Poetry Quotes

Excerpts from great poems or prose. Music lyrics.
There are a total of 458 quotes in this category.


If of all words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are, "It might have been,"
More sad are these we daily see:
"It is, but hadn't ought to be."
Francis Brett Hart (or John Greenleafe Whittier, "Maud Muller")
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and souls' delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
John Donne (1572-1631)Holy Sonnets, no. 10
We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on fleecy skies
And the cool green hills of Earth.
Robert A. Heinlein
You can be a king or a street-sweeper, but everybody dances with the grim reaper.
The air was alive with the rush and flutter of wings; it was ripped by screaming shells, hissing like tons of molten metal plunging suddenly into water, there was the blast and concussion of their explosion, men smashed, obliterated in sudden eruptions of earth, rent and strewn in bloody fragments, shells that were like hell-cats humped and spitting, little sounds, unpleasantly close, lie the plucking of tense strings, and something tangling his feet, tearing at his trousers and puttees as he stumbled over it, and then a face suddenly, an inconceivably disorted face, which raved and sobbed at him as he fell with it into a shell-hole.
Frederic Manning, Middle Parts of Fortune(Accounts of The Great War)
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds-and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace, Where never the lark, nor even eagle flew - And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod The high, untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee (1922-1941) A Canadian Spitfire pilot inthe Battle of Britian
We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness. It was very quiet there. At night sometimes the roll of the drums behind the curtain of trees would run up the river and remain sustained faintly, as if hovering in the air high over our heads, till the first break of day ... The dawn were heralded by a chill stillness; the wood-cutters slept, their fires burned low; the snapping of a twig would make you start. We were wanderers on a prehistoric planet ... But suddenly, as we struggled round a bend, there would be a glimpse of rush walls, of peaked grass-roof, a burst of yells, a whirl of black limbs, a mass of hands clapping, of feet stamping, of bodies swaying, of eyes rolling, under the droops of heavy and motionless foliage.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Oh god of earth and altar, bow down and hear our cry!

We chase misprinted lies
We face the path of time
And yet I fight
And yet I fight
This battle all alone
No one to cry to
No place to call home

Alice in Chains, "Nutshell"

Don't stand beside my grave and weep,
For I'm not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Mary Elizabeth Frye


It seems like I'm always getting stuck
Between the handshake and the fuck
Foo Fighters, "My Poor Brain"

"Ring around the rosey
a pocket full of poseies
Ashes, Ashes
We all fall down"

Childrens song about the Black Plague during the Middle Ages
Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it
Mark Twain
There is a silence where hath been no sound
There is a silence where no sound may be
In the cold grave, under the deep deep sea
Thomas Hood
When God comes to me I will be shaking. Gun loaded on my knee, my fingers waiting. Gonna tell him I was born, mistaken, then I´m gonna let my fingers slip. God help my shaking hand, I can see your light, they´re lining up the dead. Gonna take another sip of your soul, my favourite sinner.
Drugstore
There is a place with four suns in the sky-red, white, blue, and yellow; two of them are so close together that they touch, and star-stuff flows between them. I know of a world with a million moons. I know of a sun the size of the Earth-and made of diamond....The universe is vast and awesome, and for the first time we are becoming part of it.
Carl Sagan, The Cosmic Connection
There are some hundred billion (10^11) galaxies, each with, on the average, a hundred billion stars. In all the galaxies, there are perhaps as many planets as stars, 10^11 x 10^11 = 10^22, ten billion trillion. In the face of such overpowering numbers, what is the likelihood that only one ordinary star, the Sun, is accompanied by an inhabited planet? Why should we, tucked away in some forgotten corner of the Cosmos, be so fortunate? To me, it seems far more likely that the universe is brimming over with life. But we humans do not yet know. We are just beginning our explorations. The only planet we are sure is inhabited is a tiny speck of rock and metal, shining feebly by reflected sunlight, and at this distance utterly lost."
Carl Sagan, "The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean," Cosmos"
On the view of earth from 3.7 billion miles away:
"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home, That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every 'superstar,' every 'supreme leader,' every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. [...] There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
Carl Sagan, "Pale Blue Dot"
As Eternity has reckoned
There's a lifetime in a second.
Piet Hein, "Groaks"

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