The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes. MARCEL PROUST

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. WILLIAM BLAKE

Wanderer, there is no way; the way is made by walking. ANTONIO MACHADO

Saturday, 22 February 2014

A Purely Human Place


If only we too could find some defined, narrow,
purely human place, our own small strip of fertile soil
between stream and stone. For even now our heart
transcends us . . .

RILKE Duino Elegies: The Second Elegy (Translated by EDWARD SNOW)

9 comments:

Susan Scheid said...

As I attempt to take my leave of the internet a bit, you provide a wonderful model of the art of savoring, slowly and richly, those purely human places.

The Solitary Walker said...

You know you'll be pulled back sooner than you intended, Susan..!

Thanks for your lovely comment.

George said...

Lovely quote and image, as with the previous post. I've been reading about your historic floods in the UK. Hope all is well with you and your family.

The Solitary Walker said...

We Iive in the East Midlands, George — luckily one of the least-affected areas flood-wise. So we are fine, thanks. Indeed, Lincolnshire and East Anglia are traditionally some of the driest parts of Britain. We had a few problems, but nothing at all in comparison with much of the south and south-west of England and west Wales, parts of which experienced record-breaking amounts of rain and gale-force winds — causing all the devastation and misery you've been reading about.

I've really enjoyed rereading The Duino Elegies, and am so glad you enjoyed the quotes plus the photographs — though, to some extent, it's self-defeating to even attempt to illustrate Rilke's inner, invisible world...

Nick said...

Until your recent posts I was not awake to Mr Rilke's work (and had, in fact, confused him with Erich Maria Remarque, whose 'Im Westen Nichts Neues' I read many years ago. It's fascinating stuff; thank you for bringing it to my attention.

The Solitary Walker said...

I've been deeply moved by Rilke since I first read him at uni, Nick. I would put Duino Elegies alongside such works as Divine Comedy, Waste Land and Four Quartets.

Thanks for your comment, and I'm pleased you were 'awakened'!

am said...

It's snowing lightly here today. I can hear water dripping and am hoping the snow will turn to rain. I'm grateful for your recent series of posts. I have just finished re-reading Tess of the d'Urbervilles and have not been feeling well and am in need of Rilke's perspective. I had completely forgotten the details as to how her story ended. Hardy's loving and illuminating descriptions of English landscape are in such contrast to the sorrows of Tess's life. I had not read Tess of the d'Urbervilles since I was in my early 30s. What I had remembered most clearly about the book were images of Tess walking through the English landscape -- images of transcendence and consolation to me at the time. In Rilke's light, I see her heart as transcendent.

The Solitary Walker said...

It's a fascinating and compelling novel, Am. (I too remember all that walking.) And a deep and complex one: is Tess victim, earth goddess or a mixture of both? Different cultures reverberate and clash in the tragic figure of Tess.

You're right — there's no author better than Hardy at describing the English countryside: its seasons, its customs and its rituals. Her heart is certainly transcendent, and universally and mythologically so — as demonstrated by the moving Stonehenge scene at the end of the book.

pilgrimpace said...

wonderful! Thank you. Will make it a priority to read this soon. I've got the Martin Crucefix translation on my shelf.

Andy