Sweet Emerson – always passionate about ideas, always reasonable about passion.

Nobody ever says of a painter that he has lost his way. It is said of writers. But when one is talking about a painter one says, ‘He is finding his way.’

In more than one book I have read that Blake was actually not very good at versification; in a like number of books, if not more, I have read that Swinburne was too good at it.

As a carpenter can make a gibbet as well as an altar, a writer can describe the world as trivial or exquisite, as material or as idea, as senseless or as purposeful. Words are wood.

I can think for a little while; then, it’s the world again.

The cranberry bog – its rim an old slop-happy red.

Every word is a messenger. Some have wings; some are filled with fire; some are filled with death.

For weeks the cut evergreens shag a fragrance.

And the thrush sings like a finger of God.

Winter Hours (2000), Mary Oliver