And never grow a wishbone, daughter,
where your backbone ought to be.
Clementine Paddleford, “For My Daughter” 
I read the way a person might swim, to save his or her life. I wrote that way too.
Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”
Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths
Enwrought with golden and silver light
The blue, the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light
I would spread these cloths under your feet
But I, being poor, have only my dreams
I have spread my dreams under your feet
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
William Butler Yeats, “He Wishes for the Clothes of Heaven”
I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable, beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
Mary Oliver, “Starlings in Winter”
It is a terrible thing
To be so open: it is as if my heart
Put on a face and walked into the world.
Sylvia Plath, “Three Women”
You want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world doesn’t need any more of that sound.
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems (“The Poet with His Face in His Hands”)
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata” 
Half the harm that is done in this world
Is due to people who want to feel important.
They don’t mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them.
Or they do not see it, or they justify it
Because they are absorbed in the endless struggle
To think well of themselves.
T.S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party
Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled—to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world.
Mary Oliver, “The Ponds” (House of Light)
You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.
Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”
That’s all I’ve ever dreamed of… To make the world a better place. To bring some beauty to the drab humdrum corners of the soul. You can do it with a toaster, you can do it with a poem, you can do it by reaching out your hand to a stranger. It doesn’t matter what form it takes. To leave the world a little better than you found it. That’s the best a man can ever do.
Paul Auster, Timbuktu
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems
Listen to the MUSN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me –
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.
Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.
Mary Oliver, “When Death Comes”, New and Selected Poems
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Maya Angelou, Excerpt from “Still I Rise”