In the Spaces Between the Words

The 2011 Reflections Mystery School book study is Letters to a Young Poet by Rilke. This year we are responding to portions that move us from his 10 letters by writing our own letters. Our letters can contain prose, poetry, songs, images, ... whatever. Here is my first letter to Rilke.

“Things are not all so comprehensible and utterable as people would mostly have us believe; most events are unutterable, consummating themselves in a sphere where word has never trod, and more unutterable than them all are works of art, whose life endures by the side of our own that passes away.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, Letter 1

Washington, March 18th, 2011

Dear Sir,

I read your letter with much delight this evening. I am taken with a simple passage in the first paragraph. Although it seems to do a disservice to your entire exquisite note to stop as I have done to remark on a single opening entry, I confess that I presume to take my time in responding your letter as one slows down to enjoy a favorite confection.

I have walked around my fair city with your words twirling within my thoughts. What if it is true that most of life is unutterable? What if my penchant for self-narration was blinding me to an enormous well of beauty that surrounds my everyday life?

My heart swells with the notion that life is meant be lived, not spoken. As a writer, I adapted a mode of living that had me living in the words and descriptions of all my unwritten stories, essays and lectures. I now wonder if the words themselves have obstructed me from the essential but unutterable experience of being at one with the world.

I choose now, dear sir, to check my prose filled arrogance. I seek to participate in that life of art that “endures by the side of our own.”

Yours in respect and gratitude,
Katrina Messenger

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