The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Two — Rainer Maria Rilke
“Good Afternoon Socrates. I hope I did not interrupt you. I am wondering if we might continue our conversation from last night, if you have time?”
“Yes, there is always time here. That is one on the amenities of the Inn. There is always enough time to do whatever you wish. The passage of time no longer exists at this Inn.”
“Where did we leave off? I remember, you were telling me about a number of letters you received from a young poet asking your advice and your were wondering whether or not you should respond as you are a poet and not a teacher of poetry.”
“Because I do one thing well does not mean I can teach it,” responded Rainer in his rather abrupt manner. “Nobody can advise you and help you, nobody. There is only one way. Go into yourself.”
“That is true Rainer. Perhaps that is the very advice our young friend needs. The butterfly can not teach the caterpillar how to become a butterfly, but she can be an inspiration. Whenever we start out on an adventure, we are unsure of ourselves. We are afraid of the untravelled road. We have doubts. Each generation relies upon the elders of previous generations to lay a path for them to follow until they acquire the faith in themselves to venture into the darkness and the unknown. They cling to these bits of wisdom, these bread crumbs, almost like one clings to a belief.”
Socrates continues, “Remember in your youth you were encouraged to be courageous in your writing of poetry. You created a style of your own built and expanding upon the style of those poets before you. You did not judge them. You simple emulated them until you found your own voice to write poetry in a way that had not been done before. In your own unique creative style.”
His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.
As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.
Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly--. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.
“I remember reading your poem, The Panther. I was thinking at the time what a beautiful way with words you expressed the emotions of the captive. You put yourself inside the consciousness of the cat. You saw through his eyes and thought with his mind. That is what an artist does. For some it is instinctual for others it must be learned.”
“Your young friend only seeks your wisdom and experience. Perhaps in doing so he might learn from some of the pitfalls and challenges you experienced in your life of writing.”
“But Socrates. Is it not those experiences you wish me to save my young correspondent from the very same experiences which are necessary in the building of one’s character?”
“Yes, that is true Rainer. Neither your wisdom or that of others will save him from experiencing his own life. It will however strengthen his courage to know that others before him have faced and overcome such seemingly insurmountable circumstances. It is the responsibility of the poet to encourage others to take a chance with words and to express the emotions of life in ways which have not been expressed in quite the same way ever before, as you did with The Panther and your other writings.”
“In fact, my dear friend. You already have the title for your creation. Letters To A Young Poet.”
The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Three — Emily Dickinson will be published on Sunday, August 05, 2018.