"Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly."

- Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), Chilean poet, writer, Nobel Laureate and diplomat
From 100 Love Sonnets (Cien Sonetos de Amor) "XL," originally published in Argentina in 1959

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self"

- Cryil Connolly (1903-1974). English literary critic and writer
From The New Statesman [1933]


"Always take sides.  Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.  Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

- Elie Wiesel (1928-2016), Romanian-born American writer, professor, political activist and Holocaust survivor, From Night Trilogy: Dawn, the Accident [1958]

Winds of May

Winds of May that dance on the sea,
Dancing a ring-around in glee
From furrow to furrow, while overhead
The foam flies up to be garlanded,
In silvery arches spanning the air,
Saw you my true love anywhere?
Welladay!  Welladay!
For the winds of May!
Love is unhappy when love is away!

- James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish novelist, short story writer, poet
From Chamber Music, collection of poems [1907]


"Progress cannot come without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish playwright, critic and social activist
From Everybody's Political What's What? [1944]

"They came on one of April's most brilliant days - a day as sparkling as a newly-washed lemon . . . a day when even the shadows were a melange of blue and orange and jade, like the shadows that poured from the tipsy brush of Monet."

- Beverley Nichols (1898-1983), English author, playwright, journalist
From A Thatched Roof [1933]


"It was one of those March days when the son shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade."

- Charles Dickens (1812-1870), English writer and social critic
From Great Expectations (published as a serial in Dickens' weekly periodical, All the Year Round (December 1, 1860 to August 1861), first published as a novel in October 1861.

"March came in that winter like the meekest and mildest of lambs, bringing days that were crisp and golden and tingling, each followed by a frosty pink twilight which gradually lost itself in an elfland of moonshine."

- Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942), Canadian author, novelist, poet and diarist
From Anne of the Island [1915]


"One bright day in the last week of February, one wintry day, I was walking in the park, enjoying the threefold luxury of solitude, a book, and pleasant weather."

- Anne Bronte (1820-1849), English novelist and poet
From Agnes Grey [1847]

How is it that the poets have said so many fine things about our first love, so few about our later love?  Are their first poems their best?  Or are not those the best which come from their fuller thought, their larger experience, their deeper-rooted affections?  

- George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880), English novelist and poet and journalist
From Adam Bede [1859]


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."

- Martin Luther King Jr. (January 25, 1929 - April 4, 1968), American Baptist minister and civil rights activist
From the Letter from Birmingham Jail, dated April 16, 1963

"The leaves hop, scraping on the ground.  
It's deep January.  The sky is hard.
The stalks are firmly rooted in ice.
It is in this solitude, a syllable,
Out of these gawky flitterings, 
Intones its single emptiness,
The savagest hollow of winter-sound."

- Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), American poet
From "No Sop, No Taters," first published in New Poems [1943]


I Heard A Bird Sing

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.
A magical thing
And sweet to remember,
"We are nearer Spring
Then we were in September,"
I heard a bird sing 
In the Dark of December.

- Oliver Herford (1860-1935), British-born American poet, humourist and illustrator

"There must be something ghostly in the air of Christmas - something about the close, muggy atmosphere that draws up the ghosts, like the dampness of the summer rains brings out the frogs and snails."

- Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927), English writer and humourist
From Told After Supper [Collection, 1891


"I avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward."

- Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855), English novelist and poet
As quoted by Elizabeth Gaskell in The Life of Charlotte Bronte [1870]

"The wild November come at last
Beneath a veil of rain;
The night wind blows its folds aside,
Her face is full of pain.
The latest of her race, she takes
The Autumn's vacant throne:
She has but one short moon to live,
And she must live alone."

- Richard Henry Stoddard (1825-1903), American critic and poet


"Above all, don't lie to yourself.  The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.  And having no respect he ceases to love . . ."

- Fyodor Doestoevsky (1821-1881), Russian novelist, short story writer, journalist and philosopher
From The Brothers Karamazov [1880]

"I ate breakfast in the kitchen by candle-light, then drove the five miles to the station through the most glorious October colouring.  The sun came up on the way, and the swamp maples and dogwood glowed crimson and orange and the stone walls and cornfields sparkled with hoar frost; the air was keen and clear and full of promise.  I knew something was going to happen"

- Jean Webster (1876-1916), American author and playwright
From Daddy-Long-Legs [1912]


"Outside the leaves on the trees constricted slightly; they were the deep done green of the beginning of autumn.  It was a Sunday in September.  There would only be four.  The clouds were high and the swallows would be here for another month or so before they left for the south before they returned next summer."

- Ali Smith (1962 - ), Scottish author, playwright, academic
From The Whole Story and Other Stories [2003]

"Truth is tough.  It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch, nay, you may kick it about all day, like a football, and it will be round and full at evening."

- Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (1809-1894), American physician, poet
From The Professor at the Breakfast Table [1859]


"Let go of certainty.  The opposite isn't uncertainty.  It's openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides.  The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow."

