Rainer Maria Rilke


Nothing is like something else. What is not wholly

alone with itself, what thing can really be expressed?

We name nothing. All we can do

is tolerate, acquaint ourselves

with a single fact: here a sudden brilliance

or there a glimpse momentarily grazes us

as if it were precisely that in which resides

what our life is. Whoever resists

will have no world. Whoever resists

will have no world. Whoever grasps too much

will overlook the infinite. Meanwhile,

during such huge nights we are out of danger,

distributed in equal, almost weightless

parts among the stars. How they urge us on.



Translated from the German by
Franz Wright
The Unknown Rilke , 1990