May Sarton quotes

  • Without darkness, nothing comes to birth, As without light, nothing flowers.
    -- May Sarton

    #Love #Inspirational #Flower

  • The minute one utters a certainty, the opposite comes to mind.
    -- May Sarton

    #Opposites #Mind #Certain

  • Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.
    -- May Sarton

    #Life #Patience #Nature

  • I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. A day when one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged damaging day, a sinful day. Not so! The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room.
    -- May Sarton

    #Light #Important #Lines

  • We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.
    -- May Sarton

    #Inspirational #Dream #Real

  • If we are to understand the human condition, and if we are to accept ourselves in all the complexity, self-doubt, extravagance of feeling, guilt, joy, the slow freeing of the self to its full capacity for action and creation, both as human being and as artist, we have to know all we can about each other, and we have to be willing to go naked.
    -- May Sarton

    #Artist #Self #Joy

  • One does not "find oneself" by pursuing one's self, but on the contrary by pursuing something else and learning through discipline or routine. . . who one is and wants to be.
    -- May Sarton

    #Being Yourself #Discipline #Routine

  • The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room, not try to be or do anything whatever.
    -- May Sarton

    #Light #Trying #Rooms

  • Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.
    -- May Sarton

    #Loneliness #Being Alone #Self

  • Don't forget that compared to a grownup person every baby is a genius. Think of the capacity to learn! The freshness, the temperament, the will of a baby a few months old!
    -- May Sarton

    #Baby #Thinking #Months

  • Most people have to talk so they won't hear.
    -- May Sarton

    #People

  • If art is not to be life-enhancing, what is it to be? Half the world is feminine--why is there resentment at a female-oriented art? Nobody asks The Tale of Genji to be masculine! Women certainly learn a lot from books oriented toward a masculine world. Why is not the reverse also true? Or are men really so afraid of women's creativity (because they are not themselves at the center of creation, cannot bear children) that a woman writer of genius evokes murderous rage, must be brushed aside with a sneer as 'irrelevant'?
    -- May Sarton

    #Art #Children #Book

  • Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.
    -- May Sarton

    #Letting Go #Nature #Pain

  • A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.
    -- May Sarton

    #Death #Failure #Loss

  • Here life goes on, even and monotonous on the surface, full of lightning, of summits and of despair, in its depths. We have now arrived at a stage in life so rich in new perceptions that cannot be transmitted to those at another stage - one feels at the same time full of so much gentleness and so much despair - the enigma of this life grows, grows, drowns one and crushes one, then all of a sudden in a supreme moment of light one becomes aware of the sacred.
    -- May Sarton

    #Crush #Light #Perception

  • True feeling justifies whatever it may cost.
    -- May Sarton

    #Feelings #Cost #May

  • Public education was not founded to give society what it wants. Quite the opposite.
    -- May Sarton

    #Opposites #Giving #Want

  • A house that does not have one warm, comfy chair in it is soulless.
    -- May Sarton

    #Home #House #Doe

  • I long for the bulbs to arrive, for the early autumn chores are melancholy, but the planting of bulbs is the work of hope and is always thrilling.
    -- May Sarton

    #Autumn #Long #October

  • I think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep.... Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.
    -- May Sarton

    #Letting Go #Pain #Fall

  • Don't forget that compared to a grownup person every baby is a genius.
    -- May Sarton

    #Baby #Genius #Forget

  • I am not a greedy person except about flowers and plants, and then I become fanatically greedy.
    -- May Sarton

    #Flower #Garden #Greedy

  • People are always talking about the joys of youth-but, oh, how youth can suffer!
    -- May Sarton

    #Talking #People #Joy

  • There are some griefs so loud/They could bring down the sky/And there are griefs so still/None knows how deep they lie.
    -- May Sarton

    #Lying #Grief #Sky

  • Read between the lines.Then meet me in the silence if you can.
    -- May Sarton

    #Silence #Lines #Between The Lines

  • What is destructive is impatience, haste, expecting too much too fast.
    -- May Sarton

    #Too Much #Haste #Expecting

  • Gardening is an instrument of grace.
    -- May Sarton

    #Grace #Gardening #Instruments

  • The ambience here is order and beauty. That is what frightens me when I am first alone again. I feel inadequate. I have made an open place, a place for meditation. What if I cannot find myself inside it?
    -- May Sarton

