Bereft of knowledge before the heavens of my life, I stand astonished. Oh the great stars. Their rising and their setting. How quiet. As if I did not exist. Am I taking part? Do I discount their pure power? Does it rule the movement of my blood? I will yearn for no closer connections and accustom my heart to its farthest reaches. Better it live with the spine-chilling stars than with the pretense of some protection hovering near.
(Rainer Maria Rilke – “Uncollected Poems”)
Our effort, I suggest, can be dedicated to this: to assume the unity of Life and Death and let it be progressively demonstrated to us. So long as we stand in opposition to Death we will disfigure it. Believe me, my dear Countess, Death is our friend, our closest friend, perhaps the only friend who can never be misled by our ploys and vacillations. And I do not mean that in the sentimental, romantic sense of distrusting or renouncing life. Death is our friend precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love…. Life always says Yes and No simultaneously. Death (I implore you to believe) is the true Yea-sayer. It stands before eternity and says only: Yes.
(Rainer Maria Rilke – “Letter to Countess Margot Sizzo-Noris-Crouy”, Epiphany, 1923)
Until next time,
It seems our own impermanence is concealed from us. The trees stand firm, the houses we live in are still there. We alone flow past it all, an exchange of air.
Everything conspires to silence us, partly with shame, partly with unspeakable hope.
(Rainer Marie Rilke – “From the Second Duino Elegy”)