Appendix Two: Translation of “The Letter of the Young Worker” 153
Appendix Two Translation of “The Letter of the Young Worker” [The comparison with Gertrude Craig Houston’s translation of the text—to be found in Rilke, Selected Works. Volume 1: Prose, 67–77—was very helpful for my own rendition. I have borrowed several of Craig Houston’s felicitous phrases.] The Letter of the Young Worker (Feb 12–15, 1922) (SW 6: 1111–27) Last Thursday in a meeting, someone read to us from your poems. Mr. V., it’s continually on my mind; I cannot help myself, but have to write down for you everything I am thinking about, write it down as well as I can. The day after the reading I found myself by chance amidst a Christian congregation, and maybe this event was the actual thrust which caused the ignition that is generating so much movement and pressure that I am steering towards you with all my force. It is an incredibly violent endeavor to begin something. I cannot begin. I simply leap over that which should be the begin- ning. Nothing is so powerful as silence. If each of us were not already born into speech, it would never have been broken. Mr. V., I am not speaking of the evening when we received your poetry. I am speaking of the other one. It drives me to exclaim: Who, yes—I cannot express it otherwise now, who then is this Christ, who imposes himself on everything.—Who knew nothing about us, nothing of our work, nothing of our...
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