From “Letters To A Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke

From Letter 4:

… But everything that may someday be possible for many people, the solitary man can now, already, prepare and build with his own hands, which make fewer mistakes.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, you write, and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast. 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. 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. Avoid providing material for the drama, that is always stretched tight between parent and children; it uses up much of the children’s strength and wastes the love of the elders, which acts and warms even if it doesn’t comprehend 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.

Letters To A Young Poet

by Rainer Maria Rilke


I found Rilke’s letters published on-line here. Again, this selection is from Letter 4. As deeply as many of you were touched by Frida’s piece, I wanted to encourage you to keep faith in love, as jaded and as solitary as some of us may feel. To believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance…

I may not be able to bring you each Frida’s proverbial cup of coffee, but I can bring you poetry, and, from time to time, maybe even a little hope. Thanks for continuing to read and for being patient with the intermittent posts. The new year should bring more frequent scheduled postings. Much love, Christy

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are 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.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

“Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now …

“Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet.

“Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness …?

“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.”

― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Posted in parallel with today’s Words for the Weekend on METAMORPHOSIS. Thank you Paul for the inspiration.