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    stephen spender Quotes

    Involved in my own entrails and a crust Turning a pitted surface towards a space, I am a world that watches through a sky And is persuaded by mirrors To regard its being as an external shell, One of a universe of stars and faces.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: world  star  space  sky  universe 
     
    I'm struggling at the end to get out of the valley of hectoring youth, journalistic middle age, imposture, moneymaking, public relations, bad writing, mental confusion.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: youth  age  mental  bad  confusion  writing 
     
    Death to the killers, bringing light to life.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: death 
     
    What we call the freedom of the individual is not just the luxury of one intellectual to write what he likes to write but his being a voice which can speak for those who are silent.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: freedom  write 
     
    All one can do is to achieve nakedness, to be what one is with all one's faculties and perceptions, strengthened by all the skill which one can acquire. And then to stand before the judgement of time.
    — Stephen Spender
    Paul Valery speaks of the 'une ligne donnee' of a poem. One line is given to the poet by God or by nature, the rest he has to discover for himself.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: nature  god  poem  poet 
     
    The greatest poets are those with memories so great that they extend beyond their strongest experiences to their minutest observations of people and things far outside their own self-centeredness.
    — Stephen Spender
    My single pair of eyes Contain the universe they see; Their mirrored multiplicity Is packed into a hollow body Where I reflect the many, in my one.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: body  eyes  universe 
     
    No one Shall hunger: Man shall spend equally. Our goal which we compel: Man shall be man.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: men  goal 
     
    For I had expected alwaysSome brightness to hold in trust,Some final innocenceTo save from dust
    — Stephen Spender
    In railway halls, on pavements near the traffic, They beg, their eyes made big by empty staring And only measuring Time , like the blank clock. No, I shall weave no tracery of pen-ornament To make them birds upon my singing tree: Time merely drives these lives which do not live As tides push rotten stuff along the shore.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: time  live  eyes 
     
    So i learned both to accept myself and to aim beyond myself
    — Stephen Spender
    I think of those who were truly great. The names of those who in their lives fought for life, Who wore at their hearts the fire's center.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: heart  live  fire 
     
    The greatest of all human delusions is that there is a tangible goal, and not just direction towards an ideal aim. The idea that a goal can be attained perpetually frustrates human beings, who are disappointed at never getting there, never being able to stop.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: human  goal  ideas 
     
    A poet has to adapt himself, more or less consciously,to the demands of his vocation, and hence the peculiarities of poets and the condition of inspiration which many people have said is near to madness... The problem of creative writing is essentially one of concentration... a focusing of the attention in a special way.
    — Stephen Spender
    But reading is not idleness?it is the passive, receptive side of civilization without which the active and creative world would be meaningless. It is the immortal spirit of the dead realised within the bodies of the living. It is sacramental.
    — Stephen Spender
    All that you can imagine you already know.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: imagine 
     
    Great poetry is always written by somebody straining to go beyond what he can do.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: poetry 
     
    History is the ship carrying living memories to the future.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: living  future  memory 
     
    Although Poets are vain and ambitious, their vanity and ambition are of the purest kind attainable in this world. They are ambitious to be accepted for what they altimately are as revealed in their poetry.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: world  ambition  poetry  poet 
     
    One type of concentration is immediate and complete, as it was with Mozart. The other is plodding and only completed in stages, as with Beethoven. Thus genius works in different ways to achieve its ends.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: work  achieve  genius 
     
    Poetry cannot take sides except with life.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: poetry 
     
    My brothers and sister and I were brought up in an atmosphere which I would describe as 'Puritan decadence'. Puritanism names the behaviour which is condemned; Puritan decadence regards the name itself as indecent, and pretends that the object behind that name does not exist until it is named.
    — Stephen Spender
    When a child, my dreams rode on your wishes, I was your son, high on your horse, My mind a top whipped by the lashes Of your rhetoric, windy of course.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: children  wishes  child  mind  dreams  son 
     
    Cult: simply an extension of the idea that everyone's supreme aim in life is self- fulfillment and happiness and that one is entitled to wreck marriage, children and certainly one's health and sanity in pursuit of this.
    — Stephen Spender
    Since we are what we are, what shall we be But what we are? We are, we have Six feet and seventy years, to see The light , and then resign it for the grave .
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: year 
     
    There is a certain justice in criticism. The critic is like a midwife - a tyrannical midwife.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: criticism  justice 
     
    Sometimes when I am writing, I am aware of a rhythm, a dance, a fury, which is as yet empty of words.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: writing  dance 
     
    When you read and understand a poem, comprehending its rich and formal meanings, then you master chaos a little.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: meaning  master  chaos  poem  read 
     
    Memory exercised in a particular way is a natural gift of poetic genius. The poet above all else, is a person who never forgets certain sense impressions which he has experienced and which he can relive again as though with all their original freshness.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: people  memory  gift  genius  poet 
     
    Religion stands, the Church blocking the sun.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: church 
     
    Paint here no draped despairs, no saddening clouds, Where the soul rests, proclaims eternity. But let the wrong cry out as raw as wounds, This Time forgets and never heals, far less transcends.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: time  soul  despair  eternity  wrong 
     
    I think continually of those who were truly great . Who, from the womb, remembered the soul 's history Through corridors of light where the hours are suns , Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition Was that their lips, still touched with fire , Should tell of the spirit clothed from head to foot in song .
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: soul  ambition  fire  song  spirit 
     
    What is precious is never to forget, The delight of the blood drawn from ancient springs, Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth; Never to deny its pleasure in the simple morning light, Nor its grave evening demand for love; Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother, With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: world  pleasure  blood  spirit 
     
    The seen and seeing softly mutually strike Their glass barrier that arrests the sight. But the world's being hides in the volcanoes And the foul history pressed into its core; And to myself my being is my childhood And passion and entrails and the roots of senses; I'm pressed into the inside of a mask At the back of love, the back of air, the back of light.
    — Stephen Spender
    My words like eyes that flinch from light, refuse And shut upon obscurity; my acts Cast to their opposites by impatient violence Break up the sequent path; they fly On a circumference to avoid the centre.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: violence  eyes 
     
    To break out of the chaos of my darkness Into a lucid day is all my will. My words like eyes in night, stare to reach A centre for their light: and my acts thrown To distant places by impatient violence Yet lock together to mould a path of stone Out of my darkness into a lucid day.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: darkness  violence  night  eyes  chaos  path 
     
    Under the olive trees, from the ground Grows this flower, which is a wound. It is easier to ignore Than the heroes' sunset fire Of death plunged in their willed desire Raging with flags on the world's shore.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: death  desires  world  fire  hero  flowers 
     
    Whatever happens, I shall never be alone, I shall always have a fare, an affair, or a revolution.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: alone  revolution 
     
    What the eye delights in, no longer dictates My greed to enjoy: boys, grass, the fenced-off deer. It leaves those figures that distantly play On the horizon's rim: they sign their peace, in games.
    — Stephen Spender
    tags: peace  eyes  greed  boys  games 
     
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