I'd rather write about polar bears than people.
The woods that I loved as a child are entirely gone. The woods that I loved as a young adult are gone. The woods that most recently I walked in are not gone, but they're full of bicycle trails.
I'm going to die one day. I know it's coming for me, too. I'll be a mountain, I'll be a stone on the beach. I'll be nourishment.
There is nothing better than work. Work is also play; children know that. Children play earnestly as if it were work. But people grow up, and they work with a sorrow upon them. It's duty.
You can fool a lot of yourself but you can't fool the soul.
Words have not only a definition... but also the felt quality of their own kind of sound.
Instead of taking the reader by the hand and running him down the hill, I want to lead him into a house of many rooms, and leave him alone in each of them.
I would rather write poems than prose, any day, any place. Yet each has its own force.
I grew up in a confused house: too much unwanted attention or none at all.
Wasn't it Emerson who said, 'My life is for itself and not for a spectacle'? I have a happy, full, good life because I hold it private.
Writers must... take care of the sensibility that houses the possibility of poems.
Sometimes breaking the rules is extending the rules.
I always feel that whatever isn't necessary shouldn't be in a poem.
I have the feeling that a lot of poets writing now are - they sort of tap dance through it.
Apparently, I've been considered a recluse.
My parents didn't care very much what I did, and that was probably a blessing.
Poetry is meant to be heard.
To tell you the truth, I believe everything - tigers, trees, stones - are sentient in one way or another. You'd never catch me idly kicking a stone, for example.
Animals praise a good day, a good hunt. They praise rain if they're thirsty. That's prayer. They don't live an unconscious life, they simply have no language to talk about these things. But they are grateful for the good things that come along.
I learn a lot about my poems when I read them by the way people respond to them.
At the time I was growing up, literature was involved with the so-called confessional poets. And I was not interested in that. I did not think that specific and personal perspective functioned well for the reader at all.
Believe me, if anybody has a job and starts at 9, there's no reason why they can't get up at 4:30 or five and write for a couple of hours, and give their employers their second-best effort of the day - which is what I did.
I know the sag of the unfinished poem. And I know the release of the poem that is finished.
I like books that are fat and full.
The challenge is to keep up with all the new poets at the same time I love the old ones.
I read Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet, every day.
I went to India and was quite taken with it. There's a feeling there that things are holy first and useful second.
Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
I held my breath as we do sometimes to stop time when something wonderful has touched us...
Look, I want to love this world as though it's the last chance I'm ever going to get to be alive and know it.
Maybe the world, without us, is the real poem.
To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.
You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began....
We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it.
I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.
I don't ask for the sights in front of me to change, only the depth of my seeing.
Let me keep my distance, always, from those who think they have the answers. Let me keep company always with those who say "Look!" and laugh in astonishment, and bow their heads. (from "Mysteries, Yes")
Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.