The Quote Garden

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Quotations about Life

Life should be to us nothing less than a joy... real, sparkling, soul-stirring joy, that sinks down to the depths of our being... ~Ida Lyon, "The Joy of Living," The Wonders of Life, 1910

And the strongest emotion was that life was as precious as it was puzzling. It was an ecstacy because it was an adventure; it was an adventure because it was an opportunity. ~G. K. Chesterton

Life is a long road on a short journey. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Human life is the source of deep suffering and gorgeous hope. ~Henry James Slack (1818–1896), The Ministry of the Beautiful, 1850  [a little altered —tg]

Such was his love of life, — of what he called the sweet habitude of being! ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion: A Romance, 1839

Making life easier doesn't seem to make folks happier. ~Arnold H. Glasow (1905–1999)

Let the days be steeped in color and perfume and music and loveliness; let them glow with all the fire of the opal, and reflect in their many-faceted hours a thousand charms and visions of beauty. Redeem time from cold and narrow calculations, and set it free to be lived with romance and ardor and imaginative intensity. Let it radiate joy, and let the basis of reality be glorified by the superstructure of romance in sympathies, and swift, unerring intuition. While living, let us live, not exist. ~Lilian Whiting (1847–1942), "Vibrations: Redemptive Social Agencies," The World Beautiful: Second Series, 1896

The most important ingredients of a successful life are good health, honesty, love of humanity, intellectual curiosity, and a sense of fun, with the additional mingling of the celestial and diabolic which prevents a human atom from taking himself seriously. ~Althea Warren, 1943  [a little altered –tg]

Life is a little plot of light. We enter, clasp a hand or two, and go our several ways back into the darkness. The mystery is infinitely pathetic and picturesque. ~Ambrose Bierce

Numerous metaphors have been used to describe life. Among them is the metaphor of life as a battle. Try not to think of life in these terms because, if you regard life as a struggle, it will become one, and you will have little joy. It is far better to think of life as a journey in which the difficulties are hills to climb. The hills are there for a reason (even if you don't know what that reason is), and the sense of satisfaction after climbing the hill is almost always worth the effort. ~Richard E. Turner (1937–2011), The Grammar Curmudgeon, a.k.a. "The Mudge," "An Open Letter to My Grandson," 1997,

Existence rightly considered is a fair compromise between two instincts — the instinct of hoping one day to live, and the instinct to live here and now. ~Arnold Bennett (1867–1931)

If life is not an adventure it's a sad venture, and drear at the price. After all life is after all; it is not what you make it, but what it makes you. ~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890–1953), "Live Wires and Dead Marines," in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1931

God gives you a life and says, Okay, what are you going to do with it? ~Alice Cooper, interview with Cal Fussman, 2008, for Esquire's January 2009 eighth annual Meaning of Life issue,,

The world is hard and cruel. We are here none knows why, and we go none knows whither. We must be very humble. We must see the beauty of quietness. We must go through life so inconspicuously that Fate does not notice us. ~W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919

Every day has a little bit of beauty and a little bit of chaos. ~Tanisha, @burlappearlsandboots, Instagram post, 2017

We humans seem disastrously in love with this thing
(whatever it is) that glitters on the earth—
we call it life. We know no other.
~Euripides, Hippolytos, 428 BCE, translated by Anne Carson, 2006

There is a reason you were born and a bunch of things you've got to do today regardless. ~Robert Brault,

Life's more than breath and the quick round of blood:
It is a great spirit and a busy heart.
The coward and the small in soul scarce do live.
One generous feeling — one great thought — one deed
Of good, ere night, would make life longer seem
Than if each year might number a thousand days,—
Spent as is this by nations of mankind.
We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most — feels the noblest — acts the best.
Life's but a means unto an end—that end,
Beginning, mean and end to all things—God.
The dead have all the glory of the world.
Why will we live and not be glorious?
We never can be deathless till we die.
~Philip James Bailey, Festus

Man often acquires just so much knowledge as to discover his ignorance, and attains so much experience as to regret his follies, and then dies. ~William Benton Clulow, Horæ Otiosæ, 1833

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~E. B. White, 1969

Life is simple, it's just not easy. ~Author unknown

Life is a foreign language: all men mispronounce it. ~Christopher Morley, Thunder on the Left, 1925

Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee
And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me.
~Robert Frost, In the Clearing, 1962

The line of life is a snarl of loops and ends. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

To live is so startling, it leaves but little room for other occupations... ~Emily Dickinson, 1871

Yes, I will try to be. Because I believe that not being is arrogant. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Life is the hyphen between matter and spirit. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

Duck...! Here comes another day!! ~Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts, 1974,  [Sally to Charlie Brown —tg]

We all have a living and a dying coming to us and in between there's bound to be grief to balance the joy. But the why and wherefore passeth human understanding. That's just the way the Lord's got it arranged. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy in Rome, 1965

O God, I pray that not too much of calm be mine, but one day let the maddened rush of waters break against my soul. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

In life we are all rolling stock running on the rails of Destiny, and if we fail to stop when flagged by Fate we miss our freight. On Life's railroad there is only one set of rails and no turntable. But why turn back; the scene improves as we travel onward; or we appreciate it better; that is, those who keep their eyes to the window. But there are some who would rather sleep than peep, and some who are so occupied with their ingrown eyebrows, their over-investments and under-devestments, the price of lead-headed eye-teeth, and the fate of the fat, that they are blind to the beauty of Being. Life should be like a train — eager, pressing forward as if bent on keeping a tryst with Time round the next bend; taking the grades sturdily, and running to Time.... A train is life in little, existence on distance, a fleeting thought, and a forward move. ~Kenneth Alfred Evelyn Alexander (c.1890–1953), "For Wheel or Whoa," in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1931

I am in the firing line, in the front ranks. I have elected to be in the fire and the smoke, in the Battle of Being. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Some day... you will understand, you will know life's other side better than you do to-day: you will see that not all the pleasure is to the rich... nor all the sorrow to the poor, for you will, as you journey on through life, have noted that the law of compensation is ever exacting, adding here and taking there, while life shall last. ~Charles F. Raymond, "Some Day," Just Be Glad, 1907

