When I was a teenager I started saving in notebooks bits of
verse that touched something in me, bits that I wanted to be
sure I never lost. I still have those notebooks and am going
to put in here some of what I entered way back then. These
are not written by me, only loved by me. I don't even have
all the author's names...just their words. I entitled the notebooks,
"My Wings" because that's what they were to me, are to me.
"Stars over snow, and in the West a planet swinging below
a star. Look for a lovely thing and you will find it. It is
not far. It never will be far."
"When I heard the learn'd astronomer. When the proofs,
the figures were ranged in columns before me. When I was
shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure
them. When I, sitting, heard the astronomer where he lectured
with much applause in the lecture-room. How soon, unaccountable,
I became tired and sick, till rising and gliding out, I wander'd
off by myself in the mystical, moist night-air, and from time
to time, look'd up in perfect silence at the stars."
"Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who knew me
best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower
where I thought a flower would grow."
"If I had but two loaves of bread, I would sell one and buy
hyacinths, for they would feed my soul."
"Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when,
whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees."
"10 most beautiful words in the English language:
"The twilight hours, like birds, flew by,
As lightly and as free,
Ten thousand stars were in the sky,
Ten thousand on the sea.
For every wave, with dimpled face,
That leaped upon the air,
Had caught a star in its embrace,
And held it trembling there."
"I meant to do my work today
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand-
So what could I do but laugh and go?"
"When the oak is felled, the whole forest echoes with its
fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an
"It is only through the morning gate of the beautiful that
you can penetrate into the realm of knowledge. That which
we feel here as beauty we shall one day know as truth."
"The rainbows all lie crumpled on these hills, the red dawn
scattered on their colored sills. These hills have caught the
lightning in its flight, caught colors from the skies of day and
night and shine with shattered stars and suns; they hold dyed
yellow, red and purple, blue and gold."
I hope that I shall never tire
Of watching colors in the fire.
I hope I shall not be too old
To see the lilac-stars unfold,
Or find the pear tree wearing white
When spring is summer over night.
When I am tired of rapture,
Let me die then.
Let me never see the frost
Or a fern again.
When songs do not delight,
When waves that lip the pier,
Or driftwood fires,
Are no longer dear-
Let me die quickly;
Let me not know
The eyes of friends,
Candlelight, silence, or snow."
---Mildred Bowers Armstrong
"It is a glorious privilege to live, to know, to act, to listen,
to behold, to love. To look up at the blue summer sky; to
see the sun sink slowly beyond the line of the horizon; to
watch the worlds come twinkling into view, first one by one,
and the myriads that no man can count, and lo! the universe
is white with them; and you and I are here."
"Hold fast your dreams!
Within your heart
Keep one still, secret spot
Where dreams may go,
And, sheltered so,
May thrive and grow
Where doubt and fear are not.
O keep a place apart
Within your heart
For little dreams to go!"
And there shall come a day...in Spring
When death and winter
Loose their chill, white hold
Quite suddenly. A day of sunlit air
When winging birds return,
And earth her gentle bosoms bare
So that new, thirsty life
May nurture there.
That breathless hour...
So filled with warm, soft miracles
That faith is born anew.
On such a day...
I shall return to you!
You may not touch me...no,
For you have thought of me as dead.
But in the silence lift believing eyes
Toward the dear infinity
Of skies...and listen...
With your very soul held still...
For you will hear me on some little hill,
Advancing with the coming of the year.
Not far away...not dead...
Not even gone.
The day will suddenly be filled
With immortality...and song,
And without stirring from your quiet place,
Your love will welcome mine...
Across the little space,
And we will talk of every lovely thing...
When I return...in Spring."
---Francesca Falk Miller
"...And I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the
joy of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime of something
far more deeply interfused, whose dwelling is the light
of setting suns, and the round ocean and the living air,
and the blue sky, and in the mind of man; a motion and
a spirit that impels all thinking things, all object of
thought, and rolls through all things."
"All suddenly the wind comes soft,
And Spring is here again;
And the hawthorn hedge puts forth its buds
And my heart puts forth its pain."
"Ah God! To see the branches stir
Across the moon at Grantchester!
To smell the thrilling-sweet and rotten,
River-smell, and hear the breeze
Sobbing in the little trees."
Between the pages of old books I find
Forgotten autumn days that once were bright
October afternoons, time out of mind;
November sundowns, with their paling light.
I do not know whose hands designed to keep
The outline of lost days safe and secure;
I only know those hands are clasped in sleep,
The trees long felled. But this lone fact is sure,
That someone brought sweet plunder to this shelf
And smoothed it carefully against the page,
A gesture I have often made myself,
As if to seize upon a makeshift cage
For beauty transient as the human frame.
