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Mary Butts

  • I only need to see my path / For this one day.

    • Mary Butts,
    • "To-Day," in Mary Allette Ayer, Heart Melodies ()
  • Frog or pearl, life hid something at the bottom of the cup.

  • Sink twice before you strike out for land.

  • The truth which may not be told, is the truth which cannot be told.

  • One should be allowed to choose one's burden.

  • ... I thought of my father's wisdom, as though it were buried in a box under a tree. As in the old song — a gold box with a silver pin. Some day I should be grown up, and I should dig up the box and turn the pin.

  • I cannot remember a time when I was not enraptured or tortured by words. Always there have been words which, sometimes for their sound alone, sometimes for their sound and sense, I would not use. From a loathing of their grossness or sickliness, their weight or want of weight. Their inexactitude, their feeling of acidity or insipidity. Their action, not only on the intelligence but on the nerves, was instant ...

  • It is in the nature of any effort to leave something serviceable behind it.

  • For watching death, and above all, after death; not death in battle, but death after battle, brings one to certain indifferences that are also a form of death.

  • Not till the end of the war will there be any time for art or love or magic again. Perhaps never again.

    • Mary Butts,
    • 1916, in Nathalie Blondel, ed., The Journals of Mary Butts ()
  • Art is the god you have not seen.

    • Mary Butts,
    • 1918, in Nathalie Blondel, ed., The Journals of Mary Butts ()
  • There are two kinds of reading, reading which is contemplation — even a kind of vision & reading for information. For the first only the best will do, for the rest — then one can let in anything one would like to read in the world.

    • Mary Butts,
    • 1921, in Nathalie Blondel, ed., The Journals of Mary Butts ()
  • Nature has a counterpart, a representation of every interior mood and obscure perception of man.

    • Mary Butts,
    • 1921, in Nathalie Blondel, ed., The Journals of Mary Butts ()
  • Eternity isn't a quantity, it's a quality. It is this splitting up of events into an irregular, inconvenient, positively demented time sequence that bitches things up. Why can't relative things happen together, simultaneously or in close sequence? Instead we live like jugglers, keeping a dozen balls in the air.

    • Mary Butts,
    • 1927, in Nathalie Blondel, ed., The Journals of Mary Butts ()
  • I blessed the power which has filled my life with poetry.

    • Mary Butts,
    • 1929, in Nathalie Blondel, ed., The Journals of Mary Butts ()
  • If it is true that it is the simplicity of the Einsteinian formulae which constitutes their difficulty, that they are so obvious as to escape notice, it seems to me that this applies to events in life, numberless happenings, perhaps the basic ones, which we, saturated in detail and hurrying through subdivisions, lose sight of.

    • Mary Butts,
    • 1929, in Nathalie Blondel, ed., The Journals of Mary Butts ()
  • I am old enough to remember what it was like when the theories of Freud first escaped from the study and the clinic, and the great game of Hunt-the Complex began, to the entertainment and alarm of a war-shattered and disillusioned world.

    • Mary Butts,
    • 1933, in Nathalie Blondel, ed., The Journals of Mary Butts ()

Mary Butts, English writer

(1890 - 1937)

Full name: Mary Franeis Butts. For some poetry she used the name Mark Bacon Drury.