The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotes That Make You Go Hmmm...

The extreme oddness of Existence is what reconciles me to it. ~Logan Pearsall Smith

I really like things I don’t understand: when I read a thing I don’t understand I feel a sweet and abysmal vertigo. ~Clarice Lispector (1920–1977), A Breath of Life: Pulsations, written 1974–1977, published posthumously 1978, edited by Olga Borelli and Benjamin Moser, translated from the Portuguese by Johnny Lorenz, 2012  [Angela —tg]

Lord Ronald said nothing; he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions. ~Stephen Leacock, "Gertrude the Governess: or, Simple Seventeen," Nonsense Novels, 1911

The star shines on in its starry realm, nor ever stops to relate. It is I, I, this lowly firefly, with heart aflame with longing, that shall tell you the wondrous story of the star. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

But we are never prepared for what we expect... ~James A. Michener

But perhaps the universe is suspended on the tooth of some monster. ~Anton Chekhov (1860–1904), translated by Constance Garnett

I will pass through the furnace whose firebrands mark my soul. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

Who knows
the sound a wound makes?
~John Montague (b.1929), from "Sound of a Wound"

That don't seem to have much of a muchness to it... ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy Out of Time, 1958

You're not the same as you were before. You were much more muchier. You've lost your muchness. ~Alice in Wonderland, 2010, screenplay by Linda Woolverton, inspired by Lewis Carroll novels from the mid-1800s  [Hatter –tg]

She throws her coin into a fountain already filled with hopeful coins, yet wonders if the wishes might become tangled. ~Dr. SunWolf,

She is a perfect and beautiful plant,
I am the nebulous chaos of yore.
~Florence Percy (Elizabeth Anne Chase Akers Allen, 1832–1911), "Two," Forest Buds, from the Woods of Maine, 1855

      I wandered one night out over the brink of eternity.... "Open and let me in," I cried. "'Tis a weary pilgrim, a lost soul.... The life-boat is for the storm-tossed ship, and so is the signal light in the harbor, and this — this is the wreck of a soul crying for the life-line!"
      The gates swung open. I awoke and went out again into the world of men, and all day I sang at my work. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

Our reconstruction program, involving as it does the unascertainable principle that a depression is the indirect result of direct economic causes, cannot but succeed in seriously mitigating a situation which would otherwise prove ambidextrous to every left-handed right-thinking moron. ~E.E. Cummings, "And It Came to Pass," 1932

If we dance amongst the rooftops, is it not that much further to jig into the starshine? ~Terri Guillemets

Some Passages from a Journal That Was Never Kept  ~Sharpe's London Magazine, 1848

Oh my little house of glass!
How carefully
I have planted shrubbery
To plume before your transparency.
Light is too amorous of you,
Transfusing through and through
Your panes with an effulgence never new.
I am terribly tempted
To throw the stones myself.
~Anne Knish (Arthur Davison Ficke), "Opus 80," Spectra: A Book of Poetic Experiments, 1916  [farce —tg]

If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats. ~Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, 1977

Suppose the skies should fall in while I was napping, and the round World collapse into stardust again? ~Logan Pearsall Smith

There is indigo in this music;
This dusk is filled with amber lights;
Through the tangled evening of heavy flower-scents
Come footfalls
That surely I can almost remember.
~Anne Knish (Arthur Davison Ficke), "Opus 50," Spectra: A Book of Poetic Experiments, 1916  [spoof —tg]

Remember to floss your brain after every meal, people. ~The Good Doctor, "Fault," 2020, written by P. Blake, M. Rozeman, A.S. Weissman, & S. Chanse  [S4, E5, Dr. Marcus Andrews, after removing a teratoma tumor with a tooth in it from a patient's brain]

Two mirrors, face to face, is all I need
To build a mazy universe for my mind
Where world grows out of world. I dizzily find
Solace in endless planes that there recede.
~Arthur Davison Ficke, "World Beyond World," 1921

Flowers weaved into your hair and stars trapped inside your mind. ~Harold,

If I answer the stranger at my gate while my own cry within, — perhaps my own is at the gate, and the strangers are within. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Ink smears, as thoughts sometimes do. ~Terri Guillemets

I am the universe's harlot,
Selling myself to ecstasy's thrills;
Giving myself to be debauched of stars, ravished of ineffableness;
Seduced by a wanton ungraspableness;
Coming to marriage bed with infinity's horde,
Wanton wife of the eternity of things.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Creation Songs: VIII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

I am the dreamer on the edge of his dream. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

I am... the potency-thrill. I am the fructifier meeting the urge of space, scattering my spawn like the dust of stars in the Milky Way. I am... the yearning. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Creation Songs: VI," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Ask, mournful Muse, by one alone inspired:
What change? am I less fond, or thou less fair?
Or is it, that thy mounting soul is tired
Of duteous homage and religious care?
~William Johnson Cory (1823–1892), "Amavi"

It really makes me feel a little bit like a ghost revisiting the old time glimpses of the moon. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915

