Robert Lowell

(1917 - 1977 / Boston / United States)

Quotations

  • ''At it in its familiar twang: "My friend,
    Cut your own throat. Cut your own throat. Now! Now!"
    September twenty-second, Sir, the bough
    Cracks with the unpicked apples, and at dawn
    The small-mouth bass breaks water, gorged with spawn.''
    Robert Lowell (1917-1977), U.S. poet. After the Surprising Conversions (l. 42-46). . . Selected Poems [Robert Lowell]. (Rev. ed. 1977; repr. 1993) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
    17 person liked.
    16 person did not like.
  • ''this planned
    Babel of Boston where our money talks''
    Robert Lowell (1917-1977), U.S. poet. As a Plane Tree by the Water (l. 2-3). . . Oxford Book of American Verse, The. F. O. Matthiessen, ed. (1950) Oxford University Press.
  • ''Our fathers wrung their bread from stocks and stones
    And fenced their gardens with the Redman's bones;''
    Robert Lowell (1917-1977), U.S. poet. Children of Light (l. 1-2). . . Oxford Book of American Verse, The. F. O. Matthiessen, ed. (1950) Oxford University Press.
  • ''the mud
    Flies from his hunching wings and beak—my heart,
    The blue kingfisher dives on you in fire.''
    Robert Lowell (1917-1977), U.S. poet. Colloquy in Black Rock (l. 24-26). . . Selected Poems [Robert Lowell]. (Rev. ed. 1977; repr. 1993) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''O mud
    For watermelons gutted to the crust,
    Mud for the mole-tide harbor, mud for mouse,
    Mud for the armored Diesel fishing tubs that thud
    A year and a day to wind and tide; the dust
    Is on this skipping heart that shakes my house,''
    Robert Lowell (1917-1977), U.S. poet. Colloquy in Black Rock (l. 11-16). . . Selected Poems [Robert Lowell]. (Rev. ed. 1977; repr. 1993) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''Eliot dead, you saying,
    "And who is left to understand my jokes?
    My old Brother in the arts . . . and besides, he was a smash of
    poet."''
    Robert Lowell (1917-1977), U.S. poet. Ezra Pound (l. 7-9). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''And I, "Who else has been in Purgatory?"
    And he, "To begin with a swelled head and end with swelled
    feet."''
    Robert Lowell (1917-1977), U.S. poet. Ezra Pound (l. 13-14). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''Their monument sticks like a fishbone
    in the city's throat.
    Its Colonel is as lean
    as a compass-needle.''
    Robert Lowell (1917-1977), U.S. poet. For the Union Dead (l. 29-32). . . Selected Poems [Robert Lowell]. (Rev. ed. 1977; repr. 1993) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • ''The Aquarium is gone. Everywhere,
    giant finned cars nose forward like fish;
    a savage servility
    slides by on grease.''
    Robert Lowell (1917-1977), U.S. poet. For The Union Dead, st. 17, For The Union Dead (1964). Last stanza.
  • ''Colonel Shaw
    and his bell-cheeked Negro infantry
    on St. Gaudens shaking Civil War relief,
    propped by a plank splint against the garage's earthquake.''
    Robert Lowell (1917-1977), U.S. poet. For the Union Dead (l. 21-24). . . Selected Poems [Robert Lowell]. (Rev. ed. 1977; repr. 1993) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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Children of Light

Our fathers wrung their bread from stocks and stones
And fenced their gardens with the Redmen's bones;
Embarking from the Nether Land of Holland,
Pilgrims unhouseled by Geneva's night,
They planted here the Serpent's seeds of light;
And here the pivoting searchlights probe to shock
The riotous glass houses built on rock,
And candles gutter by an empty altar,
And light is where the landless blood of Cain

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