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After Rilke's Letters
-- by John VanDyke Wilmerding II

this is my letter to a young person
poet you may be, but yet not know it
love is life’s great end, its final purpose
that for which all other tests prepare us
love is not to merge, nor to surrender
yet leads into solitude most tender
alone, into wholeness, one is called
before contemplating how one might wed
that your other might not lack your loving
owing to you finding yourself wanting
however far you are from who you are
that’s the distance you’ll travel for true love
be patient and wait on your completeness
only then can grow your full tenderness
be yourself, and you become another
enhancing your one beloved other

-- original poem written May 27, 2015,'after' Rainer Maria Rilke's 'Letters to a Young Poet


Rainer Maria Rilke

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It is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be a reason t...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
I think of you at any time of the day and my worried thoughts accompany all your steps. The slightes...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet word...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
We lead our lives so poorly because we arrive in the present always unprepared, incapable, and too d...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
And perhaps the sexes are more closely related than we think, and the great renewal of the world wil...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
How should we be able to forget those myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths abou...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

RAINER MARIA RILKE
So it's back once more, back up the slope.
Why do they always ruin my rope
with their cuts...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances conti...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the my...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those w...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
It is part of the nature of every definitive love that sooner or later it can reach the beloved only...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Physical pleasure is a sensual experience no different from pure seeing or the pure sensation with w...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
The deepest experience of the creator is feminine, for it is experience of receiving and bearing.
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Just as language has no longer anything in common with the thing it names, so the movements of most ...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Do not assume that she who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet wor...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
He reproduced himself with so much humble objectivity, with the unquestioning, matter of fact intere...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbel...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like l...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
In one creative thought a thousand forgotten nights of love come to life again and fill it with maje...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Things are not all so comprehensible and expressible as one would mostly have us believe; most event...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Do not believe that he who seeks to comfort you lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words th...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love; the more they give, the more t...
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
Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful an...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
The great renewal of the world will perhaps consist in this, that man and maid, freed of all false f...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
There are no classes in life for beginners; right away you are always asked to deal with what is mos...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
One had to take some action against fear when once it laid hold of one.
RAINER MARIA RILKE
All emotions are pure which gather you and lift you up; that emotion is impure which seizes only one...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet ...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
That is the principle thing - not to remain with the dream, with the intention, with the being-in-th...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
A person isn't who they are during the last conversation you had with them - they're who they've bee...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
I have never been aware before how many faces there are. There are quantities of human beings, but t...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily; we do n...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
weren’t you always
distracted by expectation, as if every event
announced a beloved? (Wh...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Extinguish my eyes, I'll go on seeing you.
Seal my ears, I'll go on hearing you.
And witho...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to wr...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
And you, Clara Westhoff, how simply and well you endured, lived through the experience, and made it ...
RAINER MARIA RILKE,
...We of the here-and-now are not for a moment satisfied in the world of time, nor are we bound in i...
RAINER MARIA RILKE,
think: the hero prolongs himself, even his falling
was only a pretext for being, his latest reb...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Ninguém o pode aconselhar ou ajudar, — ninguém.
Não há senão um caminho. Procure entrar ...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
If you think your world isn’t poetic enough, or exciting enough to tell a story about, that’s no...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
How they are all about, these gentlemen
In chamberlains' apparel, stocked and laced,
Like ...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Destiny itself is like a wonderful wide tapestry in which every thread is guided by an unspeakable t...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Things aren't all so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences ...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
But your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circums...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Love consists of this: two solitudes that meet, protect and greet each other.
RAINER MARIA RILKE
All things want to float.
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very de...
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
Bodily delight is a sensory experience, not any different from pure looking or the pure feeling with...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
you are not too old
and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
wher...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
I am too alone in the world, and yet not alone enough
to make every moment holy.
I am too ...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Opennes...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
We see the brightness of a new page where everything yet can happen.
RAINER MARIA RILKE
From THE SONNETS TO ORPHEUS
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Being in therapy is great. I spend an hour just talking about myself. It's kinda like being the guy ...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to tru...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themsel...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Books, like friends, should be few and well chosen.
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day i...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, ...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
A billion stars go spinning through the night, blazing high above your head. But in you is the prese...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call ...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this l...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
it is clear that we must trust what is difficult; everything alive trusts in it, everything in Natur...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
For one human being to love another; that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultima...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
It is a tremendous act of violence to begin anything. I am not able to begin. I simply skip what sho...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
All the soarings of my mind begin in my blood.
RAINER MARIA RILKE
There are so many things about which some old man ought to tell one while one is little; for when on...
RAINER MARIA RILKE
Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.
RAINER MARIA RILKE