A Collection of Rilke Quotes
(art by Jessica Hesser)
Rainer Maria Rilke
“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final”
“I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.”
“I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.”
“The work of the eyes is done. Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.”
“Extinguish my eyes, I'll go on seeing you.
Seal my ears, I'll go on hearing you.
And without feet I can make my way to you,
without a mouth I can swear your name.
Break off my arms, I'll take hold of you
with my heart as with a hand.
Stop my heart, and my brain will start to beat.
And if you consume my brain with fire,
I'll feel you burn in every drop of my blood.”
“The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.”
“For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror
which we are barely able to endure, and it amazes us so,
because it serenely disdains to destroy us.
Every angel is terrible.”
“The only journey is the one within.”
“Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.”
“Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.”
“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
“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.”
“Yet, no matter how deeply I go down into myself, my God is dark, and like a webbing made of a hundred roots that drink in silence.”
“you are not too old
and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out
it's own secret”
“If we surrendered
to earth's intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.”
“I am circling around God, around the ancient tower, and I have been circling for a thousand years, and I still don't know if I am a falcon, or a storm, or a great song.”
“You darkness, that I come from,
I love you more than all the fires
that fence in the world,
for the fire makes
a circle of light for everyone,
and then no one outside learns of you.
But the darkness pulls in everything:
shapes and fires, animals and myself,
how easily it gathers them! -
powers and people -
and it is possible a great energy
is moving near me.
I have faith in nights.”
“Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.”
“So don't be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why would you want to exclude from your life any uneasiness, any pain, any depression, since you don't know what work they are accomplishing within you?”
“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.”
“Everything terrible is something that needs our love.”
“I am learning to see. I don't know why it is, but everything enters me more deeply and doesn't stop where it once used to."
“You must give birth to your images. They are the future waiting to be born. Fear not the strangeness you feel. The future must enter you long before it happens. Just wait for the birth, for the the hour of the new clarity.”
“A billion stars go spinning through the night, / glittering above your head, / But in you is the presence that will be / when all the stars are dead.”
“Our heart always transcends us.”
“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.”
“I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone enough”
“The deepest experience of the creator is feminine, for it is experience of receiving and bearing.”