We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.

— Jack Gilbert

The most glamorous Jack Gilbert quotes that will inspire your inner self

We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.


Our heart wanders lost in the dark woods.

Our dream wrestles in the castle of doubt. But there’s music in us. Hope is pushed down but the angel flies up again taking us with her.


I believe that Icarus was not failing as he fell, but just coming to the end of his triumph.


We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure, but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.


Why do so manysettle for so little? I don't understand why they're not greedy for what's inside them.


We are resident inside with the machinery, a glimmering spread throughout the apparatus. We exist with a wind whispering inside and our moon flexing. Amid the ducts, inside the basilica of bones. The flesh is a neighborhood, but not the life.


The woman is not just a pleasure, nor even a problem.

She is a meniscus that allows the absolute to have a shape, that lets him skate however briefly on the mystery, her presence luminous on the ordinary and the grand. Like the odor at night in Pittsburgh’s empty streets after summer rain on maples and sycamore.


WAKING AT NIGHT The blue river is grey at morning and evening.

There is twilight at dawn and dusk. I lie in the dark wondering if this quiet in me now is a beginning or an end.


We are all burning in time, but each is consumed at his own speed.


Duende I can't remember her name. It's not as though I've been in bed with that many women. The truth is I can't even remember her face. I kind of know how strong her thighs were, and her beauty. But what I won't forget is the way she tore open the barbecued chicken with her hands, and wiped the grease on her breasts.


I'm vain enough to think that I've made a successful life.

I've had everything I've ever wanted. You can't beat that.


We think the fire eats the wood. We are wrong. The wood reaches out to the flame. The fire licks at what the wood harbors, and the wood gives itself away to that intimacy, the manner in which we and the world meet each new day.


About Jack Gilbert

Quotes 33 sayings
Profession Poet
Birthday October 16

What we feel most has no name but amber, archers, cinnamon, horses and birds.


THE ABANDONED VALLEY Can you understand being alone so long you would go out in the middle of the night and put a bucket into the well so you could feel something down there tug at the other end of the rope?


I would say Pittsburgh softly each time before throwing him up.

Whisper Pittsburgh with my mouth against the tiny ear and throw him higher. Pittsburgh and happiness high up. The only way to leave even the smallest trace. So that all his life her son would feel gladness unaccountably when anyone spoke of the ruined city of steel in America. Each time almost remembering something maybe important that got lost.


Being alive is so extraordinary I don’t know why people limit it to riches, pride, security—all of those things life is built on. People miss so much because they want money and comfort and pride, a house and a job to pay for the house. And they have to get a car. You can’t see anything from a car. It’s moving too fast. People take vacations. That’s their reward—the vacation. Why not the life?


But anything worth doing is worth doing badly.

Like being there by that summer ocean on the other side of the island while love was fading out of her, the stars burning so extravagantly those nights that anyone could tell you they would never last.


I dream of lost vocabularies that might express some of what we no longer can.


You will love again, people say. Give it time. Me with time running out. Day after day of the everyday. What they call real life, made of eighth-inch gauge. Newness strutting around as if it were significant. Irony, neatness and rhyme pretending to be poetry. I want to go back to that time after Michiko's death when I cried every day among the trees. To the real. To the magnitude of pain, of being that much alive.


The heart lies to itself because it must.


Suddenly this defeat. This rain. The blues gone gray And the browns gone gray And yellow A terrible amber. In the cold streets Your warm body. In whatever room Your warm body. Among all the people Your absence The people who are always Not you. I have been easy with trees Too long. Too familiar with mountains. Joy has been a habit. Now Suddenly This rain.


Fame is a lot of fun, but it's not interesting.

I loved being noticed and praised, even the banquets. But they didn't have anything that I wanted. After about six months, I found it boring.


We are surrounded by the absurd excess of the universe.

By meaningless bulk, vastness without size, power without consequence. The stubborn iteration that is present without being felt. Nothing the spirit can marry. Merely phenomenon and its physics. An endless, endless of going on. No habitat where the brain can recognize itself. No pertinence for the heart. Helpless duplication.


We exist with a wind whispering inside and our moon flexing.

Amid the ducts, inside the basilica of bones.


Everyone forgets Icarus also flew.


How astonishing it is that language can almost mean, and frightening that it does not quite.


I had lived all of my youthful dreams, but I couldn't think of many adult ones.

I finally realized that we don't have many dreams for adults because, historically, people have always died much younger than they do today.


When I was walking in the mountains with the Japanese man and began to hear the water, he said, 'What is the sound of the waterfall?' 'Silence,' he finally told me.


To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth all the years of sorrow that are to come.


Are the angels of her bed the angels who come near me alone in mine? Are the green trees in her window the color is see in ripe plums? If she always sees backward and upside down without knowing it what chance do we have? I am haunted by the feeling that she is saying melting lords of death, avalanches, rivers and moments of passing through, And I am replying, "Yes, yes. Shoes and pudding.


I ask myself what is the sound of women? What is the word for that still thing I have hunted inside them for so long? Deep inside the avalanche of joy, the thing deeper in the dark, and deeper still in the bed where we are lost. Deeper, deeper down where a woman's heart is holding its breath, where something very far away in that body is becoming something we don't have a name for.


Question the bravery. Say it's not courage. Call it a passion.

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