Sunday, November 17, 2019

the solitude of the other

 art by Ralf Winkler

I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: 
that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other.
 For, if it lies in the nature of indifference and of the crowd to recognize no solitude,
 then love and friendship are there for the purpose of continually providing
 the opportunity for solitude. And only those are the true sharings
 which rhythmically interrupt periods of deep isolation...

All companionship can consist only in the strengthening of two neighboring solitudes,
 whereas everything that one is wont to call giving oneself is by nature 
harmful to companionship: for when a person abandons himself, 
he is no longer anything, and when two people both give themselves up
 in order to come close to each other, there is no longer
 any ground beneath them...

once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings
 infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up,
 if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible
 for each to see the other whole and against a wide sky!

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

from Rilke on Love and Other Difficulties:
 Translations and Considerations

Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not
 in each other’s shadow.

 ~ Kahlil Gibran
from The Prophet

 art by Odilon Redon