    #Beauty #Order #Meditation

  • We cannot afford not to fight for growth and understanding, even when it is painful, as it is bound to be.
    -- May Sarton

    #Fighting #Understanding #Growth

  • I would like to believe when I die that I have given myself away like a tree that sows seed every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to future life. It is the tree's way of being. Strongly rooted perhaps, but spilling out its treasure on the wind.
    -- May Sarton

    #Spring #Believe #Loss

  • We are able to laugh when we achieve detachment, if only for a moment.
    -- May Sarton

    #Humor #Laughing #Able

  • Flowers and plants are silent presences. They nourish every sense except the ear.
    -- May Sarton

    #Music #Flower #Silence

  • Whatever peace I know rests in the natural world, in feeling myself a part of it, even in a small way.
    -- May Sarton

    #Peace #Feelings #World

  • When one's not writing poems - and I'm not at the moment - you wonder how you ever did it. It's like another country you can't reach.
    -- May Sarton

    #Country #Writing #Wonder

  • When we admit our vulnerability, we include others. If we deny it, we shut them out.
    -- May Sarton

    #Pet #Deny #Vulnerability

  • Now I become myself. It’s taken time, many years and places.
    -- May Sarton

    #Taken #Years

  • Anyone who is going to be a writer knows enough at fifteen to write several novels.
    -- May Sarton

    #Writing #Fifteen #Enough

  • For any writer who wants to keep a journal, be alive to everything, not just to what you're feeling, but also to your pets, to flowers, to what you're reading.
    -- May Sarton

    #Reading #Flower #Feelings

  • At some point I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend, and come out with personal truth.
    -- May Sarton

    #Real #Believe #Holding Back

  • Love opens the doors into everything, as far as I can see, including and perhaps most of all, the door into one's own secret, and often terrible and frightening, real self.
    -- May Sarton

    #Real #Believe #Struggle

  • Your poems will happen when no one is there.
    -- May Sarton

  • The more articulate one is, the more dangerous words become.
    -- May Sarton

    #Danger #Dangerous

  • No partner in a love relationship... should feel that he has to give up an essential part of himself to make it viable.
    -- May Sarton

    #Love #Relationship #Giving Up

  • There is no doubt that solitude is a challenge and to maintain balance within it a precarious business. But I must not forget that, for me, being with people or even with one beloved person for any length of time without solitude is even worse. I lose my center. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces. I must have time alone in which to mull over my encounter, and to extract its juice, its essence, to understand what has really happened to me as a consequence of it.
    -- May Sarton

    #Essence #People #Challenges

  • It is harder for women, perhaps to be 'one-pointed,' much harder for them to clear space around whatever it is they want to do beyond household chores and family life. Their lives are fragmented... the cry not so much for a 'a room of one's own' as time of one's own. Conflict become acute, whatever it may be about, when there is no margin left on any day in which to try at least to resolve it.
    -- May Sarton

    #Space #Trying #May

  • It always comes back to the same necessity: go deep enough and there is a bedrock of truth, however hard.
    -- May Sarton

    #Inspirational #Truth #Enough

  • One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.
    -- May Sarton

    #Courage #Hero #Thinking

  • ... the reason why there are so few first-class poets is that many people have intense feelings or first-class minds but to get the two together so that you will be willing to put a poem through sixty drafts, to be that self-critical, to keep breaking it down, that is what is rare. Right now most poetry is just self-indulgence.
    -- May Sarton

    #Self #Class #Two

  • Growing old is, of all things we experience, that which takes the most courage, and at a time when we have the least resources, especially with which to meet frustration.
    -- May Sarton

    #Frustration #Age #Growing

  • The body is a universe in itself and must be held as sacred as anything in creation....It is dangerous to forget the body as sacramental.
    -- May Sarton

    #Body #Sacred #Forget

  • My musical genius reached its apex thirty years ago when I played the triangle in Haydn's children's symphony, so I could not play unless you needed someone to make one sustained note!
    -- May Sarton

    #Children #Years #Play

  • It is, I assume, quite easy to wither into old age, and hard to grow into it.
    -- May Sarton

    #Age #Assuming #Easy

  • Does one come to enjoy even the hardships that help make one the person one is? Or is it that the past becomes a legend to be remembered with laughter?
    -- May Sarton

