Saturday, January 30, 2010


The subject of diaries came up in my reading this weekend. In the "Diaries of a Young Poet,"one of Rilke's first loves, Lou Andreas-Salome, kept a diary and encouraged Rikle to do the same. "Her own mental regime included keeping a diary, as an incentive to formulate impressions and remembrances accurately and as a way of communicating with a soul mate during and after a temporary separation," (Diaries, p. ix).

The idea of keeping a journal to record your daily musings for someone else, especially a loved one, struck me as being revolutionary. We seem to go to extremes in this culture. Sharing much, almost too much, on the internet or through Twitter but sharing very little in person OR filling diaries with thoughts and musings intended for the writer alone.

For Rilke, it was the diary he kept for Lou that helped shape him as a poet and which sharpened his power of observation.

From his Florence Diary, 25 April 1898:

FROM our winter-shaped terrain
I've been cast far out, into spring;
as I hesitate at its edge
the new land lays itself lustrously
into my wavering hands.

And I take the beautiful gift,
want to mold it quietly,
unfold all its colors
and hold it, full of shyness,
up toward YOU.

I CAN only keep silent and gaze...
Could I once also sound?
And the hours are women
who spoil me with all kinds of
blue, shimmering delight.

Shall I tell you of my crowded days
or of my place of sleep?
My desires run riot
and out of all paintings
the angels follow me.

To share words with another is powerful. To share them with someone you love, who informs your writing, is a true blessing.


Poetry in the Global Box said...


Kelly said...

Hello! I thought so, too. Rilke's one of my favorites. =)