come and to which it would go.”

-Mark Strand

“at first when the rain fell from the sky so wide and deepit smelled like sage, my favorite smellI went up on the plateau to watch it cometo see the gifts it always broughtbut this rain changed from blue to black and leftnothing.”

-Ally Condie

“Many women are singing together of this: one is in a shoe factory cursing the machine, one is at the aquarium tending a seal, one is dull at the wheel of her Ford, one is at the toll gate collecting,one is tying the cord of a calf in Arizona, one is straddling a cello in Russia,one is shifting pots on the stove in Egypt,one is painting her bedroom walls moon color, one is dying but remembering a breakfast, one is stretching on her mat in Thailand, one is wiping the ass of her child,one is staring out the window of a train in the middle of Wyoming and one is anywhere and some are everywhere and all seem to be singing, although some can not sing a note.”

-Anne Sexton

“This autumn-why am I growing old?bird disappearing among clouds.”

-Basho Matsuo

“one must verge on the unknown, write toward the truth hitherto unrecognizable of one’s own sincerity, including the avoidable beauty of doom, shame, and embarrassment, that very area of personal self-recognition,(detailed individual is universal remember) which formal conventions, internalized, keep us from discovering in ourselves and others”

-Allen Ginsberg

“the worst thing," he told me,"is bitterness, people end up sobitter.”

-Charles Bukowski

“I wanted the past to go away, I wantedto leave it, like another country; I wantedmy life to close, and openlike a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the songwhere it fallsdown over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;I wantedto hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,whoever I was, I wasalivefor a little while.”

-Mary Oliver

“Through the darkest hours of the nightand through the dreamers realm I seek,Far beyond the starry skyand beyond galaxies I am free.Through the grimmest memoriesand past a seasons air I cannot breathe,Far beyond this mortal worldin an afterlife we shall meet.”

-Lee Argus

“the worstthing that ever happenedtothe worldwasthe white man coming across gun powder.–– the end of the world | the beginning of white supremacy”

-Nayyirah Waheed

“Eché mi esperanza al mar:y aún fue en el mar, mi esperanza verde-mar...”

-Dulce María Loynaz

“I have been here before, But when or how I cannot tell: I know the grass beyond the door, The sweet keen smell, The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.”

-Dante Gabriel Rossetti

“Poets are shameless with their experiences: they exploit them.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

“I sit in my treeI sing like the birdsMy beak is my penMy songs are my poems.”

-David Almond

“A pine tree standeth lonelyIn the North on an upland bare;It standeth whitely shroudedWith snow, and sleepeth there.It dreameth of a Palm treeWhich far in the East alone,In the mournful silence standethOn its ridge of burning stone.”

-Heinrich Heine

“The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.For self is a sea boundless and measureless.Say not, “I have found the truth,” but rather, “I have found a truth.”Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.” Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.”For the soul walks upon all paths.The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.”

-Kahlil Gibran

“Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.There is no happiness like mine.I have been eating poetry.”

-Mark Strand

“To come to nothing through something is the way to outside from both sides.”

-Dejan Stojanovic

“Les rêves sont seuls les réalités de la vie.”

-Xavier Forneret

“Ah, when to the heart of man Was it ever less than a treason To go with the drift of things, To yield with a grace to reason, And bow and accept the end Of a love or a season?”

-Robert Frost

“I put a chameleon on a red dildo... He blushed”

-Bo Burnham

“Isn’t it time that these most ancient sorrows of ours grew fruitful? Time that we tenderly loosed ourselves from the loved one, and, unsteadily, survived: the way the arrow, suddenly all vector, survives the string to be more than itself. For abiding is nowhere.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke

“How dull it is to pause, to make an end,To rust unburnish’d, not to shine in use!As tho’ to breathe were life!”

-Alfred Lord Tennyson

“Only in books the flat and final happens, Only in dreams we meet and interlock....”

-Philip Larkin

“My candle burns at both ends;It will not last the night;But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—It gives a lovely light!”

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

“When When it’s over, it’s over, and we don’t know any of us, what happens then.So I try not to miss anything.I think, in my whole life, I have never missed The full moonor the slipper of its coming back.Or, a kiss.Well, yes, especially a kiss.”

-Mary Oliver

“For a star to be born, there is one thing that must happen: a gaseous nebula must collapse. So collapse. Crumble. This is not your destruction. This is your birth.”

-Zoe Skylar

“I believe in spectacles, but I think eyes necessary too.”

-John Stuart Mill

“So many things I had thought forgottenReturn to my mind with stranger pain:Like letters that arrive addressed to someoneWho left the house so many years ago.”