    #Laughter #Past #Doe

  • I sometimes think men don't 'hear' very well, if I take your meaning to be 'understand what is going on in a person.' That's what makes them so restful. Women wear each other out with their everlasting touching of the nerve.
    -- May Sarton

    #Men #Thinking #Touching

  • The price of being oneself is so high and involves so much ruthlessness toward others (or what looks like ruthlessness in our duty-bound culture) that very few people can afford it.
    -- May Sarton

    #People #Looks #Ruthlessness

  • In the novel or the journal you get the journey. In a poem you get the arrival.
    -- May Sarton

    #Journey #Novel #Journal

  • It is possible, I suppose, that we are returning to a Dark Age. What is frightening is that violence is not only represented by nations, but everywhere walks among us freely.
    -- May Sarton

    #Dark #Age #Violence

  • For inside all the weakness of old age, the spirit, God knows, is as mercurial as it ever was.
    -- May Sarton

    #Self Confidence #Age #Weakness

  • We are all jellyfish, too pitiful and too afraid of being disliked to be honest.
    -- May Sarton

    #Honesty #Honest #Being Honest

  • It is only when we can believe that we are creating the soul that life has any meaning, but when we can believe it - and I do and always have - then there is nothing we do that is without meaning and nothing that we suffer that does not hold the seed of creation in it.
    -- May Sarton

    #Believe #Creating #Soul

  • It is dark now. The snow is deep blue and the ocean nearly black. It is time for some music.
    -- May Sarton

    #Ocean #Dark #Blue

  • Deep down there was understanding, not of the facts of our lives so much as of our essential natures.
    -- May Sarton

    #Understanding #Facts #Essentials

  • I suppose real old age begins when one looks backward rather than forward
    -- May Sarton

    #Real #Inspiration #Age

  • Fighting dragons is my holy joy.
    -- May Sarton

    #Fighting #Dragons #Joy

  • Where joy in an old pencil is not absurd.
    -- May Sarton

    #Joy #Absurd #Pencils

  • So let the world go, but hold fast to joy.
    -- May Sarton

    #Joy #World #Hold Fast

  • When we speak of being vulnerable, it suggests being especially vulnerable to pain. People for whom personal dignity and self-sufficiency are everything, do all they can to shut it out. Noli mi tangere. They are well aware that any intimate relationship has pain in it, forces a special kind of awareness, is costly, and so they try to keep themselves unencumbered by shutting pain out as far as it is possible to do so.
    -- May Sarton

    #Pain #Self #People

  • It feels a long way up and down from zero.
    -- May Sarton

    #Zero #Long #Way

  • ...I feel more alive when I'm writing than I do at any other time--except when I'm making love. Two things when you forget time, when nothing exists except the moment--the moment of writing, the moment of love. That perfect concentration is bliss.
    -- May Sarton

    #Sex #Writing #Two

  • The value of solitude - one of its values - is, of course, that there is nothing to cushion against attacks from within, just as there is nothing to help balance at times of particular stress or depression...
    -- May Sarton

    #Stress #Solitude #Balance

  • It is a waste of time to see people who have only a social surface to show. I will make every effort to find out the real person, but if I can't, then I am upset and cross. Time wasted is poison.
    -- May Sarton

    #Real #People #Effort

  • The more our bodies fail us, the more naked and more demanding is the spirit, the more open and loving we can become if we are not afraid of what we are and of what we feel. I am not a phoenix yet, but here among the ashes, it may be that the pain is chiefly that of new wings trying to push through.
    -- May Sarton

    #Pain #Wings #Phoenix

  • Without anxiety life would have very little savor.
    -- May Sarton

    #Anxiety #Littles

  • Revision is not going back and fussing around, but going forward into the process of creation
    -- May Sarton

    #Revision #Creation #Process

  • I've been thinking about happiness-how wrong it is ever to expect it to last or there to be a time of happiness. It's not that, it's a moment of happiness. Almost every day contains at least one moment of happiness.
    -- May Sarton

    #Happiness #Thinking #Lasts

  • Family life! The United Nations is child's play compared to the tugs and splits and need to understand and forgive in any family.
    -- May Sarton

    #Inspiring #Children #Play

  • I love giving flowers. It is so deliciously unlasting and romantic.
    -- May Sarton

    #Flower #Giving #Romance

  • How unnatural the imposed view, imposed by a puritanical ethos, that passionate love belongs only to the young, that people are dead from the neck down by the time they are forty, and that any deep feeling, any passion after that age, is either ludicrous or revolting!
    -- May Sarton