Life: the insomnia of death. ~Elbert Hubbard

Life: A compromise between Fate and Freewill. ~Elbert Hubbard

Life: What you choose to make it. ~Elbert Hubbard

Life: A bank-account with so much divine energy at your disposal. ~Elbert Hubbard

Life: The interval between the time your teeth are almost through and you are almost through with your teeth. ~Elbert Hubbard

Life: An affirmative between two negatives. ~Elbert Hubbard

Life is like a blanket too short. You pull it up and your toes rebel, you yank it down and shivers meander about your shoulder; but cheerful folks manage to draw their knees up and pass a very comfortable night. ~Marion Howard, as quoted in Herbert V. Prochnow, Speaker's Handbook of Epigrams and Witticisms, 1955

Life is cruel? Compared to what? ~Edward Abbey (1927–1989)

Life is hard? True — but let's love it anyhow, though it breaks every bone in our bodies. ~Edward Abbey (1927–1989)

The plane of life is a frozen sea, on which all make many slips, and finally break through into eternity. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

I've often said that I wished people could realize all their dreams and wealth and fame, so that they could see that it's not where you're going to find your sense of completion. ~Jim Carrey

Life consigned us all to the pit, and she knew that there were those who would weep, and go, and those who would laugh at her, and stay. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

How gaily a man wakes in the morning to watch himself keep on dying! ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "La Vie Brève," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

I used to trouble about what life was for — now being alive seems sufficient reason. ~Joanna Field

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh. ~Bernard Shaw, The Doctor's Dilemma, 1906  [Ridgeon —tg]

Life: It is about the gift not the package it comes in. ~Dennis P. Costea, Jr.

Don't believe the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. ~Robert J. Burdette, 1883  [Thanks, Garson O'Toole of! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

I've learned never to be surprised if what must inevitably happen happens right now. ~Robert Brault,

Give me that life that is seamed and riven with living. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Life was a damned muddle … a football game with every one off-side and the referee gotten rid of — every one claiming the referee would have been on his side… ~F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise, 1920

Life — A journey in which the roads never lead to where they profess to do. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885

Life is all too wondrous sweet, and the world is so beautifully bewildered; it is the dream of an intoxicated divinity... ~Heinrich Heine (d.1856), "Ideas: Book Le Grand," 1826, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, Pictures of Travel, 1855

Life is like sailing. You can use any wind to go in any direction. ~Robert Brault,

However we sail on the ocean of life our course is determined by Nature's trade-winds and Divinity's undertow. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

We come out of the dark and go into the dark again, and in between lie the experiences of our life. ~Thomas Mann, "A Soldier, and Brave," The Magic Mountain, 1924, translated from the German by H. T. Lowe-Porter, 1927

Living costs more in these days — but it is worth more to live. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1904, George Horace Lorimer, editor

In life we all have an unspeakable secret, an irreversible regret, an unreachable dream and an unforgettable love. ~Diego Marchi

I stood afar off, watching the conflict of humanity, till wise old life came along and tossed me into the arena, saying, "There! take that, pedant, if you would know." ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

I love my life. I regret my life. The lines eventually blur, and it's just my life. ~Match, 2014, written by Stephen Belber, spoken by the character Tobi Powell

Life is an educational process you can't opt out of. You either learn the lesson, or you become the lesson. ~Robert Brault,, 2018

Let Nature and let Art do what they please,
When all 's done, life is an incurable disease.
~Abraham Cowley, "To Dr. Scarborough"

Different shades of life make the painting more beautiful. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife

Life is not always fair — sometimes you get a splinter sliding down a rainbow. ~Terri Guillemets

Life is not fair, nor has it ever been, but the morning seems determined to dawn until it is. ~Robert Brault,

Life isn't fair, but it's still good. ~Author unknown

Life isn't fair. Why should I be? ~Margaret Atwood, "Unpopular Gals," 1992

How happy he had made her... and how miserable! But that was life… light and shade… a coming in of the tide and a going out. ~R. A. Dick (Josephine A. Campbell Leslie, 1898–1979), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, 1945

Life is without meaning.
You bring the meaning to it...
Being alive is the meaning.
~Joseph Campbell

This life, my friends, is just the thing; one day we weep, the next we sing; today we whoop, tomorrow wail, which keeps us all from going stale. And as our days and years advance, we never know just what will chance... The unexpected is the stuff that makes this planet good enough. ~Walt Mason (1862–1939), "The Life We Live"

Through many windows life looks out...
Through windows rosy with young dreams
      And windows grey with pain:
Through windows bright with hope's gay light
      And windows dripping rain...
~George Elliston, "Through Many Windows," 1924

The only way to have a life is to commit to it like crazy. ~Angelina Jolie

Life is a mixed blessing, which we vainly try to unmix. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966, © Thomas Paine McLaughlin

I say to my child, I will explain to you as much of life as I can, but you must remember that there is a part of life for which you are the explanation. ~Robert Brault,

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. ~Havelock Ellis, 1897

We tear life out of life to use it for looking at itself. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Life is tough. If you don't have fun and smile and goof around, life will bog you down real fast... We should be so thankful what we get to do. We get to breathe everyday and eat everyday. We should be happy about that. ~Bubba Watson, 2019  [I attended an event in 2012 where Bubba gave a speech. Many people in the audience were in tears, even men I've never known to show much emotion. This guy is one of the most inspirational people and speakers on the planet, as far as I'm concerned. –tg]

The tragedy of life is not that man loses but that he almost wins. ~Heywood Broun, "Sport For Art's Sake," 1921

Working on the assumption (and it is only an assumption) that we have one life each it is important to every one of us that we do the best we can with it. If society says to us: 'We are prepared to look after you from the cradle to the grave provided you live in a boring place and work at a boring job' then we should consider very seriously whether this is a bargain we want to accept. ~John Seymour

When compiling his great dictionary, the young Noah Webster travels to the Himalayas, where he climbs to the cave of the world's wisest man. "O, great sage," he says, "tell me the meaning of life." The sage sits Noah at his feet and, with great solemnity, commences to unfold the meaning of life. When finished, he places a hand on the young man's shoulder and says, "Do you have any other questions, my son?" Noah flips a page in his notebook and says, "You wouldn't know the meaning of lift, would you?" ~Robert Brault,

