Tyrants Like Gun Control: “You register and ban the firearms before the slaughter”

Sweet Home Chicago

Don’t walk here, and don not wear red or blue

Dodge the gangsters, muggers, pimps, and whores

Sweet Home Chicago, I go back to you

Quotations on Poetry #2

The poet speaks to all men of that other life of theirs that they have smothered and forgotten. ~Edith Sitwell

I had rather be a Kitten, and cry mew,
Than one of these same Meeter Ballad-mongers:
I had rather heare a Brazen Candlestick turn’d,
Or a dry Wheele grate on the Axle-tree,
And that would set my teeth nothing an edge,
Nothing so much, as mincing Poetrie…
~William Shakespeare, Henry the Fourth (Hot-spurre)

Poetry is prose, bent out of shape. ~J. Patrick Lewis, www.jpatricklewis.com

The gaze of nature thus awakened dreams and pulls the poet after it. ~Walter Benjamin

Poetry is the key to the hieroglyphics of Nature. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

I am no dealer in metaphysics, and will not attempt to define poetry by its rules. Poetry lies hid within the inner core of man’s thoughts and feelings and affections. It pervades the glorious universe in which the Almighty has placed him. It shines forth from the starry heavens, and from the deep blue vault of the summer sky. It lurks amid the green leaves of the groves, and gushes forth in the “wood notes wild” of their sweet songsters. It sparkles and plays in the flickering eddies of the stream… ~J. M’Dermaid, “Burns as a Poet,” 1859

Poets smoke nature and beauty and angst and exhale swirling plumes of poetry. ~Terri Guillemets

[N]ature-loving poets…. the children of the sunlight, the minstrels of the groves and the companions of the moors. ~W.H. Gresswell, “A Poet’s Corner,” 1889

The secrets of Nature’s beauty, as well as of her philosophy, must be interpreted, and poets are God’s interpreters to make these secrets plain. ~J. M’Dermaid, “Burns as a Poet,” 1859

Poetry is everywhere; it just needs editing. ~James Tate

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. ~Dead Poet’s Society

The poet who knows one human can portray a hundred. ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

Soldiers in the war of poetry
Bleed silky rose petals and glittering thorns
And leave behind beautiful inked destruction—
Embattled souls wounded, and healed.
~Terri Guillemets

Beauty is the true meaning of poetry. But after all nothing is said; and a thinker, a sensitive mind, will extract more from the simple word itself than can be embodied in a hundred varnished phrases. ~T.C. Henley, “Beauty,” 1851

[I]t is not health, it is convalescence that is poetical. Just as certain plants only yield all their fragrance to the fingers that crush them, so it is only in a state of suffering that certain affections utter all their poetry. ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)

Poets’ Pens, pluckt from Archangels’ wings. ~John Davies of Hereford (c.1565–1618)

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. ~T.S. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent, 1919

[Poetry] feeds on the purest substance of the sentiments of the soul. It quenches its thirst with a nectar that has no dregs. ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)

[T]rue poets… can pierce through the clouds to the light, and save the purity of their inspiration from the general disorder. It is refreshing to read them, delightful to steep ourselves in their truthful poetry. ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)

I don’t create poetry, I create myself, for me my poems are a way to me. ~Edith Södergran

Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. ~G.K. Chesterton  [Not true! To read the poetry of cheese, click here. —te??¡·g]

Any healthy man can go without food for two days — but not without poetry. ~Charles Baudelaire

I have supped on poetry. ~Octave Mirbeau, A Chambermaid’s Diary / Le Journal d’une Femme de Chambre, 1900, translated from the French by Benjamin R. Tucker

Ink runs from the corners of my mouth
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
~Mark Strand, “Eating Poetry,” Reasons for Moving, 1968

Oh, of course I know that ‘ate’ ain’t good etiquette in that place… It should be ‘eat.’ But ‘eat’ don’t rhyme, an’ ‘ate’ does. So I’m goin’ to use it. An’ I can, anyhow. It’s poem license; an’ that ‘ll let you do anything. ~Eleanor H. Porter, “Dad,” Dawn, 1918  [Okay, if you insist on knowing the poem, it is thus: “Supper’s ready, supper’s ready, / Hurry up, or you’ll be late, / Then you’ll sure be cross and heady / If there’s nothin’ left to ate.” —te??¡·g]

