Letters To A Young Poet Quotes

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Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. ...live in the question.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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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.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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only someone who is ready for everything, who doesn't exclude any experience, even the most incomprehensible, will live the relationship with another person as something alive and will himself sound the depths of his own being.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Embrace your solitude and love it. Endure the pain it causes, and try to sing out with it. For those near to you are distant...
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away... and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast.... be happy about your growth, in which of course you can't take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don't torment them with your doubts and don't frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn't be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn't necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust.... and don't expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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The necessary thing is after all but this; solitude, great inner solitude. Going into oneself for hours meeting no one - this one must be able to attain.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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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.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Don't be too quick to draw conclusions from what happens to you; simply let it happen. Otherwise it will be too easy for you to look with blame... at your past, which naturally has a share with everything that now meets you.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don't know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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But your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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The only sadnesses that are dangerous and unhealthy are the ones that we carry around in public in order to drown them out with the noise; like diseases that are treated superficially and foolishly, they just withdraw and after a short interval break out again all the more terribly; and gather inside us and are life, are life that is unlived, rejected, lost, life that we can die of.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Donโ€™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.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Things aren't all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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At bottom, and just in the deepest and most important things, we are unutterably alone, and for one person to be able to advise or even help another, a lot must happen, a lot must go well, a whole constellation of things must come right in order once to succeed.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation...Love is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world for himself for another's sake, it is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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most people come to know only one corner of their room, one spot near the window, one narrow strip on which they keep walking back and forth.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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And you should not let yourself be confused in your solitude by the fact that there is something in you that wants to move out of it.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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So don't be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why would you want to exclude from your life any uneasiness, any pain, any depression, since you don't know what work they are accomplishing within you?
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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It is not inertia alone that is responsible for human relationships repeating themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new, unforeseeable experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope. But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical will live the relation to another as something alive.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Keep growing quietly and seriously throughout your whole development; you cannot disturb it more rudely than by looking outward and expecting from outside replies to questions that only your inmost feeling in your most hushed hour can perhaps answer.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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But there is much beauty here, because there is much beauty everywhere.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us. So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloudshadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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And your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perhaps bewildered and embarrased, perhaps also protesting. But don't give in, insist on arguments, and act in this way, attentive and persistent, every single time, and the day will come when, instead of being a destroyer, it will become one of your best workers--perhaps the most intelligent of all the ones that are building your life.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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there is only one solitude, and it is vast, heavy, difficult to bear, and almost everyone has hours when he would gladly exchange it for any kind of sociability, however trivial or cheap, for the tiniest outward agreement with the first person who comes along....
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Did you know I always thought you were braver than me? Did you ever guess that that was why I was so afraid? It wasn't that I only loved some of you. But I wondered if you could ever love more than some of me. I knew I'd miss you. But the surprising thing is, you never leave me. I never forget a thing. Every kind of love, it seems, is the only one. It doesn't happen twice. And I never expected that you could have a broken heart and love with it too, so much that it doesn't seem broken at all. I know young people look at me and think my youth seems so far away, but it's all around me, and you're all around me. Tiger Lily, do you think magic exists if it can be explained? I can explain why I loved you, I can explain the theory of evolution that tells me why mermaids live in Neverland and nowhere else. But it still feels magic. The lost boys all stood at our wedding. Does it seem odd to you that they could have stood at a wedding that wasn't yours and mine? It does to me. and I'm sorry for it, and for a lot, and I also wouldn't change it. It is so quiet here. Even with all the trains and the streets and the people. It's nothing like the jungle. The boys have grown. Everything has grown. Do you think you will ever grow? I hope not. I like to think that even if I change and fade away, some other people won't. I like to think that one day after I die, at least one small particle of me - of all the particles that will spread everywhere - will float all the way to Neverland, and be part of a flower or something like that, like that poet said, the one that your Tik Tok loved. I like to think that nothing's final, and that everyone gets to be together even when it looks like they don't, that it all works out even when all the evidence seems to say something else, that you and I are always young in the woods, and that I'll see you sometime again, even if it's not with any kind of eyes I know of or understand. I wouldn't be surprised if that is the way things go after all - that all things end happy. Even for you and Tik Tok. and for you and me. Always, Your Peter P.S. Please give my love to Tink. She was always such a funny little bug.
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Jodi Lynn Anderson (Tiger Lily)
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For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. I hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other.โ€จThis is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love: the more they give, the more they possess.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Ultimately, and precisely in the deepest and most important matters, we are unspeakably alone; and many things must happen, many things must go right, a whole constellation of events must be fulfilled, for one human being to successfully advise or help another.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Someday there will be girls and women whose name will no longer mean the mere opposite of the male, but something in itself, something that makes one think not of any complement and limit, but only life and reality: the female human being.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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it is clear that we must trust what is difficult; everything alive trusts in it, everything in Nature grows and defends itself any way it can and is spontaneously itself, tries to be itself at all costs and against all opposition. We know little, but that we must trust in what is difficult is a certainty that will never abandon us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be one more reason for us to do it.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Things are not as easily understood nor as expressible as people usually would like us to believe. Most happenings are beyond expression; they exist where a word has never intruded.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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If, when you wake up in the morning, you can think of nothing but writing . . . then you are a writer.
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Rainer Maria Rilke
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Do not allow yourself to be misled by the surfaces of things.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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What is necessary, after all, is only this: solitude, vast inner solitude. To walk inside yourself and meet no one for hoursโ€”that is what you must be able to attain.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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And as for the rest, let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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That is the principal thing-not to remain with the dream, with the intention, with the being-in-the-mood, but always forcibly to convert it all into things.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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But this is what ... people are so often and disastrously wrong in doing: they (who by their very nature are impatient) fling themselves at each other when love takes hold of them, they scatter themselves, just as they are, in all their messiness, disorder, bewilderment ... And what can happen then? What can life do with this heap of half broken things that they would like to call their happiness, and their futures? And so each of them loses himself to the other for the sake of the other person, and loses the other. And loses the vast possibilities ... in exchange for an unfruitful confusion, out of which nothing more can come, nothing but a bit of disgust, disappointment and poverty.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Were it possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches, and yet a little way beyond the outworks of our divinings, perhaps we would endure our sadnesses with greater confidence than our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselvesโ€”like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. 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.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Do not believe that he who seeks to comfort you lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life has much difficulty and sadness and remains far behind yours. Were it otherwise he would never have been able to find those words.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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โ€ŽPerhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love. So you mustnโ€™t be frightened, if a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love themโ€ฆ How should we be able to forget those ancient myths about dragons that at the least moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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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 with them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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You have had many and great sadnesses, which passed. And you say that even this passing was hard for you and put you out of sorts. But, please, consider whether these great sadnesses have not rather gone right through the center of yourself? Whether much in you has not altered, whether you have not somewhere, at some point of your being, undergone a change when you were sad?
