Rainer Maria Rilke, full name René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke
This advance, at first very much against the will of man who has been overtaken
This is in the end the only kind of courage that is required of us: the courage to face the strangest, most unusual, most inexplicable experiences that can meet us.
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.
Things are not all so comprehensible and expressible as one would mostly have us believe; most events are inexpressible, taking place in a realm which no word has ever entered, and more inexpressible than all else are works of art, mysterious existences, the life of which, while ours passes away, endures. [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 .]
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.
They all have tired mouths and bright seamless souls. And a longing (as for sin) sometimes haunts their dreams. They are almost all alike; in God's gardens they keep still, like many, many intervals in his might and melody. Only when they spread their wings are they wakers of a wind: as if God with his broad sculptor- hands leafed through the pages in the dark book of the beginning.
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.
There may be good, but there are no pleasant marriages.
There is only one way: Go within. Search for the cause, find the impetus that bids you write. Put it to this test: Does it stretch out its roots in the deepest place of your heart? Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to write? Above all, in the most silent hour of your night, ask yourself this: Must I write? Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And if it should ring its assent, if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, I must, then build your life upon it. It has become your necessity. Your life, in even the most mundane and least significant hour, must become a sign, a testimony to this urge.
There is only one journey. Going inside yourself.
There is only one solitude, and it is vast, heavy, difficult to bear, and almost everyone has hours when he would gladly exchange it for any kind of sociability, however trivial or cheap, for the tiniest outward agreement with the first person who comes along.
There is here no measuring with time, no year matters, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force it's sap and stands confident in the storms of Spring without the fear that after them may come no Summer. It does come. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful
There are so many things about which some old man ought to tell one while one is little; for when one is grown one would know them as a matter of course.
There comes a time when we have deposited in it all our firstlings, all beginning, all confidence, the seeds of all that which might perhaps someday come to be. And suddenly we realize: All that has sunk into a deep sea, and we don't even know just when. We never noticed it. As though someone were to collect all his money, and buy a feather with it and stick the feather in his hat: whish!--the first breeze will carry it away. Naturally he arrives home without his feather, and nothing remains for him but to look back and think when it would have flown.
There are quantities of human beings, but there are many more faces, for each person has several.
There are quite a number of people in the reading-room; but one is not aware of them. They are inside the books. They move, sometimes, within the pages like sleepers turning over between two dreams. Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.
There are no classes in life for beginners: right away you are always asked to deal with what is most difficult.
Then you will love almost instantly what's tasted. No one will ever talk you out of it.
The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.
The thought of being a creator, of engendering, of shaping is nothing without the continuous great confirmation and embodiment in the world, nothing without the thousandfold assent from Things and animals... beautiful and rich only because it is full of inherited memories of the engendering and birthing of millions.
THE WAIT: It is life in slow motion, it's the heart in reverse, it's a hope-and-a-half: too much and too little at once. It's a train that suddenly stops with no station around, and we can hear the cricket, and, leaning out the carriage door, we vainly contemplate a wind we feel that stirs the blooming meadows, the meadows made imaginary by this stop.
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.