The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

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Author QuotedRainer Maria Rilke
Title QuotedDuino Elegies / translated into English by James Blair Leishman and Stephen Spender
Date (Year/Month/Day)1965/11/29
ImprintNew York : W.W.Norton & Company. 1963
QuotationThis morning I really opened the door of the Duino Elegies and walked in (previously I have only peeked in through the windows and read fragments here and there). For one thing I got the sound of the German really going, and got the feel of the First Elegy as a whole. (Did this before to a lesser extent with the Eighth.) I think I needed this hill, this silence, this frost, to really understand this great poem, to live in it-as I have also in Four Quartets. These are the two modern poems, long poems, that really have a great deal of meaning for me. Like Lorca (whom I have not read for years-). Others I simply like and agree with. Auden, Spender to some extent. Dylan Thomas in an entirely different way. But the Duino Elegies and Four Quartets talk about my life itself, my own self, my own destiny, my Christianity, my vocation, my relation to the world of my time, my place in it, etc. Perhaps Neruda's Residence on Earth and of course Vallejo will eventually do this but with Residence I have, once again, only looked through the windows (still I might get with that later and even give talks on it).
Quotation SourceDancing in the Water of Life: Seeking Peace in the Hermitage. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 5, 1963-1965.; Edited by Robert E. Daggy. / San Francisco : Harper Collins. 1997, p. 319
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