quotes

from “Sand and Foam” 1926


I am forever walking upon these shores,
Betwixt the sand and the foam,
The high tide will erase my foot-prints,
And the wind will blow away the foam.
But the sea and the shore will remain forever.


The bitterest thing in our today’s sorrow
is the memory of our yesterday’s joy.


Remembrance is a form of meeting.
Forgetfulness is a form of freedom.


How shall my heart be unsealed
unless it be broken?


Lovers embrace that
which is between them
rather than each other.


Friendship is always
a sweet responsibility,
never an opportunity.


Only great sorrow or great joy
can reveal your truth.
If you would be revealed
you must either dance naked in the sun,
or carry your cross.


Humanity is a river of light running
from the ex-eternity to eternity.


One may not reach the dawn
save by the path of the night.


Strange,
the desire for certain pleasures
is a part of my pain.


There is a space between
man’s imagination
and man’s attainment
that may only be traversed
by his longing.


Paradise is there,
behind that door,
in the next room;
but I have lost the key.
Perhaps I have only mislaid it.


How can I lose faith
in the justice of life,
when the dreams of those
who sleep upon feathers
are not more beautiful than
the dreams of those
who sleep upon the earth?


Give me an ear and
I will give you a voice.


The reality of the other person
is not in what he reveals to you,
but in what he cannot reveal to you.
Therefore, if you would understand him,
listen not to what he says
but rather to what he does not say.


Half of what I say is meaningless;
but I say it so that
the other half may reach you.


My loneliness was born
when men praised my talkative faults
and blamed my silent virtues.


A truth is to be known always,
to be uttered sometimes.


The real in us is silent;
the acquired is talkative.


The voice of life in me
cannot reach
the ear of life in you;
but let us talk that
we may not feel lonely.


Though the wave of words
is forever upon us,
yet our depth is forever silent.


When Life does not find a singer
to sing her heart
she produces a philosopher
to speak her mind.


Our mind is a sponge;
our heart is a stream.
Is it not strange that
most of us choose sucking
rather than running?


If winter should say,
“Spring is in my heart,”
who would believe winter?


Every seed is a longing.


Many a doctrine is like a window pane.
We see truth through it
but it divides us from truth.


Now let us play hide and seek.
Should you hide in my heart
it would not be difficult to find you.
But should you hide behind your own shell,
then it would be useless for anyone to seek you.


How noble is the sad heart
who would sing a joyous song
with joyous hearts.


I would walk with all those who walk.
I would not stand still to watch
the procession passing by.


Nay, we have not lived in vain.
Have they not built towers of our bones?


Let us not be particular and sectional.
The poet’s mind and the scorpion’s tail
rise in glory from the same earth.


My house says to me,
“Do not leave me,
for here dwells your past.”
And the road says to me,
“Come and follow me,
for I am your future.”
And I say to both
my house and the road,
“I have no past,
nor have I a future.
If I stay here,
there is a going in my staying;
and if I go
there is a staying in my going.Only love and death
will change all things.”


It was but yesterday
I thought myself a fragment quivering
without rhythm in the sphere of life.
Now I know that
I am the sphere,
and all life in rhythmic fragments
moves within me.


When you long for blessings
that you may not name,
and when you grieve
knowing not the cause,
then indeed you are growing
with all things that grow,
and rising toward your greater self.


Trees are poems that
the earth writes upon the sky.
We fell them down and
turn them into paper that
we may record our emptiness.


If you sing of beauty though alone
in the heart of the desert
you will have an audience.


Inspiration will always sing;
inspiration will never explain.


A great singer is he
who sings our silences.


How can you sing
if your mouth be filled with food?
How shall your hand be raised in blessing
if it is filled with gold?


Words are timeless.
You should utter them or write them
with a knowledge of their timelessness.


Poetry is not an opinion expressed.
It is a song that rises from a bleeding wound
or a smiling mouth.


You see but your shadow
when you turn your back to the sun.


We often borrow from our tomorrows
to pay our debts to our yesterdays.


If your heart is a volcano
how shall you expect flowers
to bloom in your hands?


Your saying to me,
“I do not understand you,”
is praise beyond my worth,
and an insult you do not
deserve.


Strange that we all defend our wrongs
with more vigor than we do our rights.


Turtles can tell more about roads than hares.


Faith is an oasis in the heart
which will never be reached
by the caravan of thinking.


Had I filled myself
with all that you know
what room should I have
for all that you do not know?


I have learned silence from the talkative,
toleration from the intolerant,
and kindness from the unkind;
yet strange,
I am ungrateful to these teachers.


When you reach the end of
what you should know,
you will be at the beginning of
what you should sense.


Man is two men;
one is awake in darkness,
the other is asleep in light.


I am the flame and
I am the dry bush,
and one part of me
consumes the other part.


The understanding
attributes to me understanding
and the dull, dullness.
I think they are both right.


A disagreement may be
the shortest cut between two minds.


A shy failure is nobler
than an immodest success.


Sadness is but a wall
between two gardens.


When either your joy
or your sorrow becomes great
the world becomes small.


We choose our joys and our sorrows
long before we experience them.


My friend, you and I
shall remain strangers unto life,
And unto one another,
and each unto himself,
Until the day when you shall speak
and I shall listen
Deeming your voice my own voice;
And when I shall stand before you
Thinking myself standing before a mirror.


Generosity is not in giving me
that which I need more than you do,
but it is in giving me that which
you need more than I do.


It is indeed misery
if I stretch an empty hand to men
and receive nothing;
but it is hopelessness
if I stretch a full hand
and find none to receive.


Only an idiot and a genius
break man-made laws;
and they are the nearest
to the heart of God.


Trickery succeeds sometimes,
but it always commits suicide.


The devil died the very day
you were born.
Now you do not have to
go through hell to meet an angel.


Even the most winged spirit
cannot escape physical necessity.


I have never agreed with
my other self wholly.
The truth of the matter
seems to lie between us.


Your other self is always sorry for you.
But your other self grows on sorrow;
so all is well.


If all they say of good and evil were true,
then my life is but one long crime.


How stupid is he
who would patch
the hatred in his eyes
with the smile of his lips.


Only those beneath me
can envy or hate me.
I have never been envied nor hated;
I am above no one.
Only those above me
can praise or belittle me.
I have never been praised nor belittled;
I am below no one.


How mean am I
when life gives me gold
and I give you silver,
and yet I deem myself generous.


If you reveal your secrets to the wind
you should not blame the wind
for revealing them to the trees.


The tribune of humanity is
in its silent heart,
never its talkative mind.


He who listens to truth is not
less than he who utters truth.


In truth we talk only to ourselves,
but sometimes we talk loud enough
that others may hear us.


I long for eternity
because there I shall meet
my unwritten poems
and my unpainted pictures.


The most pitiful among men is he
who turns his dreams into silver and gold.


Death is not nearer to the aged
than to the new-born; neither is life.


Yes, there is a Nirvanah;
it is in leading your sheep
to a green pasture, and
in putting your child to sleep, and
in writing the last line of your poem.