Diane Ackerman, American Poet ( October 7, 1948 - )

Search for specific quotes/topics


Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.~Diane Ackerman

Nature Summer Mountains

All relationships change the brain - but most important are the intimate bonds that foster or fail us, altering the delicate circuits that shape memories, emotions and that ultimate souvenir, the self.~Diane Ackerman

Change Memories Self

Artificial intelligence is growing up fast, as are robots whose facial expressions can elicit empathy and make your mirror neurons quiver.~Diane Ackerman

Intelligence Mirror

Touch seems to be as essential as sunlight.~Diane Ackerman

Love Sunlight Touch

For better or worse, zoos are how most people come to know big or exotic animals. Few will ever see wild penguins sledding downhill to sea on their bellies, giant pandas holding bamboo lollipops in China or tree porcupines in the Canadian Rockies, balled up like giant pine cones.~Diane Ackerman

Sea Tree People

Gardeners may create order briefly out of chaos, but nature always gets the last word, and what it says is usually untidy by human standards. But I find all states of nature beautiful, and because I want to delight in my garden, not rule it, I just accept my yen to tame the chaos on one day and let the Japanese beetles run riot on the next.~Diane Ackerman

Nature Beautiful Day

A poem records emotions and moods that lie beyond normal language, that can only be patched together and hinted at metaphorically.~Diane Ackerman

Together Lie Language

My mother always said I must be part Mongolian because of my lotus-pale complexion and squid-ink black hair.~Diane Ackerman

Mother Black Hair

Habitats keep evolving new pageants of species, and we shouldn't interfere.~Diane Ackerman

New Evolving Keep

The simple, stupefying truth that, as a woman, I am a minute ocean, in the dark tropic of whose womb eggs lay coded as roe, floating in the sea that wet-nursed us all, moved me deeply.~Diane Ackerman

Ocean Woman Truth

We're losing biodiversity globally at an alarming rate, and we need a cornucopia of different plants and animals, for the planet's health and our own.~Diane Ackerman

Health Losing Plants

I've always loved scuba diving and the cell-tickling feel of being underwater, though it poses unique frustrations. Alone, but with others, you may share the same sights and feelings, but you can't communicate well.~Diane Ackerman

Alone May Unique

I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.~Diane Ackerman

Life End My Life

Look in the mirror. The face that pins you with its double gaze reveals a chastening secret.~Diane Ackerman

Mirror Look You

Cicadas, buckling and unbuckling their stomach muscles, yield the sound of someone sharpening scissors. Fall field crickets, the thermometer hounds, add high-pitched tinkling chirps to the jazz, and their call quickens with warm weather, slows again with cool.~Diane Ackerman

Cool Weather Fall

Even without seeing the crickets, grasshoppers, cicadas and katydids, we hear them shrilling in this season and trust that they're the tiny living gargoyles entomologists claim.~Diane Ackerman

Trust Living Seeing

The further we distance ourselves from the spell of the present, explored by our senses, the harder it will be to understand and protect nature's precarious balance, let alone the balance of our own human nature.~Diane Ackerman

Nature Alone Balance

As the most social apes, we inhabit a mirror-world in which every important relationship, whether with spouse, friend or child, shapes the brain, which in turn shapes our relationships.~Diane Ackerman

Relationship Child Brain

We try to exile ourselves more and more from nature - not always consciously: We build houses; we dismiss nature; nature has to be outside, because we're inside. God forbid something like a cockroach comes inside, or some dust.~Diane Ackerman

Nature God Try

Living with anyone for many years takes skill. To keep peace in the household, couples learn to adapt to one another, hopefully in positive ways.~Diane Ackerman

Positive Peace Learn

As a species, we've somehow survived large and small ice ages, genetic bottlenecks, plagues, world wars and all manner of natural disasters, but I sometimes wonder if we'll survive our own ingenuity.~Diane Ackerman

World Small Survive

Hurricane season brings a humbling reminder that, despite our technologies, most of nature remains unpredictable.~Diane Ackerman

Nature Unpredictable Most

Because we can't escape our ancient hunger to live close to nature, we encircle the house with lawns and gardens, install picture windows, adopt pets and Boston ferns, and scent everything that touches our lives.~Diane Ackerman

Nature Escape Live

Love is the best school, but the tuition is high and the homework can be painful.~Diane Ackerman

Love Best School

I don't want to be a passenger in my own life.~Diane Ackerman

Life Want My Own

We're dabbling in eugenics all the time, breeding ideal crops to replace less aesthetic or nutritious or hardy varieties; leveling forests to graze cattle or erect shopping malls and condos; planting groves of a few familiar trees that homeowners and industries prefer.~Diane Ackerman

Time Trees Shopping