New eyes may see, nor ever know my name."
---Minnie Hite Moody
"I shall let the thought go forth to find the word.
I shall let the wild dream seek reality.
I shall not doubt. I shall not deny the force
That rises with the fervor of the ocean
And bathes the rugged coasts of my mind with beauty.
I shall not reject the flowing tides of moonlight
That rise and fall in the basins on the hills.
I shall not evade the meaning that descends
In cascades of delight upon my soul.
Life is for living. Beauty is for seeing,
Music for hearing. Ecstasy finds the heart
That waits for ecstasy, and Truth will find
The mind that welcomes Truth and longs for it."
Some quotes from Rabindranath Tagore:
"Some unseen fingers, like an idle breeze, are playing
upon my heart the music of the ripples."
"My heart beats her waves at the shore of the world and
writes upon it her signature in tears with the words, "I
"Stray birds of summer come to my window to sing and fly away.
And yellow leaves of autumn, which have no songs, flutter and
fall there with a sigh."
"Sorrow is hushed into peace in my heart like the evening among
the silent trees."
"The infant flower opens its bud and cries, 'Dear World, please
do not fade.'"
"The mist, like love, plays upon the heart of the hills and brings out
surprises of beauty."
"Your voice, my friend, wanders in my heart like the muffled sound
of the sea among these listening pines."
"This rainy evening the wind is restless. I look at the swaying branches
and ponder over the greatness of all things."
"I have dipped the vessel of my heart into this silent hour; it has
filled with love."
"Let my doing nothing when I have nothing to do become untroubled in
its depth of peace like the evening in the seashore when the water is silent."
"The bow whispers to the arrow before it speeds forth--'Your freedom
"Those who have everything but Thee, my God, laugh at those who have
nothing but Thyself."
"In the mountain, stillness surges up to explore its own height; in the lake,
movement stands still to contemplate its own depth."
"I touch God in my song as the hill touches the far-away sea with its
"The same sun is newly born in new lands in a ring of endless dawns."
"The burden of self is lightened when I laugh at myself."
"Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven."
"In its swelling pride, the bubble doubts the truth of the sea, and laughs
and bursts into emptiness."
"An unknown flower in a strange land speaks to the poet: 'Are we not
of the same soil, my lover?'"
"The sigh of the shore follows in vain the breeze that hastens the ship
across the sea."
"Let your love see me even through the barrier of nearness."
"Between the shores of Me and Thee there is the loud ocean, my own
surging self, which I long to cross."
"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is
"My soul tonight loses itself in the silent heart of a tree standing alone
among the whispers of immensity."
"I have met thee where the night touches the edge of the day; where the
light startles the darkness into dawn, and the waves carry the kiss of
the one shore to the other. From the heart of the fathomless blue comes
one golden call, and across the dusk of tears I try to gaze at thy face
and know not for certain if thou art seen."
"Your speech is simple, my Master, but not theirs who talk of you. I
understand the voice of your stars and the silence of your trees. I know
that my heart would open like a flower; that my life has filled itself at
a hidden fountain."
"I will utter your name, sitting alone among the shadows of my silent
thoughts. I will utter it without words, I will utter it without purpose.
For I am like a child that calls its mother a hundred times, glad that
it can say 'Mother'."
"The trees in the streets are old trees, used to living with people, family
trees that remember your grandfather's name."
"Every life is many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves,
meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widowns,
brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves."
"I love to think her like a blessed candle burning through life's long
night; quietly useful, simple, gentle tender, and always giving light."
"Out of the scabbard of the night,
By God's hand drawn,
Flashes his shining sword of light,
And lo---the dawn!"
"Here in their bright metropolis of flowers the banker bees are
busy with their gold."
"He flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse
and rode madly off in all directions."
"This minute, too, is part of eternity."
"There are few disguises harder to penetrate than the all-enveloping
cloak of simplicity."
"We suppose there is hardly a man who has not an apple orchard
tucked away in his heart somewhere."
Some quotes from Gibran:
"Then the gates of his heart were flung open, and his joy flew far
over the sea. And he closed his eyes and prayed in the silences of
"Too many fragments of the spirit have I scattered in these streets,
and too many are the children of my longing that walk naken among
these hills, and I cannot withdraw from them without a burden and
"And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour
"He alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made
sweeter by his own loving."
"The cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of
the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears."
"Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and nights...
but your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge. You
would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams."
"In your longing for your giant self lies your goodness; and that
longing is in all of you. But in some of you that longing is a torrent
rushing with might to the sea, carrying the secrets of the hillsides and
the songs of the forest."
"You pray in your distress and your need; would that you might
pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance."
