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Best Famous Rainer Maria Rilke Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Rainer Maria Rilke poems. This is a select list of the best famous Rainer Maria Rilke poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Rainer Maria Rilke poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Rainer Maria Rilke poems.

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by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

The Gazelle

Gazella Dorcas


Enchanted thing: how can two chosen words
ever attain the harmony of pure rhyme
that pulses through you as your body stirs?
Out of your forehead branch and lyre climb

and all your features pass in simile through
the songs of love whose words as light as rose-
petals rest on the face of someone who
has put his book away and shut his eyes:

to see you: tensed as if each leg were a gun
loaded with leaps but not fired while your neck
holds your head still listening: as when

while swimming in some isolated place
a girl hears leaves rustle and turns to look:
the forest pool reflected in her face.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

The Swan

The laboring through what is still undone
as though legs bound we hobbled along the way
is like the awkward walking of the sawn.
And dying-to let go no longer feel the solid ground we stand on every day- is like his anxious letting himself fall into the water which receives him gently and which as though with reverence and joy draws back past him in streams on either side; while infinitely silent and aware in his full majesty and ever more indifferent he condescends to glide.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

The Grownup

All this stood upon her and was the world
and stood upon her with all its fear and grace
as trees stand, growing straight up, imageless
yet wholly image, like the Ark of God,
and solemn, as if imposed upon a race.
As she endured it all: bore up under the swift-as-flight, the fleeting, the far-gone, the inconceivably vast, the still-to-learn, serenely as a woman carrying water moves with a full jug.
Till in the midst of play, transfiguring and preparing for the future, the first white veil descended, gliding softly over her opened face, almost opaque there, never to be lifted off again, and somehow giving to all her questions just one answer: In you, who were a child once-in you.
Translated by Stephen Mitchell


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

Going Blind

She sat just like the others as the table.
But on second glance she seemed to hold her cup a little differently as she picked it up.
She smiled once.
It was almost painful.
And when they finished and it was time to stand and slowly as chance selected them they left and moved through many rooms (they talked and laughed) I saw her.
She was moving far behind The others absorbed like someone who will soon have to sing before a large assembly; upon her eyes which were radiant with joy light played as on the surface of a pool.
She followed slowly taking a long time as though there were some obstacle in the way; and yet: as though once it was overcome she would be beyond all walking and would fly.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

Before Summer Rain

Suddenly from all the green around you
something-you don't know what-has disappeared;
you feel it creeping closer to the window
in total silence.
From the nearby wood you hear the urgent whistling of a plover reminding you of someone's Saint Jerome: so much solitude and passion come from that one voice whose fierce request the downpour will grant.
The walls with their ancient portraits glide away from us cautiously as though they weren't supposed to hear what we are saying.
And reflected on the faded tapestries now: the chill uncertain sunlight of those long childhood hours when you were so afraid.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

Portrait of My Father as a Young Man

In the eyes dream.
The brow as if it could feel something far off.
Around the lips a great freshness-seductive though there is no smile.
Under the rows of ornamental braid on the slim Imperial officer's uniform: the saber's basket-hilt.
Both hands stay folded upon it going nowhere calm and now almost invisible as if they were the first to grasp the distance and dissolve.
And all the rest so curtained with itself so cloudy that I cannot understand this figure as it fades into the background-.
Oh quickly disappearing photograph In my more slowly disappearing hand.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

Self-Portrait

1906


The stamina of an old long-noble race
in the eyebrows' heavy arches.
In the mild blue eyes the solemn anguish of a child and here and there humility-not a fool's but feminine: the look of one who serves.
The mouth quite ordinary large and straight composed yet not willing to speak out when necessary.
The forehead still na?ve most comfortable in shadows looking down.
This as a whole just hazily foreseen- never in any joy of suffering collected for a firm accomplishment; and yet as though from far off with scattered Things a serious true work were being planned.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

Spanish Dancer

As on all its sides a kitchen-match darts white
flickering tongues before it bursts into flame:
with the audience around her, quickened, hot,
her dance begins to flicker in the dark room.
And all at once it is completely fire.
One upward glance and she ignites her hair and, whirling faster and faster, fans her dress into passionate flames, till it becomes a furnace from which, like startled rattlesnakes, the long naked arms uncoil, aroused and clicking.
And then: as if the fire were too tight around her body, she takes and flings it out haughtily, with an imperious gesture, and watches: it lies raging on the floor, still blazing up, and the flames refuse to die - Till, moving with total confidence and a sweet exultant smile, she looks up finally and stamps it out with powerful small feet.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

The Sonnets To Orpheus: Book 2: I

 Breathing: you invisible poem! Complete
interchange of our own
essence with world-space.
You counterweight in which I rythmically happen.
Single wave-motion whose gradual sea I am: you, most inclusive of all our possible seas- space has grown warm.
How many regions in space have already been inside me.
There are winds that seem like my wandering son.
Do you recognize me, air, full of places I once absorbed? You who were the smooth bark, roundness, and leaf of my words.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

