rainer maria rilke Quotes

Rainer Maria Rilke Quotes

Birth Date: 1875-12-04 (Saturday, December 4th, 1875)
Date of Death: 1926-12-29 (Wednesday, December 29th, 1926)

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Quotes

    • Just as language has no longer anything in common with the thing it names, so the movements of most of the people who live in cities have lost their connexion with the earth; they hang, as it were, in the air, hover in all directions, and find no place where they can settle.
    • Du im Voraus verlorne Geliebte, Nimmergekommene, nicht wei? ich, welche Tone dir lieb sind. Nicht mehr versuch ich, dich, wenn das Kommende wogt, zu erkennen.
    • Ach, die Garten bist du, ach, ich sah sie mit solcher Hoffnung. Ein offenes Fenster im Landhaus-, und du tratest beinahe mir nachdenklich heran. Gassen fand ich,- du warst sie gerade gegangen, und die spiegel manchmal der Laden der Handler waren noch schwindlich von dir und gaben erschrocken mein zu plotzliches Bild.-Wer wei?, ob derselbe Vogel nicht hinklang durch uns gestern, einzeln, im Abend?
    • Schon ist mein Blick am Hugel, dem besonnten, dem Wege, den ich kaum begann, voran. So fasst uns das, was wir nicht fassen konnten, voller Erscheinung, aus der Ferne an- und wandelt uns, auch wenn wirs nicht erreichen, in jenes, das wir, kaum es ahnend, sind; ein Zeichen weht, erwidernd unserm Zeichen... Wir aber spuren nur den Gegenwind.
    • I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone enough to truly consecrate the hour. I am much too small in this world, yet not small enough to be to you just object and thing, dark and smart. I want my free will and want it accompanying the path which leads to action; and want during times that beg questions, where something is up, to be among those in the know, or else be alone.
    • The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.
    • He was a poet and hated the approximate.
    • Death is the dies of life which is turned away from us.
    • Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.
    • Everywhere I am folded, there I am a lie.
    • Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further.
    • Ideally a painter (and, generally, an artist) should not become conscious of his insights: without taking the detour through his reflective processes, and incomprehensibly to himself, all his progress should enter so swiftly into the work that he is unable to recognise them in the moment of transition. Alas, the artist who waits in ambush there, watching, detaining them, will find them transformed like the beautiful gold in the fairy tale which cannot remain gold because some small detail was not taken care of.
    • Painting is something that takes place among the colors, and ... one has to leave them alone completely, so that they can settle the matter among themselves. Their intercourse: this is the whole of painting. Whoever meddles, arranges, injects his human deliberation, his wit, his advocacy, his intellectual agility in any way, is already disturbing and clouding their activity.
    • Just as the creative artist is not allowed to choose, neither is he permitted to turn his back on anything: a single refusal, and he is cast out of the state of grace and becomes sinful all the way through.
    • He [Cezanne] reproduced himself with so much humble objectivity, with the unquestioning, matter of fact interest of a dog who sees himself in a mirror and thinks: there's another dog.
    • Not since Moses has anyone seen a mountain so greatly.
    • What is required of us is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it. In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us. Right in the difficult we must have our joys, our happiness, our dreams: there against the depth of this background, they stand out, there for the first time we see how beautiful they are.
    • Extinguish my sight, and I can still see you; plug up my ears, and I can still hear; even without feet I can walk toward you, and without mouth I can still implore. Break off my arms, and I will hold you with my heart as if it were a hand; strangle my heart, and my brain will still throb; and should you set fire to my brain, I still can carry you with my blood.
    • Ich bin auf der Welt zu allein und doch nicht allein genug, um jede Studen zu weihen. Ich bin auf der Welt zu gering und doch nicht klein genug, um vor dir zu sein wie ein Ding, dunkel und klug. Ich will meinen Willen und will meinen Willen begleiten die Wege zur Tat; und will in stillen, irgendwie zorgernden Zeiten, wenn etwas naht, unter den Wissenden sein oder allein.
    • Aus unendlichen Sehnsuchten steigen endliche Taten wie schwache Fontanen, die sich zeitig und zitternd neigen. Aber, die sich uns sonst verschweigen, unsere frohlichen krafte-zeigen sich in diesen tanzenden Tranen.
    • Herr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr gro?. Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren, und auf den Fluren la? die Winde los.
    • Der Abend wechselt langsam die Gewander, die ihm ein Rand von alten Baumen halt.
