August 6, 2011

Try to Be Close to Things

Child with a Straw Hat, by Paul Cézanne

When you feel no commonality between yourself and other people, try to be close to Things, which will not abandon you. Nights are still there and winds that blow through the trees and over many lands. Amidst  the things and beings of this world so much is happening that you can take part in. And children are still the way you were as a child, that happy and that sad, and when you think of your childhood you live it again with them, the lonely childhood, and grown-ups count for nothing.

Rome, December 23, 1903
Letters to a Young Poet


  1. it's a strange thing i try to come to terms with, our bodily living and our spiritual living, not as though they live inside of one another like stacking dolls, for sometimes one is bigger than the other and sometimes vice versa, as though these two states bulge, but too it seems they are not relative directly to one another but more distant relations than i thought. it almost seems as though the bodily state exists to the left while the spiritual state exists to the right, pulsing, growing, splitting, wilting, zipping off, falling to earth. it is less a symbiotic living and more a very complex and difficult to reconcile living. and somehow i feel this behind rilke's words. perhaps this is only projection, but in behind this turbulent state of being, no matter the tumult of the relationship of self, there is this independent state of being that we can look to, that of the tree, the rose or the animal. they exist in a physical state only, or so it seems and we assume. gone is the radical violence of the schism of our states. there, look there to be calmed and know, living is alright.

    do you ever feel you can see X wide and then do you ever see from your periphery someone or something there just in the shadows? rilke causes me to feel like this, that all understanding is just there if i could learn to split my vision just that bit more.


  2. "grown-ups count for nothing" of my twenty-something high school teachers declared, "adults are only part-time."

    In one way or another, we are always children. I appreciate Rilke's reminder that we are free to re-live the loneliness of our childhood, lying on our backs in the grass and watching the clouds soar.

  3. Nelson, you made me take another look at my lonely childhood the recollection of which seemed primarily sad.. an empty kind of loneliness. But your words made me think that much of those long lonely days were actually energizing to me, an introvert, and I lost myself in a positive kind of solitude.


"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Go ahead, bloom recklessly!