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far into the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesnโ€™t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesnโ€™t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything!
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Avoid providing material for the drama that is always stretched tight between parents and children; it uses up much of the childrenโ€™s strength and wastes the love of the elders, which acts and warms even if it doesnโ€™t comprehend. Donโ€™t ask for advice from them and donโ€™t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is strength and blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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That is fundamentally the only courage which is demanded of us: to be brave in the face of the strangest, most singular and most inexplicable things that can befall us
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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A good marriage is that in which each appoints the other guardian of his solitude.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Perhaps all dragons in our lives are really princesses just waiting to see us just once being beautiful and courageous.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Children are still the way you were as a child, sad and happy in just the same way--and if you think of your childhood, you once again live among them, among the solitary children.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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There is only one way: Go within. Search for the cause, find the impetus that bids you write. Put it to this test: Does it stretch out its roots in the deepest place of your heart? Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to write? Above all, in the most silent hour of your night, ask yourself this: Must I write? Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And if it should ring its assent, if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, โ€œI must,โ€ then build your life upon it. It has become your necessity. Your life, in even the most mundane and least significant hour, must become a sign, a testimony to this urge.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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The only sadnesses that are dangerous and unhealthy are the ones that we carry around in public in order to drown them out with the noise...
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Everything is gestation and then birthing.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Perhaps the great renewal of the world will consist of this, that man and woman, freed of all confused feelings and desires, shall no longer seek each other as opposites, but simply as members of a family and neighbors, and will unite as human beings, in order to simply, earnestly, patiently, and jointly bear the heavy responsibility of sexuality that has been entrusted to them.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Why don't you think of [God] as the one who is coming, who has been approaching from all eternity... the ultimate fruit of a tree whose leaves we are.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Nothing touches a work of art so little as words of criticism: they always result in more or less fortunate misunderstandings. Things aren't all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsay able than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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The grief, too, passes.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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It is also good to love: because love is difficult.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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We must embrace struggle. Every living thing conforms to it. Everything in nature grows and struggles in its own way, establishing its own identity, insisting on it at all cost, against all resistance.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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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.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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I believe that that love remains strong and intense in your memory because it was your first deep aloneness and the first inner work that you did on your life.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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I began my studies with eagerness. Before me I saw a new world opening in beauty and light, and I felt within me the capacity to know all things. In the wonderland of Mind I should be as free as another [with sight and hearing]. Its people, scenery, manners, joys, and tragedies should be living tangible interpreters of the real world. The lecture halls seemed filled with the spirit of the great and wise, and I thought the professors were the embodiment of wisdom... But I soon discovered that college was not quite the romantic lyceum I had imagined. Many of the dreams that had delighted my young inexperience became beautifully less and "faded into the light of common day." Gradually I began to find that there were disadvantages in going to college. The one I felt and still feel most is lack of time. I used to have time to think, to reflect, my mind and I. We would sit together of an evening and listen to the inner melodies of the spirit, which one hears only in leisure moments when the words of some loved poet touch a deep, sweet chord in the soul that until then had been silent. But in college there is no time to commune with one's thoughts. One goes to college to learn, it seems, not to think. When one enters the portals of learning, one leaves the dearest pleasures โ€“ solitude, books and imagination โ€“ outside with the whispering pines. I suppose I ought to find some comfort in the thought that I am laying up treasures for future enjoyment, but I am improvident enough to prefer present joy to hoarding riches against a rainy day.
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Helen Keller (The Story of My Life: With Her Letters (1887 1901) and a Supplementary Account of Her Education Including Passages from the Reports and Letters of Her Teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan by John Albert Macy)
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it is obvious that most people come to know only one corner of their room, one spot near the window, one narrow strip on which they keep walking back and forth.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Almost everything serious is difficult; and everything is serious.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Live the questions now
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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If only it were possible for us to see farther than our knowledge reaches, and even a little beyond the outworks of our presentiment, perhaps we would bear our sadnesses with greater trust than we have in our joys.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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All companionship can consist in only the strengthening of neighboring solitudes, giving oneself is by nature harmful to companionship: for when a person abandons himself, he is no longer anything, and when two people both give themselves up in order to become closer to each other, there is no longer any ground beneath them and their being together is a continual falling โ€“ I have learned over and over again, there is scarcely anything more difficult than to love one another.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Be happy about your growth, in which of course you canโ€™t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and donโ€™t torment them with your doubts and donโ€™t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldnโ€™t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesnโ€™t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again;
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Why should you want to give up a child's wise not-understanding in exchange for defensiveness and scorn, since not-understanding is, after all, a way of being alone, whereas defensiveness and scorn are a participation in precisely what, by these means, you want to separate yourself from.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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It is also good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation.... Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person (for what would a union be of two people who are unclarified, unfinished, and still incoherent?), it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world in himself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances... Merging and surrendering and every kind of communion is not for them (who must still, for a long, long time, save and gather themselves); it is the ultimate, is perhaps that for which human lives are as yet barely large enough.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Just be sure that you observe carefully what wells up within you and place that above everything that you notice around you.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Confess to yourself in the deepest hour of the night whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. Dig deep into your heart, where the answer spreads its roots in your being, and ask yourself solemnly, Must I write?
