Sunday Ramblings: Chasing Words

I had been chasing a lot of things in the past couple of months; deadlines, stories, people, and as the time ticks on I began to miss feeling anything real, about anything. It had been a while since I have stopped and felt the breeze flit across my face, brushing me with a refreshing sigh.

Tick tock.

It had been a while since I had been able to close my eyes and see the white piece of paper flutter across the room lifted by the delicate hands of the air that had been stirred by the ceiling fan.

Tick Tock.

And it had been a while since I had been able to sit tight and reach deep within myself, eyes turned inward, and see pictures of places, of people, and hear their singing in my ears.

Tick Tock. Scream.

It had been a while since I had ran inwards to chase the pictures within that had been brought alive by mere words, and wispy imaginations. How I long to take them by my hands and build them into that little cosy cottage where I can sit by the window and watch the live of others go by while reading Rainer Maria Rilke, and then withdrawing to watch him at his desk, the master craftsman, as he crafts a river, all by the pen in his hand.

Then the river, oh so fluid flows, and I open wide my mouth. It rushes in, washes the crusty dust, and quenches my thirst.

[For the Sake of a Single Poem]

(from The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, in Ahead of All Parting: The Selected Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke)

Ah, poems amount to so little when you write them too early in your life. You ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness for a whole lifetime, and a lone one if possible, and then, at the very end, you might perhaps be able to write ten good lines. For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences.

For the sake of a single poem, you must see many cities, many people and Things, you must understand animals, must feel how birds fly, and know the gesture which small flowers make when they open in the morning. You must be able to think back to streets in unknown neighborhoods, to unexpected encounters, and to partings you had long seen coming; to days of childhood whose mystery is still unexplained, to parents whom you had to hurt when they brought in a joy and you didn’t pick it up (it was a joy meant for somebody else—); to childhood illnesses that began so strangely with so many profound and difficult transformations, to days in quiet, restrained rooms and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along high overhead and went flying with all the stars, and it is still not enough to be able to think of all that. You must have memories of many nights of love, each one different from all the others, memories of women screaming in labor, and of light, pale, sleeping girls who have just given birth and are closing again. But you must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the scattered noises. And it is not yet enough to have memories. You must be able to forget them when they are many, and you must have the immense patience to wait until they return. For the memories themselves are not important. Only when they have changed into our very blood, into glance and gesture, and are nameless, no longer to be distinguished from ourselves—only then can it happen that in some very rare hour the first word of a poem arises in their midst and goes forth from them. 

And his fluid words speak from within my mouth, it bid me, come, pouring out around me. I run, jump, swim, as they gather up and at the speed of light flitter and fly past me.

In a desperate grasp I jumped up and hugged its tail. Lifting me up I float on its end, like the ribbon on the end of a kite cut off. Quivering in the breeze.

Eyes closed. With glee.

And when I wake, I seek those words.

Lost. Invert the eyes. And found.

To keep chasing them words, all over again, I will.