Anne Michaels quotes

  • Hold a book in your hand and you're a pilgrim at the gates of a new city.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Inspirational #Book #Healing

  • Long after you’ve forgotten someone’s voice, you can still remember the sound of their happiness or their sadness. You can feel it in your body.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Sadness #Voice #Long

  • Love makes you see a place differently, just as you hold differently an object that belongs to someone you love. If you know one landscape well, you will look at all other landscapes differently. And if you learn to love one place, sometimes you can also learn to love another.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Love #Looks #Landscape

  • No one is born just once. If you're lucky, you'll emerge again in someone's arms; or unlucky, wake when the long tail of terror brushes the inside of your skull.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Skulls #Long #Lucky

  • Important lessons: look carefully; record what you see. Find a way to make beauty necessary; find a way to make necessity beautiful.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Beautiful #Important #Looks

  • The truth doesn't care what we think of it.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Thinking #Care

  • Translation is a kind of transubstantiation; one poem becomes another. You can choose your philosophy of translation just as you choose how to live: the free adaptation that sacrifices detail to meaning, the strict crib that sacrifices meaning to exactitude. The poet moves from life to language, the translator moves from language to life; both, like the immigrant, try to identify the invisible, what's between the lines, the mysterious implications.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Philosophy #Moving #Sacrifice

  • Some stones are so heavy only silence helps you carry them!
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Silence #Stones #Helping

  • Reading a poem in translation is like kissing a woman through a veil.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Reading #Kissing #Veils

  • I'm naive enough to think that love is always good no matter how long ago, no matter the circumstances.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Love Is #Thinking #Long

  • The shadow past is shaped by everything that never happened. Invisible, it melts the present like rain through karst.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Rain #Past #Shadow

  • But sometimes the world disrobes, slips its dress off a shoulder, stops time for a beat. If we look up at that moment, it's not due to any ability of ours to pierce the darkness, it's the world's brief bestowal. The catastrophe of grace.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Grace #Darkness #Dresses

  • Like other ghosts, she whispers; not for me to join her, but so that, when I'm close enough, she can push me back into the world.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #World #Ghost #Enough

  • The dead leave us starving with mouths full of love.” from “Memoriam
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Mouths #Starving

  • If love wants you; if you've been melted down to stars, you will love with lungs and gills; with feathers and scales; with warm blood and cold.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Stars #Blood #Want

  • When a man dies, his secrets bond like crystals, like frost on a window. His last breath obscures the glass.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Men #Glasses #Secret

  • Trees for example, carry the memory of rainfal. In their rings we read ancient weather - storms, sunlight and temperatures, the growing seasons of centuries. A forest shares a history which each tree remembers even after it has been felled.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Memories #Weather #Tree

  • Any given moment - no matter how casual, how ordinary - is poised, full of gaping life.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Ordinary #Matter #Moments

  • When my parents were liberated, four years before I was born, they found that the ordinary world outside the camp had been eradicated. There was no more simple meal, no thing was less than extraordinary: a fork, a mattress, a clean shirt, a book. Not to mention such things that can make one weep: an orange, meat and vegetables, hot water. There was no ordinariness to return to, no refuge from the blinding potency of things, an apple screaming its sweet juice.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Gratitude #Sweet #Book

  • Now we're like planets, holding to each other from a great distance. [...] Now we're hundreds of miles apart, our short arms keep us lonely, no one hears what's in my head. [...] It's March, even the birds don't know what to do with themselves.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Lonely #Distance #Bird

  • I wanted a line in a poem to be the hollow ney of the dervish orchestra whose plaintive wail is a call to God. But all I achieved was awkward shrieking. Not even the pure shriek of a reed in the rain.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Rain #Poetry #Awkward

  • ...when we say we're looking for a spiritual adviser, we're really looking for someone to tell us what to do with our bodies. Decisions of the flesh. We forget to learn from pleasure as well as pain.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Spiritual #Pain #Decision

  • I see that I must give what I most need.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Giving #Needs

  • History is the gradual instant
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Instant

  • History and memory share events; that is, they share time and space. Every moment is two moments.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Memories #Two #Space

  • The spirit in the body is like wine in a glass; when it spills, it seeps into air and earth and light….It’s a mistake to think it’s the small things we control and not the large, it’s the other way around! We can’t stop the small accident, the tiny detail that conspires into fate: the extra moment you run back for something forgotten, a moment that saves you from an accident – or causes one. But we can assert the largest order, the large human values daily, the only order large enough to see.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Running #Mistake #Wine

  • The shadow-past is shaped by everything that never happened. Invisible, it melts the present like rain through karst. A biography of longing. It steers us like magnetism, a spirit torque. This is how one becomes undone by a smell, a word, a place, the photo of a mountain of shoes. By love that closes its mouth before calling a name.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Rain #Past #Shoes

  • Even as a child, even as my blood-past was drained from me, I understood that if I were strong enough to accept it, I was being offered a second history.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Strong #Children #Past

  • The best teacher lodges an intent not in the mind but in the heart.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Teacher #Retirement #Heart

  • When you are alone - at sea, in the polar dark - an absence can keep you alive. The one you love maintains your mind. But when she's merely across the city, this is an absence that eats you to the bone.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Dark #Sea #Cities

  • There's a moment when love makes you believe in death for the first time. You recognize the one whose loss, even contemplated, you'll carry forever, like a sleeping child. All grief, anyone's grief...is the weight of a sleeping child.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Children #Grief #Believe

  • Once I was lost in a forest. I was so afraid. My blood pounded in my chest and I knew my heart's strength would soon be exhausted. I saved myself without thinking. I grasped the two syllables closest to me, and replaced my heartbeat with your name.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #Heart #Thinking #Blood

  • Though the contradictions of war seem sudden and simultaneous, history stalks before it strikes. Something tolerated soon becomes something good.
    -- Anne Michaels

    #War #Stalking #Contradiction