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Caitlin Thomas

  • ... resignation, perhaps the most stifling word in the language.

  • ... I am unable, mentally incapable, of relating the dead thing, the broken body refusing to divulge why or where the occupant has gone, to the thing that was alive.

  • My bitterness is not an abstract substance, it is as solid as a Christmas cake; I can cut it in slices and hand it round and there is still plenty left, for tomorrow.

  • There is, happily, no limit to the faith of human nature in believing what it wants to believe.

  • Anybody who thinks there is any vague chance of adult exchange with a child is up the spout; and would be much less disappointed if they recognized the chasm unbridgeably dividing them.

  • ... money ... is only important when you have none; and though it may not be everything, it goes a very long way towards blocking up the winter draft of age.

  • ... there is no gaiety as gay as the gaiety of grief.

  • ... anybody who drinks seriously is poor: so poor, poor, extra poor, me.

  • There is a brotherliness about a drinking person, which is coldly lacking in the straight and narrow enemies of drink; the difference between the two is more marked than nationality or belief: it is an opposite species altogether. It is against the unwritten laws of congeniality for them to mix. For me, a man who does not drink is distinctly indecent ...

  • ... the mere thought of going near a man who is not mellowly pickled, and whose breath reeks of his native fleshy self, is squeamishly unpalatable to me.

  • England, where nobody ever says what they mean: and by denying feeling, kill it off stone-cold at the roots ...

  • Love can bear anything better than ridicule.

  • I had got to the dawn of the beautiful not caring, but fully aware, stage, which degenerates so imperceptibly into the doing something unpermissible stage.

  • ... when the desire is on for one particular person, nobody else will do ...

  • But there is that about well-intentioned advice that has the opposite effect of the one intended, and causes a Spanish fly of perversity to enter into the hitherto passive soul.

  • One should never go back to a place one has loved; for, however, rough the going forward is, it is better than the snuffing out-of-love return.

  • But the true evil of drink lies in the disillusion: that the initial pleasure very soon evaporates, leaving a demoralizing craving for more, which is not even temporarily pleasurable. Which then leads to deterioration of the faculties of both body and mind; plus a bewildering lack of co-operation between the two.

  • Anyone who has attempted to create knows the hellishness of it, which consists in the final inescapability from it. Knows that anything, however deadly humdrum to drug the senses, is preferable to it. Knows the gigantic effort to get started on the boundless, unwieldy, shapeless material; the forest of hesitations; of what to keep and what to throw out; the running-out terror and reluctance in one of finishing.

  • The wretched Artist himself is alternatively the lowest worm that ever crawled when no fire is in him: or the loftiest God that ever sang when the fire is going.

  • There is nothing harder for an Artist than to retain his Artistic integrity in the tomb of success. A tomb, nevertheless, which nearly every Artist: whether he admits it or not; naturally wants to get into.

  • Jealousy is the lifelong noose hanging about the neck of love.

  • Sex divorced from love is the thief of personal dignity.

  • Between threading a needle and raving insanity is the smallest eye in creation.

  • [On journalists:] They are as disruptive a menace to the public body: as grating turds in the intestines are to the private body.

  • [On journalists:] They are the scavengers of society who, possessing no guts of their own, tear out the guts of celebrities. They have the sycophantic, false enthusing gush of maiden aunts: who are accustomed to being trampled on doormats.

  • [On journalists:] ... however lyingly libellous they may be: nobody can seriously hurt the reputation of a Great person. If he is hurt: he is not Great. They can but scratch at his skin with their mice nails.

  • ... none of what I know is out of books. ... I prefer tactual learning. Touching, on the quick of the sore nail, of present, mobile life. To toy, to gnaw, to tear: at the living element of pain. Like at a living drumstick.

  • ... there is this malign curse laid on dipsomaniacs. That they must absolutely have a drink: in order to feel strong enough to stop drinking.

  • If happiness comes at all: which is by no means prearranged; it comes by the way, while you are seeking for something else. Something outside yourself, beyond yourself: in a brief absorption of self-forgetfulness.

  • Fearful as reality is: it is less fearful than evasions of reality.

  • So it is useless to evade reality, because it only makes it more virulent in the end. But instead, look steadfastly into the slit, pin-pointed, malignant eyes of reality: as an old-hand trainer dominates his wild beasts. Take it by the scruff of the neck, and shake the evil intent out of it; till it rattles out harmlessly, like gall bladder stones, fossilized on the floor.

  • It is about time that soft meaningless word: Love; was taken out of the dictionary. So that instead of saying: I will love you for ever; it would be a much more convincing proof to say: I will endure you for ever.

Caitlin Thomas, Welsh poet, writer

(1913 - 1994)

Full name: Caitlin MacNamara Thomas. Her husband was Dylan Thomas.