The Prompter Room

For Friday, December 14, 2018:

 

The Tao Te Ching is partly in prose, partly in verse; but as we define poetry now, not by rhyme and meter but as a patterned intensity of language, the whole thing is poetry. I wanted to catch that poetry, its terse, strange beauty. Most translations have caught meanings in their net, but prosily, letting the beauty slip through. And in poetry, beauty is no ornament; it is the meaning. It is the truth.

Ursula K. Le Guin, A BOOK ABOUT THE WAY AND THE POWER OF THE WAY, on the legacy of Lao Tzu’s TAO TE CHING

 

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The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, April 24, 2018:

 

For the sake of a few lines one must see many cities, men and things. One must know the animals, one must feel how the birds fly and know the gesture with which the small flowers open in the morning. One must be able to think back to roads in unknown regions, to unexpected meetings and to partings … to days in rooms withdrawn and quiet and to mornings by the sea … to nights of travel that rushed along on high and flew with all the stars … 

And still it is not enough to have memories. One … must have the great patience to wait until they come again. For it is not yet the memories themselves. Not until they have turned to blood within us, to glance, to gesture, nameless and no longer to be distinguished from ourselves — not until then can it happen that in a most rare hour the first word of a verse arises in their midst and goes forth from them.

Rainer Maria Rilke, THE NOTEBOOKS OF MALTE LAURIDE BRIGGE