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Favorite passages, quotes, poems


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Do you have book passages, quotes, poems that left their mark on you, speak to you, do you perhaps even use them as a mantra or orientation in life?

Perhaps you just..like them?

Well, I have tons and tons and I never seem to get enough and have the same curiosity drive me in the inquiry about yours as some women have for "what's in your handbag" pins. It's an obsession of mine almost.

If you have bits of literature you'd like to share I bet some of us bookworms would love to read them.

If possible, try to add the authors name or a book title for those who might be interested in reading more.

Happy posting- and reading

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Here's one of mine. I love Teasdale.


The Crystal Gazer


I shall gather myself into my self again,

I shall take my scattered selves and make them one.

I shall fuse them into a polished crystal ball

Where I can see the moon and the flashing sun.

I shall sit like a sibyl, hour after hour intent.

Watching the future come and the present go -

And the little shifting pictures of people rushing

In tiny self-importance to and fro.


-Sara Teasdale

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“And this tenderness was not like

That which a certain poet

At the beginning of the century called true

And, for some reason, quiet. No, not at all?

It rang out, like the first waterfall,

It crunched like the crust of bluish ice

And it prayed with a swanlike voice,

And it broke down right before our eyes.”

- Anna Akhmatova, The Complete Poems


The Name Drawn from the Names

By Juan Ramón Jiménez


Translated By Robert Bly

If I have created a world for you, in your place,

god, you had to come to it confident,

and you have come to it, to my refuge,

because my whole world was nothing but my hope.


I have been saving up my hope

in language, in a spoken name, a written name;

I had given a name to everything,

and you have taken the place

of all these names.


Now I can hold back my movement

inside the coal of my continual living and being,

as the flame reins itself back inside the red coal,

surrounded by air that is all blue fire;

now I am my own sea that has been suddenly stopped somewhere,

the sea I used to speak of, but not heavy,

stiffened into waves of an awareness filled with light,

and all of them moving upward, upward.


All the names that I gave

to the universe that I created again for you

are now all turning into one name, into one



The god who, in the end, is always

the god created and recreated and recreated

through grace and never through force.

The God. The name drawn from the names.



Rumored to be Living…


An Urban Legend


I have been holding my breath

Since boyhood,

Seated in the back row of every class.


Pouting and turning blue,

I waited, obstinately,

Grade after grade,


For the teacher or Hypoxia to reach me.


Now, a lifetime later, and

Left back all of those years,

I still tip-toe around crowds,


Skirt the outer umbra of hot spots,

And live in an attic, like an urban legend,

Always on the fringe, just within rumor.


For, it is only in the negative spaces of photographs,

Or an empty chair at gatherings, that I am even sensed, at all.



12.28.07 John Tansey



Copyright ©2008 John Thomas Tansey

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Dream Within a Dream has long been on of my favorites by Edgar Allen Poe.


Take this kiss upon the brow!

And, in parting from you now,

Thus much let me avow --

You are not wrong, who deem

That my days have been a dream;

Yet if hope has flown away

In a night, or in a day,

In a vision, or in none,

Is it therefore the less gone?

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.


I stand amid the roar

Of a surf-tormented shore,

And I hold within my hand

Grains of the golden sand --

How few! yet how they creep

Through my fingers to the deep,

While I weep -- while I weep!

O God! can I not grasp

Them with a tighter clasp?

O God! can I not save

One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?

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"How can I be lost

If I've got nowhere to go?

Searched the seas of gold

How come it's got so cold?

How can I be lost

In remembrance I relive

How can I blame you

When it's me I can't forgive?


These days drift on inside a fog

It's thick and suffocating

This seeking life outside its hell

Inside intoxicating

He's run aground

Like his life

Water's much too shallow

Slipping fast

Down with the ship

Fading in the shadows now

A castaway



All gone



- 2 parts from Metallica's The Unforgiven III

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I write often about each person speaking his or her own voice, doing what is authentic to each of us. I see that heralded in this poem (1st stanza) and have loved it for several decades.



As Kingfishers Catch Fire



As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;

As tumbled over rim in roundy wells

Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's

Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;

Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:

Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;

Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,

Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

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This oen is from "The Secret of Everything" by Barbara O'Neal, and it also very much sums up my feelings on dogs:

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And then yet again, dogs (surprised?) (Also from "Saving Sailor")

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I just randomly will find passages I like that stick out to me and will take pictures of them. It started with the Circle of Friends exchange about always wanting cakes.