    #Passion #Love Is #Views

  • When it comes to the important things one is always alone ...
    -- May Sarton

    #Important

  • I have sometimes wondered also whether in people like me who come to the boil fast (soupe au lait, the French call this trait, like a milk soup that boils over) the tantrum is not a built-in safety valve against madness or illness. ... The fierce tension in me, when it is properly channeled, creates the good tension for work. But when it becomes unbalanced I am destructive. How to isolate that good tension is my problem these days. Or, put in another way, how to turn the heat down fast enough so the soup won't boil over!
    -- May Sarton

    #Anger #People #Safety

  • Fire is a good companion for the mind ...
    -- May Sarton

    #Fire #Mind #Companion

  • The tragic thing about learning from experience is I fear that one can only learn from one's own experience. Other people's - other nations' - experiences simply do not help. They can be imaginatively learned from. But people do not act on other people's experiences.
    -- May Sarton

    #People #Experience #Helping

  • I cannot understand why poetry is not taught at schools as a way of seeing, a quick, untiring path to essentials.
    -- May Sarton

    #School #Way #Path

  • Failure would only be if you had somewhere stopped growing. As far as I can see the whole duty of the artist is to keep on growing ...
    -- May Sarton

    #Failure #Artist #Growing

  • Lunches are just not good. They take the heart out of the day and the spaciousness from the morning's work.
    -- May Sarton

    #Morning #Heart #Lunch

  • I find that when I have any appointment, even an afternoon one, it changes the whole quality of time. I feel overcharged. There is no space for what wells up from the subconscious; those dreams and images live in deep still water and simply submerge when the day gets scattered.
    -- May Sarton

    #Dream #Space #Water

  • And one cold starry night / Whatever your belief / The phoenix will take flight / Over the seas of grief / To sing her thrilling song / To stars and waves and sky / For neither old nor young / The phoenix does not die.
    -- May Sarton

    #Song #Stars #Grief

  • I am not ready to die, / But I am learning to trust death / As I have trusted life.
    -- May Sarton

    #Life And Death #Learning To Trust #Ready

  • Unless the gentle inherit the earth, / There will be no earth.
    -- May Sarton

    #Earth #Gentle

  • The woman who needs to create works of art is born with a kind of psychic tension in her which drives her unmercifully to find a way to balance, to make herself whole. Every human being has this need: in the artist it is mandatory. Unable to fulfill it, he goes mad. But when the artist is a woman she fulfills it at the expense of herself as a woman.
    -- May Sarton

    #Art #Psychics #Mad

  • We can do anything, or almost, but how balanced, magnanimous, and modest one has to be to do anything! And also how patient. It is as true in the arts as anywhere else.
    -- May Sarton

    #Patience #Art #Patient

  • Do we always make our freedom out of someone else's bondage?
    -- May Sarton

    #Bondage

  • For of course one is never safe when in love. Growth is demanding and may seem dangerous, for there is loss as well as gain in growth. But why go on living if one has ceased to grow? And what more demanding atmosphere for growth than love in any form, than any relationship which can call out and requires of us our most secret and deepest selves?
    -- May Sarton

    #Loss #Self #Secret

  • Why is it that people who cannot show feeling presume that that is a strength and not a weakness?
    -- May Sarton

    #Strength #Happiness #People

  • There is a wilder solitude in winter When every sense is pricked alive and keen.
    -- May Sarton

    #Winter #Solitude #Alive

  • If art is not to be life-enhancing, what is it to be?
    -- May Sarton

    #Art #Art Is

  • gardening is a madness, a folly that does not go away with age. Quite the contrary.
    -- May Sarton

    #Gardening #Going Away #Age

  • One must believe that private dilemmas are, if deeply examined, universal, and so, if expressed, have a human value beyond the private, and one must also believe in the vehicle for expressing them, in the talent.
    -- May Sarton

    #Believe #Belief #Talent

  • I want feelings to be expressed, to be open, to be natural, not to be looked on as strange. It's not weird if you feel deeply.
    -- May Sarton

    #Feelings #Want #Strange

  • Am I too old, perhaps, ever to take in another's life to share with mine on a permanent basis? If so, I must make do with what I have... and what I have is a great richness of friends and a positively ardent love of nature. Not nothing!
    -- May Sarton

    #Share #Nature Love #Bases