"He to whom worshipping is a window to open but also to shut, has
not yet visited the house of his soul whose windows are from dawn to dawn."
"In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the
beyond; and like seeds dreaming beneath the snow, your heart dreams of
spring. Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity."
"For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the
sun? And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its
restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?"
"Softly, gently in the secret night
Down from the North came the quiet white.
Drifting, sifting, silent flight,
Softly, gently in the secret night.
White snow, bright snow, smooth and deep.
Light snow, night snow, quiet as sleep.
Down, down, without a sound;
Down, down, to the frozen ground.
Covering roads and hiding fences,
Sifting in cracks and filling up trenches.
Millions of snowflakes, tiny and light,
Softly, gently, in the secret night."
"The revolutions of the human mind happen in secret and in isolation,
while the sun moves across the sky, and the brooks run on, and other
people are making love or wondering what there will be for supper."
"I will not wish thee riches nor the glow of greatness, but that wherever
thou go some weary heart shall gladden at thy smile, or shadowed life
know sunshine for a while. And so thy path shall be a track of light,
like angels' footsteps passing through the night."
I came to loveYou late,
O Beauty so ancient and new
I came to love You late.
You were within me
and I was outside;
You were with me
but I was not with You.
You called me
You shouted to me
You bathed me in Your light
You wrapped me in Your splendor
You sent my blindness reeling.
You touched me
And I learned to know
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining
"From now until the end of time no one else will ever see life with
my eyes...and I mean to make the most of my chance."
"'Honesty' without compassion and understanding is not honesty,
but subtle hostility."
"The fireside is the tulip bed of a winter day."
"Now as I pause on the blue promontory
By the lush currents of infinity--
Sudden revelation breaks in glory,
The terrible strange splendor of To Be.
Out of the chaos and the dark and the thunder,
Flung to new glamor in the earth's diagram,
I stand upon the citadel of wonder
And shout the miracle---I am! I AM!"
From "The Ivy Tree" by Mary Stewart:
"I sat there by the open window, with the scent from the climbing
roses unbearably sweet in the dusk, and my mind went round and
round over the events of the day like some small creature padding
The light was fading rapidly. The long flushed clouds of sunset
had darkened and grown cool. Below them the sky lay still and clear,
for a few moments rinsed to a pale eggshell green, fragile a blown
glass. The dusk leaned down slowly, as soft as a bird coming in to
brood. Later, there would be a moon.
It was very still. Close overhead I heard the scratch and rustle
of small feet on the sloping roof tiles, then, the throaty murmurs as
the pigeons settled back again to sleep. From the garden below came
the smell of lilac. A moth fluttered past my cheek, and a bat cut the
clear sky like a knife."
"A philosopher is a person who doesn't care which side his bread is
buttered on; he knows he eats both sides anyway."
Great-aunt Amanda never was wed-
Her captain rode away
Tall and young and proud to wear
His uniform of gray.
Her lovely lavender-scented gowns
To by-gone patterns were made;
'Wait, my sweet, just as you are,
Till I come for you.' he'd said.
I remember the stately shadowed hall
And the clock at the foot of the stair
With hands stayed at noon on its patient face
To show that time waited there.
I do not recall how old she was
Nor yet the year and the day,
When, 'Dearest!' she said, and smiling, died...
At last, he had come, they say."
"Dust of Snow
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued."
"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all."
"To One Leaf Falling
I was there when you fell
Under the gently cold October moon
Rising above the Polish graveyard.
Grave little leaflet with no name,
Simply you join your fellows on the ground
Where already they've grown brown.
You were still green--a young one
Meeting the autumn.
I cam seeking solace and solitude;
You fell seeking company in death.
Somehow I gained a solace seeing you,
But I lost solitude, and I am glad.
Now you are in your fellows' company,
And yet, you are a leaf alone...
The only leaf
I ever watched to fall."
Oh, heart, I have lost something I would not recapture!
Some vital part of me has sped away in rapture
And hovers on the fingers of my mortal being
To hold me only with a breath too frail for seeing.
Will people look upon me now without surmising,
Or shall I in their glances be surprising
A vague attempt to question why my spirit darted
After a melody that soul and body parted?"
"From cell to cell, from heart to heart,
Within, without, beneath, above,
Invisible strands of consciousness
Join life to life with links of love.
I am not lonely in this place,
I am no stranger where I stand--
The cloud is brother to my breath,
The breeze comes friendly to my hand.
In bird and insect, stream and tree,
In summer's rose and winter's snow,
There is something akin to me,
A witness to the truth I know:
That all are one within the One
Whose nature and whose laws are love
And good is present everywhere;
Within, without, beneath, above."
"I have thought of beaches, fields,
I have thought of homes put up--
And blown away.
