Letters To A Young Poet

letters Young Poet

I wish I were young Franz Xaver Kapus

Whose only claim to unique celebrity

Were Rainer Maria Rilke’s UberLetters

To a Young Poet’s incarnate immortality.

Rilke’s boundless averse counsel generosity

How far center, I wonder, took young Kapus

Receiving these, exhaust mentor’s humility

Could not ever, with only two such letters.

The Blogosphere counts countless Kapuses

Receiving and giving one another’s bounty

With mail art notifications prompt impulses.

Th’is communal kindred spirit heart alimony



Today’s Fool’s Message

A work of art is good if it has sprung from necessity.

In this nature of its origin lies the judgment of it:

There is no other.

Therefore, my dear sir, I know no advice for you

Save this: to go into yourself and test  the deeps

In which your life takes rise; at its source you will

Find the answer to the question whether you must

Create. Accept it, just as it sounds, without inquiring

Into it. Perhaps it will turn out that you are called

To be an artist. Then take that destiny upon yourself

And bear it, its burden and its greatness, without

Ever asking what recompense might come from

Outside. For the creator must be a world for himself

And find everything in himself and in Nature to whom

He has attached himself.

So far so good, but the passage which followed occasioned, in my impressionable heart as a girl, the deepest heartache:

But perhaps after this descent into yourself and into your inner solitude you will have to give up becoming a poet; (it is enough, as I have said, to feel that one could live without writing: then one must not attempt it at all.)

The violence of it, I could not bear and hardly undertook the “descent”, a pilgrimage, I understood later, of the soul. Rilke became for me a deterrent, the dragon at the gate. I had Rilke in horror: this discourager of talents, of  nascent vocations perhaps…and wasted a lot of time. In my arrogance, I did not read further: I did not have the courage to pay the price.

But even then this inward searching which I ask of you will not have been in vain. Your life will in any case find its own ways thence, and that they may be good, rich and wide I wish you more than I can say.” Letter One”

Then, paradoxically, he taught me later, when I finally- though involuntarily- took the journey, to understand and acquire a perspective on dragons, whatever scares me, all that disturbs me (my arrogance —> obstacles, discouragement, doubts) on my spiritual journey. I may not have become a poet but I know now that I can live as one, and that’s more than I bargained for, negative or positive, depending on my resisting the process or not.


4 thoughts on “Letters To A Young Poet

  1. The poem is good, and I didn’t know it wasn’t a classic public domain work, not until I read b.l.o.g…then I said “ahh it’s Michal’s”

    Got too much out of this to comment. You have the energy of the sun, you know that (:

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