Letters to a middle-aged poet

My hands then gropingly reach out for love,
because I want so much to pray sounds
that my hot mouth cannot find.
-Franz Kappus, “Sonnet”


Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from “Letters to a Young Poet”

I’m not middle-aged according to our current life expectancy, but for romantic, modern and beat poets, I’m middle-aged. If you look at the places where I find security in writing, in life, and in relationships, you would also assume I was middle-aged. Looking at the last 10 years of my life, I’ve had more than my share of experiences, careers, losses, and failures. So arriving at this point I should feel some great wave of wisdom going forward, but I’m actually right in line with Socrates:

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
― Socrates

I have arrived at this age without having anything figured out. I know absolutely nothing. Before I write my next 5-year plan, I want a direction. Currently, my only goals are short-term. Tangible. Plannable. Changeable. And yet, I know that this is not a solid or long-term solution. I’m just trying to add positive habits to my life. Starting with writing, working, time-management and brainstorming. Next up is changing diet.

While some thing have been exceptionally difficult to get over, get through and get by, it has rewarded me with some strength. But it has also made me timid in situations and anxious in public. Somehow, I am making it.

Slowly, vaguely, and with a few guides and a lot of prayer.


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