I have thought of meetings and for
Every meeting a good-bye.
I have thought of stars going alone,
Orioles in pairs, sunsets in blundering
I have wanted to let go and cross over
To a next star, a last star.
I have asked to be left a few tears
And some laughter."
"The poetry of love is truer than legal, military, or scientific
history. We think we know little about the 300 years ago world,
but we know what it is to be in love. It was the same then."
"We have built houses for beauty, and costly shrines,
And a throne in all men's view:
But she was far on a hill where the morning shines
And her steps were lost in the dew."
"Who shall hear of us in the time to come? Let him say there
was a burst of fragrance from black branches."
"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at
least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things."
"How much easier it is to please a great man than a little one."
---G. B. Shaw
"My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the
written word, to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before
all, to make you SEE. That--and no more--and it is everything."
"If I were sure God would pardon me, and men would not know my
sin, yet I should be ashamed to sin because of its essential baseness."
"It is absurd to think that the only way to tell if a poem is lasting
is to wait and see if it lasts. The right reader of a good poem can
tell the moment it strikes him that he has taken an immortal wound--
that he will never get over it."
"They said, 'You have a blue guitar...
You do not play things as they are.'
The man replied, 'Things as they are,
Are changed upon the blue guitar.'"
"It is better to burn the candle at both ends, and in the middle, too,
than to put it away in the closet and let the mice eat it."
---Henry Van Dyke
"Give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love."
"The longer one lives, the less importance one attaches to things, and
also the less importance to importance."
--"Little hamlets going to sleep, window by window."
--"Revolving doors chopping a crowd into people."
--"A river stapled with bridges."
--"An old fence staggering down the road."
Out of the past
That cannot die,
From a great evening
Two hawks to a hill
Through a red, red sky,
Two wild doves homing,
As wild mates fly,
A bright tear brimming
In a beautiful eyes,
One of us saying
We must not cry--
Long, long ago
As we said good-bye."
"Love always loses everything it keeps.
Love's final giving is love's final proof."
"Deep in Your Being
Deep in your garden
You let my love go.
There by the roses
The founts overflow.
There wild azaleas
Are softly aflame;
And all your violets
Call me by name.
Into your wildwoods
In rapture I roam,
Where all is beauty
To welcome me home.
Into your blue sky
My being takes wing;
In lyric concert
We soar and we sing.
Then by your white waves
I dream, and am blest,
Your spirit hushing
My longing to rest.
For on your waters
I sail with delight;
Into your harbor
I come for the night."
"The hungry heart seeks far and wide to find a kindred soul...
to find another hungry heart."
"My soul counseled me and taught me to see beauty veiled by form and
color. My soul charged me to gaze steadfastly upon all that is deemed
ugly until it appears lovely. My soul counseled me and charged me to
listen for voices that rise neither from the tongue nor the throat. I have
learned to listen to silence, to hear its choirs singing the songs of the ages,
chanting the hymns of space and disclosing the secrets of eternity. My
soul counseled me and admonished me to measure time with this saying:
'There was a yesterday and there shall be a tomorrow.' Unto that hour
I deemed the past an epoch that is lost and shall be forgotten and the
future I deemed an era that I may not attain; but now I have learned
this: that in the brief present all time, with all that is in time, is achieved
and come true. My soul counseled me and charged me lest I be exalted
because of overpraise and lest I be distressed for fear of blame. Until
that day I doubted the worth of my own handiwork; but now I have
learned this: that the trees blossom in spring and bear their fruit in
summer, and drop their leaves in autumn to become utterly naked in
winter without exaltation and without fear or shame. My soul counseled
me and instructed me to see that the light which I carry is not my light,
that my song was not created within me; for though I travel with the
light, I am not the light, and though I am a lute fastened with strings,
I am not the lute-player. My soul counseled me, my brother, and
enlightened me. And oftentimes has your soul counseled and enlightened
you. For you are like me and there is no difference between us save that
I speak of what I have heard in my silence, and you guard what is
within you, and your guardianship is as goodly as my much speaking."
"And when he left us we did not feel that a guest had departed but rather
that one of us was still out in the garden and had not yet come in."
"Upon a day Beauty and Ugliness met on the shore of a sea, and they
said to one another, 'Let us bathe in the sea.' Then they disrobed and swam
in the waters. And after a while Ugliness came back to the shore and garmented
himself with the garments of Beauty and walked his way. And Beauty, too,
came out of the sea and found not her raiment, and she was too shy to be
naked, therefore she dressed herself with the raiment of Ugliness. And
Beauty walked her way. And to this very day men and women mistake the
one for the other. Yet some there are who have beheld the face of Beauty and
they know her notwithstanding her garments. And some there be who know the
face of Ugliness, and the cloth conceals him not from their eyes."
