1. “Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”

2. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by; and that has made all the difference.”

3. “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”

4. “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”

5. “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life—it goes on.”

6. “Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on You, and I’ll forgive Your great big one on me.”

7. “Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.”

8. “No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

9. “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.”

10. “We love the things we love for what they are.”

11. “Freedom lies in being bold.”

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

13. “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”

14. “The best way out is always through.”

15. “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim.”

16. “Poetry is what gets lost in translation.”

17. “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.”

18. “Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.”

19. “Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.”

20. “Forgive me my nonsense as I also forgive the nonsense of those who think they talk sense.”

21. “A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday, but never remembers her age.”

22. “There is one thing more exasperating than a who can cook and won’t, and that’s a wife who can’t cook and will.”

23. “A takes twenty years to make a man out of her boy, and another woman makes a fool of him in twenty minutes.”

24. “Before I built a wall, I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out.”

25. “Oh, come forth into the storm and rout, and be my love in the rain.”

26. “Families break up when they get hints you don’t intend, and miss hints that you do.”

27. “A person will sometimes devote all his life to the development of one part of his body—the wishbone.”

28. “The realist always falls in love with a girl he has grown up with, the romanticist with a girl from ‘off somewhere.’”

29. “Good fences make good neighbors.”

30. “You’ve got to love what’s lovable, and hate what’s hateable. It takes brains to see the difference.”

31. “The best things and best people rise out of their separateness; I’m against a homogenized society because I want the cream to rise.”

32. “My sorrow, when she’s here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane.”

33. “I dwell with a strangely aching heart in that vanished abode there far apart.”

34. “Earth’s the right place for love. I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.”

35. “Talking is a hydrant in the yard and writing is a faucet upstairs in the house. Opening the first takes all the pressure off the second.”

36. “To be social is to be forgiving.”

37. “Lovers, forget your love, and listen to the love of these—she a window flower, and he a winter breeze.”

38. “There never was any heart truly great and generous, that was not also tender and compassionate.”

39. “He asked with the eyes more than the lips for a shelter for the night.”

40. “I’m not confused. I’m just well mixed.”

41. “I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own way.”

42. “How many things have to happen to you before something occurs to you?”

43. “How many things would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”

44. “The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.”

45. “Something we were withholding made us weak, until we found it was ourselves.”

46. “The world is full of willing people—some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.”

47. “The middle of the road is where the white line is, and that’s the worst place to drive.”

48. “By faithfully working eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.”

49. “What we live by, we die by.”

50. “Always fall in with what you’re asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it your way.”

51. “My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever’s going. Not against— with.”

52. “My goal in life is to unite my avocation with my vocation, as my two make one in sight.”

53. “Being the boss anywhere is lonely. Being a female boss in a world of mostly men is especially so.”

54. “For dear me, why abandon a belief merely because it ceases to be true?”

55. “What is done is done for the love of it—or not really done at all.”

56. “Nobody was ever meant to remember or invent what he did with every cent.”

57. “Our very life depends on everythings’ recurring till we answer from within.”

58. “One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.”

59. “Unless you are at home in the metaphor, you are not safe anywhere.”

60. “What are we? Young or new? We must be something.”

61. “He studied Latin like the violin, because he liked it.”

62. “I never dared be radical when young, for fear it would make me conservative when old.”

63. “All our ingenuity is lavished on getting into danger legitimately so that we may be genuinely rescued.”

64. “For I have promises to keep; and miles to go before I sleep.”

65. “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”

66. “There are no two things as important to us in life and in art as being threatened and being saved.”

67. “We saw the risk we took in doing good, but dared not spare to do the best we could.”

68. “A man must partly give up being a man with women-folk.”

69. “‘New’ is a word for fools in towns who think style upon style in dress, and thought at last must get somewhere.”

70. “To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.”

71. “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”

72. “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

73. “The most creative thing in us is to believe in a thing.”

74. “The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.”

75. “My definition of literature would be just this—words that have become deeds.”

76. “Unless you are educated in metaphor, you are not safe to be let loose in the world.”

77. “I am a writer of books in retrospect. I talk in order to understand; I teach in order to learn.”

78. “You’re always believing ahead of your evidence. What was the evidence I could write a poem? I just believed it.”

79. “Every poem is a momentary stay against the confusion of the world.”

80. “A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”

81. “Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat.”

82. “Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.”

83. “The is not enough. I long for weight and strength—to feel the earth as rough to all my length.”

84. “A poet never takes notes. You never take notes in a love affair.”

85. “Poetry begins in trivial metaphors, pretty metaphors, grace metaphors, and goes on to the profoundest thinking that we have.”

86. “Poetry provides the one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another.”

87. “People say, ‘Why don’t you say what you mean?’ We never do that, do we, being all of us too many poets. We like to talk in parables and in hints and in indirections—whether from diffidence or some other instinct.”

88. “I am one who has been acquainted with the night.”

89. “The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader.”

90. “I know people who read without hearing the sentence sounds and they were the fastest readers. Eye readers, we call them. They get the meaning by glances. But they are bad readers because they miss the best part of what a good writer puts into his work.”

91. “Like a piece of ice on a hot stove, the poem must ride on its own melting.”

92. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.”

93. “Poets are like pitchers—both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things.”

94. “Originality and initiative are what I ask for my country.”

95. “If it is with outer seriousness, it must be with inner humor. If it is with outer humor, it must be with inner seriousness. Neither one alone without the other under it will do.”

96. “What are ideals of form for if we aren’t going to be made to fear for them?”

97. “An idea is a feat of association, and the height of it is a good metaphor.”

98. “Modern poets talk against business, poor things, but all of us write for money. Beginners are subjected to trial by market.”

99. “Most of my ideas occur in verse. To be too subjective with what an artist has managed to make objective is to come on him presumptuously and render ungraceful what he in pain of his life had faith he had made graceful.”

100. “There are two kinds of teachers—the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can’t move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.”

101. “The heart can think of no devotion greater than being shore to the ocean.”

102. “We ran as if to meet the moon.”

103. “We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows.”

104. “A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.”

105. “Thinking is not to agree or disagree. That’s voting.”

106. “I believe in teaching, but I don’t believe in going to school.”

107. “A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.”

108. “A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity.”

109. “Anything more than the truth would be too much.”

110. “A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.”

111. “Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor.”

112. “I turned to speak to God about the world’s despair, but to make bad matters worse, I found God wasn’t there.”

113. “Education doesn’t change life much. It just lifts trouble to a higher plane of regard.”

114. “Hope is not found in a way out but a way through.”

115. “It looked as if a night of dark intent was coming, and not only a night, an age. Someone had better be prepared for rage.”

116. “The worst disease which can afflict executives in their work is not, as popularly supposed, alcoholism—it’s egotism.”

117. “Life must be kept up at a great rate in order to absorb any considerable amount of learning.”

118. “The question that he frames in all but words is what to make of a diminished thing.”

119. “The chief reason for going to school is to get the impression fixed for life that there is a book side for everything.”

120. “You can be a little ungrammatical if you come from the right part of the country.”

121. “A breeze discovered my open book and began to flutter the leaves to look.”

122. “Weep for what little things could make them glad.”

123. “Heaven gives its glimpses only to those not in position to look too close.”

124. “I’d like to get away from earth awhile and then come back to it and begin over.”

125. “They are those that talk of going, but never get away.”

126. “No, this is no beginning. Then an end? End is a gloomy word.”

127. “The heart’s gone out of it, why keep it up?”

128. “We shall be known by the delicacy of where we stop short.”


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