"When I was a young girl salmon fishing with my father in the Straits of Juan de Fuca in Washington State I used to lean out over the water and try to look past my own face, past the reflection of the boat, past the sun and darkness, down to where the fish were surely swimming. I made up charm songs and word-hopes to tempt the fish, to cause them to mean biting my hook. I believed they would do it if I asked them well and patiently and with the right hope. I am writing my poems like this. I have used the fabric and the people of my life as the bait."
"Go into the streets, into the slums, into the fashionable quarters. Go into the day courts and the night courts. Become acquaintedwith sorrow, with many kinds of sorrow. Learn of the wonderful heroism of the poor, of the incredible generosity of the very poor--a generosity of which the rich and the well-to-do have, for the most part, not the faintest conception. Go into the modest homes, into the out-of-the-way corners, into the open country. Go where you can find something fresh to bring back to the stage."
"The sight of a planet through a telescope is worth all the course on astronomy; the shock of the electric spark in the elbow, outvalues all the theories; the taste of the nitrous oxide, the firing of an artificial volcano, are better than volumes of chemistry."
"The dearest events are summer-rain, and we the Para coats that shed every drop. Nothing is left us now but death. We look to thatwith grim satisfaction, saying, there at least is reality that will not dodge us."
"Even people whose lives have been made various by learning, sometimes find it hard to keep a fast hold on their habitual views oflife, on their faith in the Invisible--nay, on the sense that their past joys and sorrows are a real experience, when they are suddenly transported to a new land, where by beings around them know nothing of their history, and share none of their ideas--where their mother earth shows another lap, and human life has other forms than those on which their souls have been nourished. Minds that have been unhinged from their old faith and love, have perhaps sought this Lethean influence of exile, in which the past becomes dreamy because its symbols have all vanished, and the present too is dreamy because it is linked with no memories."
"There are moods in which we court suffering, in the hope that here, at least, we shall find reality, sharp peaks and edges of truth. But it turns out to be scene-painting and counterfeit. The only thing grief has taught me, is to know how shallow it is."
"The criterion which we use to test the genuineness of apparent statements of fact is the criterion of verifyability. We say that asentence is factually significant to any given person, if, and only if, he knows how to verify the proposition which it purports to express--that is, if he knows what observations would lead him, under certain conditions, to accept the proposition as true, or reject it as being false.... To make our position clearer, we may formulate it in another way. Let us call a proposition which records an actual or possible observation an experiential proposition. Then we may say that it is the mark of a genuine factual proposition, not that it should be equivalent to an experiential proposition, or any finite number of experiential propositions, but simply that some experiential propositions can be deduced from it in conjunction with certain other premises without being deducible from those other premises alone."