Thursday, March 28, 2013

Life’s Other Half

In a 1923 letter to the Countess Margot-Sizzo-Noris-Crouy, Rainer Maria Rilke, the famous German poet, wrote about the naturalness of death. He called death just a part of life. However, e.e. cummings thinks somewhat differently!
by Charlie Leck

“I am not saying that we should love death, but rather that we should love life so generously, without picking and choosing, that we automatically include it (life’s other half) in our love. This is what actually happens in the great expansiveness of love, which cannot be stopped or constricted. It is only because we exclude it that death becomes more and more foreign to us and, ultimately, our enemy.
“It is conceivable that death is infinitely closer to us than life itself… What do we know of it?”
                                                                                           [Rainer Maria Rilke, 1923]

It is quite different than the take of e.e. cummings, the American poet, on death…

“dying is fine)but Death ?o baby I wouldn’t like Death if Death were good:for when (instead of stopping to think)you begin to feel of it, dying’s miraculous why?be cause dying is perfectly natural;perfectly puttingit mildly lively(but Death is strictly scientific & artificial & evil & legal) we thank thee god almighty for dying (forgive us, o life!the sin of Death”
                                                                                           [ee cummings]*

*I don’t think there is any book that I have taken down from the shelves of my library more than Poems (1923-1954) by e. e. cummings [Harcourt Brace, NY, 1968]

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1 comment:

  1. Ah, another poetry lover.
    One of my favorite lines from poetry: Do not go lightly into that good night.