"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."

- William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English playwright and poet
From As You Like It, Touchstone (Act 5, Scene 1)

"The quiet August moon has come;
A slumberous silence fills the sky,
The fields are still, the woods are dumb
In glassy sleep the waters lie."

- William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), American poet and journalist
From the poem "A Summer Ramble," which appeared in The White Footed Deer and Other Poems, published in 1844


"But here I am in July, and why am I thinking about Christmas pudding?  Probably because we always pine for what we do not have.  The winter seems cozy and romantic in the hell of summer, but hot beaches and sunlight are what we yearn for all winter."

- Joanna Franklin Bell, American author
From Take a Load Off, Mona Jamborski, published in 2014

"I scarcely remember counting upon happiness.  I look not for it if it be not in the present hour - nothing startles me beyond the moment.  The setting sun will always set me to rights, or if a sparrow comes before my Window.  I take part in its existence and pick about the gravel."

- John Keats (1795-1821), English poet
Letter to Benjamin Bailey, November 22. 1817


"It was June. and the world smelled of roses.  The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside."

- Maud Hart Lovelace (1892-1980), American author
From Betsy-Tacy and Tibb, first published in 1941   

"Whoever does not talk to his father never knows what his grandfather said."

- Paul Rusesabagina (1954-), Rwandan politician
As Quoted in An Ordinary Man [2006], Chapter 10


"Sweet May hath come to love us,
Flowers, trees, their blossoms don;
And through the blue heavens above us
The very clouds move on."

- Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), German poet, writer and literary critic
From "Book of Songs, New Spring, No. 5"

"All women become like their mothers.  That is their tragedy.  No man does.  That is his."

- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish essayist, novelist, playwright and poet 
From The Importance of Being Earnest, Act 1 


"Nothing erases the past.  There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness.  That is all, but that is enough."

- Ted Chiang (1967-), American science fiction writer
From the short story "The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate," originally published in Fantasy and Science Fiction [2007]

"But it is a sort of April-weather life we lead in this world.  A little sunshine is generally the prelude to a storm."

- William Cowper (1731-1800), English poet and hymnwriter
From Letters of William Cowper: Chosen and Edited with a Memoir and a Few Notes


"Springtime is the land awakening.
The March winds are the morning yawn."

- Lewis Grizzard (1946-1994), American writer and humorist.
Quoted by Lewis Grizzard in Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You, first published in  1979

"Ring the bells that still ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, crack in everything
That's how the light gets in"

- Leonard Cohen (1934-2016). Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and novelist
Lyrics from the song Anthem


"The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river is dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red."

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), American poet and educator
From the poem "Afternoon in February"

"She walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in  her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light 
Which heaven to gaudy day denies."

- Lord Byron (George Gordon) (1788-1824), British Romantic poet, peer
From "She Walks in Beauty,"  first published in 1815


"People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others."    

- Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), French philosopher, writer, mathematician, physicist and theologian
From Pensées ("Thoughts"), first published in 1669

"The leaves hop, scraping on the ground.
It is 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 and author
From the poem "No Possum, No Sop, No Taters," first published in New Poems 1943: An Anthology of British and American Verse


"There  is no ideal Christmas, only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions."

- Bill McKibben (1960- ), American author, environmentalist and journalist
From Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case For a More Joyful Christmas [1998|

"The crisp path through the field in this December snow, in the deep dark, where we trod the buried grass like ghosts on dry toast."

- Dylan Thomas (1914-1953), Welsh poet and writer
From Quite Early One Morning, broadcast on the BBC


"November's sky is chill and drear,
November's leaf is red and sear."

-  Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), Scottish novelist, poet, playwright and historian 
From the poem Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field  [1808]

"To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved."

- George MacDonald, (1824-1905), Scottish author of poetry, fairy tales and fantasy novels
From The Marquis of Lossie [1877]


"Success ultimately rests on small things, lots of small thing.  Leaders have to a feel for small things - a feel for what is going in the depths of an organization where small things reside.  The more senior you become, the more you are isolated by pomp and staff, and the harder and more necessary it becomes to know what is going on six floors down.  One way is to leave the top floor and its grand accoutrements and get down into the bowels for real.  Don't tell anyone you are coming."

