Saturday, 5 January 2013

Wise words from Rilke

Weekends are taking on a familiar pattern. They begin with a briskish walk along the canal side, through Fairfield community orchard and home again via a hot chocolate and a book in Caffe Nero.

Since Les Miserables is rather bulky to carry, I'm taking Rilke's 'Letters to a Young Poet' instead. It's a slim book with ten letters from Rilke to an aspiring young poet. The writing strikes a chord, and I expect it's a book to which I'll return many times. Rilke advises

'be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and 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.'

Wise words, I think.

4 comments:

  1. I love canal walks and as I'm sure you know, because we never tire of telling people, Birmingham has more canals than Venice. My favourite walk, however, is from the Park and Ride outside Stratford into the town itself. I often do it early in the morning before lectures or a workshop at the theatre and it can be absolutely beautiful.

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    1. I've been to Stratford a couple of times and I think I know where you mean. I much prefer waterside walks to hilltops - I think there's something quite calming about being close to water - and early morning walks are best of all.

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  2. I love that quote. This is why I adore Rilke so; his sensibility was so exquisite and so very wise. Easier said than done to love our unresolved parts like books written in a foreign tone, although I do try.

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    1. Ah, these things are often easier said than done, but it's the trying that counts.

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