Rainer Maria Rilke, full name René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke
Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.
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.
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.
Outside much has changed. I don't know how. But inside and before you, O my God, inside before you, spectator, are we not without action? We discover, indeed, that we do not know our part, we look for a mirror, we want to rub off the make-up and remove the counterfeit and be real. But somewhere a bit of mummery still sticks to us that we forget. A trace of exaggeration remains in our eyebrows, we do not notice that the corners of our lips are twisted. And thus we go about, a laughing-stock, a mere half-thing: neither existing, not actors.
Painting is something that takes place among the colors... 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.
Our task is to take this earth so deeply and wholly into ourselves that it will resurrect within our being.
Out of infinite longings rise finite deeds like weak fountains, falling back just in time and trembling. And yet, what otherwise remains silent, our happy energies
Our fears are like dragons guarding our most precious treasures.
One of the most difficult tests for the creator: he must always remain unconscious, unaware of his best virtues, if he doesn't want to rob them of their candor and innocence.
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.
Only those sadnesses are dangerous and bad which one carries about among people in order to drown them out.
Of all my books, I find only a few indispensable.
Oh hours of childhood, when behind each shape more than the past appeared and what streamed out before us was not the future. We felt our bodies growing and were at times impatient to be grown up, half for the sake of those with nothing left but their grownupness.
O smile, going where? O upturned look: new, warm, receding surge of the heart--; alas, we are that surge. Does then the cosmic space we dissolve in taste of us? Do the angels reclaim only what is theirs, their own outstreamed existence, or sometimes, by accident, does a bit of us get mixed in? Are we blended in their features like the slight vagueness that complicates the looks of pregnant women? Unnoticed by them in their whirling back into themselves? (How could they notice?)
O shooting star that fell into my eyes and through my body-: not to forget you. To endure.
O Lord, give each person his own personal death. / A thing that moves out of the same life he lived, / In which he had love, and intelligence, and trouble.
O how all things are far removed and long have passed away. I do believe the star, whose light my face reflects, is dead and has been so for many thousand years. I had a vision of a passing boat and heard some voices saying disquieting things. I heard a clock strike in some distant house... but in which house?... I long to quiet my anxious heart and stand beneath the sky's immensity. I long to pray... And one of all the stars must still exist. I do believe that I would know which one alone endured, and which like a white city stands at the ray's end shining in the heavens.
Now we wake up with our memory and fix our gazes on that which was; whispering sweetness, which once coursed through us, sits silently beside us with loosened hair
Now you feel how nothing clings to you; your vast shell reaches into endless space, and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow. Illuminated in your infinite peace, a billion stars go spinning through the night, blazing high above your head. But IN you is the presence that will be, when all the stars are dead.
Not into a beyond whose shadow darkens the earth, but into a whole, into the whole.
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, there is not more beauty here than elsewhere, and all these objects, continuously admired by generations and patched and mended by workmen's hands, signify nothing, are nothing, and have no heart and no value;-- but there is much beauty here, because there is much beauty everywhere.