Life is not writ neatly with a steady hand between the prescriptive lines of a uniform, copy-book page; it is chaotic at the core — full of false starts, cross-outs, misspellings, and unsightly blotches. It is inherently messy. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

I really enjoy life I'm just not good at it. ~Daniel, @blindedpoet

He who has nothing to die for has nothing to live for. ~Moroccan proverb

I wish to die knowing that I took a fleeting instant of eternity and fashioned from it a lifetime. ~Robert Brault,

The wonderful thing about a day, any day, was that it could suddenly break into the unexpected, burst visibly into splendor... ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Sudden Glory, 1951

Opportunities and duties are the warp and woof of life. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Suppose the world were only one of God's jokes, would you work any the less to make it a good joke instead of a bad one? ~Bernard Shaw

There is a time early in life when there seem to be countless reasons for happiness, and then you discover your mom is making them up. ~Robert Brault,

Life is a dagger
With no hilt.
~Mary Carolyn Davies, "Songs of a Girl: XXVII," Youth Riding, 1919

Do not bite at the bait of pleasure until you know there is no hook beneath it. The art of life is the art of avoiding pain; and he is the best pilot who steers clearest of the rocks and shoals with which he is beset. ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Mrs. Maria Cosway, 1786, Paris

This is how we know we're alive, I guess: we continue to feel pain. ~Abby Geni, The Lightkeepers, 2016

In the end, no thought is unthinkable, no problem unshrinkable, no two strangers unlinkable. ~Robert Brault,

Not unfortunately the universe is wild, — game-flavored as a hawk's wing. ~Benjamin Paul Blood, The Flaw in Supremacy, 1893

The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth. ~Chinese proverb

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize... a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of [your child]... ~Thich Nhat Hanh, c.1972

Life can be easy, it is only question of choosing between solutions and illusions. ~Didier D'haese

It is astonishing how cunningly life prepares for its explosions, how adroitly it combines the niter, the charcoal, the sulphur of human nature. ~David Grayson, Hempfield, 1915

You can't have it all, all at once... Over my lifespan I think I have had it all. But in different periods of time things were rough. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg

To give the reins to life! To loosen it from its leash, and know its free and unrestricted movement. To reach out and out, and feel not the tightening of the thong. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

I set myself free into the blue-flowing sky,
I melt with the star-mist,
I am one with the moon's pourings.
I come limpid and easy to life,
Meeting its curves and its undulations, as the shore-line meets the sea,
As the sky meets the indenture of the hills.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of Him: VII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Let us recognize that our wings are to frivol with. The goal of all civilization, all religious thought, and all that sort of thing is simply to have a Good Time. But man gets so solemn over the process that he forgets the end. ~Don Marquis

The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little stardust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched. ~Henry David Thoreau, "Higher Laws," Walden, or Life in the Woods, 1854

How you handle life depends a lot on how you handle plan B, or if you have a plan B. ~Nelson DeMille, The General's Daughter, 1992

Life is a brief opportunity to do something prehumously. ~Robert Brault,

I come ravishing life with a wild riot of bloom. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XLVII," A Soul's Faring, 1921  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
Stains the white radiance of Eternity...
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Adonais"

Life is but a fitful dream, with
Day as shine and night as shade...
~James Mackintosh, "Fill a Bumper," Antonio, & Other Poems, 1876

Out of a hundred years a few minutes were made that stayed with me, not a hundred years. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't. ~Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, 1977

After many a good time driving nails into our own coffins, we are carted off to the crematory. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "The Silent Majority," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

Life is but a mingled song,
Sung in divers keys;
Sweet and tender, brave and strong,
As the heart agrees.
~S.J. Adair Fitz-Gerald (1859–1925), The Zankiwank & The Bletherwitch, 1896

Mayhap the best thing I ever done in my life was only doing what was easiest for myself. It's allays been easier for me to work nor to sit still, but the real tough job for me 'ud be to master my own will and temper, and go right against my own pride.... perhaps nothing 'ud be a lesson to us if it didn't come too late. It's well we should feel as life's a reckoning we can't make twice over; there's no real making amends in this world, any more nor you can mend a wrong subtraction by doing your addition right. ~George Eliot, Adam Bede

Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it. ~Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley (1797–1851), Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus, 1818

On the other hand, who will tell whether one happy moment of love, or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies? Life is a unique gift and challenge, not to be measured in terms of anything else... ~Erich Fromm, "Man in Capitalistic Society," The Sane Society, 1955

The big teetotum twirls,
And epochs wax and wane
As chance subsides or swirls...
The Fates give us chaff for grain
And Time, the Thunderer, hurls,
Like bolted death, disdain
At all that heart and brain
Conceive, great or small,
Upon this earthly ball...
We tug and sweat and strain;
We grovel, or we reign;
We saunter, or we brawl;
We answer, or we call;
We search the stars for Fame...
Life is a smoke that curls —
Curls in a flickering skein,
That winds and whisks and whirls,
A figment thin and vain,
Into the vast Inane...
Burned in one common flame
Are wisdoms and insanities.
For this alone we came: —
"O Vanity of Vanities!"
~William Ernest Henley (1849–1903), "Double Ballade of the Nothingness of Things"  [a little altered —tg]

We are like people with short-term leases on summer cottages; we can never seem to make our provisions come out even with our stay. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

Dear Playmate in the Kindergarten of God: Please do not take life quite so seriously — you surely will never get out of it alive. And as for your buying and selling, your churches and banks, your newspapers and books, they are really at the last of no more importance than the child's paper houses, red and blue wafers, and funny scissors things. Why you grown-ups! all your possessions are only just to keep you out of mischief, until Death, the good old nurse, comes and rocks you to sleep. Am I not right?...
Take my word for it, Dear Playmate, this life is only a big joke. But we are here, and so let's have all the fun we can. And in order to get along best we should cut our scissors things as well as we can, and model only pretty toys out of the mud that is given us. It's all Kindergarten business though: the object is to teach us. I really believe we are leaning things...
We are all children in the Kindergarten of God. Take my word for it, Playmate, and I know as much about God and his plans as any man who ever trod this green earth. I know as much as you, and you know as much as I, and we are both Sons of God and it doth not yet appear what we shall be. ~Elbert Hubbard, 1900

