Solitude and Poetry…

Poetry is a treasure in my life. When I   have a thought but don’t have the words for it, I listen to music and read poetry. It is through the reading and art of poetic words that I find my voice again. I revel in musicality of words that poets can string together so flawlessly. Some days, I can spend hours reading through the layers of intended meaning. I want to peal back each letter, each word to understand deeper. What did the poet really mean?

Rainer Maria Rilke has been an instrumental figure in shaping my love for the art of poetry.   I first encountered Rilke through his ten letters to Franz Kappus, a young 19-year-old poet who sought the critique of his poetic works by Rilke. The letters were published as “Letters to a Young Poet” after RIlke’s death. They contained more about the journey and struggle of life and loneliness than the literary criticism Kappus was looking for.

It’s obvious from the letters that Kappus confessed a loneliness he didn’t know how to handle. Rilke’s advice to move towards the aloneness rather than run from it, declaring that aloneness was a part of our nature, speaks to the truth of our being —even today. “To be lonely as one was lonely as a child…that must be the goal…look at the world as a child would see it- out of the depth of your own world.”

Rilke’s theory of solitude is a spiritual constant in my life. I have tried to move into solitude. To quiet the mind. To live like the poet I so admire...

Written over a century ago, the letters apply to current day with so much ease, it’s as if no time had passed at all.   Within them, there is insightful understanding, mystical revelations and spiritual connection. They have become a guide to the answers I seek.

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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. Letters to a Young Poet”