OTHER VOICES II – “LOVE YOUR SOLITUDE”

“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.”

But your solitude will be a support and a home for you,
Even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances,
And from it you will find all your paths.
All my good wishes are ready to accompany you,
And my faith is with you.

― Rainer Maria Rilke, – Excerpt from: “Letters to a Young Poet”

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