Day 1/30 - tenderly let it go
Are you afraid of poetry? I think most people are, even literature students! I enjoy reading poetry. It is like cracking a puzzle. Or like listening to someone tell you a secret. All poetry is somewhat intimate in that sense. They are small, but sometimes their world is large. They can be funny or sad or stirring or intellectual.
Packing my library over the weekend, I realized the shelf that gave me greatest joy was of poetry books. Amongst them I found this handbound compilation of poems I made when I was much younger! It was made for a boy, haha. Last night re-reading the poems I was surprised I knew them all so well! I encountered an old friend.
During this “notCB” period, when we are all spending more time at home. Perhaps for some of you, a feeling of anxiety has crept in again about your finances, your future, or your alone-ness. As such I would share a poem each day. No boys, just words. The same way that poems open up a world both outside and in, maybe these poems will help create a space where you feel joy, safety and calm.
This poem by the romantic Rilke (oh all young romantic lit students read Rilke!. I thought it is apt for this time when the world outside seems a bit more chaotic. This poem is an invitation to enter a different world. This world may feel imagined. But it as connected to the “outside” “real” world as it is to the reality of what you hear, perceive, feel, understand, and relate as you read. It is an invitation also to trust yourself with what is uncertain.
By Rainer Maria Rilke
Whoever you are: in the evening step out
of your room, where you know everything;
yours is the last house before the far-off:
whoever you are.
With your eyes, which in their weariness
barely free themselves from the worn-out threshold,
you lift very slowly one black tree
and place it against the sky: slender, alone.
And you have made the world. And it is huge
and like a word which grows ripe in silence.
And as your will seizes on its meaning,
tenderly your eyes let it go...
(translated by Edward Snow)