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  • One gets, he thought, not what one wants but what one is.

  • You can't argue with a raging want. You can, but it is useless.

  • There is no thermometer for wants!

  • A desire that has never been fulfilled is considerably less acute than one that has been fulfilled and then checked at the source.

  • Our desires, once realized, haunt us again less readily.

  • ... it's expectation that differentiates you from the dead. The dead, so low in their stone rows, making no demands, without desire.

  • What we have not has made us what we are. / ... / What we are not drives us to consummation.

    • May Sarton,
    • "Mud Season," Cloud, Stone, Sun, Vine ()
  • Our visions begin with our desires.

    • Audre Lorde,
    • in Claudia Tate, ed., Black Women Writers at Work ()
  • I do not believe / our wants / have made our lies / holy.

    • Audre Lorde,
    • "Between Ourselves," in Joanna Bankier and Deirdre Lashgari, eds., Women Poets of the World ()
  • ... desire creates its own object.

  • What you desire you call into being ...

  • There is only one big thing — desire. And before it, when it is big, all is little.

  • That which we most desire, / With understanding, we at last obtain, / In part or whole. I hold there is no rain, / No deluge, that can quench a heavenly fire.

  • But what are wishes, compared with longings?

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

  • What a mystery this is, desire. The love sickness, the sensitivity, the obsession, the flutter of the heart, the ebb and flow of the blood. There is no drug and no alcohol to equal it.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1943, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • Expectation ... quickens desire, while possession deadens it.

  • Those who want nothing are apt to forget how many there are who want every thing.

    • Hannah More,
    • "The Two Wealthy Farmers," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 ()
  • But lust too is a jewel / a sweet flower ...

    • Adrienne Rich,
    • "Two Songs," Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law ()
  • I never wanted what I thought I wanted / But always something else / Which changed again as soon as I had found it.

  • Longing, it may be, is the gift no other gift supplies.

    • Emily Dickinson,
    • 1874, in Martha Dickinson Bianchi, ed., The Life and Letters of Emily Dickinson ()
  • Desire is prayer.

  • That nervous energy that makes people like you and I want and go after everything in the world — bump our heads on all the hard walls and scratch our hands on all the briars — but it makes living great — doesn't it — I'm glad I want everything in the world — good and bad — bitter and sweet — I want it all and a lot of it too --

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • letter to Anita Pollitzer (1915), in Clive Giboire, ed., Lovingly, Georgia ()
  • If you want something, it will elude you. If you do not want something, you will get ten of it in the mail.

  • ... if you cannot get what you want, common sense suggests that you should put your mind to wanting what you can get.

  • Prudence says one thing, desire says another, and I'd rather go with desire any time.

  • ... you've got to wish for something the whole time when you're seventeen. You've got to, or there's nothing to live for. However impossible you've got to think you want it. ... When I couldn't think of a thing I wanted I nearly died.

  • Great souls love, weak souls desire.

    • Juliana Krüdener,
    • in J. De Finod, ed., A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness ()
  • ... the act of longing for something will always be more intense than the requiting of it.

  • Wanting is the beginning of getting.

  • ... there are times when the one thing you haven't counts more than all the riches that may be yours.

  • There is something I have noticed about desire, that it opens the eyes and strikes them blind at the same time.

  • In my experience, there is only one motivation, and that is desire. No reasons or principles contain it or stand against it.

  • It is always hard to believe that the will to change something does not produce an immediate change.

  • To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lack it? And here again is a foreshadowing — the world will be made whole. For to wish for a hand on one's hair is all but to feel it. So whatever we may lose, its very craving gives it back to us again. Though we dream and hardly know it, longing, like an angel, fosters us, smooths our hair, and brings us wild strawberries.

  • ... the fulfillment of any intense desire often brings disorganization with it ...

  • Desire can blind us to the hazards of our enterprises.

    • Marie de France,
    • 12th cent., in Jeanette Beer, trans., Medieval Fables of Marie de France ()
  • ... there are perhaps only one or two things in the world which are not far more charming in desire than they are in possession.

  • Desire is a renewable commodity.

  • The more anybody wants a thing, the more they do think others want it.

  • ... but I have noodles and wine and a nice singing voice. If you / came back I could make you / a necklace.

  • What you want is what you need. Your dearest wish comes straight from your core, loaded with vital information about who you are and who you can become.

  • There's a rule, I think. You get what you want in life, but not your second choice too.

  • Nothing's far when one wants to get there ...

  • A willing heart adds feather to the heel.

  • Unfulfilled desires are dangerous forces.

  • ... you can have anything you want if you want it desperately enough. You must want it with an inner exuberance that erupts through the skin and joins the energy that created the world.

  • Love points the way. Desire is its ignorant advisor.

  • Compared to my heart's desire / the sea is a drop.

    • Adélia Prado,
    • "Denouement," in Ellen Watson, trans., The Alphabet in the Park: Selected Poems of Adélia Prado ()
  • To want is more than to attain.

  • Desire obliges one to undertake many things / When pursuing a delusion.

  • Never let go of the fiery sadness called desire.

  • ... although I have no fish, / I do not want any frog; / Or any elderberries either, / Instead of a bunch of grapes: / Although I have no love, / I do not want anything else, / Whether Love is gracious to me or hostile.

    • Hadewijch,
    • "No Frog, No Elderberries" (13th cent.), in Mother Columba Hart, O.S.B., Hadewijch: The Complete Works ()
  • How helpless we are, like netted birds, when we are caught by desire!

  • He had read somewhere that the desire of a man is for a woman, and the desire of a woman is to be desired.

  • It's natural for humans to suppress urges, for when our desires are left unchecked they lead to broken relationships, prison time, and forest fires.

  • Lust is the oldest lion of them all ...

  • Life is malleable and the hammer is desire.

  • But what was the desire of the flesh beside the desire of the mind?

  • ... no one has yet discovered the means of laying waste to the sick blasphemy of desire.