- Colin Powell (1937-2021), American politician, diplomat and four-star general
From It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership [2012]

"It's a beautiful fall day.  Gentle wind teases stubborn autumnal leaves.  Some defy the gentle wind and sway.  A taunting dance.  Come with me and look at the magnificence of the last dance."

- Fidelis O. Mkparu (1959- ), Nigerian-born, Harvard-trained cardiologist and author
From Love's Affliction [2015]


"There comes a day each September when you wake up and know the summer is over and fall has arrived.  The slant of the sun looks different  and something is in the air - a coolness, a hint of frosty mornings to follow."

- Ann Rinaldi (1934-2021). American author, novelist
From Time Enough for Drums [1986]

"Whoever is careless with truth in small matters cannot be trusted in important affairs."

-Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German-born theoretical physicist

Posthumously published, as quoted in Albert Einstein: Historical and Cultural Perspectives (by Gerald James Holton, Yehuda Elkana)


"August was nearly over, the month of apples and falling stars, the last carefree month for the school children.  The days were not hot, but sunny and limpidly clear - the first sign of advancing autumn."

- Viktor Nekrasov (1911-1987), Russian writer, journalist and editor

"He who rejects change is the architect of decay.  The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery."

- Harold Wilson (1916-1995), British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice.
From Speech to the Consultive Assembly of the Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France, January 23, 1967


"Live in each season as it passes, breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.  Let them be your only diet drink and botanical medicines."

- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American naturalist, essayist, poet and philosopher
From Walden, first published in 1854

"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe."

- Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), American abolitionist, author, orator and reformer
From his Speech on the twenty-fourth anniversary of the Emancipation of the District of Columbia, April 1886


"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."

- Will Rogers (1879-1935), American actor, cowboy, humourist, entertainer and social commentator
Unsourced quotation widely attributed to Will Rogers

"I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June."

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


"'For all the sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: It might have been!'"

- John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), American Quaker poet
From the poem "Maud Muller" [1856]

"It was the month of May and there was warm sunshine dripping through the holes between the clouds, like the sky was a broken blue bowl and a child was trying to keep honey in it."

- Chris Cleave (1973- ), British writer and journalist
From The Other Hand [2008], released in 2009 as Little Bee in Canada and the U.S.


"During the rainstorms of April
the oyster rises from the sea
and opens its shell -
rain enters it -
when it sinks the raindrops
become the pearl."

- Anne Sexton (1928-1974), American poet
From the poem "The Sermon of the Twelve"

"Hope" is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me. 

- Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), American poet
"'Hope' is the Thing with Feathers" - (314) from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by Thomas H. Johnson


"It was March.  The days of March creeping gently on like something that man couldn't hinder and God wouldn't hurry."

- Edna Bagnold (1889-1981), British author and playwright
From National Velvet [1935]

"If you want to know the value of one year, just ask a student who failed a course.
If you want to know the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.
If you want to know the value of one hour, ask the lovers waiting to meet.
If you want to know the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed the bus.
If you want to know the value of one second, ask the person who just escaped death in a car accident.
If you want to know the value of one-hundredth of a second, ask the athlete who won a silver medal in the Olympics."

- Marc Levy (1961-), French novelist
From If Only It Were True (French: Et si c'etait vrai...)


"A rising tide lifts all boats."

- This proverb has been attributed to John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th president of the United States. Kennedy used it in a 1963 speech to defend himself against criticisms that a dam he was building was a pork  barrel project.  Although the phrase has been applied to free market policies, in recent years it has been used to highlight economic inequalities.

"February is the border between
winter and spring."

- Terri Guillemets (pen name), American writer and quotation anthologist
From Years [2002]


"In one sense choice is possible, but what is not possible is not to choose.  I can always choose, but I must know that if I do not choose, that is still a choice."

- Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980), French philosopher and writer
From Existentialism and Humanism, first published in 1946

"Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year.  Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols."

- Thomas Mann 1875-1955), German novelist and short story writer
From The Magic Mountain [1924] (English translation by H.T. Lowe-Porter)



"And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look
Behind, from where we came
And go round and round, in the circle game"

- Joni Mitchell (1943- ), Canadian singer-songwriter
Lyrics from the song "The Circle Game" [1967]

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.  Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show."

- Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009), American visual artist
Quoted in Wyeth's 2009 obituary in The Guardian


 In November, the earth is growing silent.  It is making its bed, a winter bed for flowers and small creatures.  The bed is white and silent, and much life can hide beneath its blankets."