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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And when you realize that their activities are shabby, that their vocations are petrified and no longer connected with life, why not then continue to look upon it all as a child would, as if you were looking at something unfamiliar, out of the depths of your own solitude, which is itself work and status and vocation? Why should you want to give up a childโ€™s wise not-understanding in exchange for a defensiveness and scorn, since not-understanding is, after all, a way of being alone, whereas defensiveness and scorn are participation in precisely what, by these means, you want to separate yourself from.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Everything in the world of things and animals is still filled with happening, which you can take part in.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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But perhaps these are the very hours during which solitude grows; for its growing is painful as the growing of boys and sad as the beginning of spring.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Let your judgements have their own quiet, undisturbed development, which must, like all progress, come from deep within, and cannot in any way be pressed or hurried.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms, like books written in a foreign tongue...Live the questions.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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The difference between a criminal and an outlaw is that while criminals frequently are victims, outlaws never are. Indeed, the first step toward becoming a true outlaw is the refusal to be victimized. All people who live subject to other people's laws are victims. People who break laws out of greed, frustration, or vengeance are victims. People who overturn laws in order to replace them with their own laws are victims. ( I am speaking here of revolutionaries.) We outlaws, however, live beyond the law. We don't merely live beyond the letter of the law-many businessmen, most politicians, and all cops do that-we live beyond the spirit of the law. In a sense, then, we live beyond society. Have we a common goal, that goal is to turn the tables on the 'nature' of society. When we succeed, we raise the exhilaration content of the universe. We even raise it a little bit when we fail. When war turns whole populations into sleepwalkers, outlaws don't join forces with alarm clocks. Outlaws, like poets, rearrange the nightmare. The trite mythos of the outlaw; the self-conscious romanticism of the outlaw; the black wardrobe of the outlaw; the fey smile of the outlaw; the tequila of the outlaw and the beans of the outlaw; respectable men sneer and say 'outlaw'; young women palpitate and say 'outlaw'. The outlaw boat sails against the flow; outlaws toilet where badgers toilet. All outlaws are photogenic. 'When freedom is outlawed, only outlaws will be free.' There are outlaw maps that lead to outlaw treasures. Unwilling to wait for mankind to improve, the outlaw lives as if that day were here. Outlaws are can openers in the supermarket of life.
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Tom Robbins (Still Life with Woodpecker)
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Perhaps it requires of you precisely this existential anxiety in order to begin. Precisely these days of transition are perhaps the period when everything in you is working..
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Sex is difficult; yes. But those tasks that have been entrusted to us are difficult; almost everything serious is difficult; and everything is serious.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.ย .ย .ย . Live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. โ€”Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet S
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Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
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But perhaps these are the very hours during which solitude grows; for its growing is painful as the growing of boys and sad as the beginning of spring. But that must not confuse you. What is necessary, after all, is only this: solitude, vast inner solitude. To walk inside yourself and meet no one for hours - that is what you must be able to attain. To be solitary as you were when you were a child, when the grownups walked around involved with matters that seemed large and important because they looked so busy and because you didn't understand a thing about what they were doing.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Things are not all so comprehensible and expressible as one would mostly have us believe; most events are inexpressible, taking place in a realm which no word has ever entered, and more inexpressible than all else are works of art, mysterious existences, the life of which, while ours passes away, endures.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Some day there will be girls and women whose name will no longer signify merely an opposite of the masculine, but something in itself, something that makes one think, not of any complement and limit, but only of life and existence: the feminine human being. This advance will (at first much against the will of the out-stripped men) change the love-experience, which is now full of error, will alter it from the ground up, reshape it into a relation that is meant to be of one human being to another, no longer of man to woman. And this more human love (that will fulfil itself, infinitely considerate and gentle, and kind and clear in binding and releasing) will resemble that which we are preparing with struggle and toil, the love that consists in this: that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other." Letters to a Young Poet (1904)
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Rainer Maria Rilke
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Think... of the world which you carry within yourself... and set it above everything that you notice about you. Your inmost happening is worth your whole love, that is what you must somehow work at, and not loose too much time and too much courage in explaining your attitude to people.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart,โ€ Rainer Maria Rilke writes in his fourth letter to a young poet. โ€œTry to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
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Sue Klebold (A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy)
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Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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We are solitary. We can delude ourselves about this and act as if it were not true. That is all.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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But your solitude will be your home and haven even in the midst of very strange conditions, and from there you will discover all your paths.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Works of art are of an infinite loneliness and with nothing so little to be reached as with criticism. Only love can grasp and hold and be just toward them.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside. The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own...
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Most events are inexpressible, and take place in a sphere that no word has ever entered. Most inexpressible of all are works of art, existences full of secrets whose life continues alongside ours, while ours is transitory.
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Rainer Maria Rilke
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Don't ask for any advice from them and don't expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Perhaps many things inside you have been transformed; perhaps somewhere, someplace deep inside your being, you have undergone important changes while you were sad. The only sadnesses that are dangerous and unhealthy are the ones that we carry around in public in order to drown them out with the noise; like diseases that are treated superficially and foolishly, they just withdraw and after a short interval break out again all the more terribly; and gather inside us and are life, are life that is unlived, rejected, lost, life that we can die of. If only it were possible for us to see farther than our knowledge reaches, and even a little beyond the outworks of our presentiment, perhaps we would bear our sadnesses with greater trust than we have in our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy embarrassment, everything in us withdraws, a silence arises, and the new experience, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it all and says nothing.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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To be an artist means: not to calculate and count; to grow and ripen like a tree which does not hurry the flow of its sap and stands at ease in the spring gales without fearing that no summer may follow. It will come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are simply there in their vast, quiet tranquility, as if eternity lay before them. It is a lesson I learn every day amid hardships I am thankful for: patience is all!
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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And if I have anything else to say to you it is this: do not think that the person who is trying to console you lives effortlessly among the simple, quiet words that sometimes make you feel better. His life is full of troubles and sadness and falls far short of them. But if it were any different he could never have found the words that he did.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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If you trust in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in your conscious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge. - Mitchell translation
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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I learn it daily, learn it with painto which I am grateful: patience is everything! (Letter Three).
