Rilke On Solitude

From Letters To A Young Poet

*

But everything that may some day be possible to many the solitary man can now prepare and build with his hands, that err less. Therefore, dear sir, love your solitude and bear with sweet-sounding lamentation that suffering it causes you. For those who are near you are far, you say, and that shows it is beginning to grow wide about you. And when what is near you is far, then your distance is already among the stars and very large; rejoice in your growth. . .

…The necessary thing is after all but this: solitude, great inner solitude. Going-into-oneself and for hours meeting no one–this one must be able to attain. To be solitary, the way one was solitary as a child, when the grownups went around involved with things that seemed important and big because they themselves looked so busy and because one comprehending nothing of their doings. . .

…And you should not let yourself be confused in your solitude by the fact tha there is something in you that wants to break out of it. This very wish will help you., if you use it quietly, and deliberately and like a tool, to spread out your solitude over wide country. … We know little, but that we must hold to what is difficult is a certainty that will not forsake us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it.

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