Title Image - Quotes by Author Rainer Maria RilkePhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Rainer Maria Rilke. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Rainer Maria Rilke

René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke (4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926), better known as Rainer Maria Rilke (German: [ˈʁaɪnɐ maˈʁiːa ˈʁɪlkə]), was a Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist. He is "widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets". He wrote both verse and highly lyrical prose. Several critics have described Rilke's work as "mystical". His writings include one novel, several collections of poetry and several volumes of correspondence in which he invokes images that focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude and anxiety. These themes position him as a transitional figure between traditional and modernist writers.

Rilke travelled extensively throughout Europe (including Russia, Spain, Germany, France and Italy) and, in his later years, settled in Switzerland – settings that were key to the genesis and inspiration for many of his poems. While Rilke is most known for his contributions to German literature, over 400 poems were originally written in French and dedicated to the canton of Valais in Switzerland.

Among English-language readers, his best-known works include the poetry collections Duino Elegies (Duineser Elegien) and Sonnets to Orpheus (Die Sonette an Orpheus), the semi-autobiographical novel The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge), and a collection of ten letters that was published after his death under the title Letters to a Young Poet (Briefe an einen jungen Dichter). In the later 20th century, his work found new audiences through use by New Age theologians and self-help authors and frequent quotations by television programs, books and motion pictures. In the United States, Rilke remains among the more popular, best-selling poets.

The great renewal of the world will perhaps consist in this, that man and maid, freed of all false feelings and reluctances, will seek each other not as opposites, but as brother and sister, as neighbors, and will come together as human beings.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Love consists in this, that two solitude protect and touch and greet each other.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Just keep going - no feeling is final.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

A carefree letting go of oneself, not a caution, but a wise blindness.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

We are all falling. This hand's falling,too -- all have this falling-sickness none withstands. And yet there's one whose gently-holding hands this universal falling can't fall through.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

We're still reminded-: sometimes by a rain, but we can no longer say what it means; life was never again so filled with meeting, with reunion and with passing on.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

The only journey is the journey within.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

The main thing was being alive. That was the main thing.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

I'm still alive, I have time to build
My blood will outlast the rose.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Do not be bewildered by the surfaces: in the depths all becomes law.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

If the Angel deigns to appear, it will be because you have convinced him, not by tears but by your humble resolve to be always beginning -- to be a Beginner!

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

One of the most difficult tests for the creator: he must always remain unconscious, unaware of his best virtues, if he doesn't want to rob them of their candor and innocence.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Yet, no matter how deeply I go down into myself, my God is dark, and like a webbing made of a hundred roots that drink in silence.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Those tasks that have been entrusted to us are difficult; almost everything serious is difficult; and everything is serious.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

And I circle ten thousand years long; And I still don't know if I'm a falcon, a storm, or an unfinished song.

--Rainer Maria Rilke



That is longing: To dwell in the flux of things,
To have no home in the present.
And these are wishes: gentle dialogues
Of the poor hours with eternity.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

It seems to me that the only way one can be helpful is to extend one's hand to someone else involuntarily, and without ever knowing how useful this will be.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

As bees gather honey, so we collect what is sweetest out of all things and build.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

This is in the end the only kind of courage that is required of us: the courage to face the strangest, most unusual, most inexplicable experiences that can meet us.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Whoever you are, go out into the evening,
leaving your room, of which you know every bit;
your house is the last before the infinite,
whoever you are.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Longer Version:

Whoever you are: in the evening step out
of your room, where you know everything;
yours is the last house before the far-off:
whoever you are.
With your eyes, which in their weariness
barely free themselves from the worn-out threshold,
you lift very slowly one black tree
and place it against the sky: slender, alone.
And you have made the world. And it is huge
and like a word which grows ripe in silence.
And as your will seizes on its meaning,
tenderly your eyes let it go.


It is part of the nature of every definitive love that sooner or later it can reach the beloved only in infinity.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Irony: Don't let yourself be controlled by it, especially during uncreative moments.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

That is the principal thing-not to remain with the dream, with the intention, with the being-in-the-mood, but always forcibly to convert it all into things.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Nothing makes it more difficult to help than the intention of doing so.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

To have a childhood means to live a thousand lives before this one. (Letters on Life).

--Rainer Maria Rilke

The artist's experience lies so unbelievably close to the sexual, to its pain and its pleasure, that the two phenomena are really just different forms of one and the same longing and bliss.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

As the arrow endures the string, and in the gathering momentum becomes more than itself. Because to stay is to be nowhere.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Fame -- the aggregate of all the misunderstandings that collect around a new name.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Not since Moses has anyone seen a mountain so greatly.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

One must never despair upon losing something, whether it's an individual or an experience of joy or happiness; everything returns even more magnificently.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

The creator must be a world for himself and must find everything in himself and in Nature, to whom his whole life is devoted.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

But to be what I am, to live what I was meant to live, to want to sound like no one else, to yield the blossoms dictated to my heart: this is what I want -- and this surely cannot be arrogance. (Letters on Life).

--Rainer Maria Rilke

It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Ultimately nobody can help anyone else in life; one has this recurring experience in every conflict and confusion: that one is alone. (Letters on Life).

--Rainer Maria Rilke

There are moments in which a rose is more important than a piece of bread.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

How can I keep my soul in me, so that it doesn't touch your soul? How can I raise it high enough, past you, to other things?