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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In the depths everything becomes law.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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For the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indiferent place.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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It is true that many young people who do not love rightly, who simply surrender themselves and leave no room for aloneness, experience the depressing feeling of failure.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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It is necessary - and toward this point our development will move, little by little - that nothing alien happen to us, but only what has long been our own.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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And in fact the artist's experience lies so unbelievably close to the sexual, to its pain and its pleasure, that the two phenomena are really just different forms of one and the same longing and bliss. And if instead of "heat" one could say "sex";- sex in the great, pure sense of the word, free of any sin attached to it by the Church, - then his art would be very great and infinitely important. His poetic power is great and as strong as a primal instinct; it has its own relentless rhythms in itself and explodes from him like a volcano.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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What else can I tell you? It seems to me that everything has its proper emphasis; and finally I want to add just one more bit of advice: to keep growing, silently and earnestly, through your whole development; you couldn't disturb it any more violently than by looking outside and waiting for outside answers to questions that only your innermost feeling, in your quietest hour, can perhaps answer.
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Rainer Maria Rilke
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That is why young people, who are beginners in everything, are not yet capable of love: it is something they must learn. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered around their solitary, anxious, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Perhaps all the dragons of your life are princesses, who are only waiting for us to show a little beauty and courage. Perhaps at the very bottom every horror is something helpless, that wants help from us
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, is already in our bloodstream. And we don't know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can't say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Depict your sorrows and desires, your passing thoughts and beliefs in some kind of beauty- depict all that with heartfelt, quiet, humble sincerity and use to express yourself the things that surround you,the images of your dreams and the objects of your memory. If your everyday life seems poor to you, do not accuse it; accuse yourself, tell yourself you are not poet enough to summon up its riches; since for the creator there is no poverty and no poor or unimportant place.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Kendi iรงine yรผrรผmek ve saatler boyu kimselere rastlamamak. ฤฐลŸte eriลŸilmesi gereken ลŸey bizler iรงin
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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that which we call destiny goes forth from within people, not from without into them.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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turn towards great and serious subjects, next to which irony becomes small and helpless.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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It is good to be alone, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult should be one more reason to do it.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better. In you, dear Mr. Kappus, so much is happening now; you must be patient like someone who is sick, and confident like some one who is recovering; for perhaps you are both. And more: you are also the doctor, who has to watch over himself. But in every sickness there are many days when the doctor can do nothing but wait. And that is what you, insofar as you are your own doctor, must now do, more than anything else.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Live for a while in these books, learn from them what you feel is worth learning, but most of all love them. This love will be returned to you thousands upon thousands of times, whatever your life may become โ€” it will, I am sure, go through the while fabric of your becoming, as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It is only because so many people have not absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have not realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that they have not realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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If we only arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if we could only arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us. So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloud shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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And when what is near you is far, then your distance is already among the stars and very large; rejoice in your growth, in which you naturally can take no one with you, and be kind to those who remain behind, and be sure and calm before them and do not torment them with your doubts and do not frighten them with Your confidence or joy, which they could not understand.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Read as little as possible of literary criticism โ€” such things are either partisan opinions, which have become petrified and meaningless, hardened and empty of life, or else they are just clever word-games, in which one view wins today, and tomorrow the opposite view.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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ุฑุจู…ุง ุฃูˆุฏ ุฃู† ุฃู†ุตุญูƒ ุฃูŠุถุง ุฃู† ุชู†ู…ูˆ ููŠ ู…ุณุงุฑ ุชุทูˆุฑูƒ ุจู‡ุฏูˆุก ูˆุฌุฏูŠุฉุ› ุฅุฐ ู„ุง ูŠู…ูƒู†ูƒ ุฃู† ุชุนุฑู‚ู„ู‡ ุจุฃูƒุซุฑ ู…ู† ุฃู† ุชู†ุธุฑ ุฅู„ู‰ ุฎุงุฑุฌูƒุŒ ูˆุฃู† ุชู†ุชุธุฑ ุฅุฌุงุจุงุช ุชุฃุชูŠูƒ ู…ู† ุงู„ุฎุงุฑุฌ ุนู† ุฃุณุฆู„ุฉ ุฑุจู…ุง ู„ุง ูŠู…ูƒู† ุฃู† ูŠู‚ุฏู…ู‡ุง ู„ูƒ ุณูˆู‰ ุฅุญุณุงุณูƒ ุงู„ุนู…ูŠู‚ ููŠ ุฃูƒุซุฑ ุณุงุนุงุชูƒ ุณฺฉูˆู†ู‹ุง.
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ุฑุงูŠู†ุฑ ู…ุงุฑูŠุง ุฑูŠู„ูƒู‡ (Letters to a Young Poet)
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I see you drinking at a fountain with tiny blue hands, no, your hands are not tiny they are small, and the fountain is in France where you wrote me that last letter and I answered and never heard from you again. you used to write insane poems about ANGELS AND GOD, all in upper case, and you knew famous artists and most of them were your lovers, and I wrote back, itโ€™ all right, go ahead, enter their lives, Iโ€™ not jealous because weโ€™ never met. we got close once in New Orleans, one half block, but never met, never touched. so you went with the famous and wrote about the famous, and, of course, what you found out is that the famous are worried about their fame โ€“โ€“ not the beautiful young girl in bed with them, who gives them that, and then awakens in the morning to write upper case poems about ANGELS AND GOD. we know God is dead, theyโ€™ told us, but listening to you I wasnโ€™ sure. maybe it was the upper case. you were one of the best female poets and I told the publishers, editors, โ€œ her, print her, sheโ€™ mad but sheโ€™ magic. thereโ€™ no lie in her fire.โ€ I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of. I would have loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a cigarette and listened to you piss in the bathroom, but that didnโ€™ happen. your letters got sadder. your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all lovers betray. it didnโ€™ help. you said you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and the bridge was over a river and you sat on the crying bench every night and wept for the lovers who had hurt and forgotten you. I wrote back but never heard again. a friend wrote me of your suicide 3 or 4 months after it happened. if I had met you I would probably have been unfair to you or you to me. it was best like this.
