Who has not sat, afraid, before his heart’s curtain? – Rainer Maria Rilke, from “The Fourth Elegy,” Duino Elegies. Trans. Stephen Mitchell. (Vintage; Bilingual edition October 6, 2009) Originally published 1923.
It sometimes happens that my hands grow conscious of each other, or else my weary face takes refuge in them. — Rainer Maria Rilke, from “The Second Elegy,” The Divine Elegies. (W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition June 17, 2006) Originally published 1923.
Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. — Rainer Maria Rilke
I love the dark hours of my being. My mind deepens into them. There I can find, as in old letters, the days of my life, already lived, and held like a legend, and understood. Then the knowing comes: I can open to another life that’s wide and timeless. So I am sometimes like a… Continue reading Rainer Maria Rilke
To Lou Andreas-Salome I held myself too open, I forgot that outside not just things exist and animals fully at ease in themselves, whose eyes reach from their lives’ roundedness no differently than portraits do from frames; forgot that I with all I did incessantly crammed looks into myself; looks, opinion, curiosity. Who knows: perhaps… Continue reading Rainer Maria Rilke
Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love. — Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet. Sidgwick and Jackson (January 1, 1945)
I, 45 You come and go. The doors swing closed ever more gently, almost without a shudder. Of all those who move through the quiet houses, you are the quietest. We become so accustomed to you, we no longer look up when your shadow falls over the book we are reading and makes it glow.… Continue reading Rainer Maria Rilke
Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away… and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast…. be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you,… Continue reading Rainer Maria Rilke
O Trees of life, oh, when winterly? We’re not in accord. Are not of one mind like birds of passage. Overtaken and belated, we force ourselves abruptly on the winds and fall into an indifferent pond. We understand blooming and withering alike. And somewhere lions are still wandering and do not know, in their lordliness,… Continue reading Rainer Maria Rilke
For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and it amazes us so, because it serenely disdains to destroy us. Every angel is terrible. — Rainer Maria Rilke, from “The First Elegy,” The Duino Elegies. (Insel-Verlag 1923)