I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it. ~Jack Handey, Deeper Thoughts, 1993,

The movement of life has to rest in its own music. ~Rabindranath Tagore, Stray Birds

Don't ever say you hate life.  That's blasphemy.  ~The Sopranos, "Meadowlands," 1999, written by Jason Cahill  [S1, E4, Christopher Moltisanti]

Yes, I love this world, and the things of it. To me the mere consciousness of life is a gladness, the pulsing of my heart a pleasure... the very drawing of my breath a joy. ~Coulson Kernahan, A Dead Man's Diary, 1890

I like living. I have sometimes been wildly despairing, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. So what I plan to do is to enjoy the pleasures of memory — not hurrying myself... ~Agatha Christie, An Autobiography, 1977

There is a lesson we learn early and harmlessly, or late and traumatically — that there are things we can break that our parents can't fix. ~Robert Brault,

Life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)  [It ends: "As a doctor you'll have a front seat." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

There were growling days and laughing days and days that mixed them up. ~Caron Levis, Ida, Always, 2016

Life has no auto-settings. No batteries. You gots to wind it up! ~Jeb Dickerson, @JebDickerson, 2009

Few of us write great novels; all of us live them. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

Things almost never turn out as horribly — or as wonderfully — as it seems they will. It's the occasional exception to this that keeps us on our toes, both in hope and in dread. ~David C. Hill,

[A]s if life were a thunder-storm wherein you can see by a flash the horizon, and then cannot see your hand... ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Inspiration"

It is while you are patiently toiling at little tasks that the meaning and shape of the great whole of life dawn upon you. ~Phillips Brooks is a gift to be accepted and returned. Life is a celebration, it is a learning, it is a gift. ~Tom Brown, Jr.

Some men in their passage through life resemble a frog: they go a little and stop a little — but always by fits and starts, jerks and jumps. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Life is a series of reactions that aren't what you intend, to situations that aren't what they seem. ~Robert Brault,

Life is just a series of trying to make up your mind. ~Timothy Fuller, Reunion with Murder, 1941

Life is a neverending series of judgment calls. ~Terri Guillemets

Life is a series of paths you don't know you're choosing… decisions you don't know you're making… farewells you don't know you're saying. ~Robert Brault,

Life is a series of ever-changing color, and each day has its hue of romance. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Life is a series of family photos in which you keep moving to the rear until finally you're a portrait in the background. ~Robert Brault,

The world is something I must try,
However hard, however high.
Though I stumble though I die,
The world is something I must try.
~Mark Van Doren, "Tragedy," 1957

My quest for cosmic understanding is a book I have picked up and put down many times, always forgetting to insert a bookmark. ~Robert Brault,

Life — my dear madam, is the — er — predicament which precedes death. ~Henry James (1843–1916), as quoted by Cyril Scott

      [W]ith reference to our trip up the river of life.... How many people, on that voyage, load up the boat till it is ever in danger of swamping with a store of foolish things which they think essential to the pleasure and comfort of the trip, but which are really only useless lumber....
      It is lumber, man—all lumber! Throw it overboard. It makes the boat so heavy to pull, you nearly faint at the oars. It makes it so cumbersome and dangerous to manage, you never know a moment's freedom from anxiety and care, never gain a moment's rest for dreamy laziness—no time to watch the windy shadows skimming lightly o'er the shallows, or the glittering sunbeams flitting in and out among the ripples, or the great trees by the margin looking down at their own image, or the woods all green and golden, or the lilies white and yellow, or the sombre-waving rushes, or the sedges, or the orchids, or the blue forget-me-nots.
      Throw the lumber over, man! Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need—a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.
      You will find the boat easier to pull then, and it will not be so liable to upset, and it will not matter so much if it does upset; good, plain merchandise will stand water. You will have time to think as well as to work. Time to drink in life's sunshine—time to listen to the Æolian music that the wind of God draws from the human heart-strings around us... ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), 1889

I grew up believing that all was good. I suppose this was the natural consequence of a happy, untroubled childhood. Now, of course, I know that there is both good and evil, that each contains some of the other, and I have found them to exist for the most part in equal quantity, balanced like the two ends of a seesaw, man standing in the middle and able to throw his weight to one side or the other as he wills. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, "I believe, yes, I believe," A View from the Hill, 1957

To slake the thirst of being. To drink the draught, deep and cool, and satisfying. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Thoreau once thought the moon was larger over the United States than over the Old World, the sky bluer, the stars brighter, the thunder louder, the rivers longer, the mountains higher, the prairies vaster, and he mystically concluded that the spirit of man in America should be larger and more expansive "else why was America discovered?" Thoreau was wrong, and Thoreau was right. There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it, and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself. ~Lin Yutang, On the Wisdom of America, 1950

You live long enough in a world spinning on its axis, you learn to spin in the same direction. ~Robert Brault,

One day can make your life. One day can ruin your life. All life is, is four or five big days that change everything. ~Riding in Cars with Boys, 2001, screenplay by Morgan Upton Ward, based on the book by Beverly Donofrio

And so wags the world, the great pendulum swung by the sun through space. ~Charles F. Raymond, "The Lengthening Shadows," Just Be Glad, 1907

Life is a tragedy to those who really live her. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Life is a collection of moments you would have appreciated more if you had only known they were moments. ~Robert Brault,

When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life will be all like, "What?!"  ~"Phil's-osophy" by Phil Dunphy, Modern Family, "Schooled," 2012, written by Christopher Lloyd, Steven Levitan, and Dan O'Shannon

She did not believe in happy endings... not anymore. There were no endings in life except death. There was only the present moment, the passage of breath into breath, action and reaction, word after word, a story that was still being told. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

To feel life, to have the consciousness of it, as a mother feels the turning of her babe in the womb. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children; life is the other way round. ~David Lodge, The British Museum Is Falling Down, 1965

One day... I shall come into a conscious sense of life, thrilling at its contact, quivering at the touch of its breath. I shall feel it deep in the nerve centers of my bones.... I shall feel it like the sting of bees. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XXXVI," A Soul's Faring, 1921