I lied about my weight on my poetic license. ~Terri Guillemets

“That’s a very nice War Song—it’s so peaceful and soothing,” spake the Queen. “And now call the Poets from Freeland. This is the time for them to renew their licences, though I greatly fear that they have been taking so many liberties of late that any licence I can give them will prove superfluous.”
“Superfluous! Superfluous! That is a good word,” muttered the Zankiwank. “I wonder what it means?” Whereupon he went and asked Robin Goodfellow and all the other Fairies, but as nobody knew, it did not matter, and the Poets arriving at that moment he thought of a number and sat on a toadstool.
Maude recognised several of the Poets who came to have their licences renewed—she had heard of “poetic licence” before, but never dreamed that one had to get the unwritten freedom from Fairyland. But so it was. Several of the Poets seemed to be exorbitant in their demands, and wanted to make their poems all licence, but this Titania would not consent to, so they went away singing, all in tune…
~S.J. Adair Fitz-Gerald (1859–1925), The Zankiwank & The Bletherwitch, 1896

A good poem, like a bouquet of choice flowers, is the blending of exquisite coloring and sweet perfume, to the delight of both head and heart. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), “Pulpit, Pen, and Platform,” Sparks from the Philosopher’s Stone, 1882

There is as much difference between good poetry and fine verses, as between the smell of a flower-garden and of a perfumer’s shop. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

Rhyme.— Often a substitute for poetry… ~”Specimens of a Patent Pocket Dictionary, For the use of those who wish to understand the meaning of things as well as words,” The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, 1824-5

Mr Witwould: “Pray, madam, do you pin up your hair with all your letters? I find I must keep copies.”
Mrs Millamant: “Only with those in verse…. I never pin up my hair with prose.”
~William Congreve, The Way of the World

A poet is a man who puts up a ladder to a star and climbs it while playing a violin. ~Edmond de Goncourt

Poetry is not a civilizer, rather the reverse, for great poetry appeals to the most primitive instincts. ~Robinson Jeffers

The history of poetry is not exclusively and identically the history of works written in verse. Poetry dwells in prose writings as well; nay, is necessarily met with there, for poetry is less a class of writings than a breath unequally but generally diffused throughout literature: it is whatever raises us from the real to the ideal; whatever brings the prosaic in contact with our imaginations; whatever in any intellectual work echoes within the soul; it is the beauty of all beautiful things; it penetrates into spheres apparently most foreign to it; and what Voltaire has said of happiness may be equally said of poetry,—“She resembles fire, whose gentle heat secretly insinuates itself into all other elements, descends into rocks, rises in the cloud, reddens the coral in the sand of the seas, and lives in icicles that winters have hardened.” ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)

He who writes prose builds his temple to Fame in rubble; he who writes verses builds it in granite. ~Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The word “Verse” is used here as the term most convenient for expressing, and without pedantry, all that is involved in the consideration of rhythm, rhyme, meter, and versification… the subject is exceedingly simple; one tenth of it, possibly may be called ethical; nine tenths, however, appertains to the mathematics. ~Edgar Allan Poe

Poetry is creative; to be a poet is to remake the universe. ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)

We ask the poet: ‘What subject have you chosen’ instead of: ‘What subject has chosen you?’ ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

We should manage our Thoughts in composing a Poem, as Shepherds do their Flowers in making a Garland; first select the choicest, and then dispose them in the most proper Places, where they give a Lustre to each other… ~Alexander Pope, “Thoughts on Various Subjects,” 1727

Poetic writing can be understood and misunderstood in many ways. In most cases the author is not the right authority to decide on where the reader ceases to understand and the misunderstanding begins. Many an author has found readers to whom his work seemed more lucid than it was to himself. Moreover, misunderstandings may be fruitful under certain circumstances. ~Hermann Hesse, “Author’s Note,” 1961, to Steppenwolf, 1927, translated by Joseph Mileck and Horst Frenz, 1963

A poet is a man who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times. ~Randall Jarrell

[I]f I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature. ~Charles Darwin

