Archibald MacLeish quotes

  • Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Democracy #Done

  • The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Thinking #Environment #Moments

  • There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Inspirational #Happiness #Clever

  • As things are now going the peace we make, what peace we seem to be making, will be a peace of oil, a peace of gold, a peace of shipping, a peace in brief.without moral purpose or human interest.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Peace #Oil #Gold

  • Never in all their history have men been able truly to conceive of the world as one: a single sphere, a globe, having the qualities of a globe, a round earth in which all the directions eventually meet, in which there is no center because every point, or none, is center - an equal earth which all men occupy as equals. The airman's earth, if free men make it, will be truly round: a globe in practice, not in theory.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Men #Practice #Quality

  • There are those, I know, who will say that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is the American dream.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Dream #Men #Humanity

  • What is more important in a library than anything else-than everything else-is the fact that it exists.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Important #Library #Facts

  • The business of the law is to make sense of the confusion of what we call human life - to reduce it to order but at the same time to give it possibility, scope, even dignity.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Order #Law #Confusion

  • If God is God He is not good, if God is good He is not God; take the even, take the odd.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Atheism #Odd

  • Without guilt / What is a man? An animal, isn't he? / A wolf forgiven at his meat, / A beetle innocent in his copulation.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Animal #Men #Guilt

  • The American mood, perhaps even the American character, has changed. There are few manifestations any longer of the old American self-assurance which so irritated Dickens. Instead, there is a sense of frustration so perceptible that even our politicians have attempted to exploit it.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Character #Frustration #Self

  • We have learned the answers, all the answers: it is the question that we do not know.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Questions And Answers #Answers

  • What once was cuddled must learn to kiss, The cold worm's mouth. That's all the mystery.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Death #Kissing #Mouths

  • What you really have to know is one: yourself. And the only way you can know that one is in the mirror of the others. And the only way you can see into the mirror of the others is by love or its opposite—by profound emotion. Certainly not by curiosity—by dancing around asking, looking, making notes. You have to live relationships to know.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Opposites #Mirrors #Profound

  • A self-advertising writer is always a self-extinguished writer.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Self #Advertising

  • You burned the city of London in our houses and we felt the flames.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Flames #Cities #House

  • See the world as it truly is, small and blue, beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Beautiful #Science #Blue

  • If the poem can be improved by the author's explanations, it never should have been published.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Writing #Should #Explanation

  • Journalism is concerned with events, poetry with feelings. Journalism is concerned with the look of the world, poetry with the feel of the world.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Feelings #Events #Looks

  • The perversion of the mind is only possible when those who should be heard in its defence are silent.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Mind #Silent #Should

  • Poets... are literal-minded men who will squeeze a word till it hurts.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Hurt #Men #Poet

  • To separate journalism and poetry, therefore-history and poetry-to set them up at opposite ends of the world of discourse, is to separate seeing from the feel of seeing, emotion from the acting of emotion, knowledge from the realization of knowledge.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Opposites #Acting #Realization

  • History, like a badly constructed concert hall, has occasional dead spots where the music can't be heard.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Spots #Occasional #Concerts

  • The infantile cowardice of our time which demands an external pattern, a nonhuman authority.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Atheism #Demand #Patterns

  • If the art of poetry is?the art of making sense of the chaos of human experience, it's not a bad thing to see a lot of chaos.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Art #Chaos #Human Experience

  • Piety's hard enough to take among the poor who have to practice it. A rich man's piety stinks. It's insufferable.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Men #Practice #Atheism

  • Poetry is the art of understanding what it is to be alive.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Art #Understanding #Alive

  • Keepers of books, keepers of print and paper on the shelves, librarians are keepers also of the records of the human spiritthe records of men's watch upon the world and on themselves.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Book #Men #Watches

  • That peculiar disease of intellectuals, that infatuation with ideas at the expense of experience, that compels experience to conform to bookish expectations.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Ideas #Expectations #Atheism

  • Around, around the sun we go: The moon goes round the earth. We do not die of death: We die of vertigo.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Moon #Dying #Earth

  • A Poem should be palpable and mute As a globed fruit.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Poetry #Fruit #Should

  • A world ends when its metaphor has died.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #World #Metaphor #Ends

  • A poem should be wordless As the flight of birds.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Bird #Flight #Should

  • Man can live his truth, his deepest truth, but cannot speak it.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Philosophy #Men #Speak

