We must be very humble. We must see the beauty of quietness.
— W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence
I have always looked upon decay as being just as wonderful and rich an expression of life as growth.
— Henry Miller
Autumnal language: fullness and falling
away from the tree of self,
— Gregory Orr, from section 3 of “The Tree,” in The Caged Owl: New & Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)
Be kind to your sleeping heart.
Take it out in the vast field of light
And let it breathe.
There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.
— Jane Austen
The world’s continual breathing is what we hear and call silence.
— Clarice Lispector, from The Passion According to G. H. (University of Minnesota Press, 1988)
My solitude is sublime; the roaring of the wind is my wife; and the stars through my window-panes, these beautiful particles, constantly fill up my heart. The mighty abstract idea of Beauty in all things, I have, stifles the more divided and minute domestic happiness. I feel more and more, every day, as my imagination strengthens, that I do not live in this world alone, but in a thousand worlds.
— John Keats, from John Keats: Life and Letters (1795-1821) by Lord Houghton (Pomona Press, 2008)
Sunset in the ethereal waves:
I cannot tell if the day
is ending, or the world, or if
the secret of secrets is inside me again.
— Anna Akhmatova
A thousand dreams within me softly burn.
From time to time my heart is like some oak
whose blood runs golden where a branch is torn.
— Arthur Rimbaud, from “Evening Prayer,” Arthur Rimbaud: Complete Works, trans. Paul Schmidt (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2008)