To drink the sunshine and to dream at night... ~Anonymous, "The Fall of Man"

Days upon days will be cast into the incinerator. I shall destroy the unmeaning and the unmeant.... I shall have real issues to confront. There shall be happenings in my days. Things shall come to pass. There shall be conflicts and decisions. There shall be loves and hates and burnings. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: LVII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Sliding down the banister of life is so much more fun than ambling down the steps. ~Terri Guillemets, "Wheee!," 1994

The banister of life is full of splinters, and he slideth down it with rapidity. ~Scott Way, "Man," in Puck, 1884

Behold he glideth down the banister of life and findeth it strewn with the splinters of torture. ~John Collins, "Man," in The Medical Brief, 1896

Sliding down the banister of life, man is stuck with the splinters of disappointment. When he reaches the bottom he is jabbed against the post of destruction. ~W. T. McAtee, in The Railway Conductor, 1916

As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point your way. ~Author unknown, c. 1948

I, the atom of creation, have arrived...
I am life. I impinge you. I fall upon you with great weights.
I eviscerate you. I tap your arteries and drain you.
I am the insistent one. You cannot escape me.
I unsettle you. I make you moan over the nights and the days.
I bring you weeping, wringing your hands, crying out to the pale stars, promising an atoning.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of the Strong: I," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Each of us should lead a life stirring enough to start a movement. We should yearn to change the world. We should love unquenchably, dream unfalteringly, and work unceasingly. ~Max Lucado, "The Makings of a Movement," On the Anvil, 1985

You don't want to get to the end of life's journey and discover you never left the interstate. ~Robert Brault,

Life is short and full of blisters. ~African-American saying

There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation. ~W. C. Fields, 1933

...I dreamed that time was like a vine,
A creeping rose, that clomb a height of dread
Out of the sea of Birth, all filled with dead,
Up to the brilliant cloud of Death o'erhead.
This vine bore many blossoms, which were years.
Their petals, red with joy, or bleached by tears,
Waved to and fro i' the winds of hopes and fears.
Here all men clung, each hanging by his spray.
Anon, one dropped; his neighbor 'gan to pray;
And so they clung and dropped and prayed, alway...
~Sidney Lanier, "A Birthday Song, To S. G.," 1866

      Let me ask you, O, you men of the time, who are bent upon pleasure... I beg of you, if by some chance this obscure book falls into your hands, do not smile with noble disdain, do not shrug your shoulders; do not be too sure that I complain of an imaginary evil; do not be too sure that human reason is the most beautiful of faculties, that there is nothing real here below but quotations on the Bourse, gambling in the salon, wine on the table, a healthy body, indifference toward others, and the orgies which come with the night.
      For some day, across your stagnant life, a gust of wind will blow. Those beautiful trees that you water with the stream of oblivion, Providence will destroy; you will be reduced to despair.... in short I tell you, all frozen as you are, you are capable of loving something; some fiber of your being will be torn and you will give vent to a cry that will resemble a moan of pain. Some day, wandering about the muddy streets, when daily material joys shall have failed, you will find yourself seated disconsolately on a deserted bench at midnight.
      O! men of marble, sublime egoists, inimitable reasoners who have never given way to despair or made a mistake in arithmetic, if this ever happens to you, at the hour of your ruin you will remember Abelard when he lost Heloise....
      Believe me, when in your distress you think of Abelard you will not look with the same eye... you will feel that the human reason can cure illusions but not sorrows; that God has use for Reason but He has not made her the sister of Charity.... You will look about you for something like hope, you will shake the doors of churches to see if they still swing, but you will find them walled up... destiny will mock at you and for reply give you a bottle of wine.... ~Alfred de Musset, The Confession of a Child of the Century/La Confession d'un enfant du siècle, 1836, translated from French by Kendall Warren

Overheard:  "If I never become famous, that's okay, because, to tell the truth, I'm still kind of enjoying my backstory." ~Robert Brault,

Do not try to live for ever. You will not succeed. ~Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) is just like a big puzzle but you can't look at it and focus, you've kinda just got to close your eyes and let it come together. ~Corey Miller, LA Ink, "LA Ink Grand Opening," 2007  [S1, E3] —tg]

Life is a process by which a few desperate longings morph into a thousand meaningless wants. ~Robert Brault,

Many of us are equal to life's emergencies who cannot bear its day-after-dayness. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

Don't you find that tears and laughter are your best sign posts on the way through life? ~George A. Dorsey, Young Low, 1917

Despite our fears and worries, and they are very real to all of us, life continues — it goes on. In these three words I can sum up everything I have learned in my 80 years about life — it goes on. ~Robert Frost

Oh, the fret of the brain,
And the wounds and the worry;
Oh, the thought of love and the thought of death—
And the soul in its silent hurry.
But the stars break above,
And the fields flower under;
And the tragical life of man goes on,
Surrounded by beauty and wonder.
~Edwin Markham (1852–1940), "The Tragedy"

Wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. The daily work — that goes on, it adds up. ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams, 1990

Life never tires of testing the proposition that life must go on. ~Robert Brault,

Life may be defined to be the power of self-augmentation or assimilation, not of self-nurture; for then a steam-engine over a coal-pit might be made to live. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

The truth is, we are for the most part indifferent to life as a whole, and live within a small section of it so absorbedly that we have no interest in relating this to life in general... We string our days together on a thread of money-making or ambition or amusement or love, or mere avoidance of starvation. But this is the only unity we seek in life, and we make little effort to see if there is any connection between our own experience and the experience of the human race. We are content to be rich men or lovers or nobodies without looking at ourselves as figures in the eternal procession of rich men and lovers and nobodies. That is why there are so few poets and philosophers. The poet and the philosopher are those who are aware that there is a procession in things, and who are always looking for the connection between one thing and another. They may find the wrong meaning in life, but they are not content till they have found some meaning, even if it is only that it means nothing. ~Robert Lynd, "The Old Game," Solomon in All His Glory, 1923

My friend asked me the essence of life and I smiled. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife

It just seems sometimes that you've lived your whole life preparing for an inspection that never happened. ~Robert Brault,

To be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars... ~Henry Van Dyke, "The Foot-Path to Peace"

