Tuesday, March 20, 2007


From about six different directions in the last month has come to me mention of the poet Rainier Maria Rilke. When that kind of convergence happens in my life, I assume that there is something here that I need to look into further. I've got a couple Rilke books on hold at the local library, but until I can pick them up, I wanted to do some reading online. On this site, I found an English translation of The Swan, which is lovely. It begins thus:

This laboring through what is still undone,
as though, legs bound, we hobbled along the way,
is like the awkward walking of the swan.
(Just a taste - you'll have to follow the link to read the rest.)

I also found this quote, which I should probably have framed:

I am learning to see. I don't know why it is, but everything penetrates more deeply into me and does not stop at the place where until now it always used to finish. I have an inner self of which I was ignorant. Everything goes thither now, what happens there I do not know.
-Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

I am much looking forward to reading the books. It is difficult for me to read poetry, even though I've written many (which, by pure dumb luck, included one or two good ones). I read very fast - I devour books - and to read poetry you must slow down, savor the words, listen to them with the ear of your mind. So I tend to keep poetry books in places where I have a few minutes, not much more, just enough for a single poem. But from what I've read this morning, I may devour these books of Rilke, and then hold on to them a little longer for proper savoring.