    • Wie soll ich meine Seele halten, da? sie nicht an deine ruhrt? Wie soll ich sie hinheben uber dich zu andern Dingen? Ach gerne mochte ich sie bei irgendetwas Verlorenem im Dunkel unterbringen an einer fremden stillen Stelle, die nicht weiterschwingt, wenn diene Tiefen schwingen. Doch alles, was uns anruhrt, dich und mich, nimmt uns zusammen wie ein Bogenstrich, die aus zwei Saiten eine Stimme zieht. Auf welches Instrument sind wir gespannt? Und welcher Geiger hat uns in der Hand? O su?es Lied.
    • Diese Muhsal, durch noch Ungetanes schwer und wie gebunden hinzugehen, gleicht dem ungeschaffnen Gang des Schwanes. Und das Sterben, dieses Nichtmehrfassen jenes Grunds, auf dem wir taglich stehen, seinem angstlichen Sich-Niederlassen-: in die Wasser, die ihn sanft empfangen und die sich, wie glucklich und vergangen, unter ihm zuruckziehn, Flut um Flut; wahrend er unendlich still und sicher immer mundiger und koniglicher und gelassener zu ziehn geruht.
    • Die nachste Flut verwischt den Weg im Watt, und alles wird auf allen Seiten gleich; die kleine Insel drau?en aber hat die Augen zu; verwirrend kreist der Deich um ihre Wohner, die in einem Schlaf geboren werden, drin sie viele Welten verwechseln schweigend, denn sie reden selten, und jeder Satz ist wie ein Epitaph
    • Sein Blick ist vom Vorubergehen der Stabe so mud geworden, da? er nichts mehr halt. Ihm ist, als ob es tausend Stabe gabe und hinter tausend Staben 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 betaubt ein gro?er Wille steht. Nur manchmal schiebt der Vorhang der Pupille sich lautlos auf-. Dann geht ein Bild hinein, geht durch der Glieder angespannte Stille- und hort im Herzen auf zu sein.
    • I am so afraid of people's words. They describe so distinctly everything: And this they call dog and that they call house, here the start and there the end. I worry about their mockery with words, they know everything, what will be, what was; no mountain is still miraculous; and their house and yard lead right up to God. I want to warn and object: Let the things be! I enjoy listening to the sound they are making. But you always touch: and they hush and stand still. That's how you kill.
    • Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels' hierarchies? and even if one of them suddenly pressed me against his heart, I would perish in the embrace of his stronger existence. For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure and are awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us. Each single angel is terrifying.
    • Yes, the springtime was in need of you. Often a star waited for you to espy it and sense its light. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked below an open window, a violin gave itself to your hearing. All this was trust. But could you manage it? Were you not always distraught by expectation, as if all this were announcing the arrival of a beloved?
    • A tree ascended there. Oh pure transendence! Oh Orpheus sings! Oh tall tree in the ear! And all things hushed. Yet even in that silence a new beginning, beckoning, change appeared.
    • They more adeptly bend the willow's branches who have experience of the willow's roots.
    • When you go to bed, don't leave bread or milk on the table: it attracts the dead.
    • Erst eine Kindheit, grenzenlos und ohne Verzicht und Ziel. O unbewu?te Lust. Auf einmal Schrecken, Schranke, Schule, Frohne und Absturtz in Versuchung und Verlust. Trotz. Der Gebogene wird selber Bieger und racht an anderen, da? er erlag. Geliebt, gefurchtet, Retter, Ringer, Sieger und Uberwinder, Schlag auf Schlag. Und dann allein im Weiten, Leichten, Kalten. Doch tief in der errichteten Gestalt ein Atemholen nach dem Ersten, Alten... Da sturzte Gott aus seinem Hinterhalt.
    • Nothing touches a work of art so little as words of criticism : they always result in more or less fortunate misunderstandings. 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.
    • No one can advise or help you - no one. There is only one thing you should do. 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.
    • A work of art is good if it has grown out of necessity.
    • I could give you no advice but this: to go into yourself and to explore the depths where your life wells forth.
    • 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.
    • Irony: Do not let yourself be governed by it, especially not in unproductive moments. In productive ones try to make use of it as one more means of seizing life.
    • No experience has been too unimportant, and the smallest event unfolds like a fate, and fate itself is like a wonderful, wide fabric in which every thread is guided by an infinitely tender hand and laid alongside another thread and is held and supported by a hundred others.
    • Read as little as possible of literary criticism - such things are either partisan opinions, which have become petrified and meaningless, hardened and empty of life, or else they are just clever word-games, in which one view wins today, and tomorrow the opposite view. Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism.
    • 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.
    • If you trust in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in your conscious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your innermost awareness, awakeness, and knowledge.
    • Sex is difficult; yes. But those tasks that have been entrusted to us are difficult; almost everything serious is difficult; and everything is serious. If you just recognize this and manage, out of yourself, out of your own talent and nature, out of your own experience and childhood and strength, to achieve a wholly individual relation to sex (one that is not influenced by convention and custom), then you will no longer have to be afraid of losing yourself and becoming unworthy of your dearest possession.
