rilke poem

Whether it be the singing of a lamp or the voice of a storm, whether it be the breath of an evening or the groan of the ocean - whatever surrounds you, a broad melody always wakes behind you, woven out of a thousand voices, where there is room for your own solo only here and there. To know when you need to join in: that is the secret of your solitude: just as the art of true interactions with others is to let yourself fall away from high words into a single common melody.
—  Rainer Maria Rilke, from “Notes on the Melody of Things” in The Inner Sky: Poems, Notes and Dreams

Listen, love, I lift my hands—
listen: there’s a rustling…
What gesture of those all alone
might not be eavesdropped on by many things?
Listen, love, I close my eyes,
and even that makes sounds to reach you.
Listen, love, I open them…
…but why are you not here?

The imprint of my smallest motion
remains visible in the silken silence;
indestructibly the least excitement
is stamped into the distance’s taut curtain.
On my breathing the stars
rise and set.
At my lips fragrances come to drink,
and I recognize the wrists
of distant angels.
Only her of whom I think: You
I cannot see.

—  Rainer Maria Rilke, “The Silence”
You see, I want a lot.
Maybe I want it all:
the darkness of each endless fall,
the shimmering light of each ascent.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from I, 14 in “Rilke’s Book Of Hours: Love Poems To God” [translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy]

Du siehst, ich will viel.
Vielleicht will ich Alles:
das Dunkel jedes unendlichen Falles
und jedes Steigens lichtzitterndes Spiel.

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of a body as it turns away.

…Pour yourself out like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of a separation
it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.

-Rainer Maria Rilke, “Sonnets to Orpheus II, 12”