Rainer Maria Rilke – The Book of Hours

Why am I reaching again for the brushes?

When I paint your portrait, God,

nothing happens.

But I can choose to feel you.

At my senses’ horizon

you appear hesitantly,

like scattered islands.

Yet standing here, peering out,

I’m all the time seen by you.

The choruses of angels use up all of heaven.

There’s no more room for you

in all that glory. You’re living

in your very last house.

All creation holds its breath, listening within me,

because, to hear you, I keep silent.

I, 18


Rilke, Rainer Maria, Anita Barrows, and Joanna Macy. Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God. New York: Riverhead, 1996. Print


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