What constitutes a life well spent, anyway? Love and admiration from your fellow men is all that any one can ask. ~Will Rogers

This world is just a stage, and we
Must do our stunt of comedy,
Or mouth our tragic little book
Till Death shall murmur "Get the hook!"
~James P. Haverson (1880–1954), "Life," Sour Sonnets of a Sorehead & Other Songs of the Street, 1908

"This poor old world works hard and gets no richer: thinks hard and gets no wiser: worries much and gets no happier. It casts off old errors to take on new ones: laughs at ancient superstitions and shivers over modern ones. It is at best but a Garden of Folly, whose chattering gardeners move a moment among the flowers, waiting for the sunset." (Confucius — or Tutankhamen — I forget which)  ~Stephen Leacock, The Garden of Folly, 1924

This carol they began that hour,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that a life was but a flower,
In the spring time, &c.
And therefore take the present time,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crowned with the prime,
In the spring time, &c.
~William Shakespeare, As You Like It, c.1599  [V, 3, Second Page]

My Stature, Feather Youth
      Could not Withstand
The force of Death armed with
      God's Command.
All flesh is Grass, the Lovelyst
      Flesh and Flowers
Which though it flourish
      this may fade next houre.
~Epitaph to the Memory of Mary Wodhull, at Thenford, d. 1669

Life's a short summer — man a flower... ~Samuel Johnson (1709–1784), "Winter"

Our life is a delicate flower,
It blossoms and dies in an hour,
Cut down by the scythe of the mower,
All faded and withered it lies...
~Mary S. B. Palmer (1810–1883), "If Loved Ones the World are Forsaking"

...all life budding like a rose and sparkling like its dew. ~Edgar Fawcett, "At a Window," Songs of Doubt and Dream, 1891

Youth is a budd
Life is a flower
Springs in a moment
Dyes in an hour
Time is as sand
Flesh is as glass
Sand quick is run
Life soon doth pass
~Author unknown

      Joy's a flower,
That is born a god, and dies
      In an hour.
Take me, for the Summer closes,
And your life is but a rose's.
~Edmund Gosse (1849–1928), "Songs of Roses: II — The Missive"

Here, he could exist; "but mere existence is not enough," he sighed; "to live, one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower!" ~Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875), "The Butterfly," translated by Caroline Peachey

Shall I redirect my life's journey because down some sideroad might be some trifle I'm entitled to? ~Robert Brault,

When you are older you will know that life is a long lesson in humility. ~J. M. Barrie, "The Night-Watchers," The Little Minister

There is a what-the-hell moment in life when you feel you have been pre-punished for every sin you'll ever commit. ~Robert Brault,

You fool,
You have been dangling
For such a long time!
When will you seize the opportunity
Or feel the necessity
To untangle the taut knot
Of your bondage-life?
~Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames

Things happened! ~W. C. Fields, 1935

Life, whether before the grave or afterwards, is like love — all reason is against it, and all healthy instinct for it. ~Samuel Butler, Erewhon Revisited, 1901

Life. — Enjoy whatever flowers come with the manure. ~Terri Guillemets

If we have our own why of life, we shall get along with almost any how. ~Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Walter Kaufmann

Sacrifice is stamped upon every created thing. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

[T]hat blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened:—that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,—
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.
~William Wordsworth, 1798

To exist in the fleet joy of becoming, to be a channel for life as it flashes by in its gaiety and courage, cool water glittering in the sunlight — in a world of sloth, anxiety, and aggression. ~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1951, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964

Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book and remembering — because you can't take it all in at once. ~Audrey Hepburn (1929–1993)

You only get one life, so it's probably worth the effort to make it a life you'd be willing to put your name on. ~Robert Brault,

...we become aware of the fact that our civilization really does not harbor a concept of the whole of life, as do the civilizations of the East... In fact, it is astonishing to behold, how (until quite recently and with a few notable exceptions) Western psychology has avoided looking at the range of the whole cycle. As our world-image is a one-way street to never ending progress interrupted only by small and big catastrophes, our lives are to be one-way streets to success — and sudden oblivion. ~Erik H. Erikson, "Human Strength and the Cycle of Generations: A Schedule of Virtues," Insight and Responsibility, 1964

LIFE.—A masked ball, where, in struggling through the crowd, and trying to penetrate the disguise of our neighbor, we are apt to forget our own part, until the waning lights warn us of the time to depart. ~"A Chapter of Definitions," Daily Crescent, 1848 June 23rd

Life's a party. Invite yourself. ~Gary Johnson, @ZenTreeHouse, tweet, 2009

LIFE is indeed a mystery. Man comes into this world without his consent and leaves here against his will. ~Josh Billings, revised by H. Montague

The meanness of life, but the splendor of its possibilities!
The miserable thing I make of it, but the God-thing it might be!
I might drain it of its dead waters, and plant banks of roses, and glad trees, and buoyant grasses.
I might entice the wanton winds to dance through it, and the moonbeams to caper over it.
I might bring lovers to wander through its twilight fragrance.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: LXXXVIII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Fate's a fiddler, Life's a dance. ~William Ernest Henley (1849–1903), "Double Ballade of Life and Fate"

The art of living is more wrestling than dancing — teaching a man to stay on his feet, on guard and unruffled, so that whatsoever falls upon him he may be ready for it. ~Marcus Aurelius (121–180), Meditations

Live for the roots
Love the green
Dance with the blossoms
~Terri Guillemets

You can hope for a miracle in your life, or you can realize that your life is the miracle. ~Robert Brault,

...may you live all the days of your life. ~Jonathan Swift

How little we know the epoch-making moments of our lives! ~Laura L. Livingstone (Herbert Dickinson Ward), Lauriel: The Love Letters of an American Girl, 1901

I swing like a kid
and fall like an adult;
cry tears of gratitude
and pray in smiles;
hug and love, and later
hide under the covers —
wildly and humbly living
from dawn to the stars,
and ever back again
~Terri Guillemets, "The chaos-harmony of life," 2002

