Från Rilke, med kärlek : From Berkeley, with love

I am working on a post about the walkouts at Berkeley.  Somewhat suddenly last Thursday I found myself challenging my professor to answer, in front of the class, as to why we in the Sciences do not stand with the Ethnic Studies and Anthropology and History and Political Sciences departments when they walk out in protest. I thought I already knew the answer. It turns out I only sort of did.

To be filled with ideas and words but not have the time or energy to write them because of a looming Quantum exam is almost as frustrating as being forced to write in essay about something an English teacher told you to write about while all you want to do is analyze semiconductor circuits. The timing always seems to be off.

So no post. Not yet. For now, the words of the German poet (written while he was living in southern Sweden, a mere 10 km from Lund) will have to suffice.  Having recently discovered these letters, and discovering that once, Rilke lived in Skåne, I’ve been reading them between each wave function I calculate. And as it always is with Rilke, it feels as if he is speaking directly to me.

To Clara Rilke, written from Borgeby Gård, Flädie, Skåne, Sweden.

“I am not idle, and there is nothing lazy in me; all sorts
of currents and a stirring that through depth and surface is the
same. A very good stirring. I am not even writing a journal,
just keep hoping to get through all sorts of letters yet to be
written and to read my way through all sorts of books yet to be
read….In spite of all this it seems to me that I am
building; at the invisible, at the most invisible, at some founda-
tion; no that is too much; but that I am breaking ground for
something that is to be erected there sometime; a perfectly in-
conspicuous activity for which day laborers and hod carriers
suffice (one thinks).”

A very good stirring. Like perturbation theory or like forcing nerds to talk about politics and philosophy or finally, finally starting to write.


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2 Responses to “Från Rilke, med kärlek : From Berkeley, with love”

  1. sannlittle Says:

    so true!

  2. Katie Says:

    Why then? I want to know.

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