HomeArtmakingFrom Rilke’s Book of Hours

My sister sent me this poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, from his Book of Hours, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy. It speaks to me deeply. “Go to the limits of your longing,” indeed:

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

—Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours I, 59


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