What Birds Plunge Through Is Not The Intimate Space

 What birds plunge through is not the intimate space,
in which you see all Forms intensified.
(In the Open, denied, you would lose yourself, would disappear into that vastness.
) Space reaches from us and translates Things: to become the very essence of a tree, throw inner space around it, from that space that lives in you.
Encircle it with restraint.
It has no limits.
For the first time, shaped in your renouncing, it becomes fully tree.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

Sense Of Something Coming

 I am like a flag in the center of open space.
I sense ahead the wind which is coming, and must live it through.
while the things of the world still do not move: the doors still close softly, and the chimneys are full of silence, the windows do not rattle yet, and the dust still lies down.
I already know the storm, and I am troubled as the sea.
I leap out, and fall back, and throw myself out, and am absolutely alone in the great storm.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

Fires Reflection

 Perhaps it's no more than the fire's reflection
on some piece of gleaming furniture
that the child remembers so much later
like a revelation.
And if in his later life, one day wounds him like so many others, it's because he mistook some risk or other for a promise.
Let's not forget the music, either, that soon had hauled him toward absence complicated by an overflowing heart.
.
.
.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

The Wait

 It is life in slow motion,
it's the heart in reverse,
it's a hope-and-a-half:
too much and too little at once.
It's a train that suddenly stops with no station around, and we can hear the cricket, and, leaning out the carriage door, we vainly contemplate a wind we feel that stirs the blooming meadows, the meadows made imaginary by this stop.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

Greek Love-Talk

 What I have already learned as a lover,
I see you, beloved, learning angrily;
then for you it distantly departed,
now your destiny stands in all the stars.
Over your breasts we will together contend: since as glowingly shining they've ripened, so also your hands desire to touch them and their own pleasure superintend.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

Child In Red

 Sometimes she walks through the village in her
 little red dress
all absorbed in restraining herself,
and yet, despite herself, she seems to move
according to the rhythm of her life to come.
She runs a bit, hesitates, stops, half-turns around.
.
.
and, all while dreaming, shakes her head for or against.
Then she dances a few steps that she invents and forgets, no doubt finding out that life moves on too fast.
It's not so much that she steps out of the small body enclosing her, but that all she carries in herself frolics and ferments.
It's this dress that she'll remember later in a sweet surrender; when her whole life is full of risks, the little red dress will always seem right.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

Childhood

 HOW I could see through and through you!
So unconscious, tender, kind,
More than ever was known to you
Of the pure ways of your mind.
We who long to rest from strife Labour sternly as a duty; But a magic in your life Charms, unknowing of its beauty.
We are pools whose depths are told; You are like a mystic fountain, Issuing ever pure and cold From the hollows of the mountain.
We are men by anguish taught To distinguish false from true; Higher wisdom we have not; But a joy within guides you.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

As Once The Winged Energy Of Delight

 As once the winged energy of delight
carried you over childhood's dark abysses,
now beyond your own life build the great
arch of unimagined bridges.
Wonders happen if we can succeed in passing through the harshest danger; but only in a bright and purely granted achievement can we realize the wonder.
To work with Things in the indescribable relationship is not too hard for us; the pattern grows more intricate and subtle, and being swept along is not enough.
Take your practiced powers and stretch them out until they span the chasm between two contradictions.
.
.
For the god wants to know himself in you.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

Moving Forward

 The deep parts of my life pour onward,
as if the river shores were opening out.
It seems that things are more like me now, That I can see farther into paintings.
I feel closer to what language can't reach.
With my senses, as with birds, I climb into the windy heaven, out of the oak, in the ponds broken off from the sky my falling sinks, as if standing on fishes.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

The Sonnets To Orpheus: I

 A tree ascended there.
Oh pure transendence! Oh Orpheus sings! Oh tall tree in the ear! And all things hushed.
Yet even in that silence a new beginning, beckoning, change appeared.
Creatures of stillness crowded from the bright unbound forest, out of their lairs and nests; and it was not from any dullness, not from fear, that they were so quiet in themselves, but from just listening.
Bellow, roar, shriek seemed small inside their hearts.
And where there had been at most a makeshift hut to receive the music, a shelter nailed up out of their darkest longing, with an entryway that shuddered in the wind- you built a temple deep inside their hearing.


by Rainer Maria Rilke | |

Little Tear-Vase

 Other vessels hold wine, other vessels hold oil
inside the hollowed-out vault circumscribed by their clay.
I, as smaller measure, and as the slimmest of all, humbly hollow myself so that just a few tears can fill me.
Wine becomes richer, oil becomes clear, in its vessel.
What happens with tears?-They made me blind in my glass, made me heavy and made my curve iridescent, made me brittle, and left me empty at last.