"With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always--
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one."
---T. S. Eliot
"This is the final test of a gentleman: his respect for those who can be
of no possible use to him."
From "The Child From the Sea" by Elizabeth Goudge
"In the silence that followed it was as though his mind, like a great gun,
swung slowly into a fresh position."
"Peace, she supposed, was contingent upon a certain disposition of the
soul, a disposition to receive the gift that only detachment from self made
possible. Some had the inner strength to wrestle for that detachment, others
had not, and the strength, too, was a gift."
"It was a place both enchanted and enclosed, the windless warmth giving
to all it pervaded a dreamlike eternal quality. All things had reached
their fruition and were contented with it. The voices of the sheep in the
fields, and the humming of the bees in the wild flowers that grew along
the hedges, seemed not so much sound as the gentle breathing in and out of
"...and today more than most days it was good to rest against the serene
strength of an old woman who has weathered all the storms and not been
broken by them."
"For all its length the day was grey, cool, and quiet, and the rain-washed
distances opened out to long perspectives of sea, sky and mountains,
speaking of parting and of time."
"He spoke English well, giving to it that special charm that any language
has when a foreigner speaks it, lighting up the music of it with the freshness
of contrasting stress and intonation."
"...a sea-sound of silken skirts in motion."
"...was well aware that truth is invariably more extraordinary than
anything a man's imagination can conceive since a man's mind is
limited and truth is not."
"...for sometimes a chance phrase, if it is well made to hold the truth,
will sink to the deeps of a mind and find lodging there, floating to the
surface again in time of need on the buoyancy of its own shapeliness."
"If our life is the whole of our life, then the whole person is the child
and the boy, and the young man growing into the old man, who gropes
his way through the shadows of the last wood to find the child laughing
on the sands."
"The fire of April leaps from forest to forest, flashing up in leaves and
flowers from all nooks and corners. The sky is thriftless with colors, the
air delirious with songs. The wind-tossed branches of the woodland spread
their unrest in our blood. The air is filled with bewilderment of mirth; and
the breeze rushes from flower to flower, asking their names."
"Sunshine cannot bleach the snow
Nor Time unmake what poets know."
"A fortress impregnable
Is esteemed, for the simple reason
Of its difficulty."
"Immortal beauty has your love conferred;
Always I seem to be where we have been,
Hearing forever all that we have heard,
Becoming one with all that we have seen;
I am the shore...your love, the eternal sea,
In everlasting music breaks on me."
"The Song Was Yours
A melody of kindliness
From God's own songbook torn,
Fell earthward to possess your soul
When you were born;
And from your spirit's granite drew
Deep clouds that echo strong
Above the shouting of the way
We walked along.
And God I thank, whose song was yours,
That once before its end
You shared your path with me a space
And called me friend."
"She drew near to him and embraced him, and closed his eyes that he
might behold her with the eyes of his spirit."
"And the poor man smiled the smile of a withered flower after the rain
and departed hastily."
"On her lips was the smile of a flower and in her eyes the hidden things
"Beauty is that which draws your spirit. It is that which you see and
makes you to give rather than receive. It is that thing you feel when hands
are stretched forth from your depths to clasp it to your depths. It is the
link between joy and sorrow. It is all that you perceive hidden and know
unknown and hear silent. It is a force that begins in the holy of holies of
your being and ends in that place beyond your visions."
"The business of art is to understand nature and to reveal her meanings
to those unable to understand. It is to convey the soul of a tree rather
than to produce a faithful likeness of the tree. It is to reveal the conscience
of the sea, not to portray so many foaming waves or so much blue water.
The mission of art is to bring out the unfamiliar from the most familiar."
"There are two kinds of submissiveness: that of the ignorant, which is
slavery, and that of the understanding, which is freedom."
"Yet I feel that someday I shall dip my pen to the very bottom of my
silent depths, and shall make it speak a part--if not all--of the things
that live in my depths."
"When God threw me, a pebble, into this wondrous lake, I disturbed its
surface with countless circles. But when I reached the depths, I became
"At dawn she was still standing among us like a lone banner in the
wilderness wherein there are no hosts."
"In my heart are shadows that move, and stroll, and spread like mist;
but I am unable to put them in words."
"We are all vessels for Truth; but we can contain no more of it than we
make room for in our souls. You cannot fill with wine a jar you have
already filled with vinegar. Likewise, the heart stocked with earth passions,
unless emptied first, cannot be stocked with heavenly desires."
From "Jerusalem" by Colin Thubron:
"The past has grown too massive for its people, who live in it as birds
inhabit castles, forgetful of its meanings and imperious to its glory."