-Philip Larkin

“The Amorous Shepherd is a fruitless interlude, but those few poems are among the world’s greatest love poems, because they’re love poems about love, not about being poems. The poet loves because he loves, not because love exists.”

-Álvaro de Campos

“In the DesertIn the desert I saw a creature, naked, bestial, Who, squatting upon the ground, Held his heart in his hands, And ate of it. I said, “Is it good, friend?” “It is bitter—bitter,” he answered; “But I like it “Because it is bitter, “And because it is my heart.”

-Stephen Crane

“If one thousand of you participate in the murder of one child, then one thousand of you are a thousand times guilty.”

-Compton Gage

“Watch out for intellect,because it knows so much it knows nothingand leaves you hanging upside down,mouthing knowledge as your heartfalls out of your mouth.”

-Anne Sexton

“For I have learned to look on nature, not as in the hour of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes the still, sad music of humanity.”

-William Wordsworth

“The poet…is the man of metaphor: while the philosopher is interested only in the truth of meaning, beyond even signs and names, and the sophist manipulates empty signs…the poet plays on the multiplicity of signifieds.”

-Jacques Derrida

“The Arrow and the SongI shot an arrow into the air,It fell to earth, I knew not where;For, so swiftly it flew, the sightCould not follow it in its flight.I breathed a song into the air,It fell to earth, I knew not where;For who has sight so keen and strong,That it can follow the flight of song?Long, long afterward, in an oakI found the arrow, still unbroke;And the song, from beginning to end,I found again in the heart of a friend.”

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“You too?" She asked Ruth. "How do your poems start out?""They start as a lump in the throat," she said.”

-Louise Penny

“This is the creature there has never been.They never knew it, and yet, none the less,they loved the way it moved, its suppleness,its neck, its very gaze, mild and serene.Not there, because they loved it, it behavedas though it were. They always left some space.And in that clear unpeopled space they savedit lightly reared its head, with scarce a traceof not being there. They fed it, not with corn,but only with the possibilityof being. And that was able to confersuch strength, its brow put forth a horn. One horn.Whitely it stole up to a maid - to bewithin the silver mirror and in her.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke

“At last everything was satisfactorily arranged, and I could not help admiring the setting: these mingled touches betrayed on a small scale the inspiration of a poet, the research of a scientist, the good taste of an artist, the gourmet’s fondness for good food, and the love of flowers, which concealed in their delicate shadows a hint of the love of women”

-August Strindberg

“We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.”

-Jack Gilbert

“How I go to the woodsOrdinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a singlefriend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable.I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours. Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can siton the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almostunhearable sound of the roses singing.If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must loveyou very much.”

-Mary Oliver

“We must listen to poets.”

-Gaston Bachelard

“My Muse sits forlornShe wishes she had not been bornShe sits in the coldNo word she says is ever told.”

-Stevie Smith

“Since when," he asked,"Are the first line and last line of any poemWhere the poem begins and ends?”

-Seamus Heaney

“At first I protested and rebelled against poetry. I was about to deny my poetic worlds. I was doing violence to my illusions with analysis, science, and learning Henry’s language, entering Henry’s world. I wanted to destroy by violence and animalism my tenuous fantasies and illusions and my hypersensitivity. A kind of suicide. The ignominy awakened me. Then June came and answered the cravings of my imagination and saved me. Or perhaps she killed me, for now I am started on a course of madness.”

-Anaïs Nin

“One day I might feel Mean,And squinched up inside,Like a mouth sucking on a Lemon.The next day I couldFeelWhole and happyAnd right,Like an unbitten apple.”

-Mary Neville

“As the future ripens in the past,so the past rots in the future --a terrible festival of dead leaves.”

-Anna Akhmatova

“I came in haste with cursing breath,And heart of hardest steel;But when I saw thee cold in death,I felt as man should feel.For when I look upon that face,That cold, unheeding, frigid brown,Where neither rage nor fear has place,By Heaven! I cannot hate thee now!”

-Alfred Lord Tennyson

“Venus TransiensTell me, Was Venus more beautiful Than you are, When she topped The crinkled waves, Drifting shoreward On her plaited shell? Was Botticelli’s vision Fairer than mine; And were the painted rosebuds He tossed his lady Of better worth Than the words I blow about you To cover your too great loveliness As with a gauze Of misted silver? For me, You stand poised In the blue and buoyant air, Cinctured by bright winds, Treading the sunlight. And the waves which precede you Ripple and stir The sands at my feet.”

-Amy Lowell

“Gather the stars if you wish it soGather the songs and keep them.Gather the faces of women.Gather for keeping years and years.And then...Loosen your hands, let go and say good-bye.Let the stars and songs go.Let the faces and years go.Loosen your hands and say good-bye.”

-Carl Sandburg

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