Boris Pasternak

Russia
10 Feb 1890 // 30 May 1960
Poet / Writer

Quotes

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No deep and strong feeling, such as we may come across here and there in the world, is unmixed with compassion. The more we love, the more the object of our love seems to be a victim.
Poetry is a rich, full-bodied whistle, cracked ice crunching in pails, the night that numbs the leaf, the duel of two nightingales, the sweet pea that has run wild, Creation's tears in shoulder blades.
How intense can be the longing to escape from the emptiness and dullness of human verbosity, to take refuge in nature, apparently so inarticulate, or in the wordlessness of long, grinding labour, of sound sleep, of true music, or of a human understanding rendered speechless by emotion!
And remember: you must never, under any circumstances, despair. To hope and to act, these are our duties in misfortune.
Art always serves beauty, and beauty is the joy of possessing form, and form is the key to organic life since no living thing can exist without it.
I don't like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them.
A conscious attempt to fall asleep is sure to produce insomnia, to try to be conscious of one's own digestion is a sure way to upset the stomach. Consciousness is a poison when we apply it to ourselves. Consciousness is a light directed outward. It's like the headlights on a locomotive—turn them inward and you'd have a crash.
You and I, it's as though we have been taught to kiss in heaven and sent down to earth together, to see if we know what we were taught.
They loved each other, not driven by necessity, by the «blaze of passion» often falsely ascribed to love. They loved each other because everything around them willed it, the trees and the clouds and the sky over their heads and the earth under their feet.
How wonderful to be alive, he thought. But why does it always hurt?
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays