The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke Quotes

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The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke by Rainer Maria Rilke
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The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke Quotes Showing 1-30 of 33
“For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been given to us, the ultimate, the final problem and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
tags: love
“Yet, no matter how deeply I go down into myself, my God is dark, and like a webbing made of a hundred roots that drink in silence.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“A billion stars go spinning through the night,
glittering above your head,
But in you is the presence that will be
when all the stars are dead.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“If no one else, the dying must notice how unreal, how full of pretense, is all that we accomplish here, where nothing is allowed to be itself.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“My life is not this steeply sloping hour,
in which you see me hurrying.
Much stands behind me; I stand before it like a tree;
I am only one of my many mouths,
and at that, the one that will be still the soonest.

I am the rest between two notes,
which are somehow always in discord
because Death’s note wants to climb over—
but in the dark interval, reconciled,
they stay there trembling.
And the song goes on, beautiful.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“Rose, oh pure contradiction, joy
of being No-one's sleep under so many
lids.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“Harshness vanished. A sudden softness has replaced the meadows' wintry grey. Little rivulets of water changed their singing accents. Tendernesses, hesitantly, reach toward the earth from space, and country lanes are showing these unexpected subtle risings that find expression in the empty trees.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“Oh hours of childhood,
when behind each shape more than the past appeared
and what streamed out before us was not the future.
We felt our bodies growing and were at times impatient to be grown up, half for the sake
of those with nothing left but their grownupness.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“There is time only to work slowly
There is no time not to love”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“And you suddenly know: It was here!
You pull yourself together, and there
stands an irrevocable year
of anguish and vision and prayer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke: Selected Poems
“It is nothing but a breath, the void.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“Interior of the hand. Sole that has come to walk
only on feelings. That faces upward
and in its mirror
receives heavenly roads, which travel
along themselves.
That has learned to walk upon water
when it scoops,
that walks upon wells,
transfiguring every path.
That steps into other hands,
changes those that are like it
into a landscape:
wanders and arrives within them,
fills them with arrival.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“Why must a man be always taking on Things not his own, as if he were a servant whose marketing-bag grows heavier and heavier from stall to stall and, loaded down, he follows and doesn’t dare ask: Master, why this banquet?”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“As once the winged energy of delight
carried you over childhood's dark abysses,
now beyond your own life build the great
arch of unimagined bridges.

Wonders happen if we can succeed
in passing through the harshest danger;
but only in a bright and purely granted
achievement can we realize the wonder.

To work with Things in the indescribable
relationship is not too hard for us;
the pattern grows more intricate and subtle,
and being swept along is not enough.

Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two
contradictions...For the god
wants to know himself in you.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“She followed slowly and she needed time,
as though some long ascent were not yet by;
and yet: as though, when she had ceased to climb,
she would no longer merely walk, but fly.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“The sky puts on the darkening blue coat held for it by a row of ancient trees; you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight, one journeying to heaven, one that falls; and leave you, not at home in either one, not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses, not calling to eternity with the passion of what becomes a star each night, and rises; and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel) your life, with its immensity and fear, so that, now bounded, now immeasurable, it is alternately stone in you and star.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“Our age has built itself vast reservoirs of power / formless as the straining energy that it wrests from the earth.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“I would like to step out of my heart
And go walking beneath the enormous sky.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels’ hierarchies? and even if one of them pressed me suddenly against his heart: I would be consumed in that overwhelming existence. For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure, and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us. Every angel is terrifying.     And”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“Along The Sun-Drenched Roadside


Along the sun-drenched roadside, from the great
hollow half-treetrunk, which for generations
has been a trough, renewing in itself
an inch or two of rain, I satisfy
my thirst: taking the water's pristine coolness
into my whole body through my wrists.
Drinking would be too powerful, too clear;
but this unhurried gesture of restraint
fills my whole consciousness with shining water.

Thus, if you came, I could be satisfied
to let my hand rest lightly, for a moment,
lightly, upon your shoulder or your breast.


Translated by Stephen Mitchell”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
tags: love
“Moving Forward"

