As you might expect, unpacking our boxes of books is reminding us of all the things we haven’t read yet or could read again. DN and I are both book hoarders, so there are entire syllabi of books from sophomore years of college (and so on) to be consumed. Should I see how Marcel Proust fares for me now compared to when I was 21? Should I select a volume from DN’s entire shelf of Evelyn Waugh? Should I ever read the seventh Henry James novel I ambitiously purchased while reading for comps?
With great bookshelves comes great responsibility (or something).
Well, starting small is always a good method. So the other day I did at least flip through my favorite Rilke collection, Sonnets from Orpheus.
Breathing, you invisible poem!
World-space in pure continuous interchange
with my own being. Equipoise
in which I rhythmically transpire.
whose gradual sea I am;
of all possible seas the most frugal,–
windfall of space.
How many of these places in space have already
been in me. Many a breeze
is like my son.
Do you recognize me, air, full of places once mine?
You, once the smooth rind,
orb, and leaf of all my words.
A bit Whitman-esque if you ask me!
*The painting is “Reading” by Pierre Bonnard