Archive for the ‘Rainer Maria Rilke’ Category

You, darkness, of whom I am born —

I love you more than the flame
that limits the world
to the circle it illumines
and excludes all the rest.

But the darkness embarces everything:
shapes and shadows, creatures and me,
people, nations–just as they are.

It lets me imagine
a great presence stirring beside me.

I believe in the night.

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

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No one lives his life.

Disguised since childhood,
haphazardly assembled
from voices and fears and little pleasures,
we come of age as masks.

Our true face never speaks.

Somewhere there must be storehouses
where all these lives are laid away
like suits of armor or old carriages
or clothes hanging limply on the walls.

Maybe all paths lead there,
to the repository of unlived things.

excerpted from Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

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Nobody can advise and help you, nobody.
There is only one single means.
Go inside yourself.
Discover the motive that bids you write;
examine whether it sends its roots down
to the deepest places of your heart,
confess to yourself whether you would have to die
if writing were denied you.
This before all:
ask yourself in the quietest hour of the night:
must I write?
Dig down into yourself for a deep answer.
And if this should be in the affirmative,
if you may meet this solemn question
with a strong and simple
“I must”,
then build your life according to this necessity…

Excerpted from Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke

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Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XXIX

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell.  As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

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Sonnets to Orpheus, Part One, IV

You who let yourselves feel: enter the breathing
that is more than your own.
Let it brush your cheeks
as it divides and rejoins beside you.

Blessed ones, whole ones,
you where the heart begins:
You are the bow that shoots the arrows
and you are the target.

Fear not the pain.  Let its weight fall back
into the earth;
for heavy are the mountains, heavy the seas.

The trees you planted in childhood have grown
too heavy.  You cannot bring them along.
Give yourselves to the air, to what you cannot hold.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

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