Robert Frost (1874-1963)

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

“We love the things we love for what they are.”

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.”

“Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.”

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

“These woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

“Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire,
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.”

“If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”

“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”

“Freedom lies in being bold.”

“Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee
And I’ll forgive Thy great big one on me.”

“Poetry is what gets lost in translation.”

“Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.”

“Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.”

“A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.”

“The best way out is always through.”

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”

“I’m not confused. I’m just well mixed.”

“Forgive me my nonsense as I also forgive the nonsense of those who think they talk sense.”

“There are two kinds of teachers: the kind that fill you with so much quail shot that you can’t move, and the kind that just gives you a little prod behind and you jump to the skies.”

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in.”

“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.”

“They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars — on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.”

“The rain to the wind said,
You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged — though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.”

“A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.”

“To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.”

“I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own way.”

“There is one thing more exasperating than a wife who can cook and won’t, and that’s a wife who can’t cook and will.”

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

“I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain – and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.”

“A mother takes twenty years to make a man of her boy, and another woman makes a fool of him in twenty minutes.”

“The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to the ocean-
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition.”

“We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows.”

“The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.”

“I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.”

“Something we were withholding made us weak, until we found it was ourselves.”

“The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.”

“The middle of the road is where the white line is—and that’s the worst place to drive.”

“A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.”

“Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire”

“The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.”

“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what I was walling in or walling out.”

“And were an epitaph to be my story I’d have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”

“The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.”

“Unless you are educated in metaphor, you are not safe to be let loose in the world.”

“How many things have to happen to you before something occurs to you?”

“You’re always believing ahead of your evidence. What was the evidence I could write a poem? I just believed it. The most creative thing in us is to believe in a thing.”

“Thinking is not to agree or disagree. That’s voting.”

“Oh, come forth into the storm and rout
And be my love in the rain.”

“I believe in teaching, but I don’t believe in going to school.”

“A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.”

“How many things would you attempt if you knew you could not fail”

“A person will sometimes devote all his life to the development of one part of his body – the wishbone.”

“I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree~
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.”

“A good book has no ending”

“A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity.”

“Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor.”

“Anything more than the truth would be too much.”

“If you faithfully work eight hours a day, then you might become a boss and get to work 12 hours a day!”

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

“Every poem is a momentary stay against the confusion of the world.”

“You’ve got to love what’s lovable, and hate what’s hateable. It takes brains to see the difference.”

“Good fences make good neighbors.”

“Education doesn’t change life much. It just lifts trouble to a higher plane of regard.”

“I am a writer of books in retrospect. I talk in order to understand; I teach in order to learn”

“When the spent sun throws up its rays on cloud
And goes down burning into the gulf below,
No voice in nature is heard to cry aloud
At what has happened. Birds, at least must know
It is the change to darkness in the sky.
Murmuring something quiet in her breast,
One bird begins to close a faded eye;
Or overtaken too far from his nest,
Hurrying low above the grove, some waif
Swoops just in time to his remembered tree.
At most he thinks or twitters softly, ‘Safe!
Now let the night be dark for all of me.
Let the night be too dark for me to see
Into the future. Let what will be, be.”

“The best things and best people rise out of their separateness; I’m against a homogenized society because I want the cream to rise.”

“A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.”

“Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.”

“Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat.”

“Families break up when they get hints you don’t intend and miss hints that you do.”

“Being the boss anywhere is lonely. Being a female boss in a world of mostly men is especially so.”

“My goal in life is to unite my avocation with my vocation, as my two eyes make one sight.”

“I turned to speak to God
About the world’s despair
But to make bad matters worse
I found God wasn’t there.”

“Ah, when to the heart of man / Was it ever less than a treason / To go with the drift of things, / To yield with a grace to reason, / And bow and accept the end / Of a love or a season?”

“The hurt is not enough: I long for weight and strength. To feel the earth as rough to all my length”

“Nobody was ever meant to remember or invent what he did with every cent. ”

“A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom. ”

“We ran as if to meet the moon.”

“What we live by we die by.”

“A poet never takes notes. You never take notes in a love affair.”

“Life must be kept up at a great rate in order to absorb any considerable amount of learning.”

“The strongest and most effective force in guaranteeing the long-term maintenance of power is not violence in all the forms deployed by the dominant to control the dominated, but consent in all the forms in which the dominated acquiesce in their own domination.”

“Our life runs down in sending up the clock.
The brook runs down in sending up our life.
The sun runs down in sending up the brook.
And there is something sending up the sun.
It is this backward motion toward the source,
Against the stream, that most we see ourselves in,
The tribute of the current to the source.

It is from this in nature we are from.
It is most us.”

“You, of course, are a rose–
But were always a rose.”

“Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes
Is the deed ever truly done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes”

“Nothing gold can stay”

“Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things.”

“Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting. ”

“Unless you are at home in the metaphor, you are not safe anywhere.”

“So was I once myself a swinger of birches. And so I dream of going back to be.”

“The worst disease which can afflict executives in their work is not, as popularly supposed, alcoholism; it’s egotism.”

“For dear me, why abandon a belief
Merely because it ceases to be true”

“Earth’s the right place for love. I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.”

“God made a beauteous garden
With lovely flowers strown,
But one straight, narrow pathway
That was not overgrown.
And to this beauteous garden
He brought mankind to live,
And said “To you, my children,
These lovely flowers I give.
Prune ye my vines and fig trees,
With care my flowers tend,
But keep the pathway open
Your home is at the end.”

God’s Garden”

“I dwell with a strangely aching heart
In that vanished abode there far apart”

“Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.”

“We can make a little order where we are, and then the big sweep of history on which we can have no effect doesn’t overwhelm us. We do it with colors, with a garden, with the furnishings of a room, or with sounds and words. We make a little form, and we gain composure.”

“By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.”

“…The woods are dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And a long way to go,
Before I sleep. ”

“Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.”

“The chief reason for going to school is to get the impression fixed for life that there is a book side for everything.”

“I only hope that when I am free,
as they are free to go in quest,
of the knowledge beyond the bounds of life,
it may not seem better to me to rest.”

“Some spirit to stand simply forth,
Heroic in its nakedness,
Against the uttermost of earth….”

“The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader. I know people who read without hearing the sentence sounds and they were the fastest readers. Eye readers we call them. They get the meaning by glances. But they are bad readers because they miss the best part of what a good writer puts into his work.”

“What are we?
Young or new?
We must be something.”

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