"...a lean face in which the eyes stood brilliantly, deep and assured, like
instruments of thought and speaking."
"I looked back to the apex of the church and saw its lanterns dripping in
their hundreds like the tears of the stone."
"The wind throws the sand idly from ruin to ruin, and goats roam over
great heaps of emptiness--that deepest of all voids where once-fervent
life has vanished."
"Wherever I went under the scented trees, the grass lapped on sculptured
walls, or folded over forms too gentle to be guessed."
"...the thousand pauses which are the tissue of life."
"Below us the courtyard lay protected in the aisles of its quietness. The
sense of peace was heavy as a fragrance."
"Under a sad fall of ivy, the medieval stones were thronged in many arches.
Lilac without butterflies, ivy without owls--even the cloistered flowers were
held in a windless calm, the trance of slow monastic days, forgotten monks
and silent bells."
"It is still noble in the spareness of its form, the nave a pale and winter
forest, beautiful only in the starkness of its lines."
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life."
---St. Francis of Assisi
"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry
it with us or we find it not."
From Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
"I love thee as I love all that we have fought for. I love thee as I love
liberty and dignity and the rights of all men to work and not be hungry.
I love thee as I love Madrid that we have defended and as I love all
my comrades that have died. And many have died. Many. Many. Thou
canst not think how many. But I love thee as I love what I love most in
the world and I love thee more."
By Rupert Brooke:
"There the Eternals are, and there the Good, the Lovely, and the True,
And Types, whose earthly copies were the foolish, broken things we
knew; There is the Face, whose ghosts we are; the real, the never-setting
star; and the flower, of which we love faint and fading shadows here."
"Lo! from quiet skies
In through the window my Lord the Sun!
And my eyes
Were dazzled and drunk with the misty gold
The golden glory that drowned and crowned me
Eddied and swayed through the room around me."
"These laid the world away; poured out the red sweet wine of youth;
gave up the years to be of work and joy, and that unhoped serene that
men call age; and those who would have been their sons, they gave,
"If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field that is forever England.
There shall be in that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less,
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds, dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English sky."
"These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.
There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter,
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night."
Not by, but about Rupert Brooke---
I do not understand,
I only know
That, as he turned to go
And waved his hand,
In his young eyes a sudden glory shone,
And I was dazzled by a sunset glow--
And he was gone."
From Lord Byron's "Childe Harold"
"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is a society where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar;
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I many be, or have been before,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal."
"Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand;
Little flower--but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is."
"Know you the land where the lemon trees bloom?
In the dark foliage the gold oranges glow, a soft
wind hovers from the sky, the myrtle is still and the
laurel stands tall---do you know it well? There,
there, I would go, O my beloved, with thee!"
Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.
Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit's still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.
Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost,
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be."
Parts of Shelly's "To a Skylark"
"Hail to thee, blithe spirit!-bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it, pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still, and higher, from the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire; the deep blue thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring, ever singest.
Teach me half the gladness that thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness from my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now."
From the "Rubaiyat"
"Wake! For the sun, who scatter'd into flight
The stars before him from the field of night,
Drives night along with them from Heav'n, and strikes
The sultan's turret with a shaft of light.
Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of spring
Your winter-garment of repentance fling:
The bird of time has but a little way
To flutter--and the bird is on the wing."
"It matters not what you are thought to be, but what you are."
"Sin is the defeat of a man's soul by his self."
From Longfellow's "A Wayside Inn"
"Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing,
Only a signal shown, and a distant voice in the darkness.
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence."
"Thinking is the talking of the soul with itself."
"Hast thou given the horse strength? Hast thou clothed his neck with
thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? The glory
of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his
strength; he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and
is not affrighted, neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver
rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth
the ground with fierceness and rage; neither believeth he that it is the sound
of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha! and he smelleth
the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting."
---Job 39: 19-25
From parts of Byron's "The Prisoner of Chillon"
"Lake Leman lies by Chillon's walls
A thousand feet in depth below
Its mossy waters meet and flow;
Thus much the fathom-line was rent
From Chillon's snow-white battlement."
"A single cloud on a sunny day,
While all the rest of heaven is clear,
A frown upon the atmosphere,
That hath no business to appear
When skies are blue and earth is gay."
"And then there was a little isle,
Which in my very face did smile,
The only one in view;
A small green isle, it seemed no more,
Scarce broader than my dungeon floor,
But in it there were three tall trees,
And o'er it blew the mountain breeze,
And by it there were waters flowing,
And on it there were young flowers growing,
Of gentle breath and hue."
From "A Wreath of Four-o'clocks" by Mary Kennedy
"The wreaths of four-o'clocks, silken red,
We wove as children,
Ruffled leis of fluted edges--
I wish I had one now
To fling over your head,
To give you as a token.