…to create a perpetual feeling of enchantment by the constant but unobtrusive employment of the most beautiful and melodious words… a painter and musician in speech… ~Richard Garnett, April 1897, Introduction to The Poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Poetry is emotion put into measure. ~Thomas Hardy

In many cases these verses will seem to the reader like poetry torn up by the roots, with rain and dew and earth still clinging to them, giving a freshness and a fragrance not otherwise to be conveyed. ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Preface to Poems by Emily Dickinson Edited by Two of Her Friends, Mabel Loomis Todd and T.W. Higginson, ©1890

I hate French poetry. What measured glitter! ~Israel Zangwill, Dreamers of the Ghetto, “From a Mattress Grave,” 1897, spoken by the character Heinrich Heine

To form the complete poet, neither heart only, nor head only, is sufficient; the complete poet must have a heart in his brain, or a brain in his heart. ~George Darley

The pleasure that poetry gives is that of imagining more than is written; the task is divided between the poet and his reader. ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. His auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician, who feel that they are moved and softened, yet know not whence or why. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Poetry is a patchwork of beauty, light, yearning, ether, soul, and ink, with fringes of real life. ~Terri Guillemets, “Inky threads,” 2001

Here he had read to me his tear-stained page
Of sorrow… here would try
To lay his burden in the hands of Song,
And make the Poet bear the Lover’s wrong,
But still his heart impatiently would cry:
“In vain, in vain! You cannot teach to flow
In measured lines so measureless a woe.
First learn to slay this wild beast of despair,
Then from his harmless jaws your honey tear!”
~Bayard Taylor, “First Evening”

It seems as though poetry and philosophy were twin stars of different but harmonious colours, each shining in the other’s light, and shedding a twofold radiance upon their attendant planets. ~Henry James Slack (1818–1896), The Ministry of the Beautiful, 1850

What is poetry but impassioned truth—philosophy in its essence—the spirit of that bright consummate flower, whose root is in our bosoms? ~Ebenezer Elliott (1781–1849), Preface to Corn Law Rhymes, 1831

No man was ever yet a great poet, without being at the same time a profound philosopher. For poetry is the blossom and the fragrancy of all human knowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, language. ~S.T. Coleridge (1772–1834), Biographia Literaria, 1817

POETRY.—The language in which the Book of Nature is written—they who can translate it are called poets. ~”A Chapter of Definitions,” Daily Crescent, 1848 June 23rd

For not only is the poet is a translator of the inner life of man, with its wonder world of thoughts and feelings—its unspeakable love and sorrow, its hopes and aspirations, temptations and lonely wrestlings, darings and doubts, grim passions and gentle affections, its smiles and tears—which, in their changeful lights or gloomy grandeur, play out the great drama of the human heart, but he also translates into his poetry and reflects for us the very spirit of his time. ~Gerald Massey, “Poetry—The Spasmodists,” The North British Review, 1858

Poetry is what gets lost in translation. ~Robert Frost

A poem sings with a bad accent in any language not its own. ~Austin O’Malley (1858–1932), Thoughts of a Recluse, 1898

A translation of a poem is like a plastercast of a statue or a photograph of a painting; and the better the translation the poorer the original poem. ~Austin O’Malley (1858–1932), Thoughts of a Recluse, 1898

Poetry is perfect verbs hunting for elusive nouns. ~J. Patrick Lewis, www.jpatricklewis.com

Truth shines the brighter, clad in verse. ~Alexander Pope

And take back ill-polished stanzas to the anvil. ~Horace, quoted in James Wood, Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern, English and Foreign Sources, 1893

I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
~Wislawa Szymborska (1923–2012), “Possibilities,” 1997, translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak

The poem… is a little myth of man’s capacity of making life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see — it is, rather, a light by which we may see — and what we see is life. ~Robert Penn Warren, Saturday Review, 22 March 1958

A poet acquires a kind of spiritual jurisdiction over the places he has sojourned in and the hills he has haunted. ~W.H. Gresswell, “A Poet’s Corner,” 1889

