Quotations by Sarton, May


I can tell you that solitude
Is not all exaltation, inner space
Where the soul breathes and work can be done.
Solitude exposes the nerve,
Raises up ghosts.
The past, never at rest, flows through it.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American author
“Gestalt at Sixty,” sec. 1 (1972)
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Added on 7-Sep-21 | Last updated 7-Sep-21
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Without darkness, nothing comes to birth,
As without light, nothing flowers.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American author
“The Invocation to Kali,” Part 5, Poetry (Feb 1971)
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Added on 24-Aug-21 | Last updated 24-Aug-21
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In the middle of the night, things well up from the past that are not always cause for rejoicing — the unsolved, the painful encounters, the mistakes, the reasons for shame or woe. But all, good or bad, give me food for thought, food to grow on.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American author
At Seventy (1984)
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Added on 14-Sep-21 | Last updated 14-Sep-21
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One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American author
Eighty-Two: A Journal (1995)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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There is no doubt that solitude is a challenge and to maintain balance within it a precarious business. But I must not forget that, for me, being with people or even with one beloved person for any length of time without solitude is even worse. I lose my center. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces. I must have time alone in which to mull over my encounter, and to extract its juice, its essence, to understand what has really happened to me as a consequence of it.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American author
Journal of a Solitude (1973)
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Added on 17-Aug-21 | Last updated 17-Aug-21
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When I was writing a column for Family Circle, I had planned one in praise of shabbiness. A house that does not have one worn, comfy chair in it is soulless. It all comes back to the fact that we are not asked to be perfect, only human.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American author
Journal of a Solitude (1973)
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Added on 21-Sep-21 | Last updated 21-Sep-21
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Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American author
Journal of a Solitude, “October 6th” (1973)
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Added on 10-Aug-21 | Last updated 10-Aug-21
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We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American author
Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing (1965)
Added on 3-Aug-21 | Last updated 3-Aug-21
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