first sentence of each third paragraph, Letters to a Young Poet

22 May

You ask whether your verses are good. Today I wanted to tell you two things more: One just comes to relish them increasingly, to be always more grateful, and somehow better and simpler in one’s contemplating, deeper in one’s belief in life, and in living happier and bigger. Physical pleasure is a sensual experience no different from pure seeing or the pure sensation which a fine fruit fills the tongue; it is a great unending experience, which is given us, a knowing of the world, the fullness and the glory of all knowing. I am still living in the city, on the Capitol, not far from the finest equestrian statue that has come down to us from Roman art — that of Marcus Aurelius; but in a few weeks I shall move into a quiet simple room, an old flat-roofed summerhouse, that lies lost way deep in a large park, hidden from the town, its noise and incident. Think, dear sir, of the world you carry within you, and call this thinking what you will; whether it be remembering your own childhood or yearning toward your own future — only be attentive to that which rises up in you and set it above everything that you observe about you. How should it not be difficult for us? There is perhaps no use my going into your particular points now; for what I could say about your tendency to doubt or about your inability to bring outer and inner life into unison, or about all the other things that worry you —: it is always what I have already said: always the wish that you may find patience enough in yourself to endure, and simplicity enough to believe; that you may acquire more and more confidence in that which is difficult, and in your solitude among others. The stillness must be immense in which such sounds and movements have room, and when one thinks that to it all the presence of the far-off sea comes chiming in as well, perhaps as the inmost tone in that prehistoric harmony, then one can only wish for you that you are confidently and patiently letting that lofty solitude work upon you which is no more to be stricken out of your life; which in everything there is ahead of you to experience and to do will work as an anonymous influence, continuously and gently decisive, much as in us blow of ancestors ceaselessly stirs and mingles with our own into that unique, not repeatable being which at every turning of our life we are.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, letters reassembled from Letters to a Young Poet

 

Rilke

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