I yearn to
fall asleep to
the rose-scented
burning-pink smoke
and dreamy aromas
of soul-poetry,
so that I wake to
a poem-tinted dawn
and morning’s sweet fragrance
lays out my new day’s path
in flowers of purpose and joy.
~Terri Guillemets

Mirrors seemed to have taken up a hell of a lot of time in his life. He thought of one now—the mirror in the bathroom, years ago, back home. When he was a kid—fourteen, fifteen—writing a poem every night before he went to sleep, starting and finishing it at one sitting even though it might be two or three o’clock, that bathroom mirror had come to mean more to him than his own bed. Nights when he had finished a poem, what could have been more natural, more necessary and urgent, than to go and look at himself to see if he had changed? Here at this desk, this night, one of life’s important moments had occurred. Humbly, almost unaware, certainly innocent, he had sat there and been the instrument by which a poem was transmitted to paper. ~Charles R. Jackson, The Lost Weekend, 1944

The poet is a sensitive snail
wandering along the path of life
leaving a glittering trail of words.
~Terri Guillemets, “Inching along, leaving behind,” 2003

Compression of poetry is so great I often explode. Out of the house to walk off a poem. ~William Corbett, “On Reading: Notes & a Poem,” The Agni Review, No. 22 (1985)

Poems: words with smooth edges. ~Author Unknown

Poetry is a perfectly reasonable means of overcoming chaos. ~I.A. Richards (1893–1979)

Prose is just poetry that can’t stop talking. ~Terri Guillemets, “Valerian song,” 1996

‘There is correct English: that is not slang.’
‘I beg your pardon: correct English is the slang of prigs who write history and essays. And the strongest slang of all is the slang of poets.’
…’Aha, Miss Rosy, you don’t know Homer from slang. I shall invent a new game; I shall write bits of slang and poetry on slips, and give them to you to separate.’
‘Dear me, how amusing it is to hear young people talk!’ said Mrs Vincy, with cheerful admiration.
~George Eliot, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, Volume I, Book I—Miss Brooke, 1871

My poetry, I think, has become the way of my giving out what music is within me. ~Countee Cullen (1903–1946)

A poet is an insomniac
and always writes best
by the light of a midnight candle.
~Terri Guillemets, “Flickering,” 2009

[T]he office of poetry is not to make us think accurately, but feel truly. ~Frederick W. Robertson, lecture delivered before the Members of the Mechanics’ Institution, February 1852

All genuine poets are fervid politicians…. Are there no politics in Hamlet? Is not Macbeth, is not the drama of Wallenstein, a sublime political treatise? Napoleon was a great poet, when, pointing to the pyramids, he said to his army, ‘Forty centuries look down upon us!’… All true and lasting poetry is rooted in the business of life. ~Ebenezer Elliott (1781–1849), Preface to Corn Law Rhymes, 1831

The eye is the only note-book of the true poet. ~James Russell Lowell

Poetry has eternally inked itself on my mind,
the pen of the universe writes in my heart,
the harp of emotion plays chords in my soul.
~Terri Guillemets, “Sunday breakfast & morning view,” 2015

[I]n every part of this eastern world, from Pekin to Damascus, the popular teachers of moral wisdom have immemorially been poets… ~Sir William Jones, “On the Philosophy of the Asiaticks” (eleventh anniversary discourse, delivered 1794 February 20th)

Without philosophy there can be no true poetry: without it pretty verses may, indeed, be made; but in order to be really a poet it is essential to be also, up to a certain point, a philosopher. ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)

Who can sleep when all the words of the poem aren’t just exactly right? ~Terri Guillemets, “Poeta insomnis,” 2014

His rhymes the poet flings at all men’s feet,
And whoso will may trample on his rhymes.
Should Time let die a song that’s true and sweet
The singer’s loss were more than match’d by Time’s.
~William Watson, “’Subjectivity’ in Art,” Epigrams of Art, Life, and Nature, 1884

Rhyme is the music of the poetic dance. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher’s Stone, 1882

Reading poetry is letting your mind dance in the rain — no galoshes, no umbrella, just naked words and a rhythmic soul. ~Terri Guillemets


A poem should not mean
But be.
~Archibald MacLeish, Ars Poetica, 1926

Your prayer can be poetry, and poetry can be your prayer. ~Terri Guillemets, “A lonely pen at night,” 1992