- Tony Schwartz (1952- ), American author, founder of The Energy Project
From The Way We're Working Isn't Working: Fueling the Four Needs that Energize Great Performance [2010] - also published under the title Be Excellent at Anything: The Four Keys To Transforming the Way We Work and Live


August rushes by like desert rainfall,
A flood of frenzied upheaval
But still catching me unprepared.
Like a matchflame,
Bursting on the scene,
Heat and haze of crimson sunsets.
Like a dream
Of moon and dark, barely recalled,
A moment,
Shadows caught in a blink,
Like a quick kiss;
One wishes for more
But it suddenly turns to leave,
Dragging summer away.

- Elizabeth Maua Taylor, American writer, poet


Photo Attribution

"I  rarely end up where I was intending to go, but often I end up somewhere I needed to be"

Douglas Adams (1952-2001), English writer
From The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul [1988]

"Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jewelled balm for the battered spirit.  A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all is right with the world."

- Ada Louise Huxtable (1921-2013)
American architecture critic and writer
From Architecture Anyone? [1986]


"Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off.  Build your wings on the way down."

- Ray Bradbury (1920-2012),
American science fiction and fantasy writer
From Brown Daily Record [1995]

"I would rather dance as a ballerina, faultily, than as a flawless clown."

- Margaret Atwood (1939- ),  Canadian writer and poet
From Lady Oracle [1976]


"I thought that spring would last for evermore,
For I was young and loved, and it was May."

- Vera Brittain (1893-1970), English writer, nurse 
From the poem "May Morning" in Testament of Youth [1933] 

"The most important thing she'd learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one."

- Jill Churchill (1943- ), American author
From O Magazine, May, 2003


"April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing 
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."

- T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), American-born British poet
From "The Waste Land" [1922]

"The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You're one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're too months back in the middle of March."

- Robert Frost (1874-1963, American poet
From "Two Tramps in Mud Time"


"It was such a spring day as breathes into a man an ineffable yearning, a painful sweetness, a longing that makes him stand motionless, looking at the leaves or grass, and fling out his arms to embrace he knows not what."

- John Galsworthy (1867-1933), English novelist and playwright
From The Forsyte Saga 

"An exaggeration is a truth that has lost its temper."

- Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), Lebanese-American writer and artist
From Sand and Foam [1926]


"Love does not dominate, it cultivates.  And that is more."

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German writer, poet, philosopher and scientist
From Das Märchen [1795], as translated by Hermann J. Weigand in Wisdom and Experience [1949]


"The worst families are those in which the members never really speak their minds to one another; they maintain an atmosphere of unreality, and everyone always lives in an atmosphere of suppressed ill-feeling."

- Walter Bagehot, British journalist, essayist, businessman
From The English Constitution (ed. 2, 1872), introduction


"The important thing is not to stop questioning.  One cannot help but be in awe when contemplating the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.  It is enough if one merely comprehends a little of the mystery every day.  The important thing is not to stop questioning: never lose a holy curiosity."

- Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German-born theoretical physicist
From statement to William Miller, as quoted in Life magazine,
(May 2, 1955)

"Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind."

- Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), British writer
From A Room of One's Own (essay first published in 1929)


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones that you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover."

- H. Jackson Brown Jr. (1940 - ), American author
From P.S. I Love You, Rutledge Press, 1990

"Happy, happy Christmas that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the traveller back to his own fireside and quiet home!"

- Charles Dickens (1812-1870), English writer and social critic 
From The Pickwick Paper [1836]


“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.”

- Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), American poet and novelist
From The Underground Journals of Sylvia Plath

"Finish every day and be done with it. For manners and for wise living it is a vice to remember. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. To-morrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense."

- Attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882),
American essayist, lecturer and poet

According to James Elliot Cabot's Memoir of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1888), Emerson wrote those words "To one of his daughters who was away from home, at school."


"It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all."

- J.K. Rowling (1965 - ), British author
From her Harvard University address, 2008

"Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. "

- Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), American author and poet
From Eleonora, a short story, first published in 1842 in Philadelphia in the literary annual The Gift.


“We can't possibly have a summer love. So many people have tried that the name's become proverbial. Summer is only the unfulfilled promise of spring, a charlatan in place of the warm balmy nights I dream of in April. It's a sad season of life without growth...It has no day.”

- F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), American writer
From This Side of Paradise

"The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long

And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall"

- From the song "Autumn Leaves"
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer (1909-1976), American singer/songwriter

Johnny Mercer

"Autmn Leaves" is the English version of a popular French song called "Les Feuilles mortes" ("The Dead Leaves").  The song was composed by Joseph Kosma and the French lyrics were written by French poet Jacques Prévert (1900-1977).

Jacques Prévert

Here are the French lyrics to  "Les Feuilles mortes" by Jacques Prévert

"C'est une chanson, qui nous ressemble
Toi tu m'aimais et je t'aimais
Nous vivions tous les deux ensemble
Toi que m'aimais moi qui t'aimais
Mais la vie sépare ceux qui s'aiment
Tout doucement sans faire de bruit
Et la mer efface sur le sable les pas des amants désunis"


“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.” 

- T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), American-born British poet
From "Four Quartets"       

"Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

Allen Saunders
John Lennon
- According to The Yale Book of Quotationsthis phrase was coined by American journalist and cartoonist Allen Saunders (1899-1986) in 1957.  British singer/songwriter John Lennon (1940-1980) popularized the words in the lyrics of his song "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)."  

- Joanne

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