- Cynthia Rylant (1954- ), American author and librarian
From In November [2000]

"History says, Don't hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave 
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme."

- Seamus Heaney (1939-2013), Irish poet and playwright
From The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles' Philoctetes [1991]


"October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon, more clearly seen.  It is the distant hills once more in sight and the enduring constellations above them once again."

- Hal Borland (1900-1978), American author, journalist and naturalist
From Sundial of the Seasons [1964]

"Courage doesn't always roar.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying. 'I will try again tomorrow.'"

- Mary Anne Radmacher (1957-), American writer and artist
From poem written in 1985


"September:  it was the most beautiful of words, he'd always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret."

- Alexander Theroux (1939 - ), American novelist and poet
From Darconville's Cat, a novel published in 1981

"No serious sociologist any longer believes that the voice of the people expresses any divine or specially wise and lofty ideas.  The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion.  It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and cliches and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders."

- Edward Bernays (1891-1995), Austrian-born American publicist
From Propaganda [1928]



"The trick is to enjoy life  Don't wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead." 

- Marjorie Pay Hinckley (1911-2004), American author, Mormon leader 


"Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth."

- Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd president of the United States
From a radio address (Oct 26, 1939), as reported in The Baltimore Sun (October 2, 1939)


HARLEM (A Dream Deferred)

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up 
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore -
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over -
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags 
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes (1901-1967), American
poet, social activist, novelist, playwright 
and columnist

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time."

- John Lubbock, 1st Baron Avebury (1834-1913), English banker, politician, philanthropist, scientist and polymath
From The Use of Life [1894]


"In early June the world of leaf and blade and flowers explodes, and every sunset is different."

- John Steinbeck (1902-1968), American author
From The Winter of Our Discontent, published in 1961


"At midnight, in the month of June, 
I stand beneath the mystic moon."

- Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1949), American writer, poet and editor 
From the poem "The Sleeper," originally published in 1831


Very Early Spring

The fields are snowbound no longer;
There are little blue lakes and flags of tenderest green.
The snow has been caught up in the sky --
So many white clouds -- and the blue of the sky is cold.
Now the sun walks in the forest,
He touches the bows and stems with his golden fingers;
They shiver and wake from slumber.
Over the barren branches, he shakes his yellow curls.
Yet is the forest full of the golden tears . . . .
A wind dances over the fields.
Shrill and clear the sound of her waking laughter,
Yet the little blue lakes tremble 
And the flags of tenderest green bend and quiver.

- Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923), 
New Zealand poet and short story writer

"Ah! my heart is weary waiting
Waiting for the May,
Waiting for the pleasant rambles
Where the fragrant hawthorn brambles,
With the woodbine alternating,
Scent the dewy way.
Ah! my heart is weary,
Waiting for the May."

- Denis Florence MacCarthy (1817-1882), Irish poet, translator and biographer
From the poem "Summer Longings"


"Spring is made of solid, fourteen-karat gratitude, the reward for the long wait.  Every religious tradition from the northern hemisphere honors some form of April hallelujah, for this is the season of exquisite redemption, a slam-bag return to joy after a season of second thoughts."

- Barbara Kingsolver (1955 - ), American, novelist, essayist and poet
From Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: A Year of Food Life [2007]

"the sweet small clumsy feet of April came into the ragged meadow of my soul."

- Edwin Estlin Cummings (e.e. cummings) (1894 - 1962), American poet, author, essayist, playwright painter 
From the poem If I have made, my lady, intricate


MARCH is the month of expectation,
The things we do not know,
The Persons of prognostication
Are coming now.
We try to sham becoming firmness,
But pompous joy
Betrays us, as his first betrothal
Betrays a boy.

- Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), American poet
From Complete Poems [1924], Part Five: The Single Hound, XLVIII (originally published 1914)

"Well done is better than well said."

- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), American writer, philosopher, politician and inventor
From Poor Richard's Almanack, 1737


On the wind in February
Snowflakes float still,
Half inclined to turn to rain,
Nipping, dripping, chill.
Then the thaws swell the streams
And swollen rivers swell the sea -
If the winter ever ends
How pleasant it will be!

- Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), English poet
From the poem A Year's Windfalls [1866]

"The believer humanly comprehends how heavy the suffering is, but in faith's wonder that it is beneficial to him, he devoutly says: It is light.  Humanly, he says: It is impossible, but he says it again in faith's wonder that what he humanly cannot understand is beneficial to him.  In other words, when sagacity is able to perceive the beneficialness, then faith cannot see God; but when in the dark night of suffering sagacity cannot see a hairbreadth ahead of it, then faith can see God, since faith sees best in the dark."

- Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Danish philosopher, theologian, social critic and author
From Uplifting Discourses in Various Spirits [1847]


"Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year.  Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols."

- Thomas Mann (1875-1955), German novelist, short story writer, essayist, Nobel Prize in Literature (1929)

From The Magic Mountain [1924]


The night is darkening round me,

The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

- Emily Brontë, (1818-1848), English novelist and poet


"Happiness in this world, when it comes, come incidentally.  Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us to a wild-goose chase, and is never attained.  Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness, without dreaming of it; but likely enough it is gone the moment we say to ourselves, 'Here it is!' like the chest of gold that treasure-seekers find."

- Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), American novelist and short story writer
From Passages from the American Note-books of Nathaniel Hawthorne [1868], Volume 2 of 2, (Excerpt occurred between passages dated November 21, 1851 and April 13, 1852), Published by Smith, Elder and Co., London

"It was snowing.  It was always snowing at Christmas.  December, in my memory, is white as Lapland, though there were no reindeers.  But there were cats."

- Dylan Thomas (1914-1953), Welsh poet and writer
From A Child's Christmas in Wales, first published in 1954


"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror.  I can take the next thing that comes along.' . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

- Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962), American First Lady, activist and diplomat
From This is My Story [1937]

"November is usually such a disagreeable month . . . as if the year had suddenly found out that she was growing old and could do nothing but weep and fret over it.  This year is growing old gracefully . . . just like a stately old lady who knows she can be charming even with gray hair and wrinkles.  We've had lovely days and delicious twilights."

- Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942), Canadian author, novelist, poet and diarist
From Anne of Avonlea [1909]


"October is a symphony of permanence and change."

- Bonaro W. Overstreet (1902-1985), American author, poet and psychologist
From Signature: New and Selected Poems [1978]

"When women are the advisers, the lords of creation don't take the advice until they have persuaded themselves that it is just what they intended to do.  Then, they act upon it, and, if it succeeds, they give the weaker vessel half the credit of it.  If it fails, they generously give her the whole."

- Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), American novelist, short story writer and poet
From Little Women [1868]


"He must be a poor creature that does not repeat himself.  Imagine the author of the excellent piece of advice, "Know thyself," never alluding to that sentiment again during the course of a protracted existence!  Why, the truths a man carries about with him are the tools, and do you think a carpenter is bound to use the same plane but once to smooth a lofty board with, or to hang up his hammer after it has driven its first nail?  I shall never repeat a conversation, but an idea often.  I shall use the same types when I like, but not commonly the same stereotypes.  A thought is often original, though you have uttered it a hundred times.  It has come to you over a new route, by a new and express train of association." 

- Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (1809-1894), American physician, writer and poet
From The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, originally published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1857 and 1858

"September is the month of maturity; the heaped basket and the garnered sheaf.  It is the month of climax and completion.  September!  I never tire of turning it over and over in my mind.  It has warmth, depth and colour.  It glows like old amber."

- Patience Strong (1907-1990), British poet
From The Glory of the Garden


"Nothing is original.  Steal from anywhere that resonates or fuels your imagination.  Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows.  Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul.  If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.  Authenticity is invaluable, originality is non-existent."

- Jim Jarmusch (1953 - ), American film director, screenwriter and producer
From MovieMaker Magazine #53, Winter, January 22, 2004

"August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born.  The odd uneven time."                                                                              

- Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), American poet and novelist
From journal entry, August 1952


"Do not consider yourself deprived because your dreams were not fulfilled; the truly deprived have never dreamed."

- Marie von Ebner- Eschenbach (1830-1916), Austrian writer, known for her psychological novels
From Aphorisms

"The Summer looks out from her brazen tower,
Through the flashing bars of July."

- Francis Thompson (1859-1907), English poet, writer and mystic
From the poem "A Corymbus For Autumn"


"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 sun 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, writer and poet
From The Professor at the Breakfast Table, first appeared serially in The Atlantic Monthly


"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 [1920]

"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

No comments:

Post a Comment