Do we escape from life on a ladder of cobwebs? ~Evan S. Connell, Jr., Points for a Compass Rose, 1973

O age that half believ'st thou half believ'st,
Half doubt'st the substance of thine own half doubt,
And, half perceiving that thou half perceiv'st,
Stand'st at thy temple door, heart in, head out!
~Sidney Lanier, "Acknowledgment," 1876

Strickland had burst the bonds that hitherto had held him. He had found, not himself, as the phrase goes, but a new soul with unsuspected powers.... a spirituality, troubling and new, which led the imagination along unsuspected ways, and suggested dim empty spaces, lit only by the eternal stars, where the soul, all naked, adventured fearful to the discovery of new mysteries. ~W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919

What shall we put into this day?
      What do you say, soul, what do you say?
      Shall we put twenty or ninety per cent—
      How much is charged for the clay house we rent?
Shall we put dreams or shall it be money?
      Starlight or sunlight or bright amber honey?
      What is the most, the best worth while—
      Shall it be curses or struggle and smile?
Who knows the answer, who knows the answer,
      Wisdom or laughter, sages or dancer?
      Old winds and new winds fumble together,
      Bring witches' answers, "Tomorrow's fair weather."
~George Elliston, "Witches' Answers," Bright World, 1927

Besides, you're Rose's father, and I'm Gerald's sister. If we married I should be my brother's mother-in-law, and my step-daughter would be my sister. Your daughter would be your sister-in-law, and your brother would just snap his fingers at your fatherly advice. ~W. Somerset Maugham, Lady Frederick, 1907

In taking the old name for the new papers, he felt bound to say that he had uttered unwise things under that title, and if it shall appear that his unwisdom has not diminished by at least half while his years have doubled, he promises not to repeat the experiment if he should live to double them again and become his own grandfather. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, "The Autocrat's Autobiography," 1858

I do not incline my ear at the door of tombs — I listen at the roots of grasses.
I do not question dusty tomes — I ask the stars.
Parchment has no meaning to me — I ask my living, quivering breath.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "At the Roots of Grasses: I," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923

Waiting for the morning sickness of existence to pass... ~Thomas McGrath, "The Seven Stations of Mrs. D," The Movie at the End of the World: Collected Poems, 1972

A naked lunch is natural to us,
we eat reality sandwiches
But allegories are so much lettuce.
Don't hide the madness.
~Allen Ginsberg, "On Burroughs' Work"

I cannot stop asking. If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

I do not utter littlenesses — I speak a skyline or an ant-hill.
I speak big things, that measure up to big trees and little grasses; great things, like God and daffodils; stupendous things, like ages and a moment.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "At the Roots of Grasses: XV," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923

It smells like the left wing of the day of judgment. ~Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851

I can... hear the earth's sighing
Between the sun and the moon.
~Cave Outlaw (1900–1996), "In the Solemn Silence," Each Day, 1942

It is known that there is an infinite number of worlds, but that not every one is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so if every planet in the Universe has a population of zero then the entire population of the Universe must also be zero, and any people you may actually meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination. ~Douglas Adams

I come with my rendered life.
I carry burdens: I lift mountains with a song.
I dig ditches — furrows to the moon and trenches to the Milky Way.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of the Strong: XXX" A Soul's Faring, 1921

What is Gestalt? When I didn't know, I couldn't tell you, and now that I know, I can't tell you. ~Barry Fox Stevens (1902–1985), Don't Push the River (it flows by itself), 1970

...And the hunger
To seize the whole world by the mouth.
~Laurence Vail, "Grey Crust," c.1921

The stars can change in their courses, the universe go up in flames, and the world crash around us, but there'll always be Donald Duck. ~Noël Coward's Brief Encounter, 1945

I dipped my brush in venom — and to the discerning I but portrayed myself. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.
~Robert Frost

I am the vessel. The draught is God's. And God is the thirsty one. ~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1953, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964

I spend the nights awake searching my soul and my days half-asleep chasing dreams in the wind. ~Terri Guillemets

I am the cry of the nebula to become a star, the stream following its dream to the sea...
I am the moment of time calling to infinity.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of Longing: I," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923

Faith looked for what it could not find,
      Hope looked for what was lost,
(Love looked and looked but Love was blind),
      Charity's eyes were crossed.
~Emanuel Morgan (Witter Bynner), "Opus 62," Spectra: A Book of Poetic Experiments, 1916  [farce —tg]

her stardust was a question mark
and his an exclamation point —
together they had all the answers
~Terri Guillemets, "Love story," 2008

Beside the brink of dream
I had put out my willow-roots and leaves...
~Emanuel Morgan (Witter Bynner), "Opus 14," Spectra: A Book of Poetic Experiments, 1916  [farce —tg]

This is a record of what has not been,
Is not, and never while time lasts can be...
~Arthur Davison Ficke, Sonnets of a Portrait-Painter, 1914

It's funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they'll do practically anything you want them to. ~J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1951

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published 1998 Mar 18
revised 2021 Mar 16
last saved 2024 May 7