  • Races didn't bother the Americans. They were something a lot better than any race. They were a People. They were the first self-constituted, self-declared, self-created People in the history of the world.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Race #Self #People

  • Once you permit those who are convinced of their own superior rightness to censor and silence and suppress those who hold contrary opinions, just at that moment the citadel has been surrendered.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Freedom #Silence #Liberty

  • Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing. What is necessary now is one thing and one thing only, that democracy become again democracy in action, not democracy accomplished and piled up in goods and gold.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Democracy #Gold #Done

  • A man who lives, not by what he loves but what he hates, is a sick man.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Hate #Men #Sick

  • To see the earth as we now see it, small and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the unending night ~ brothers who see now they are truly brothers.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Beautiful #Nature #Brother

  • Freedom is the right to choose: the right to create for oneself the alternatives of choice. Without the possibility of choice and the exercise of choice a man is not a man but a member, an instrument, a thing.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Freedom #Exercise #Men

  • There is no dusk to be, There is no dawn that was, Only there's now, and now, And the wind in the grass.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Wind #Dawn #Grass

  • A poem should not mean but be.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Mean #Poetry #Should

  • A real writer learns from earlier writers the way a boy learns from an apple orchard -- by stealing what he has a taste for, and can carry off
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Real #Boys #Apples

  • The only thing about a man that is a man . . . is his mind. Everything else you can find in a pig or a horse.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Horse #Men #Pigs

  • Man depends on God for all things: God depends on man for one. Without man's love God does not exist as God, only as creator, and love is the one thing no one, not even God himself, can command. It is a free gift or it is nothing. And it is most itself, most free, when it is offered in spite of suffering, of injustice, and of death . . . The justification of the injustice of the universe is not our blind acceptance of God's inexplicable will, nor our trust in God's love, his dark and incomprehensible love, for us, but our human love, notwithstanding anything, for him.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Acceptance #Dark #Men

  • We have no choice but to be guilty. God is unthinkable if we are innocent.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Choices #Guilty #Innocent

  • It is not in the world of ideas that life is lived. Life is lived for better or worse in life, and to a man in life, his life can be no more absurd than it can be the opposite of absurd, whatever that opposite may be.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Men #Opposites #Ideas

  • Wildness and silence disappeared from the countryside, sweetness fell from the air, not because anyone wished them to vanish or fall but because throughways had to floor the meadows with cement to carry the automobiles which advancing technology produced. Tropical beaches turned into high-priced slums where thousand-room hotels elbowed each other for glimpses of once-famous surf not because those who loved the beaches wanted them there but because enormous jets could bring a million tourists every year - and therefore did.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Love #Beach #Fall

  • What is wrong is not the great discoveries of science—information is always better than ignorance, no matter what information or what ignorance. What is wrong is the belief behind the information, the belief that information will change the world. It won’t.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Ignorance #Discovery #World

  • Journalism wishes to tell what it is that has happened everywhere as though the same things had happened for every man. Poetry wishes to say what it is like for any man to be himself in the presence of a particular occurrence as though only he were alone there.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Men #Wish #Journalism

  • Freedom is the right to one's dignity as a man.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Men #Dignity

  • They also live Who swerve and vanish in the river.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Rivers #Swerve

  • If you commit yourself to the art of poetry, you commit yourself to the task of learning how to see, using words as elements of sight and their sounds as prisms. And to see means to see something worth all the agony of learning how to see.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Art #Mean #Sight

  • How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Determination #Lying #Finals

  • Beauty is that Medusa's head which men go armed to seek and sever, and dead will starve and sting forever.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Men #Forever #Medusa

  • Conventional wisdom notwithstanding, there is no reason either in football or in poetry why the two should not meet in a man's life if he has the weight and cares about the words.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Sports #Football #Men

  • What happened at Hiroshima was not only that a scientific breakthrough had occurred and that a great part of the population of a city had been burned to death, but that the problem of the relation of the triumphs of modern science to the human purposes of man had been explicitly defined.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Death #Men #Cities

  • We are as great as our belief in human liberty - no greater. And our belief in human liberty is only ours when it is larger than ourselves.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Liberty #Belief #Humans

  • Spring has many American faces. There are cities where it will come and go in a day and counties where it hangs around and never quite gets there. Summer is drawn blinds in Louisiana, long winds in Wyoming, shade of elms and maples in New England.
    -- Archibald MacLeish

    #Summer #Spring #June