A play should give you something to think about. When I see a play and understand it the first time, then I know it can’t be much good.
A toothache, or a violent passion, is not necessarily diminished by our knowledge of its causes, its character, its importance or insignificance.
All significant truths are private truths. As they become public they cease to become truths; they become facts, or at best, part of the public character; or at worst, catchwords.
And they write innumerable books; being too vain and distracted for silence: seeking every one after his own elevation, and dodging his emptiness.
Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.
Any poet, if he is to survive beyond his 25th year, must alter; he must seek new literary influences; he will have different emotions to express.
April is the cruellest month.
Art never improves, but… the material of art is never quite the same.
As things are, and as fundamentally they must always be, poetry is not a career, but a mug’s game. No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written: He may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing.
Business today consists in persuading crowds.
Every experience is a paradox in that it means to be absolute, and yet is relative; in that it somehow always goes beyond itself and yet never escapes itself.
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.
Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm. But the harm does not interest them.
Home is where one starts from.
Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
I am an Anglo-Catholic in religion, a classicist in literature and a royalist in politics.
I don’t believe one grows older. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates.
I had seen birth and death but had thought they were different.
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope, For hope would be hope for the wrong thing.
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?
If you desire to drain to the dregs the fullest cup of scorn and hatred that a fellow human being can pour out for you, let a young mother hear you call dear baby “it.”
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.
In my beginning is my end.
It is obvious that we can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.
It is only in the world of objects that we have time and space and selves.
It’s not wise to violate rules until you know how to observe them.
It’s strange that words are so inadequate. Yet, like the asthmatic struggling for breath, so the lover must struggle for words.
Knowledge is invariably a matter of degree: you cannot put your finger upon even the simplest datum and say this we know.
Let’s not be narrow, nasty, and negative.
Moving between the legs of tables and of chairs, rising or falling, grasping at kisses and toys, advancing boldly, sudden to take alarm, retreating to the corner of arm and knee, eager to be reassured, taking pleasure in the fragrant brilliance of the Christmas tree.
My greatest trouble is getting the curtain up and down.
O Lord, deliver me from the man of excellent intention and impure heart: for the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.
Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
Our difficulties of the moment must always be dealt with somehow, but our permanent difficulties are difficulties of every moment.
Our high respect for a well read person is praise enough for literature.
People to whom nothing has ever happened cannot understand the unimportance of events.
Playwriting gets into your blood and you can’t stop it. At least not until the producers or the public tell you to.
Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.
Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.
Poetry should help, not only to refine the language of the time, but to prevent it from changing too rapidly.
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
So the lover must struggle for words.
Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.
Television is a medium of entertainment which permits millions of people to listen to the same joke at the same time, and yet remain lonesome.
The bad poet is usually unconscious where he ought to be conscious, and conscious where he ought to be unconscious.
The business of the poet is not to find new emotions, but to use the ordinary ones and, in working them up into poetry, to express feelings which are not in actual emotions at all.
The communication of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
The last temptation is the greatest treason: to do the right deed for the wrong reason.
The last thing one discovers in composing a work is what to put first.
The most important thing for poets to do is to write as little as possible.
The Nobel is a ticket to one’s own funeral. No one has ever done anything after he got it.
The progress of an artist is a continual self-sacrifice, a continual extinction of personality.
The soul is so far from being a monad that we have not only to interpret other souls to ourself but to interpret ourself to ourself.
The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours.
There is no absolute point of view from which real and ideal can be finally separated and labelled.
There is no method but to be very intelligent.
There is not a more repulsive spectacle than on old man who will not forsake the world, which has already forsaken him.
This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but a whimper.
This love is silent.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought.
We know too much, and are convinced of too little. Our literature is a substitute for religion, and so is our religion.
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.
What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.
Where is all the knowledge we lost with information?
Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
Where there is no temple there shall be no homes.
You are the music while the music lasts.