May Sarton

(1912-1995 / Belgium)

May Sarton Quotes

  • ''May we agree that private life is irrelevant? Multiple, mixed, ambiguous at best—out of it we try to fashion the crystal clear, the singular, the absolute, and that is what is relevant; that is what matters.''
    May Sarton (b. 1912), U.S. poet, novelist. Hilary Stevens, in Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, pt. 2 (1965).
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  • ''It is the privilege of those who fear love to murder those who do not fear it!''
    May Sarton (b. 1912), U.S. poet, novelist. Hilary Stevens, in Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, pt. 2 (1965).
  • ''The creative person, the person who moves from an irrational source of power, has to face the fact that this power antagonizes. Under all the superficial praise of the "creative" is the desire to kill. It is the old war between the mystic and the nonmystic, a war to the death.''
    May Sarton (b. 1912), U.S. poet, novelist. Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, pt. 2 (1965).
  • ''When one's not writing poems—and I'm not at the moment—you wonder how you ever did it. It's like another country you can't reach.''
    May Sarton (1912-1995), U.S. author. As quoted in Women Writers Talking, ch. 1, by Janet Todd (1983).
  • ''...I feel more alive when I'm writing than I do at any other time—except when I'm making love. Two things when you forget time, when nothing exists except the moment—the moment of writing, the moment of love. That perfect concentration is bliss.''
    May Sarton (1912-1995), U.S. author. As quoted in Women Writers Talking, ch. 1, by Janet Todd (1983).
  • ''Self-respect is nothing to hide behind. When you need it most it isn't there.''
    May Sarton (b. 1912), U.S. poet, novelist. Hilary Stevens, in "Epilogue: Mar," Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing (1965).

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Best Poem of May Sarton

Now I Become Myself

Now I become myself. It's taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
'Hurry, you will be dead before-'
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into ...

Read the full of Now I Become Myself

A Country Incident

Absorbed in planting bulbs, that work of hope,
I was startled by a loud human voice,
“Do go on working while I talk. Don’t stop!”
And I was caught upon the difficult choice—
To yield the last half hour of precious light,
Or to stay on my knees, absurd and rude;
I willed her to be gone with all my might,
This kindly neighbor who destroyed a mood;
I could not think of next spring any more,

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