Quotations by Rilke, Rainer Maria


If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1963) German poet
Letters to a Young Poet, Letter 1 (17 Feb 1903)

trans. M. D. Herter Norton (1993)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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No one can advise or help you — no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1963) German poet
Letters to a Young Poet, Letter 1 (17 Feb 1903)

trans. M. D. Herter Norton (1993)
Added on 29-Apr-08 | Last updated 29-Apr-08
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Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1963) German poet
Letters to a Young Poet, Letter 4 (16 Jul 1903) trans. by M. D. Herter Norton (1993)

Alt trans. (Stephen Mitchell): "Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."
Added on 24-Apr-08 | Last updated 24-Apr-08
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Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1963) German poet
Letters to a Young Poet, Letter 7 (14 Mar 1904)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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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.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1963) German poet
Letters to a Young Poet, Letter 7 (14 Mar 1904)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience. How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? 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.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1963) German poet
Letters to a Young Poet, Letter 8, 12 Aug 1904 (1929)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Oct-14 | Last updated 20-Oct-14
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What is required of us is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it. In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us. Right in the difficult we must have our joys, our happiness, our dreams: there against the depth of this background, they stand out, there for the first time we see how beautiful they are.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1963) German poet
Selected Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke (1960)
Added on 5-May-08 | Last updated 5-May-08
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And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been, full of work that has never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands; and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what it has to bestow upon those who demand of it necessary, serious, and great things.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1963) German poet
Letter to Clara Rilke (1 Jan 1907)
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Usually paraphrased: "And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been."
Added on 31-Dec-15 | Last updated 31-Dec-15
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A good marriage is that in which each appoints the other the guardian of his solitude.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1963) German poet
Letter to Paula Modersohn Becker (12 Feb 1902) [tr. Greene & Norton (1945)]
Added on 7-Oct-11 | Last updated 7-Oct-11
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