Beauty is precious, you see, and the more beautiful something is, the more precious it is; and the more precious something is, the more it hurts us that it will fade away; and the more we are hurt by beauty, the more we love the world; and the more we love it, the more we are saddened that it is like finely powdered salt that runs away through the fingers, or is puffed away by the wind, or is washed away by the rain. ~Louis de Bernières, Birds Without Wings, 2004

As soon as I stepped out of my mother's womb onto dry land, I realized that I had made a mistake — that I shouldn't have come, but the trouble with children is that they are not returnable. ~Quentin Crisp, The Naked Civil Servant, 1968

Though we live amid promiscuous pressures, spiritual clutter and forgetfulness, we probably still value the integrity of life. ~Baker Brownell, The College and the Community, 1952

Every creatures stalks some other, and catches it, and is caught. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

Life is like a fancy restaurant — it will always try to seat you at the worst table you will accept. ~Robert Brault,

In life, as in restaurants, we swallow a lot of indigestible stuff just because it comes with the dinner. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

A great part of life consists in contemplating what we cannot cure... ~Robert Louis Stevenson, The Master of Ballantrae, 1907

Life. vitality; animation; vital spark, flame; respiration; breath of life, lifeblood; existence; vital air, be alive; live, breathe, respire; subsist &c. (exist); walk the earth, "strut and fret one's hour upon the stage" [Macbeth]; see the light, be born; fetch, draw, breath; quicken; vivify, reanimate, restore; body & soul together, the wolf from the door; support life; have nine lives; living, alive, in life, in the flesh, the land of the living; on this side of the grave, above ground, breathing, quick, animated; animative; lively &c. (active); all alive and kicking; tenacious of life; vital, viable, zoëtic; Promethean; vivendi causâ. Non est vivere sed valere vita; life is not merely being alive but being well [Martial]. ~Extracted from Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases Classified and Arranged So As To Facilitate the Expression of Ideas and Assist in Literary Composition edited by C.O. Sylvester Mawson, 1911

I have come one step away from everything. And here I stay, far from everything, one step away. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

      Life came past my door and I did not know how to greet it. I came clumsily, all too eager, like a starved bird in the snow. I wanted to come gently. I wanted to touch it lightly, like one touches the breast of a dove.
      It is one's hungry soul that commits absurdities. It comes always stretching its yellow beak like a starved fledgling. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XXXVI," A Soul's Faring, 1921

The promise of heaven is no solace to him who hungers for life. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Life is a battlefield of broken dreams and pieced-together victories. ~Terri Guillemets

Lucy:  Life is a mystery, Charlie Brown… Do you know the answer?
Charlie Brown:  Be kind, don't smoke, be prompt, smile a lot, eat sensibly, avoid cavities and mark your ballot carefully… avoid too much sun, send overseas packages early, love all creatures above and below, insure your belongings and try to keep the ball low…
~Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts, 1969

Life is woven of love and death, aches and smiles, persistence and letting go. ~Terri Guillemets

Life is abundance, as in nature when all conditions are right the tree bears fruit. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife, tweet, 2015

Though the circular round-and-round of routine be the bulk of life's affairs, make an occasional jutting diversion — of fun, love, or something that will outlast you — so that the shape and motion of your life shall resemble the lifegiving sun with bright rays shining forth from all directions. ~Terri Guillemets

Lifeless with a heartbeat. ~Daniel, @blindedpoet

What is your life's motto? Write one. Live by it. And revise it when life revises you. ~Terri Guillemets, "Don't cry, — rally!" 2009

I ask of life to shine meaning in everyone who is searching. ~Aurora Hernandez, January 2012 entry to The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter, @quotegarden

I ask of life… but it doesn't always give me what I ask for, so I've stopped asking and started enjoying. ~Annelize Botha, January 2012 entry to The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter, @quotegarden

I ask of life, simply that, Life. ~Joselyn Holguin, January 2012 winner of The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter, @quotegarden

Sometimes life gives honey
      and other times, stings;
Sometimes we need roots
      and other times, wings.
~Terri Guillemets, "All," 1996

The world was a shock, but it was not merely shocking; existence was a surprise, but it was a pleasant surprise. ~Gilbert K. Chesterton, "The Ethics of Elfland," Orthodoxy, 1908

Life is questions
and answers,
ebbing and flowing
in endless waves
~Terri Guillemets

      "For any one with true dramatic instincts, it is only the Overture that is ended! The real treat has yet to begin. You go to a theatre, and pay your ten shillings for a stall, and what do you get for your money? Perhaps it's a dialogue between a couple of farmers — unnatural in their overdone caricature of farmers' dress — more unnatural in their constrained attitudes and gestures — most unnatural in their attempts at ease and geniality in their talk. Go instead and take a seat in a third-class railway-carriage, and you'll get the same dialogue done to the life! Front-seats — no orchestra to block the view — and nothing to pay!"...
      "I wonder if Shakespeare had that thought in his mind," I said, "when he wrote 'All the world's a stage'?"
      The old man sighed. "And so it is," he said, "look at it as you will. Life is indeed a drama; a drama with but few encores — and no bouquets!" he added dreamily. "We spend one half of it regretting the things we did in the other half!"
      "And the secret of enjoying it," he continued, resuming his cheerful tone, "is intensity!"
      "But not in the modern æsthetic sense, I presume? Like the young lady, in Punch, who begins a conversation with 'Are you intense?'"
      "By no means!" replied the Earl. "What I mean is intensity of thought — a concentrated attention. We lose half the pleasure we might have in Life, by not really attending. ~Lewis Carroll, Sylvie and Bruno, 1889

In such a complicated machine as this world of ours, in spite of our own little contributory efforts, we must, as regards the principal thing, it seems to me, be always gamblers in a lottery. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908

Life deals from the bottom, sometimes, doesn't it? ~Joan Crawford

Life is an inconstant mix of aces and jokers, and often one is flipped face up when we're expecting the other. ~Terri Guillemets

The Song of Love, the Song of Hate,
      the Songs of Praise and of Thanksgiving;
I've learned them all, but there remains
      one called the Melody of Living.
~Frederic Ridgely Torrence, The House of a Hundred Lights: A Psalm of Experience After Reading a Couplet of Bidpai, 1899

My life is half reality show, half Saturday morning cartoons. ~Terri Guillemets, "Real funny," 2003

