“What Fields Are As Fragrant As Your Hands?”, Rainer Maria Rilke

What fields are as fragrant as your hands?
Do you feel how every experience stands
in silent opposition to the world outside?

The stars are lovely, but faint, high above.
O give me your mouth to soften, my love.
Show me the miracle of your hair untied.

I want to surround you with your secret self,
to raise your dreams from their sunken shelf
at the edges of your two brown eyes.

I want to close your eyelids from within,
to close every place you’ve ever been,
with a kiss, leaving nothing but inner skies.

You are so young, all still lies ahead of you, and I should like to ask you, as best I can, dear Sir, to be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms, like books written in a foreign tongue. Do not now strive to uncover answers: they cannot be given you because you have not been able to live them. And what matters is to live everything. Live the questions for now.

—Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
—  Rainer Maria Rilke

Here are my World Book Day picks in no specific order. Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five should be in here but I think it’s waddled off into the sunset without me:

  • Catherynne M. Valente - The Orphan’s Tales Vol 1: In The Night Garden
  • Robert Heinlein - Stranger In A Strange Land
  • Rainer Maria Rilke - The Sonnets To Orpheus
  • Arundhati Roy - The God of Small Things
  • Karel Čapek - War With the Newts
  • Frank Herbert - Dune
  • George Orwell  - 1984
  • Margaret Atwood - Oryx & Crake
  • Jack London - White Fang
  • Jane Lindskold - Changer

[animated version here]

Didn’t you wake up feeling that you had no future? Didn’t you walk around drained of all meaning, without the right to even the slightest danger? Didn’t you have to promise, a hundred times, not to die?
—  Rainer Maria Rilke, from “The Prodigal Son,” The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke)