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.