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Charles Bukowski
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For if we think of this existence of the individual as a larger or smaller room, it becomes clear that most people get to know only one corner of their room, a window seat, a strip of floor which they pace up and down.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Loving isn't merging, surrendering, uniting with the other. Rather, it's a kind of solitude; of profound aloneness. It induces you to mature and become whole for the sake of your beloved ... to truly love another, you must first wholly love yourself. Love therefore exacts the most demanding claim of all; it both chooses you and pursues you, and reaches out, as if over vast distances, to call and draw you into your now and future self." -- John VanDyke Wilmerding, ideas put forth inspired by ('after') Rainer Maria Rilke's 'Letters to a Young Poet
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Rainer Maria Rilke
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To go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create. Accept that answer, just as it is given to you, without trying to interpret it. Then take the destiny upon yourself, and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what reward might come from outside. For the creator must be a world for himself and must find everything in himself and in Nature, to whom his whole life is devoted.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further. The further one goes, the more private, the more personal, the more singular an experience becomes, and the thing one is making is, finally, the necessary, irrepressible, and as nearly as possible, the definitive utterance of this singularity.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Things are not all so comprehensible and utterable as people would mostly have us believe; most events are unutterable, consummating themselves in a sphere where word has never trod, and more unutterable than them all are works of art, whose life endures by the side of our own that passes away.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Rilke wrote in one of my favourite books [Letters to a Young Poet], โ€œPerhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.โ€ It takes courage to live as our true selves; especially when doing so can be faced with such unkindness. But I believe the more we show of ourselves, the more we make space for positive change in the world. I feel so grateful I get to be a part of a series that is contributing to that change.
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Elise Bauman
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In one creative thought a thousand forgotten nights of love come to life again and fill it with majesty and exaltation. And those who come together in the nights and are entwined in rocking delight perform a solemn task and gather sweetness, depth, and strength for the song of some future poet, who will appear in order to say ecstasies that are unsayable.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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there is only one solitude, and it is great and is not easy to bear, and to almost everyone there come hours when they would gladly exchange it for some kind of communion, however banal and cheap, for the appearance of some slight harmony with the most easily available, with the most undeserving. .
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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I want to ask you, as clearly as I can, to bear with patience all that is unresolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were rooms yet to enter or books written in a foreign language. Donโ€™t dig for answers that canโ€™t be given you yet: you cannot live them now. For everything must be lived. Live the questions now, perhaps then, someday, you will gradually, without noticing, live into the answer. Worpswede, July 16, 1903 Letters to a Young Poet
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Anita Barrows (A Year with Rilke)
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Do not search now for the answers which cannot be given you because you could not live them. It is a matter of living everything. Live the questions now.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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We are unspeakably alone.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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You want to know, companions of my youth, How much has changed the wild but shy young poet Forever writing last poem after last poem; You hear heโ€™s dark as earth, barefoot, A turban round his head, a bolo at his side, His ballpen blown up to a long-barreled gun: Deeper still the struggling change inside.
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Emmanuel F. Lacaba (Salvaged Poems)
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Society in its wisdom has found ways of constructing refuges of all kinds, for since it has been disposed to make the love-life a pastime, it has also felt obliged to trivialize it, to make it cheap, risk-free and secure, as public pleasures usually are.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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so much is happening now; you must be patient like someone who is sick, and confident like someone who is recovering; for perhaps you are both. And more: you are also the doctor, who has to watch over himself. But in every sickness there are many days when the doctor can do nothing but wait. And that is what you, insofar as you are your own doctor, must now do, more than anything else.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Believe in a love that is preserved for you like a heritage, and trust that in this love there is a strength and a blessing which you are not bound to leave behind you though you may travel far!
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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To keep growing, silently and earnestly, through your while development; you couldnโ€™t disturb it any more violently than by looking outside and waiting for outside answers to question that only your innermost feeling, in your quietest hour, can perhaps answer.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Great sadnesses โ€ฆ they are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Do you remember how this life of yours longed in childhood to belong to the grown-ups? I can see that it now longs to move on from them and is drawn to those who are greater yet. That is why it does not cease to be difficult, but also why it will not cease to grow.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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If it were possible for us to see further than our knowledge extends and out a little over the outworks of our surmising, perhaps we should then bear our sorrows with greater confidence than our joys.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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A man taken out of his room and, almost without preparation or transition, placed on the heights of a great mountain range, would feel something like that: an unequalled insecurity, an abandonment to the nameless, would almost annihilate him. He would feel he was falling or think he was being catapulted out into space or exploded into a thousand pieces: what a colossal lie his brain would have to invent in order to catch up with and explain the situation of his senses.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them. โ€” Always trust yourself and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentations, discussions, or introductions of that sort; if it turns out that you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgments their own silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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A work of art is good if it has grown out of necessity. In this manner of its origin lies its true estimate: there is no other. Therefore, my dear Sir, I could give you no advice but this: to go into yourself and to explore the depths whence your life wells forth; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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In their new personal development the girl and the woman will only be for a short time imitations of the good and bad manners of man and reiterations of man's professions. After the uncertainty of this transition it will appear that women have passed through those many, often ridiculous, changes of disguise, only to free themselves from the disturbing influence of the other sex. For women, in whom life tarries and dwells in a more incommunicable, fruitful and confident form, must at bottom have become richer beings, more ideally human beings than fundamentally easy-going man, who is not drawn down beneath the surface of life by the difficulty of bearing bodily fruit, and who arrogantly and hastily undervalues what he means to love. When this humanity of woman, borne to the full in pain and humiliation, has stripped off in the course of the changes of its outward position the old convention of simple feminine weakness, it will come to light, and man, who cannot yet feel it coming, will be surprised and smitten by it. One dayโ€”a day of which trustworthy signs are already speaking and shining forth especially in northern landsโ€”one day that girl and woman will exist, whose name will no longer mean simply a contrast to what is masculine, but something for itself, something that will not make one think of any supplement or limit, but only of life and existenceโ€”the feminine human beings. This advance, at first very much against the will of man who has been overtakenโ€”will alter the experience of love, which is now full of error, will change it radically and form it into a relationship, no longer between man and woman, but between human being and human being. And this more human love, which will be carried out with infinite consideration and gentleness and will be good and clean in its tyings and untyings, will be like that love which we are straining and toiling to prepare, the love which consists in this, that two lonely beings protect one another, border upon one another and greet one another.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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And you must be indulgent with the answer, which will perhaps often leave you empty-handed; for ultimately, and precisely in the deepest and most important matters, we are unspeakably alone; and many things must happen, many things must go right, a whole constellation of events must be fulfilled, for one human being to successfully advise or help another.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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The claims which the difficult work of love lays upon our development are more than life-sized, and as beginners we are not equal to them. But if we continue to hold out and take this love upon ourselves as a burden and apprenticeship, instead of losing ourselves in all the light and frivolous play behind which mankind have concealed themselves from the most serious gravity of their existence,-then perhaps some small progress and some alleviation will become perceptible to those who come long after us; that would be much.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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What is needed is this, and this alone: solitude, great inner loneliness. Going into oneself and not meeting anyone for hours โ€“ that is what one must arrive at. Loneliness of the kind one knew as a child, when the grown-ups went back and forth bound up in things which seemed grave and weighty because they looked so busy, and because one had no idea what they were up to. And when one day you realise that their preoccupations are meagre, their professions barren and no longer connected to life, why not continue to look on them like a child, as if on something alien, drawing on the depths of your own world, on the expanse of your own solitude, which itself is work and achievement and a vocation? Why wish to exchange a childโ€™s wise incomprehension for rejection and contempt, when incomprehension is solitude, whereas rejection and contempt are ways of participating in what, by precisely these means, you want to sever yourself from?
