Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1926) was a Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist. He is widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets. Critics have described Rilke’s work as inherently “mystical.” His writings include one novel, several collections of poetry, and several volumes of correspondence. Rilke travelled extensively throughout Europe, including to Russia, Spain, Germany, France and Italy, and in his later years settled in Switzerland. These settings were the inspiration for many of his poems, particularly Russia where the people, landscape, and mysticism deeply impressed him. His best-known works include the poetry collections Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus, and The Book of Hours.
Quotes by Rainer Maria Rilke…
For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation.
But believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance and trust that in this love there is a strength and a blessing, out beyond which you do not have to step in order to go very far!
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
I don’t want to think a place for you.
Speak to me from everywhere.
Your Gospel can be comprehended
without looking for its source.
But if then you notice that it is great, rejoice because of this, for what (ask yourself) would solitude be that had no greatness. There is but one solitude, and that is great, and not easy to bear, and to almost everybody come hours when they would gladly exchange it for any sort of intercourse, however banal and cheap, for the semblance of some slight accord with the first comer, with the unworthiest… But perhaps those are the very hours when solitude grows, for its growing is painful as the growing of boys and sad as the beginning of spring-times. But that must not mislead you. The necessary thing is after all but this: solitude, great inner solitude. Going into oneself and for hours meeting no one — this one must be able to attain.
Love your solitude and bear with sweet-sounding lamentation the suffering it causes you. For those who are near you are far, you say, and that shows it is beginning to grow wide about you. And when what is near you is far, then your distance is already among the stars and very large; rejoice in your growth, in which you naturally can take no one with you, and be kind to those who remain behind, and be sure and calm before them and do not torment them with your doubts and do not frighten them with your confidence or joy which they could not understand.
You are not surprised at the force of the storm, you have seen it growing…
Now you must go out into your heart as onto a vast plain. Now the immense loneliness begins…
Through the empty branches the sky remains. It is what you have.
Be ahead of all parting, as though it were already behind you, like the winter that hast gone by. For among those winters there is one so endlessly winter that only by wintering through it will your heart survive.
Do not be bewildered by the surfaces; in the depths all becomes law.
You come and go. The doors swing closed
ever more gently, almost without a shudder.
Of all 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. For all things
sing you: at times
we just hear them more clearly.