Thursday, December 29, 2005

Rilke Writes

The problem with me is that I speed-read too much for anything of significance to actually sink in. We've hardly gone out this week so I had time to be re-acquainted with the French poet Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet". This is my sister's hard-bound copy so I've had to hold back on marking it with my ubiquitous Post-It highlighter. The letters came back at a time when I feel young enough to begin anew. A life of passion, art and writing exists in the parallel universe of my mind, and I'm glad to learn from a master how to yield to these wonderful things that beckon to me now, from somewhere faraway and hidden.

In his fourth letter, Rilke writes:

"...[H]ave patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. Perhaps you do carry within you the possibility of creating and forming, as an especially blessed and pure way of living; train yourself for that - but take whatever comes, with great trust, and as long as it comes out of your will, out of some need of your innermost self, then take it upon yourself, and don't hate anything."

It is a comfort to know that someone, even though long gone, understands the need for answers and encourages me to live with the questions. The struggle is not new, after all.

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