Sonja's Favorite Quotes


Art's not empty if it shows its own emptiness. - Allen Ginsberg, (1974)

Life and the World

Swift wind! Space! My Soul!
Now I know it is true what I guessed at;
What I guessed when I loafed on the grass,
What I guessed while I lay alone in my bed...
and again as I walked the beach
under the paling stars of the morning.
- Walk Whitman

Just living is not enough...
One must have sunshine, freedom,
and a little flower.
- Hans Christian Andersen

Though we travel the world to find the beautiful, if we do not carry it within us we find it not.
- Emerson

I live like ashes, easily moved by the wind from place to place. Wherever I alight, every person I meet becomes a teacher.
- I Wayan Sadra (contemporary Indonesian composer)

Work with the hands is the apprenticeship of honesty. May the work of your hands be a sign of gratitude and reverence to the human condition.
- Gandhi

Man performs, engenders, so much more than he can or should have to bear. That's how he finds that he can bear anything.
- William Faulkner

Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good.
Luckily, this is not difficult.
- Charlotte Whitton


I hate quotations.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Never make loon soup.
- Eskimo cookbook


The only woman awake is the woman who has heard the flute.
- Rumi

From the start, when it was the instrument of the wood-god Pan, the flute has been associated with pure (some might say impure) energy. Its sound releases something naturally untamed, as if a squirrel were let loose in a church.
- Seamus Heaney

Music is the expression of the movement of the waters, the play of curves described by changing breezes. There is nothing is more musical than a sunset. He who feels what he sees will find no more beautiful example of development in all that book which, alas, musicians read but too little--the book of Nature.
- Claude Debussy

There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.
- Pythagoras

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.
- Ludwig von Beethoven

I believe that music surpasses even language in its power to mirror the innermost recesses of the human soul.
- George Crumb

The joy of music, ultimately, seems connected to sadness. The sadness is that of exsistence. The more you are filled with the pure happiness of music making, the deeper the sadness is.
- Toru Takemitsu

Body is the instrument upon which the music rings charges of pain and delight. It is from body - whether whipped into frenzy by the ascetic herself or gratified with an ecstasy given by God - that sweet melodies and aromas rise to the very throne of heaven.
- Bynum

It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness & of pain: of strength & freedom. The beauty of disappointment & never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature, & everlasting beauty of monotony.
- Benjamin Britten, while listening to the "Abschied"-the finale of Mahler's song cycle Das Lied von der Erde.


There was something undifferentiated and yet complete,
Which existed before heaven and earth.
Soundless and formless, it depends on nothing and does not change.
- Tao Te Ching


Today is made of yesterday,
each time I steal toward rites I do no know,
waiting for the lost ingredient,
as it salt or money or even lust
would keep us calm and prove us whole at last.
- Anne Sexton

Time is too slow for those who wait,
too swift for those who fear,
too long for those who grieve,
too short for those who rejoice,
but for those who love, time is eternity.

The illimitable, silent, never-resting thing called Time, rolling, rushing on, swift, silent, like an all-embracing ocean-tide, on which we and all the universe swim like exhalations, like apparitions which are, and then are not: this is forever very literally a miracle; a thing to strike us dumb, for we have no word to speak about it.
- Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian. On Heroes and Hero-Worship, Lecture 1, "The Hero as Divinity" (1841).

The past is but the beginning of a beginning, and all that is and has been is but the twillight of the dawn.
- H.G. Wells

We're plotting to steal time itself from you.... We're going to spike it to the floor as it slips by. And just as you come over to see why it's so still, we'll pull it out from under you--and send you spinning off around the galaxy's edge. We're planning to pluck all the best stars out of the sky and stuff them in our pockets... so that when we meet you once again and thrust our hands deep inside to hide our embarrassment, our fingertips will smart on them, as if they were desert grains, caught down in the seams, and we'll smile at you on your way to a glory that, for all our stellar thefts, we shall never be able to duplicate.
- from "Stars in My Pockets Like Grains of Sand," by Samuel R. Delany