CONRAD AIKEN QUOTES

American novelist and poet (1889-1973)

Conrad Aiken quote

Life is the thing--the song of life--the eager plow, the thirsty knife!

CONRAD AIKEN, "Youth Imperturbable"

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Tags: life


Forward into the untrodden! Courage, old man, and hold on to your umbrella!

CONRAD AIKEN, "Mr. Arcularis"

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And, growing tired, we turn aside at last, remember our secret selves, seek out our towers, lay weary hands on the banisters, and climb; climbing, each, to his little four-square dream of love or lust or beauty or death or crime.

CONRAD AIKEN, The House of Dust

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Tags: life


Time is a dream ... a destroying dream; it lays great cities in dust, it fills the seas; it covers the face of beauty, and tumbles walls.

CONRAD AIKEN, The House of Dust

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Tags: time


Music I heard with you was more than music, and bread I broke with you was more than bread; now that I am without you, all is desolate; all that was once so beautiful is dead.

CONRAD AIKEN, Discordants

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Tags: love


Death is one dream out of another flowing.

CONRAD AIKEN, The House of Dust

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Tags: death, dreams


The real thing, this! and all these endless days, these days of senseless drudgery, it was this that set his soul in fever -- in a craze -- to break away, to feel the crushing bliss of life that wars with life -- the seethe and hiss.

CONRAD AIKEN, "Youth"

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Tags: life


All lovely things will have an ending, all lovely things will fade and die, and youth, that's now so bravely spending, will beg a penny by and by.

CONRAD AIKEN, All Lovely Things

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Tags: youth, beauty


Weeks passed, a whirl of lights and sound and laughter, a fever dream, vertiginous, roaring, mad, he quit his job, not caring what came after, and struck out blindly; money enough he had, and life, by Christ, would go now as he bade; he got it by the throat, he was its master; sing! went his whip, and life danced on the faster.

CONRAD AIKEN, "Youth"

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Tags: life


Separate we come, and separate we go, and this be it known, is all that we know.

CONRAD AIKEN, self-written obituary

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A wife? A mistress rather ... he would not wed: that was to stoop in chains, renounce his wings, break body and heart and soul for daily bread, get down and crawl among all crawling things!

CONRAD AIKEN, "Youth"

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Tags: marriage


We were all born of flesh, in a flare of pain. We do not remember the red roots whence we rose, but we know that we rose and walked, that after a while we shall lie down again.

CONRAD AIKEN, The House of Dust

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Tags: birth, pain


You know, without my telling you, how sometimes a word or name eludes you, and you seek it through running ghosts of shadow -- leaping at it, lying in wait for it to spring upon it, spreading faint snares for it of sense or sound: until, of a sudden, as if in a phantom forest, you hear it, see it flash among the branches, and scarcely knowing how, suddenly have it.

CONRAD AIKEN, The House of Dust

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Tags: words


There is a widespread notion in the public mind that poetic inspiration has something mysterious and translunar about it, something which altogether escapes human analysis, which it would be almost sacrilege for analysis to touch. The Romans spoke of the poet's divine afflatus, the Elizabethans of his fine frenzy. And even in our own day critics, and poets themselves, are not lacking who take the affair quite as seriously. Our critics and poets are themselves largely responsible for this -- they are a sentimental lot, even when most discerning, and cannot help indulging, on the one hand, in a reverential attitude toward the art, and, on the other, in a reverential attitude toward themselves.

CONRAD AIKEN, Scepticisms: Notes on Contemporary Poetry

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Tags: poetry


All that is beautiful, and all that looks on beauty with eyes filled with fire, like a lover's eyes: all of this is yours; you gave it to me, sunlight! all these stars are yours; you gave them to me, skies!

CONRAD AIKEN, dedication to his wife, Earth Triumphant: And Other Tales in Verse

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Tags: love


Oh, Poe, yes. I was reading Poe when I was in Savannah, when I was ten, and scaring myself to death. Scaring my brothers and sisters to death, too.

CONRAD AIKEN, interview, The Paris Review, winter-spring 1968

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Tags: Edgar Allan Poe


My veins are afire with music, her eyes have kissed me, my body is turned to light; I shall dream to her secret heart tonight.

CONRAD AIKEN, The House of Dust

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Tags: music


Death is a meeting place of sea and sea.

CONRAD AIKEN, The House of Dust

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Tags: death


Through soundless labyrinths of dream you pass, through many doors to the one door of all.

CONRAD AIKEN, The House of Dust

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Tags: dreams


Ghostly above us in lamplight the towers gleam ... and after a while they will fall to dust and rain; or else we will tear them down with impatient hands; and hew rock out of the earth, and build them again.

CONRAD AIKEN, The House of Dust

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