"In theory, for example, sleep is a negative thing, a mere cessation of life. But nothing will persuade me that sleep is not really quite positive, some mysterious pleasure which is too perfect to be remembered. It must be some drawing on our divine energies, some forgotten refreshment at the ancient fountains of life. If this is not so, why do we cling to sleep when we have already had enough of it; why does waking up always seem like descending from heaven upon earth? I believe that sleep is a sacrament; or, what is the same thing, a food."
- G. K. Chesterton
Lunacy and Letters
"When people tell you who they are, Maya Angelou famously advised, believe them. Just as importantly, however, when people try to tell you who you are, don't believe them. You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you."
- Maria Popova
"There's one problem with all psychological knowledge - nobody can apply it to themselves. People can be incredibly astute about the shortcomings of their friends, spouses, children. But they have no insight into themselves at all. The same people who are coldly clear-eyed about the world around them have nothing but fantasies about themselves. Psychological knowledge doesn't work if you look in a mirror. This bizarre fact is, as far as I know, unexplained."
- Michael Crichton
"When you bump against the limits of your own honesty it is as though your thoughts get into a whirlpool, an infinite regress: You can say what you like, it takes you no further."
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
The Poem I Didn't Write
Here is the poem I was going to write
earlier, but didn't
because I heard you stirring.
I was thinking again
about that first morning in Zurich.
How we woke up before sunrise.
Disoriented for a minute. But going
out onto the balcony that looked down
over the river, and the old part of the city.
And simply standing there, speechless.
Nude. Watching the sky lighten.
So thrilled and happy. As if
we'd been put there
just at that moment.
- Raymond Carver
"A poem is a place where the conditions of beyondness and withinness are made palpable, where to imagine is to feel what it is like to be. It allows us to have the life we are denied because we are too busy living. Even more paradoxically, a poem permits us to live in ourselves as if we were just out of reach of ourselves."
- Mark Strand
The garments worn in flying dreams
were fashioned there -
overcoats that swooped like kites,
scarves streaming like vapor trails,
gowns ballooning into spinnakers.
In a city like that one might sail
through life led by a runaway hat.
The young scattered in whatever directions
their wild hair pointed, and gusting
into one another, fell in love.
At night, wind rippled saxophones
that hung like windchimes in pawnshop
windows, hooting through each horn
so that the streets seemed haunted
not by nighthawks, but by doves.
Pinwheels whirled from steeples
in place of crosses. At the pinnacles
of public buildings, snagged underclothes -
the only flag - flapped majestically.
And when it came time to disappear
one simply chose a thoroughfare
devoid of memories, raised a collar,
and turned his back on the wind.
I closed my eyes and stepped
into a swirl of scuttling leaves.
- Stuart Dybek
Streets in Their Own Ink
I looked at the sky and at the earth and straight ahead
and since then I've been writing a long letter to the dead
on a typewriter with no ribbon just a horizon line
so the words knock in vain and nothing sticks.
- Tomas Tranströmer
the vale of soul-making