Rainer Maria Rilke, full name René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke
We must accept our reality as vastly as we possibly can; everything, even the unprecedented, must be possible within it.
We discover that we do not know our role; we look for a mirror; we want to remove our make-up and take off what is false and real. But somewhere a piece of disguise that we forgot still sticks to us. A trace of exaggeration remains in our eyebrows; we do not notice that the corners of our mouth are bent. And so we walk around, a mockery and a mere half: neither having achieved being nor actors.
We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them
We are continually overflowing toward those who preceded us, toward our origin, and toward those who seemingly come after us. ... It is our task to imprint this temporary, perishable earth into ourselves so deeply, so painfully and passionately, that its essence can rise again invisibly, inside us. We are the bees of the invisible. We wildly collect the honey of the visible, to store it in the great golden hive of the invisible.
We are not allowed to linger, even with what is most intimate.
Ultimately, and precisely in the deepest and most important matters, we are unspeakably alone; and many things must happen, many things must go right, a whole constellation of events must be fulfilled, for one human being to successfully advise or help another.
Verses are not, as people think, feelings (those one has early enough) -- they are experiences. For the sake of a verse one must see many cities, men, and things, one must know the animals feel how birds fly, and know the gesture with which the little flowers open in the morning.
Try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live with them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now... At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day. . . Discipline yourself to attain it, but accept that which comes to you with deep trust.
Truly to sing, that is a different breath.
Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than the arguments of its opposers.
To make myself understood and to diminish the distance between us, I called out: I am an evening cloud too. They stopped still, evidently taking a good look at me. Then they stretched towards me their fine, transparent, rosy wings. That is how evening clouds greet each other. They had recognized me.
To think, for instance, that I have never been aware before how many faces there are. There are quantities of human beings, but there are many more faces, for each person has several. There are people who wear the same face for years; naturally it wears out, it gets dirty, it splits at the folds, it stretches, like gloves one has worn on a journey. These are thrifty, simple people; they do not change their face, they never even have it cleaned. It is good enough, they say, and who can prove to them the contrary? The question of course arises, since they have several faces, what do they do with the others? They store them up. Their children will wear them. But sometimes, too, it happens that their dogs go out with them on. And why not? A face is a face.
To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all the tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason young people, who are beginners at everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love... 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.
To be in circumstances that are working upon us, that from time to time place us in front of great natural Things - that is all we need.
To have a childhood means to live a thousand lives before the one.
To be an artist... means to ripen as the tree, which does not force its sap, but stands unshaken in the storms of spring with no fear that summer might not follow...
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.
Time is not a measure. A year does not count, ten years mean nothing. Being an artist means not tell, is growing like a tree that does not hasten its sap and stands serenely, to the great winds of spring, not afraid that summer may not come. The summer is coming. But it only comes to those who wait, as quiet as if in front eternity.
Those tasks that have been entrusted to us are difficult; almost everything serious is difficult; and everything is serious.
Though he works and worries, the farmer never reaches down to where the seed turns into summer. The earth grants.
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. [This, above all, ask yourself in the stillest hour of the night: must I write? Delve deep into yourself. And if this should be affirmative, if you may meet this question with a strong and simple 'I must' then build your life according to this necessity; your life even into its most indifferent and slightest hour must be a sign of this urge and a testimony to it. ]
Those doves below, the ones utterly cared for, never endangered ones, cannot know tenderness.
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.
This is the longing to live in the surging and have no home in time. And these are wishes: silent dialogues daily hours of eternity.
This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love; the more they give, the more they possess of that precious nourishing love from which flowers and children have their strength and which could help all human beings if they would take it without doubting.