Not profound, I suppose, but they are pretty on par with me.

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my bf still has to stifle a smirk when i put the unforgiven on, i do love it


IThinkIcan this poem is new to me, thank you! I heard once Hopkins was also into visual arts.


hers I love the idea of snapping pics of passages, something I'll wanna try too!


“Perhaps your hunger to belong is always active and intense because you belonged so totally before you came here. This hunger to belong is the echo and reverberation of your invisible heritage. You are from somewhere else, where you were known, embraced and sheltered. This is also the secret root from which all longing grows. Something in you knows, perhaps remembers, that eternal belonging liberates longing into its surest and most potent creativity. This is why your longing is often wiser than your conventional sense of appropriateness, safety and truth... Your longing desires to take you towards the absolute realization of all the possibilities that sleep in the clay of your heart; it knows your eternal potential, and it will not rest until it is awakened.”

- John O'Donohue, Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong

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oh hers i echo the doggy sentiments. my lab is a rescue, our pit was a rescue and every frigging cat i ever owned.

I love to nap on my dog!!! BEST.NAPS.EVER.

I will always love cake got me. i'm like that for gingerbreads. i'll skip the sauce, the white flour,the sugar,the transfats and all gladly but i don't care how badly in need of a diet i may one day i get i will




*sigh* "always my tan darlings"

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IThinkICan I love the username and the little engine that could, it's very encouraging


find this one cute:


Peter leaves wide

the doors to his shop

& all day

little is done

as people stop to

talk winter out

of their systems

in a cradle

of sun


two open doors.


by Greg Joly

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“There is nothing so difficult to arrive at as the nature and personality of one's parents. Death, about which so much mystery is made, is perhaps no mystery at all. But the history of one's parents has to be pieced together from fragments, their motives and characters guessed at, and the truth about them remains deeply buried, like a boulder that projects one small surface above the level of smooth lawn, and when you come to dig around it, it proves to be too large ever to move, though each year's frost forces it up a little higher.”

from "Time Will Darken It" by William Maxwell


'Ah earth you old extinguisher.''

Samuel Beckett




''With what words shall I name my unnamable words?''

Samuel Beckett




I am a Spirit, now...


Fallen Angel


I am most at bliss,

when exhausted,

so completely depleted

I am too tired to care.


It is as a sleep walk;


And I am adrift, aimlessly,

sauntering through the crowds.


Gliding, gracefully,

around such emanating loneliness,

of people, dying, but for the touch of another;


Yet, hardened by the lack of it…


So as, not to let the heart reveal

what propriety would hold back.


I have become a spirit;



You must be clairvoyant to speak with me, now!


I hope this is what death is like!


Slipping, unseen,

between the locked lips of lovers;

And, in such intimate, conversations of others,

I do, pleasurably, eavesdrop…

Straining for their tenderness


Else, either, side-stepping, deferring

or with a timely, toe-step,

I employ geometry to my deft dance.

of avoiding others


No longer, strutting, pride fully,

with a walk;

But, rather, a contiguous, succession of moments,

I continue falling…

falling forward.


Stumbling, feeling faint,

and mistaken for a drunkard;

It is my soul, yearning,

struggling to be free of this body.


Even, the spirit has mass,

and I attend to it, regularly!


I am now a ghost,

you do not see me,

wafting, in and out,

of the long, dead years,

buried in memory.


Though, of all, it is only you, I still see

when we both wore younger faces,


A vision that haunts, still, even, the ghost of me!

-John Thomas Tansey

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In the song of my anger there is an egg,

And in this egg there is my mother, my father and my children,

And in all this there is mixed joy and sadness, and life.

Great storms that saved me,

Beautiful sun that betrayed me,

There is hatred in me, strong and of an ancient date,

And as for beauty one will see later.

I have not, in fact, become hard but striped;

If one knew how soft I have remained deep inside.

I am gong and cotton and snow-like song,

I say it and I am sure of it.

henri michaux

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“When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with your self. When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning.”

-John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

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I don't believe in omens or fear

Forebodings. I flee from neither slander

Nor from poison. Death does not exist.

Everyone's immortal. Everything is too.