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Basically, if it is good, one can't live to see it recognized: otherwise it's just half good and not reckless enough.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

What an unilateral life, when from the material of a renunciation, we must fashion something we love.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Wishes are recollections coming from the future.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Religion is something infinitely simple, ingenuous. It is not knowledge, not content of feeling... it is not duty and not renunciation, it is not restriction: but in the infinite extent of the universe it is a direction of the heart.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

But learning-time is always a long, secluded time, and so loving, for a long while ahead and far on into life, is-solitude, intensified and deepened loneness for him who loves.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

I am like a child who awakes At the light, so safe and secureFree from night's fears when dawn breaks, In Thee I am ever secure.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

He was a worker whose only desire was to penetrate with all his forces into the humble and difficult significance of his tools. Therein lay a certain renunciation of Life, but in just this renunciation lay his triumph, for Life entered into his work.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

No one can advise or help you -- no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write, find out wether it spreading out its root in the deepest places of your heart...Delve into yourself for a deep answer.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Here is the time for the sayable, here
is its home.
Speak and attest. More than ever
the things we can live with are falling
away,
and ousting them, filling their place,
a will with no image.
Will beneath crusts which readily crack
whenever the act inside swells and
seeks new borders.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Fame, that public destruction of one in process of becoming, into whose building-ground the mob breaks, displacing his stones.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

I believe that that love remains strong and intense in your memory because it was your first deep aloneness and the first inner work that you did on your life.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

But it is over now; I have survived it.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Perhaps everything terrible is, in its deepest being, something that needs our love.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Longer Version:

For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror
which we are barely able to endure, and it amazes us so,
because it serenely disdains to destroy us.
Every angel is terrible.


What is happening on your innermost self is worthy of your entire love.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

For sometime now I have believed that it is our own force, all our own force that is still too great for us. It is true that we do not know it; but is it not just that which is most our own of which we know the least?

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Oh longing for places that were not Cherished enough in that fleeting hour How I long to make good from afar The forgotten gesture, the additional act.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

In later years it would sometimes happen that I'd wake up at night and see the stars so real in the sky and so meaningful in their course, and couldn't understand how anyone could bring themselves to miss so much of the world.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Perhaps everything terrifying is deep down a helpless thing that needs our help.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Perhaps somewhere, someplace deep inside your being, you have undergone important changes while you were sad.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

It's possible, I'm moving through the hard veins of heavy mountains, like an arc, alone; I'm so deep inside, I see no end in sight, and no distance: everything is getting near and everything near is turning to stone.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure, and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

You who let yourselves feel: enter the breathing
That is more than your own.
Let it brush your cheeks
As it divides and rejoins behind you.

The trees you planted in childhood have grown
Too heavy. You cannot bring them along.
Give yourselves to the air, to what you cannot hold.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Again and again in history some people wake up. They have no ground in the crowd and move to broader deeper laws. They carry strange customs with them and demand room for bold and audacious action. The future speaks ruthlessly through them. They change the world.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Somewhere there is an ancient enmity between our daily life and the great work. Help me in saying it, to understand it.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Life and death: they are one, at core entwined. Who understands himself from his own strain presses himself into a drop of wine and throws himself into the purest flame.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Perhaps it requires of you precisely this existential anxiety in order to begin. Precisely these days of transition are perhaps the period when everything in you is working.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Be ahead of all parting, as though it already were behind you.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Longer Version:

Be ahead of all parting, as if it had already happened,
like winter, which even now is passing.
For beneath the winter is a winter so endless
that to survive it at all is a triumph of the heart.

Be forever dead in Eurydice, and climb back singing.
Climb praising as you return to connection.
Here among the disappearing, in the realm of the transient,
be a ringing glass that shatters as it rings.

Be. And, at the same time, know what it is not to be.
The emptiness inside you allows you to vibrate
in full resonance with your world. Use it for once.

To all that has run its course, and to the vast unsayable
numbers of beings abounding in Nature,
add yourself gladly, and cancel the cost.


A birdsong can even, for a moment, make the whole world into a sky within us, because we feel that the bird does not distinguish between its heart and the world's.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Sometime we will have to stop overevaluating the word. We shall learn to realize that it is only one of the many bridges that connect the island of our soul with the great continent of common life... the broadest, perhaps, but in no way the most refined.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Never believe fate is more than the condensation of childhood.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Perhaps creating something is nothing but an act of profound remembrance.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Just as the creative artist is not allowed to choose, neither is he permitted to turn his back on anything: a single refusal, and he is cast out of the state of grace and becomes sinful all the way through.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Leave to your opinions their own quiet undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be pressed or hurried by anything.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Why should you want to give up a child's wise not-understanding in exchange for defensiveness and scorn, since not-understanding is, after all, a way of being alone, whereas defensiveness and scorn are a participation in precisely what, by these means, you want to separate yourself from.

--Rainer Maria Rilke


Dig deep into your heart, where the answer spreads its roots in your being, and ask yourself solemnly, Must I write?

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Whoever has no house now, will never have one. Whoever is alone will stay alone, will sit, read, write long letters through the evening, and wander on the boulevards, up and down, restlessly, while dry leaves are blowing.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

Every angel is terrifying.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

A kind of memory that tells us that what we're now striving for was once nearer and truer and attached to us with infinite tenderness. Here all is distance, there it was breath. After the first home the second one seems draughty and strangely sexed.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

We wasters of sorrows! How we stare away into sad endurance beyond them, trying to foresee their end! Whereas they are nothing else than our winter foliage, our sombre evergreen, one of the seasons of our interior year.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

This is what the things can teach us: to fall, patiently to trust our heaviness. Even a bird has to do that before he can fly.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

I prayed to rediscover my childhood, and it has come back, and I feel that it is just as difficult as it used to be, and that growing older has served no purpose at all.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

I have patience for centuries in me and will live as though my time were very big.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

I think of you often, dear, and with such concentrated wishes that it really must help you in some way.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

As people used to be wrong about the motion of the sun, so they are still wrong about the motion of the future. The future stands still, it is we who move in infinite space.

--Rainer Maria Rilke

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