Friday, July 22, 2016

Last night, after dinner, I started copying out Rilke's Duino Elegies. It felt good to have a project again. I sat by the open window, listening to a wasp mutter at the hummingbird feeder, listening to the Red Sox mash the Twins, listening to the cat complain that I was sitting in his chair, and I wondered if these extraneous sounds would be good or bad for my relationship with Rilke. I eventually decided they would be good. I've spent so many years writing and reading in the interstices of other people's lives, and losing that has been one of the most difficult transitions of the summer--how can I get accustomed to existing in empty air? So it was cozy to be sitting in the cat's chair, letting Rilke fall from my fingers, as a semblance of the world went on around me.

Here's a bit of what I copied from "The First Elegy":
                   Ah, who can we ever turn to
in our need? Not angels, not humans,
and already the knowing animals are aware
that we are not really at home in
the interpreted world. Perhaps there remains for us
some tree on a hillside, which every day we can take
into our vision; there remains for us yesterday’s street
and the loyalty of a habit so much at ease
when it stayed with us that it moved in and never left.


David (n of 49) said...

"the loyalty of a habit so much at ease / when it stayed with us" - :)

Ruth said...

That within us sustains us