No point in fearing death at seventeen,

Or seventy. There's only here and now, and light;

Neither death, nor darkness, exists.

We're all already on the seashore;

I'm one of those who'll be hauling in the nets

When a shoal of immortality swims by.


I'm satisfied with deathlessness,

For my blood to flow from age to age.

Yet for a corner whose warmth I could rely on

I'd willingly have given all my life,

Whenever her flying needle

Tugged me, like a thread, around the globe.

-arsenij tarkovsky

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  • 7 months later...

From the book The Lovely Bones:


“Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had.”

― Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones


“These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections-sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent-that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life.”

― Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones


“Almost everyone in heaven has someone on Earth they watch, a loved one, a friend or even a stranger who was once kind, who offered warm food or a bright smile when one of us had needed it. And when I wasn’t watching I could hear the others talking to those they loved on Earth: just as fruitlessly as me, I’m afraid. A one-sided card cajoling and coaching of the young, a one way loving and desiring of their mates, a single-sided card that could never get signed.”

― Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

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  • 4 months later...

“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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  • 4 months later...

There Are Birds Here


For Detroit



There are birds here,

so many birds here

is what I was trying to say

when they said those birds were metaphors

for what is trapped

between buildings

and buildings. No.

The birds are here

to root around for bread

the girl’s hands tear

and toss like confetti. No,

I don’t mean the bread is torn like cotton,

I said confetti, and no

not the confetti

a tank can make of a building.

I mean the confetti

a boy can’t stop smiling about

and no his smile isn’t much

like a skeleton at all. And no

his neighborhood is not like a war zone.

I am trying to say

his neighborhood

is as tattered and feathered

as anything else,

as shadow pierced by sun

and light parted

by shadow-dance as anything else,

but they won’t stop saying

how lovely the ruins,

how ruined the lovely

children must be in that birdless city.

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Rorschach Test




To tell you the truth I’d have thought it had gone out of use long ago;

there is something so 19th-century about it,


with its absurd reverse Puritanism.


Can withdrawal from reality or interpersonal commitment be gauged

by uneasiness at being summoned to a small closed room to discuss

ambiguously sexual material with a total stranger?


Alone in the presence of the grave examiner, it soon becomes clear

that, short of strangling yourself, you are going to have to find a way

of suppressing the snickers of an eight-year-old sex fiend, and feign cu-

riosity about the process to mask your indignation at being placed in

this situation.


Sure, you see lots of pretty butterflies with the faces of ancient Egypt-

ian queens, and so forth—you see other things, too.


Flying stingray vaginas all over the place, along with a few of their

male counterparts transparently camouflaged as who knows what pil-

lars and swords out of the old brain’s unconscious.


You keep finding yourself thinking, “God damn it, don’t tell me that

isn’t a !”


But after long silence come out with, “Oh, this must be Christ trying

to prevent a large crowd from stoning a woman to death.”


The thing to do is keep a straight face, which is hard. After all, you’re

supposed to be crazy


(and are probably proving it).


Maybe a nudge and a chuckle or two wouldn’t hurt your case. Yes,


it’s some little card game you’ve gotten yourself into this time, when

your only chance is to lose. Fold,


and they have got you by the balls—


just like the ones you neglected to identify.

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To Myself



You are riding the bus again

burrowing into the blackness of Interstate 80,

the sole passenger


with an overhead light on.

And I am with you.

I’m the interminable fields you can’t see,


the little lights off in the distance

(in one of those rooms we are

living) and I am the rain


and the others all

around you, and the loneliness you love,

and the universe that loves you specifically, maybe,


and the catastrophic dawn,

the nicotine crawling on your skin—

and when you begin


to cough I won’t cover my face,

and if you vomit this time I will hold you:

everything’s going to be fine


I will whisper.

It won’t always be like this.

I am going to buy you a sandwich.

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I walked out to the hill behind our house

which looks positively Alaskan today

and it would be easier to explain this

if I had a picture to show you

but I was with our young dog

and he was running through the tall grass

like running through the tall grass

is all of life together

until a bird calls or he finds a beer can

and that thing fills all the space in his head.


You see,

his mind can only hold one thought at a time

and when he finally hears me call his name

he looks up and his head

and for a single moment

my voice is everything.


from Self-portrait at 28 by David Berman

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