Bequeath

Yesterday, when Ali commented on my Rilke post saying his work left her quieted I immediately thought of this quote, shortened from a part of his Book of Hours poem (II, 10).

You inherit the autumns, folded like festive clothing
in the memories of poets; and all the winters,
like abandoned fields, bequeath you their quietness.

What a phrase. And that word ‘bequeath’ holds much of the magic.

be·queath (verb)

  • Leave (a personal estate or one’s body) to a person or other beneficiary
    by a will.
  • Pass (something) on or leave (something) to someone else.
  • Obsolete – to commit; entrust.
  • Synonyms: will, impart, leave, bestow, grant, consign, hand down

It’s interesting enough to think of the winters passing on their quietness, but I am particularly intrigued by the antiquated definition; to think of the winters committing or entrusting their quietness — that is filled with a gentle beauty. The kind that makes me take a breath and feel the calm expand my chest, and then settles in deep as I exhale.

And can I just say — “autumns, folded like festive clothing in the memories of poets” — how brilliantly put is that? Rilke. Every time.

bring it back

So…it may be a little over the top, but why not call hand-me-downs bequeathments and consignment shops bequeathment shops?

any ideas for how to bring back “bequeath”
into our everyday lingo?

» Don’t miss previous {word wednesday} posts: AuguryPluck & Quiddity.

Kindle-editions available here: Rilke’s Book of Hours and Webster’s Dictionary.←

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bet mercer

Bet Mercer is a poet-photographer who writes at Gimme Some Reads and Everyday Poetry. She loves quotes, reading her favourite books over again, great conversation, laughter, trees, films, and travelling the world. Follow along with Bet on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, Etsy and Google+.

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Comments

  1. dad — December 5, 2012 @ 12:03 pm (#)

    amen.

    “bequeath” puts quite a different spin on the contents of a will.
    you can “leave” something, and hope somebody finds it…
    if you “pass on” something, that’s more intimate.
    if you “entrust” it, you’re implying that you have expectations AND confidence that the “trustee” will value it the way you did.

    some, nay MOST, of the the best things bequeathed to me will never appear in a will; never transitioned to me with even a word, or the words used belied the actual value of the bequeathal. their value was in their worth and the trust that went with them. NONE have ever had $$$ attached to them.