For all the love I've never spoken,
Take this offering.
The child who made it
Threading the pierced flowers
On a dark thread
With determined dream,
Thinking it wonderful to make a pretty thing-
That child is here behind the mask I wear.
She loved you then, not knowing love,
And loves you now,
Aware of all it means."
"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company;
I gazed-and gazed-but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils."
---H. W. Longfellow
"Put three grains of sand inside a cathedral, and the cathedral will
be more closely packed with sand than space is with stars."
---Sir James Jeans
"The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart:
The secret anniversaries of the heart."
"Once to my soul I brought the splendid dust
Of victory...but wistfully she said,
'O lover, even now the moth and rust
Consume your gifts. Immortal things I need
That for eternity we may be strong;
Give me a dream,
"That Catch of Breath
Now autumn pulls the shawl around its shoulder
And rocks a little faster on the porch;
The apples in the paring pan are colder;
The sugar maple flares into a torch.
The corn shocks turn to wigwams in the valleys;
Indian summer lights its signal smokes;
While pumpkings strew the fields for harvest rallies,
The sun rubs off its burnish on the oaks.
Where bittersweet festoons the rural fences,
Our elemental rue drinks its own tear;
The green and gold that, growing, joyed our senses
Bleeds red into the heartbreak of the year.
There is in everything that gives us gladness
That catch of breath that touches us with sadness."
---Ralph W. Seager
I have heard all joy a-carol
In one cardinal's call;
Seen the pride of all the summer
In one red leaf fall;
Felt the universal rapture
In one singing bird;
Known the anguish of creation
In one loveless word."
"God grant me the courage not to give up on what I think is right
even though I think it is hopeless."
"I must go seek for the track of the swan
And the sound of the step of the deer."
"The cursed wings are wings that never rise
To soar rejoicing through the startled skies."
"All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they really
happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that
all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the
good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people
and the places and how the weather was."
"And o'er the hills, and far away
Beyond their utmost purple rim,
Beyond the night, across the day,
Through all the world she followed him."
"To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind
than to be hopelessly in love with spring."
"To forgive our enemies their virtues--that us a greater miracle."
Quotes from Byron:
"Where rose the mountains, there to him were friends;
Where rolled the ocean, thereon was his home;
Where a blue sky, and glowing clime, extends,
He had the passion and the power to roam;
The desert, forest, cavern, breaker's foam,
Were unto him companionship; they spake
A mutual language, clearer than the tome
Of his land's tongue, which he would oft forsake
For Nature's pages glassed by sunbeams on the lake."
"There is a fire and motion of the soul which will not dwell in its
own narrow being."
"Above me the Alps, the palaces of Nature, whose vast walls
have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps, and throned Eternity
in icy halls of cold sublimity, where forms and falls the
avalanche-the thunderbolt of snow! All that expands the spirit,
yet appalls, gather around these summits, as to show how Earth
may pierce to Heaven, yet leave vain man below."
"The sky is changed! And such a change!
Oh, Night, and Storm, and Darkness,
Ye are wondrous strong, yet lovely in your strength
As is the light of a dark eye in woman!
Far along, from peak to peak, the rattling crags among
Leaps the live thunder!
Not from one lone cloud, but every mountain
Now hath found a tongue.
And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud!"
"Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part of me and of my
soul, as I of them? Is not the love of these deep in my heart with
a pure passion? Should I not contemn all objects, if compared
with those? And stem a tide of suffering, rather than forgo such
feelings for the hard and worldly phlegm of those whose eyes are
only turned below, gazing upon the ground, with thoughts which
dare not glow?"
I from hill country
A parable bring:
Deep in those woodlands sweet,
A hidden spring
Gives a wild mountain stream
Music to sing.
So you have given me
All my life long
Love from your wildwoods,
And strength to be strong,
Source of my song!"
"To the primal wonders no road can ever lead; they are not so won. To
know them you shall leave road and roof behind; you shall go light and
spare. You shall win them yourself, in sweat, sun, laughter, in dust and
rain, with only a few companions. You shall know the night--its space, its
light, its music. You shall see earth sink in darkness and the universe appear.
No roof shall shut you from the presence of the moon. You shall see
mountains rise in the transparent shadow before dawn. You shall see--and
feel! First light, and hear a ripple in the stillness. You shall enter the living
shelter of the forest. You shall walk where only the wind has walked before.
You shall know immensity, and see continuing the primeval forces of the world.
You shall know not one small segment but the whole of life, strange, miraculous,
living, dying, changing. You shall live lifted up in light; you shall move among
clouds. You shall see storms arise, and, drenched and deafened, shall exult
in them. You shall top a rise and behold creation. And you shall need the
tongues of angels to tell what you have seen."