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Perhaps many things inside you have been transformed; perhaps somewhere, someplace deep inside your being, you have undergone important changes while you were sad. The only sadnesses that are dangerous and unhealthy are the ones that we carry around in public in order to drown them out with the noise; like diseases that are treated superficially and foolishly, they just withdraw and after a short interval break out again all the more terribly; and gather inside us and are life, are life that is unlived, rejected, lost, life that we can die of.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Everything must be carried to term before it is born. To let every impression and the germ of every feeling come to completion inside, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, in what is unattainable to oneโ€™s own intellect, and to wait with deep humility and patience for the hour when a new clarity is delivered.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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You are looking outside, and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you - no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must," then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse...go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows; at its source you will find the answer to, the question of whether you must create. Accept that answer, just as it is given to you, without trying to interpret it. Perhaps you will discover that you are called to be an artist. Then take that destiny upon yourself, and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what reward might come from outside.
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Rainer Maria Rilke
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We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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To speak again of solitude, it becomes ever clearer that in truth there is nothing we can choose or avoid. We are solitary. We can delude ourselves and act as if this were not so. That is all we can do. How much better to realize from the start that that is what we are, and to proceed from there. It can, of course, make us dizzy, for everything our eyes rest upon will be taken from us, no longer is anything near, and what is far is endlessly far. Borgeby gรคrd, Sweden, August 12, 1904 Letters to a Young Poet
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Anita Barrows (A Year with Rilke)
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This humanity of woman, brought forth in pains and degradations, will come to light when she has shed the conventions of mere femininity in the alterations of her outward station, and the men who today do not feel it coming will be surprised and struck by it.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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At last, after weeks of daily fending off, you get your bearings back, and somewhat dazed you tell yourself: No, there is not more beauty here than elsewhere, and all these objects which generation after generation have continued to admire, which inexpert hands have mended and restored, they mean nothing, and are nothing and have no heart and no value; but there is a great deal of beauty here, because there is beauty everywhere.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience.
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Rainer Maria Rilke
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You must not let yourself be misled, in your solitude, by the fact that there is something in you which wants to escape from it. This very wish will, if you use it quietly and preeminently and like a tool, help to spread your solitude over wide country. People have (with the help of convention) found the solution of everything in ease and the easiest side of easy; but it is clear that we must hold to the difficult; everything living holds to it, everything in Nature grows and defends itself according to its own character and is an individual in its own right, strives to be so at any cost and against all opposition. We know little, but that we must hold to the difficult is a certainty that will not leave us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; the fact that a thing is difficult must be one more reason for our doing it.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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I believe that almost all our sorrows are moments of tension which we experience as a paralysis, because we no longer hear our estranged feelings living. Because we are alone with the strange thing that has entered into us; because for a moment everything familiar and customary has been taken from us; because we stand in the middle of a crossing where we cannot remain standing.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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And if what is near you is far away, then your vastness is already among the stars and is very great; be happy about your growth, in which of course you can't take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don't torment them with your doubts and don't frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn't be able to comprehend.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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If you will cling to Nature, to the simple in Nature, to the little things that hardly anyone sees, and that can so unexpectedly become big and beyond measuring; if you have this love of inconsiderable things and seek quite simply, as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory for you, not in your intellect, perhaps, which lags marveling behind, but in your inmost consciousness, waking and cognizance.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful: patience is everything!
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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If only mankind could hold its own fertility in awe, which is one and the same whether it manifests itself in the spirit or in the flesh. For creativity in the spirit has its origins in the physical kind, is of one nature with it and only a more delicate, more rapt and less fleeting version of the carnal sort of sex.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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und ich mรถchte Sie, so gut ich es kann, bitten, lieber Herr, Geduld zu haben gegen alles Ungelรถste in Ihrem Herzen und zu versuchen, die Fragen selbst liebzuhaben wie verschlossene Stuben und wie Bรผcher, die in einer sehr fremden Sprache geschrieben sind. Forschen Sie jetzt nicht nach den Antworten, die Ihnen nicht gegeben werden kรถnnen, weil Sie sie nicht leben kรถnnten. Und es handelt sich darum, alles zu leben. Leben Sie jetzt die Fragen. Vielleicht leben Sie dann allmรคhlich, ohne es zu merken, eines fernen Tages in die Antwort hinein.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Bodily delight is a sensory experience, not any different from pure looking or the pure feeling with which a beautiful fruit fills the tongue; it is a great, an infinite learning that is given to us, a knowledge of the world, the fullness and the splendor of all knowledge...the individual...can remember that all beauty in animals and plants is a silent, enduring form of love and yearning, and he can see the animal, as he sees plants, patiently and willingly uniting and multiplying and growing, not out of physical pleasure, not out of physical pain, but bowing to necessities that are greater than pleasure and pain, and more powerful than will and withstanding. If only human beings could more humbly receive this mystery---which the world is filled with...