Perhaps we are looking at this from a wrong perspective; this search for the truth, the meaning of life, the reason of God. We all have this mindset that the answers are so complex and so vast that it is almost impossible to comprehend. I think, on the contrary, that the answers are so simple; so simple that it is staring us straight in the face, screaming its lungs out, and yet we fail to notice it. We're looking through a telescope, searching the stars for the answer, when the answer is actually a speck of dirt on the telescope lens. ~Jason Q., from

Life is like running with scissors
naked through freezing blizzards...
~Terri Guillemets, "@Risk," 1995

Red life boils in my veins.... Every woman is to me the gift of a world.... I hear a thousand nightingales.... I could eat all the elephants of Hindostan and pick my teeth with the spire of Strasburg Cathedral.... Life is the greatest of blessings, and death the worst of evils... ~Excerpts from Heinrich Heine's Ideen: Das Buch Le Grand, 1826, translated from German and artfully compiled in Israel Zangwill's Dreamers of the Ghetto, "From a Mattress Grave," 1897

I live! Red life boils in my veins, earth yields beneath my feet, in the glow of love I embrace trees and statues, and they live in my embrace. Every woman is to me the gift of a world. I revel in the melody of her countenance, and with a single glance of my eye I can enjoy more than others with their every limb through all their lives. ~Heinrich Heine (d.1856), "Ideas: Book Le Grand," 1826, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, Pictures of Travel, 1855

Life is beautiful if you flow with its natural beauty. Resistance makes it ugly. ~Terri Guillemets

Out of life's tangled skein
      Draw here and there a thread;
      And one is black with pain,
      And one with grief is red,
      To show a heart hath bled.
And one is white as youth;
      It marks its perfect time,
      When life, untouched of ruth,
      Mounted toward Summer prime,
      Through love, romance, and rhyme.
Beside Love's glowing threads,
      Here one is cool and gray,
      Where passionate morning weds
      A neutral-tinted day,
      And Peace comes down to stay.
Imperial purple weaves signs,
      Hints of loftier bliss bespread,
      Memories in royal ray tread
      With pallid and paling lines
      Of youth forever fled...
Yet, touching them, they glow,—
      Again the young, warm thrill,
      The tones all sweet and low,
      The hushed heart waiting still,
      As eyes with love o'erfill...
We seat us down some day;
      And from life's tangled skein,
      That Memory holds alway,
      We smooth out lines of pain,
      And love-threads hold pure gain.
O myriad-tinted threads!
      We gather you all at last;
      You mark our whitening heads,
      You bind us to our past,
      And we hold you close and fast.
~Mary Clemmer (1831–1884), "Life-Threads," 1882  [a little altered —tg]

Life has left its prints all over me. ~Terri Guillemets, "Thirty seven sins," 2010

Why does a person even get up in the morning? You have breakfast, you floss your teeth so you'll have healthy gums in your old age, and then you get in your car and drive down I-10 and die. Life is so stupid I can't stand it. ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams, 1990

Life is a perpetual give and take with the universe. ~Terri Guillemets, "After all," 2003

Life is like an onion. You may peel off layer after layer until you reach the core — and then there is nothing. ~James Gibbons Huneker, Steeplejack

Life is a mortal maze... ~Terri Guillemets

You laugh
And ride life as if it were a broncho.
As it rears and tries to kill you
You only cling tighter
And laugh.
Other men life may have thrown and trampled
But you will break it to your will
And make it carry you wherever you wish to go.
~Mary Carolyn Davies, "Portrait," Youth Riding, 1919

Life is just a way to distract us from life until we die. ~Terri Guillemets, "The business of busy," 2009

After a lifetime of deep thought, I've decided that life is a distraction, but probably not from anything important. ~Robert Brault, 2012,

Turns out all this life crap is just one big distraction from death. But it's a pretty good one. So that's why you've gotta keep the hope peas on the shelf. And for the love of God, stay too busy to think. ~The Middle, "Land of the Lost," 2015, written by Roy Brown  [S7, E5, Narrator Frankie]

..."Sloppy, raggedy-assed
old life. I love it. I never
want to die."
~Dennis Trudell, "View," in The Fiddlehead, January 1969

Life:  that narrow space between a rock and a hard place. ~Terri Guillemets

Life is the greatest of blessings and death the worst of evils.... all great, powerful souls love life. ~Heinrich Heine (d.1856), "Ideas: Book Le Grand," 1826, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland, Pictures of Travel, 1855

Don't fake-live. Don't zombie-out as life goes by. Actually live! ~Terri Guillemets

Life is an endless struggle full of frustrations and challenges, but eventually you find a hair stylist you like. ~Author unknown

So much light,
along with the darkness,
it's life —
just scary and
joyous life!
~Terri Guillemets

Why do critics make such an outcry against tragicomedies? is not life one? ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

Life is a surprise party. ~Terri Guillemets, "Ribbons & shock," 1988

Life is a mystery.... Where is the goal of this fitful and fretful and feverish existence? Man knoweth not. The untutored savage, and the most highly cultivated intellect of all the ages stand equally mute in the presence of this ever-inviting, this ever-recurring question, What is life? Plato has reasoned, Darwin has investigated, Tyndall has experimented; yet the answer that comes back to our inquiry is but the faintest reverberation of the echo, What is life? ~William H. Crogman (1841–1931), baccalaureate address delivered at Clark University, 1895 May 19th

Life winks as it passes me by
and is gone before my own blink of eye.
~Terri Guillemets

Life itself is the proper binge. ~Julia Child

In the map of your life, the best place to be is at the intersection of Here and Now. You can't get to any other place you want to be without starting from there. ~Terri Guillemets

Ah! my dear Count, life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it. ~Oscar Wilde

When everything doesn't go perfectly as hoped, it isn't tragedy — it's life. ~Terri Guillemets

Ever get the feeling that sometime early in life there was a briefing you missed? ~Robert Brault,

The meaning of life is not an unquestionable answer; it is an unanswerable question. ~Terri Guillemets, "You ask what is life?," 1995

Are you sure we are making the most of it? ~Emily Dickinson

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published 1998 Mar 18
revised 2020 Dec 31
last saved 2022 Sep 24