The deep parts of my life pour onward,
as if the river shores were opening out.
It seems that things are more like me now,
that I can see farther into paintings.
I feel closer to what language can’t reach.
With my sense, as with birds, I climb
into the windy heaven, out of the oak,
and in the ponds broken off from the sky
my feeling sinks, as if standing on fishes.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke
“DIE GAZELLE Gazella Dorcas Verzauberte: wie kann der Einklang zweier erwählter Worte je den Reim erreichen, der in dir kommt und geht, wie auf ein Zeichen. Aus deiner Stirne steigen Laub und Leier, und alles Deine geht schon im Vergleich durch Liebeslieder, deren Worte, weich wie Rosenblätter, dem, der nicht mehr liest, sich auf die Augen legen, die er schließt: um dich zu sehen: hingetragen, als wäre mit Sprüngen jeder Lauf geladen und schösse nur nicht ab, solang der Hals das Haupt ins Horchen hält: wie wenn beim Baden im Wald die Badende sich unterbricht: den Waldsee im gewendeten Gesicht.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“DER SCHWAN Diese Mühsal, durch noch Ungetanes schwer und wie gebunden hinzugehn, gleicht dem ungeschaffnen Gang des Schwanes. Und das Sterben, dieses Nichtmehrfassen jenes Grunds, auf dem wir täglich stehn, seinem ängstlichen Sich-Niederlassen—: in die Wasser, die ihn sanft empfangen und die sich, wie glücklich und vergangen, unter ihm zurückziehn, Flut um Flut; während er unendlich still und sicher immer mündiger und königlicher und gelassener zu ziehn geruht.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“Ich finde dich in allen diesen Dingen,] Ich finde dich in allen diesen Dingen, denen ich gut und wie ein Bruder bin; als Samen sonnst du dich in den geringen und in den großen giebst du groß dich hin. Das ist das wundersame Spiel der Kräfte, daß sie so dienend durch die Dinge gehn: in Wurzeln wachsend, schwindend in die Schäfte und in den Wipfeln wie ein Auferstehn.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“DER PANTHER Im Jardin des Plantes, Paris Sein Blick ist vom Vorübergehn der Stäbe so müd geworden, daß er nichts mehr hält. Ihm ist, als ob es tausend Stäbe gäbe und hinter tausend Stäben keine Welt. Der weiche Gang geschmeidig starker Schritte, der sich im allerkleinsten Kreise dreht, ist wie ein Tanz von Kraft um eine Mitte, in der betäubt ein großer Wille steht. Nur manchmal schiebt der Vorhang der Pupille sich lautlos auf—. Dann geht ein Bild hinein, geht durch der Glieder angespannte Stille— und hört im Herzen auf zu sein.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“We are not permitted to linger, even with what is most intimate. From images that are full, the spirit plunges on to others that suddenly must be filled; there are no lakes till eternity. Here, falling is best. To fall from the mastered emotion into the guessed-at, and onward.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights with us is so great.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“bleiben,”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“Fig-tree, for such a long time I have found meaning
in the way you almost completely omit your blossoms
and urge your pure mystery, unproclaimed,
into the early ripening fruit.
Like a curved pipe of a fountain, your arching boughs drive the sap
downward and up again: and almost without awakening
it bursts out of sleep, into its sweetest achievement.
Like the god stepping into the swan.

......But we still linger, alas,
we, whose pride is in blossoming; we enter the overdue
interior of our final fruit and are already betrayed.
In only a few does the urge to action rise up
so powerfully the they stop, glowing in their heart's abundance,
while, like the soft night air , the temptation to blossom
touches their tender mouths, touches their eyelids, softly:
heroes perhaps, and those chosen to disappear early,
whose veins Death the gardener twists into a different pattern.
These plunge on ahead: in advance of their own smile
like the team of galloping horses before the triumphant
pharaoh in the mildly hollowed reliefs at Karnak.

The hero is strangely close to those who died young. Permanence
does not concern him. He lives in continual ascent,
moving on into the ever-changed constellation
of perpetual danger. Few could find him there. But
Fate, which is silent about us, suddenly grows inspired
and sings him into the storm of his onrushing world.
I hear no one like him. All at once I am pierced
by his darkened voice, carried on the streaming air.

Then how gladly I would hide from the longing to be once again
oh a boy once again, with my life before me, to sit
leaning on future arms and reading of Samson,
how from his mother first nothing, then everything, was born.

Wasn't he a hero inside you mother? didn't
his imperious choosing already begin there, in you?
Thousands seethed in your womb, wanting to be him,
but look: he grasped and excluded—, chose and prevailed.
And if he demolished pillars, it was when he burst
from the world of your body into the narrower world, where again
he chose and prevailed. O mothers of heroes, O sources
of ravaging floods! You ravines into which
virgins have plunged, lamenting,
from the highest rim of the heart, sacrifices to the son.
For whenever the hero stormed through the stations of love,
each heartbeat intended for him lifted him up, beyond it;
and, turning away, he stood there, at the end of all smiles,—transfigured.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
“KLAGE O wie ist alles fern und lange vergangen. Ich glaube, der Stern, von welchem ich Glanz empfange, ist seit Jahrtausenden tot. Ich glaube, im Boot, das vorüberfuhr, hörte ich etwas Banges sagen. Im Hause hat eine Uhr geschlagen … In welchem Haus? … Ich möchte aus meinem Herzen hinaus unter den großen Himmel treten. Ich möchte beten. Und einer von allen Sternen müßte wirklich noch sein. Ich glaube, ich wüßte, welcher allein gedauert hat,— welcher wie eine weiße Stadt am Ende des Strahls in den Himmeln steht …”
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke

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