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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Encounter on Mooker Nallamuthu Street

Worpswede, near Bremen

July 16, 1903

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.
Excerpt from the fourth letter.

Letters To A Young Poet

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Encounter on Mooker Nallamuthu Street
in that narrow street
bustling with bazaar vagaries
oppressive mugginess and heat
odours of trampled, strewn garbage
compositing with aromatic grime
emanating from cafes
with the grit from shops
godowns, offices, flats
i walked carefully
not to humiliate the garbage
when abruptly came face to face
with a girl barely six
black as a moonless sunderban night
wearing a handed down frock
with a deep neck
her hair knotted, skin lustrous
wearing a pseudo pearl white necklace
the contrast between it and her dark skin
overwhelmed her youthful smile
she looked up at me
with vibrant gleam
and coyly let me pass


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