“And yet they, who passed away long ago, still exist in us, as predisposition, as burden upon our fate, as murmuring blood, and as gesture that rise up from the depths of time.”

rilke2-2Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, perhaps the most dog-eared book on my shelves, doesn’t give advice on writing poetry.  Instead, it’s what Einstein –his contemporary — might have written if he had been a poet.  Compare the Theory of Relativity to this statement: “People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. . . . The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space (86)”.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, translated by Stephen Mitchell (New York: Vintage Books: 1984), 85-6.

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