letters to a young poet


so i fiiiiinally finished reading this book. which, if your going to take forever, is a good book to read because as the title suggests, it's a collection of letters. so you can read one, come back the next day {or week}, and be like, oh hey! another letter! without having to go back and re-read anything. in other words, it's a great read if you have a pre-toddler that crawls up your leg every time you aren't either holding him or are on the floor totally engaging him.

i don't know if it was because of the time and effort involved in corresponding with people back in the day or if it was just because rilke was such a brilliant poet, but these letters aren't just letters. they are artifacts. it's like he took letter-writing as seriously as he took his poetry and the results were ten letters that are strung with PEARLS OF WISDOM.

don't worry, this isn't a book review {i am in no way an authority in literature and won't pretend to be well-read. although, if you're looking for a good place for book reviews, go here. it's. awesome. and hilarious. and just go check it out.} but i do love a good quote and this book is chock full o' them, so this me sharing a few of those quotables:

+  be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. and the point is, to live everything. live the questions now. perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

+  draw near to nature. then try, like some first human being, to say what you see and experience and love and lose... seek those which your own everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, passing thoughts and the belief in some sort of beauty - describe all these with loving, quiet, humble sincerity, and use, to express yourself, the things in your environment, the images from your dreams, and the objects of your memory. if your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.

+  people have (with the help of conventions) oriented all their solutions toward the easy and toward the easiest side of the easy; but it is clear that we must hold to what is difficult; everything alive holds to it, everything in nature grows and defends itself in its own way and is characteristically and spontaneously itself, seeks at all costs to be so and against all opposition... that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it.

+  the point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. a merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. but once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.


Amy said...

Wow, this sounds like a must-read! The specific quotes you shared were very insightful, and eloquently written.

lucinda said...

it really is, amy. and it's a quick read. I think you'd enjoy it

Amy said...

Sounds great, I love to read and am always on the lookout for a good book!
I really enjoy your blog, by the way, and your little family is adorable!

Sophie said...

The quotes have sold it for me. Can't beat a profound or romantic statement.

Sophie x



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