March 26, 2006

Rilke Letters

I just came across this text, by Rainer Maria Rilke, from his Letters to a Young Poet, a book that Mike sent me when I was in Vietnam -- it was quite a memorable ordeal -- and though I've left it in the States, I'm aching to read it again.

The following text was found on the internet, and so I can't accurately credit the translation (I own the Stephen Mitchell version, who also translated my Tao Te Ching):

"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 only if we could arrange our lives in accordance with the principle that tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us to be 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 only princesses waiting for us to 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

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