Rainer Maria Rilke quotes

Rainer Maria Rilke quotes

“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

 

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily; we do not need to learn it.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Translations from the Poetry of 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, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust…. and don’t expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

“The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

“I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“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

 

“Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

“Love consists of this: two solitudes that meet, protect and greet each other. ” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don’t know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

“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, Duino Elegies

 

“It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, – is already in our bloodstream. And we don’t know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can’t say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens. And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside. The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“Extinguish my eyes, I’ll go on seeing you.
Seal my ears, I’ll go on hearing you.
And without feet I can make my way to you,
without a mouth I can swear your name.

 

Break off my arms, I’ll take hold of you
with my heart as with a hand.
Stop my heart, and my brain will start to beat.
And if you consume my brain with fire,
I’ll feel you burn in every drop of my blood.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading!” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“only someone who is ready for everything, who doesn’t exclude any experience, even the most incomprehensible, will live the relationship with another person as something alive and will himself sound the depths of his own being.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

“A person isn’t who they are during the last conversation you had with them – they’re who they’ve been throughout your whole relationship.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“I live my life in widening circles That reach out across the world.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

 

“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

“The only journey is the one within.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“The necessary thing is after all but this; solitude, great inner solitude. Going into oneself for hours meeting no one – this one must be able to attain.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

“You who never arrived 
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost 
from the start, 
I don’t even know what songs 
would please you. I have given up trying 
to recognize you in the surging wave of 
the next moment. All the immense 
images in me — the far-off, deeply-felt landscape, 
cities, towers, and bridges, and un-
suspected turns in the path, 
and those powerful lands that were once 
pulsing with the life of the gods– 
all rise within me to mean 
you, who forever elude me. 

 

You, Beloved, who are all 
the gardens I have ever gazed at, 
longing. An open window 
in a country house– , and you almost 
stepped out, pensive, to meet me. Streets that I chanced 
upon,– 
you had just walked down them and vanished. 
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors 
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled, gave back 
my too-sudden image. Who knows? Perhaps the same 
bird echoed through both of us 
yesterday, separate, in the evening… ” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“This is what the things can teach us: to fall, patiently to trust our heaviness. Even a bird has to do that before he can fly.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“Think… of the world you carry within you.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“The only sadnesses that are dangerous and unhealthy are the ones that we carry around in public in order to drown them out with the noise; like diseases that are treated superficially and foolishly, they just withdraw and after a short interval break out again all the more terribly; and gather inside us and are life, are life that is unlived, rejected, lost, life that we can die of.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

“Embrace your solitude and love it. Endure the pain it causes, and try to sing out with it. For those near to you are distant…” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

“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

 

“Don’t be too quick to draw conclusions from what happens to you; simply let it happen. Otherwise it will be too easy for you to look with blame… at your past, which naturally has a share with everything that now meets you.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

“To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation…Love is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world for himself for another’s sake, it is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet/The Possibility of Being

 

“Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. 

 

This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose…

 

…Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty – describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attentions to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. – And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“you are not too old 
and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths 
where life calmly gives out 
it’s own secret” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“I am circling around God, around the ancient tower, and I have been circling for a thousand years, and I still don’t know if I am a falcon, or a storm, or a great song.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Rainer Maria Rilke’s the Book of Hours: A New Translation with Commentary

 

“Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“That’s love: Two lonely persons keep each other safe and touch each other and talk to each other.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

“Things aren’t all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered, and more unsayable than all other things are works of art, those mysterious existences, whose life endures beside our own small, transitory life” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“[A]t bottom, and just in the deepest and most important things, we are unutterably alone, and for one person to be able to advise or even help another, a lot must happen, a lot must go well, a whole constellation of things must come right in order once to succeed.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

“Every angel is terrifying.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies

 

“It is not inertia alone that is responsible for human relationships repeating themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new, unforeseeable experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope. But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical will live the relation to another as something alive.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 

“How can I keep my soul in me, so that it doesn’t touch your soul? How can I raise it high enough, past you, to other things?” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

“It is always what I have already said: always the wish that you may find patience enough in yourself to endure, and simplicity enough to believe; that you may acquire more and more confidence in that which is difficult, and in your solitude among others. And for the rest, let life happen to you. Believe me: life is right, in any case.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

 

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