"Gifts of Silence
No sound in all the mountains, all the sky!
Yet hush! One delicate sound, minutely clear
Makes the immense silence draw more near-
Some secret ripple of running water, sky
As a delight that hides from alien eye:
The encircling of the mountains seems an ear
Only for this; the still clouds hang to hear
All music in a sound small as a sigh.
Far below rises to the horizon rim
The silent sea. Above, those gray clouds pile;
But through them tremblingly escape, like bloom,
Like buds of beams, for sleepy mile on mile,
Wellings of light, as if Heaven had not room
For the hidden glory, and must overbrim."
"The shining purity of the lake, just ruffled by the breeze, enough
to show it is alive."
"In the evening I walked alone down to the lake after sunset and saw
the solemn colouring of night draw on, the last gleam of sunshine fading
away on the hill-tops, the deep serene of the waters and the long shadows
of the mountains thrown across them."
"The chasm of the sky above my head is heaven's profoundest azure...
an abyss in which the everlasting stars abide."
"Man is to be known by the place where he firmly stands, not where he
was planted; by the place where he is found, not where he was born."
"Song and Its Fountains
Oh, question not the wherefore or the why
Of lyric ecstasy, nor seek to bring
A studied circumspection to the mind
From whence the bright and living fountains spring.
From what old deeps of longing and desire
Younger than sunrise, older than the rose;
A sudden rapture flooding heart and brain
May wake eternal beauty ere it goes."
"Good as it is to inherit a library, it is better to collect one."
"It is, indeed, a desirable thing to be well descended, but the glory
belongs to our ancestors."
Remembering a time when love was something proud that walked with
me beside your well-cut tweeds, something lighter than the dance that led
my silver slippers in your polished steps, I sew tonight a silken hem
around the full pink circle of our daughter's dancing skirt, and bind with
deep-blue thread your fraying pocket edge."
Love never crashed like thunder in her ears;
Love warmed her gently like the morning light;
Love cooled her sweetly like the breeze of night;
Love rained upon her tenderly, like tears.
Love was a climate with a quiet name;
Temperate Love, whose moods were always mild,
And she was tranquil Love's contented child--
Until the first fierce thrilling thunder came."
"He may let me do very little, but the little he will let me do,
I intend to do it all."
---Pope John 23rd
"From its blue vase, the rose of evening drops; upon the streams its
petals float away."
"You do poets and their song a grievous wrong, if your own soul does
not bring to their high imagining as much beauty as they sing."
"I have an understanding with the hills
At evening when the slanted radiance fills
Their hollows, and the great winds let them be,
And they are quiet and look down at me."
Quotes from Calvin Miller's writings:
"When words are rare as gems, then sentences are mined at great expense."
"And when it came, the Court of Ages Gone would wait in rapt salute
until the Singer folded all his singing soul into the gracious wind. And
then the raging gales would leave the splendor of foreverness and break
in hurricanes of love upon the thirsty world."
"The lamp burned low before his eyes fell on the Song of Promise. The
text came up in joy and hung about him, robed in the simple glory of
"He knew what mortals never seemed to learn: The more the gods become
like men, the easier it is for men to believe the gods. When both have only
only human appetites, then rogues may worship rogues."
"It takes a breeze to make a banner speak."
"He held his leathered face in wrinkled hands, and when he took his
hands away, he wore a strange new countenance of light."
"Then peace acquired the place that conflict had so lately held, and
stayed the night. And he slept."
"When the flesh feeds itself, the hunger of the spirit is forgotten."
"At stonings angels stand apart and weep above the martyrs'
groans. But demons always grin, and keep both hands grasping--
filled with stones."
"Yes...now I've hope. Your monster set me free. For if the dragons
live, the gods may be."
"He never tore the wounded loaves but that he swallowed hard in joy."
"If Death and Life should ever wed, there'd be no dynasty. Their
house would fall. For Death would offer nothing on his rigid firm
demand that Life must give up all."
"They cannot liberate who are not free."
"The day of one's death is a good day to be really alive."
"If she has loved him, a man will carry anything for his mother--
a waterpot or a world."
"It is always much more difficult to sing when the audience has
turned its back."
"They will not like it, for its music is beyond their empty days and
makes them trade their littleness for life."
"Blessed is the man who stands before the cruelest king and only
fears his God."
"No man can burn a label into flesh and make it stay when heaven
"You will find that love rarely ever reaches out to save except it does
it with a broken hand."
When you were small and just a touch away,
I covered you with blankets against the cool night air.
But now that you are tall and out of reach,
I fold my hands and cover you with prayer."
"Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God."