    • Physical pleasure is a sensual experience no different from pure seeing or the pure sensation with which a fine fruit fills the tongue; it is a great unending experience, which is given us, a knowing of the world, the fullness and the glory of all knowing. And not our acceptance of it is bad; the bad thing is that most people misuse and squander this experience and apply it as a stimulant at the tired spots of their lives and as distraction instead of a rallying toward exalted moments.
    • The great renewal of the world will perhaps consist in this, that man and maid, freed of all false feelings and reluctances, will seek each other not as opposites, but as brother and sister, as neighbors, and will come together as human beings.
    • Through such impressions one gathers oneself, wins oneself back from the exacting multiplicity, which speaks and chatters there (and how talkative it is!), and one slowly learns to recognize the very few Things in which something eternal endures that one can love and something solitary that one can gently take part in.
    • As bees gather honey, so we collect what is sweetest out of all things and build Him. Even with the trivial, with the insignificant (as long as it is done out of love) we begin, with work and with the repose that comes afterward, with a silence or with a small solitary joy, with everything that we do alone, without anyone to join or help us, we start Him whom we will not live to see, just as our ancestors could not live to see us. And yet they, who passed away long ago, still exist in us, as predisposition, as burden upon our fate, as murmuring blood, and as gesture that rises up from the depths of time. Is there anything that can deprive you of the hope that in this way you will someday exist in Him, who is the farthest, the outermost limit?
    • Love is something difficult and it is more difficult than other things because in other conflicts nature herself enjoins men to collect themselves, to take themselves firmly in the hand with all their strength, while in the heightening of love the impulse is to give oneself wholly away.
    • People have (with the help of conventions) oriented all their solutions toward the easy and toward the easiest side of the easy; but it is clear that we must hold to what is difficult; everything alive holds to it, everything in Nature grows and defends itself in its own way and is characteristically and spontaneously itself, seeks at all costs to be so and against all opposition. We know little, but that we must hold to what is difficult is a certainty that will not forsake us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it. 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.
    • Young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it.
    • Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over and uniting with another (for what would a union be of something unclarified and unfinished, still subordinate?), it is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become world, 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.
    • The demands which the difficult work of love makes upon our development are more than life-size, and as beginners we are not up to them. But if we nevertheless hold out and take this love upon us as burden and apprenticeship, instead of losing ourselves in all the light and frivolous play, behind which people have hidden from the most earnest earnestness of their existence - then a little progress and alleviation will perhaps be perceptible to those who come long after us; that would be much.
    • Young people -it is obvious -cannot achieve such a relationship, but they can, if they understand their life properly, grow up slowly to such happiness and prepare themselves for it. They must not forget, when they love, that they are beginners, bunglers of life, apprentices in love- must learn love, and that like all learning wants peace, patience, and composure.
    • Someday there will be girls and women whose name will no longer mean the mere opposite of the male, but something in itself, something that makes one think not of any complement and limit, but only life and reality: the female human being.
    • 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.
    • If only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful.
    • There is probably no point in my going into your questions now; for what I could say about your tendency to doubt or about your inability to bring your outer and inner lives into harmony or about all the other thing that oppress you - : is just what I have already said: just the wish that you may find in yourself enough patience to endure and enough simplicity to have faith; that you may gain more and more confidence in what is difficult and in your solitude among other people. And as for the rest, let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.
    • All feelings that concentrate you and lift you up are pure; only that feeling is impure which grasps just one side of your being and thus distorts you. Everything you can think of as you face your childhood, is good. Everything that makes more of you than you have ever been, even in your best hours, is right. Every intensification is good, if it is in your entire blood, if it isn't intoxication or muddiness, but joy which you can see into, clear to the bottom.
    • It must be immense, this silence, in which sounds and movements have room, and if one thinks that along with all this the presence of the distant sea also resounds, perhaps as the innermost note in this prehistoric harmony, then one can only wish that you are trustingly and patiently letting the magnificent solitude work upon you, this solitude which can no longer be erased from your life; which, in everything that is in store for you to experience and to do, will act as an anonymous influence, continuously and gently decisive, rather as the blood of our ancestors incessantly moves in us and combines with our own to form the unique, unrepeatable being that we are at every turning of our life.
    • Art too is just a way of living, and however one lives, one can, without knowing, prepare for it; in everything real one is closer to it, more its neighbor, than in the unreal half-artistic professions, which, while they pretend to be close to art, in practice deny and attack the existence of all art - as, for example, all of journalism does and almost all criticism and three quarters of what is called (and wants to be called) literature.
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