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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So you mustnโ€™t be frightened, if a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you donโ€™t know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Nobody can advise and help you, nobody. There is only one single means. Go inside yourself. Discover the motive that bids you write; examine whether it sends its roots down to the deepest places of your heart, confess to yourself whether you would have to die if writing were denied you. This before all: ask yourself in the quietest hour
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the apparently uneventful and static moment when our future comes upon us is so much closer to life than that other noisy and accidental point when it happens to us as if from the outside. The quieter, the more patient and open we are in our sadness, the deeper and more unerringly the new will penetrate into us, the better we shall acquire it, the more it will be our fate, and when one day in the future it โ€˜takes placeโ€™ (that is, steps out of us towards others) we shall feel related and close to it in our inmost hearts. And that is necessary. It is necessary โ€“ and little by little our development will tend in this direction โ€“ that nothing alien should happen to us, but only what has long been part of us.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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There exists only one aloneness, and it is great, and it is not easy to bear. To nearly everyone come those hours that we would gladly exchange for any cheap or even the most banal camaraderie, for even the slightest inclination to choose the second-best or the most unworthy thing. But perhaps it is exactly in those hours when aloneness can flourish.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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His tired gaze - from passing endless bars - has turned into a vacant stare which nothing holds. to him there seem to be a thousand bars, and out beyond these bars exists no world. his supple gait, the smoothness of strong strides that gently turn in ever smaller circles perform a dance of strength, centered deep within a will, stunned, but untamed, indomitable. but sometimes the curtains of his eyelids part, the pupils of his eyes dilate as images of past encounters enter while through his limbs a tension strains in silence only to cease to be, to die within his heart. [the panther]
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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This advance (at first very much against the will of the outdistanced men) will transform the love experience, which is now filled with error, will change it from the ground up, and reshape it into a relationship that is meant to be between one human being and another, no longer one that flows from man to woman. And this more human love (which will fulfill itself with infinite consideration and gentleness, and kindness and clarity in binding and releasing) will resemble what we are now preparing painfully and with great struggle: the love that consists in this: that two solitudes protect and border and greet each other.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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If you hold to Nature, to the simplicity that is in her, to the small detail that scarcely one man sees, which can so unexpectedly grow into something great and boundless; if you have this love for insignificant things and seek, simply as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems to be poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory, not perhaps in the understanding, which lags wondering behind, but in your innermost consciousness, wakefulness and knowing.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must," then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your while life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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I would like to beg of you, dear friend, as well as I can, to have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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I wanted to say two further things to you today: irony: Do not let yourself be governed by it, especially not in unproductive moments. In productive ones try to make use of it as one more means of seizing life. Used purely, it is itself pure, and one need not be ashamed of it; and when you feel too familiar with it, when you fear the growing intimacy with it, then turn towards great and serious subjects, before which it becomes small and helpless. Seek for the depth of things: there irony never descendsโ€”and when you have thus brought it to the edge of greatness, test at the same time whether this mode of perception springs from a necessity of your being.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. 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 answers. โ€”Rainer Maria Rilke, LETTER TO A YOUNG POET T
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Joan Anderson (A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman)
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that is where young people so often and so grievously go wrong: that they (whose nature it is to have no patience) throw themselves at each other when love comes over them, scatter themselves abroad, just as they are in all their untidiness, disorder and confusion . . .: But what is to be done then? How is life to act upon this heap of half crushed matter which they call their communion and which they would dearly like to style their happiness, if that were possible, and their future? So each one loses himself for the otherโ€™s sake, and
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Why should you want to exclude from your life all unsettling, all pain, all depression of spirit, when you donโ€™t know what work it is these states are performing within you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where it all comes from and where it is leading? You well know you are in a period of transition and want nothing more than to be transformed. If there is something ailing in the way you go about things, then remember that sickness is the means by which an organism rids itself of something foreign to it. All one has to do is help it to be ill, to have its whole illness and let it break out, for that is how it mends itself. There is so much, my dear Mr Kappus, going on in you now. You must be patient as an invalid and trusting as a convalescent, for you are perhaps both. And more than that: you are also the doctor responsible for looking after himself. But with all illnesses there are many days when the doctor can do nothing but wait. And inasfar as you are your own doctor, โ€œthis above all is what you must do now.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Love at first has nothing to do with unfolding, abandon and uniting with another person (for what would be the sense in a union of what is unrefined and unfinished, still second order?); for the individual it is a grand opportunity to mature, to become something in himself, to become a world, to become a world in himself for anotherโ€™s sake; it is a great immoderate demand made upon the self, something that singles him out and summons him to vast designs.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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If your everyday life seems to lack material, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to summon up its riches, for there is no lack for him who creates and no poor, trivial place. And even if you were in a prison whose walls did not let any sound of the world outside reach your senses - would you not have your childhood still, this marvellous, lavish source, this treasure-house of memories? Turn your attention towards that.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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With regard to any such disquisition, review or introduction, trust yourself and your instincts; even if you go wrong in your judgement, the natural growth of your inner life will gradually, over time, lead you to other insights. Allow your verdicts their own quiet untroubled development which like all progress must come from deep within and cannot be forced or accelerated. Everything must be carried to term before it is born. To let every impression and the germ of every feeling come to completion inside, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, in what is unattainable to oneโ€™s own intellect, and to wait with deep humility and patience for the hour when a โ€œnew clarity is delivered: that alone is to live as an artist, in the understanding and in oneโ€™s creative work. These things cannot be measured by time, a year has no meaning, and ten years are nothing. To be an artist means: not to calculate and count; to grow and ripen like a tree which does not hurry the flow of its sap and stands at ease in the spring gales without fearing that no summer may follow. It will come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are simply there in their vast, quiet tranquillity, as if eternity lay before them. It is a lesson I learn every day amid hardships I am thankful for: patience is all!โ€ .