Of pleasant images in pleasant words,
Melting like melody into the ear,
And stealing on in one continual flow,
Unruffled and unbroken. It is joy
Ineffable to dwell upon the lines
That register our feelings, and portray,
In colours always fresh and ever new,
Emotions that were sanctified, and loved,
As something far too tender, and too pure,
For forms so frail and fading…
~James G. Percival, “Love of Study,” c.1822

So we dreamt a dream. And there seemed to arise the Poet. And he seemed to say, There is a man who sits and thinks,—thinks deeply. And his fancy draws up forms and facts from The Beautiful. And a pen writes them down; and it is Poetry, and he is a Poet. ~”Architecture,” The Fine Arts’ Journal, 1846 November 7th

Her poetry cries crimson roses
and laughs in spritely daisies.
~Terri Guillemets

Theodore—“I was at first afraid that he was one of those numerous poets who have driven poetry from the earth, one of those stringers of sham pearls who can see nothing in the world but the last syllables of words, and who when they have rhymed glade with shade, flame with name, and God with trod, conscientiously cross their legs and arms and suffer the spheres to complete their revolution.”

Rosette—“He is not one of those. His verses are inferior to him and do not contain him. What he has written would give you a very false idea of his own person; his true poem is himself, and I do not know whether he will ever compose another. In the recesses of his soul he has a seraglio of beautiful ideas which he surrounds with a triple wall, and of which he is more jealous than was ever sultan of his odalisques. He only puts those into his verses which he does not care about or which have repulsed him; it is the door through which he drives them away, and the world has only those which he will keep no longer.”

~Théophile Gautier, Mademoiselle de Maupin, 1835

The true poem is the poet’s mind. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Poetry nests in our souls
until it flies away on
the feather of a quill.
~Terri Guillemets, “Nesting,” 2009

[P]oetry… the spontaneous fusion of hitherto unrelated words. Such things must take place in your own head, by your own chemistry. ~Marie Emilie Gilchrist (1893–1989), Writing Poetry: Suggestions for Young Writers, 1932

Spirit of Verse! in deepest reverence
I bow before thine ever-glorious shrine;
Thee I have loved with passion most intense;
And though I feel thy meeds can ne’er be mine,
Yet may I pour one low and gentle line…
~Charles Swain, “Poesy,” in The Literary Magnet, June 1826

Pressure cranks and presses Life, squeezing out essence of self, aromatic with bittersweet memories, pungent adversities, and the honey-musk of desire — the vapors hover over our inkpots, and if we pick up the feather it becomes our poetry. ~Terri Guillemets

Then a health to the poets I’ll toss,
To Byron and Shelley and Keats,
To Dobson the blithe and Swinburne the lithe,
And the Irish phenomenon Yeats.
~Your Health!, compiled by Idelle Phelps, 1906

Poetry tosses my pen across
the vast tumbling seas of self,
intermittent sunshine glistening
off the spilt ink,—
storms breaking ideas & words
that sink then emerge
and sink again.
~Terri Guillemets, “Overboard poet,” 1992

A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language. ~W.H. Auden

A poet is a flaming phoenix — burnt up with each and every poem. ~Terri Guillemets

The Phœnix is also very much like an intelligent eagle, with gold and crimson plumage and an exceptionally waggish tail. It has the advantage of fifty orifices in his bill, through which he occasionally sings melodious songs to oblige the company. As he never appears to anyone more than once in five hundred years, sometimes, when he has the toothache for instance, only once in a thousand years—which is why he is called a rara avis—if you ever meet him at any time take particular notice of him. And if you can draw, if it is only the long bow, make a sketch of him. He lives chiefly on poets—which is why so many refer to him. He has been a good friend to the poets of all ages, as your cousin William will explain. If you have not got a cousin William, ask some one who has. ~S.J. Adair Fitz-Gerald (1859–1925), The Zankiwank & The Bletherwitch, 1896

A rose in sunlight is nature.
A rose in the dark is poetry.
~Terri Guillemets

Prose walks, poetry dances. ~Paul Valéry, paraphrased

Audit the Fed