Du mußt dein Leben ändern

JohnSingerSargentSketch

Sketches by John Singer Sargent, 1869; Belvedere Torso, Head of Apollo, Head of Hercules

Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart…

If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no poor, indifferent place…

[G]o into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows; at its source you will find the answer to the question of whether you must create. Accept that answer, just as it is given to you, without trying to interpret it. Perhaps you will discover that you are called to be an artist. Then take that destiny upon yourself, and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what reward might come from outside…

But after this descent into yourself and into your solitude, perhaps you will have to renounce becoming a poet… Nevertheless, even then, this self searching that I ask of you will not have been for nothing. Your life will still find its own paths from there, and that they may be good, rich, and wide is what I wish for you, more than I can say.

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 Du mußt dein Leben ändern – “You must change your life” – is the concluding statement in Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem “Archaic Torso of Apollo

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