From War and Peace

I came across this quote that I had copied many years ago from Tolstoy’s
War and Peace.

Natasha said:

“You’re like this house, you suffer, you show your wounds, but you still stand.”

It’s odd.  Words, quotes, the thoughts and ideas of others come to me in moments.  If I write a quote down, it’s usually because I need it at the time.  In that single moment, with the particular circumstances of my life, I was snagged by this quote.  Sensing its significance, I wrote it down on a scrap of paper (as I tend to do).  And, however many years later, I rediscover it.  Like a beacon.  Or at least a reminder.

I read War and Peace once upon a time.  I doubt that I’m going to read it again.  But I remember that I valued what I received from it.  I went through a brief period of reading Russian literature.  Perhaps it was because my life resembled a Russian novel at the time.  It seemed I could connect with the array of characters and some of their circumstances in ways that I could not connect with my friends who seemed more frivolous or superficial in those days.

The thing about a quote is that if it continues to resonate over the years, it could be placed in your file of quotes that ring true over time.  Do you have such a file?

For today, do you have a favorite quote that you return to time and again and feel either validated, supported or refreshed by?  Would you like to share it here under comments?  Thanks.

 

 

Rilke

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Tribute to Rilke
© by Christine O’Brien

The rose’s petals teach us how to see
through a multitude of eyelids, says he.
Beneath the lids, “oh pure contradiction,
joy of being.”  Jubilation.

“There are no lakes until eternity,”
as we stumble forward into infinity.
“To fall from the mastered emotion” is the way
though we seek rest through the weary day.

His tribute to Holderlin, poet of light,
movement “like the moon…and underneath bright…”
Rilke invades soul countries to retrieve
pure essence of truth, no time to deceive.

The questing seeker that he was, tense with
desire to know the self and crack the myth
which imprisons so many, the unwary
in such depths plummeted, a poet’s quarry.

Extracting from despair as well as from glory
not to be “shut out” from the star’s story.
For we are part of something grander
though we live small lives of misplaced wonder.

Employing the dross of a childhood curtailed
grew a man of soul, the sensitive prevailed.
Opening, then, my own heart to deep sight;
his poetry traverses both depth and height.

“Even here, though, something can bloom”
Lifts the weary from unwarranted gloom
“almost cheerfully with a lightness”
his poetry a beacon towards brightness.

Writing Prompt:
This poem, a tribute to Rainer Maria Rilke, is conversational with some of Rilke’s poetry.
Find a poem that you love and engage in conversation with it, incorporating a line or two into your own poem.  Allow the poet’s lines to lead you into the poem’s
theme and then follow your own train of thought.

Note:  In the poem above, Rilke’s lines are italicized and in purple.