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Voi siete cosรฌ giovine, cosรฌ al di qua dโ€™ogni inizio, e io vi vorrei pregare quanto posso, caro signore, di aver pazienza verso quanto non รจ ancora risolto nel vostro cuore, e tentare di aver care le domande stesse come stanze serrate e libri scritti in una lingua molto straniera. Non cercate ora risposte che non possono venirvi date perchรฉ non le potreste vivere. E di questo si tratta, di vivere tutto. Vivete ora le domande. Forse vโ€™insinuate cosรฌ a poco a poco, senzโ€™avvertirlo, a vivere un giorno lontano la risposta. Forse portate in voi la possibilitร  di formare e creare, quale una maniera di vita singolarmente beata e pura; educatevi a questo compito, - ma accogliete in grande fiducia quanto vi accade e se solo vi accade dal vostro volere, da qualche necessitร  del vostro intimo, prendetelo su voi stesso e non odiate nulla.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Girls and women, in their new, particular unfolding, will only in passing imitate men's behavior and misbehavior and follow in male professions. Once the uncertainty of such transitions is over it will emerge that women have only passed through the spectrum and the variety of those (often laughable) disguises in order to purify their truest natures from the distorting influences of the other sex. Women, in whom life abides and dwells more immediately, more fruitfully and more trustingly, are bound to have ripened more thoroughly, become more human human beings, than a man, who is all too light and has not been pulled down beneath the surface of life by the weight of a bodily fruit and who, in his arrogance and impatience, undervalues what he thinks he loves. This humanity which inhabits woman, brought to term in pain and humiliation, will, once she has shrugged off the conventions of mere femininity through the transformations of her outward status, come clearly to light, and men, who today do not yet feel it approaching, will be taken by surprise and struck down by it. One day (there are already reliable signs which speak for it and which begin to spread their light, especially in the northern countries), one day there will be girls and women whose name will no longer just signify the opposite of the male but something in their own right, something which does not make one think of any supplement or limit but only of life and existence: the female human being. This step forward (at first right against the will of the men who are left behind) will transform the experience of love, which is now full of error, alter its root and branch, reshape it into a relation between two human beings and no longer between man and woman. And this more human form of love (which will be performed in infinitely gentle and considerate fashion, true and clear in its creating of bonds and dissolving of them) will resemble the one we are struggling and toiling to prepare the way for, the love that consists in two solitudes protecting, defining and welcoming one another.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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they (who by their very nature are impatient) fling themselves at each other when love takes hold of them, they scatter themselves, just as they are, in all their messiness, disorder, bewilderment. And what can happen then? What can life do with this heap of half-broken things that they call their communion and that they would like to call their happiness, if that were possible, and their future? And so each of them loses himself for the sake of the other person, and loses the other, and many others who still wanted to come.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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The aim of marriage, as I feel it, is not by means of demolition and overthrowing of all boundaries to create a hasty communion, the good marriage is rather one in which each appoints the other as guardian of his solitude and shews him this greatest trust that he has to confer. A togetherness of two human beings is an impossibility and, where it does seem to exist, a limitation, a mutual compromise which robs one side or both sides of their fullest freedom and development. โ€œBut granted the consciousness that even between the closest people there persist infinite distances, a wonderful living side by side can arise for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of seeing one another in whole shape and before a great sky!
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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For this reason, my dear Sir, the only advice I have is this: to go into yourself and to examine the depths from which your life springs; at its source you will find the answer to the question of whether you have to write. Accept this answer as it is, without seeking to interpret it. Perhaps it will turn out that you are called to be an artist. Then assume this fate and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking after the rewards that may come from outside. For he who creates must be a world of his own and find everything within himself and in the natural world that he has elected to follow.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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that Rome (if one does not yet know it) has an oppressingly sad effect for the first few days: through the lifeless and doleful museum atmosphere it exhales, through the abundance of its pasts, fetched-forth and laboriously upheld pasts (on which a small present subsists), through the immense overestimation, sustained by savants and philologists and copied by the average traveler in Italy, of all these disfigured and dilapidated things, which at bottom are after all no more than chance remains of another time and of a life that is not and must not be ours. Finally, after weeks of being daily on the defensive, one finds oneself again, if still somewhat confused, and one says to oneself: no, there is not more beauty here than elsewhere, and all these objects, continuously admired by generations and patched and mended by workmen's hands, signify nothing, are nothing, and have no heart and no value; -- but there is much beauty here, because there is much beauty everywhere.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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What is necessary, after all, is only this: solitude, vast inner solitude. To walk inside yourself and meet no one for hours โ€” that is what you must be able to attain. To be solitary as you were when you were a child, when the grown-ups walked around involved with matters that seemed large and important because they looked so busy and because you didnโ€™t understand a thing about what they were doing. And when you realize that their activities are shabby, that their vocations are petrified and no longer connected with life, why not then continue to look upon it all as a child would, as if you were looking at something unfamiliar, out of the depths of your own solitude, which is itself work and status and vocation? Why should you want to give up a childโ€™s wise not-understanding in exchange for defensiveness and scorn, since not understanding is, after all, a way of being alone, whereas defensiveness and scorn are participation in precisely what, by these means, you want to separate yourself from.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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There is a story that Simonides was dining at the house of a wealthy nobleman named Scopas at Crannon in Thessaly, and chanted a lyric poem which he had composed in honor of his host, in which he followed the custom of the poets by including for decorative purposes a long passage referring to Castor and Pollux; whereupon Scopas with excessive meanness told him he would pay him half the fee agreed on for the poem, and if he liked he might apply for the balance to his sons of Tyndaraus, as they had gone halves in the panegyric. The story runs that a little later a message was brought to Simonides to go outside, as two young men were standing at the door who earnestly requested him to come out; so he rose from his seat and went out, and could not see anybody; but in the interval of his absence the roof of the hall where Scopas was giving the banquet fell in, crushing Scopas himself and his relations underneath the ruins and killing them; and when their friends wanted to bury them but were altogether unable to know them apart as they had been completely crushed, the story goes that Simonides was enabled by his recollection of the place in which each of them had been reclining at table to identify them for separate interment; and that this circumstance suggested to him the discovery of the truth that the best aid to clearness of memory consists in orderly arrangement. He inferred that persons desiring to train this faculty must select localities and form mental images of the facts they wish to remember and store those images in the localities, with the result that the arrangement of the localities will preserve the order of the facts, and the images of the facts will designate the facts themselves, and we shall employ the localities and images respectively as a wax writing tablet and the letters written on it.
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Marcus Tullius Cicero