My year with Rilke

This blog has inspired me, soothed me and refocused me more times this year than I can count.  Rainer Maria Rilke was an Austrian poet whose writing, even when translated, is more evocative and flowing than anything I have ever read.  

His is the quote that has influenced me so much I decided to use it as the subtitle for this blog.

"Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers."

His ability to take ideas which are everyday, normal, overstudied and present them in a way which is utterly new, perfectly formed and make you come to a screeching halt to marvel at the new perspective that you feel you should have been able to voice all along is incredible.  He can put into words the things most of us can only vaguely feel.

"And you wait. You wait for the one thing
that will change your life,
make it more than it is—
something wonderful, exceptional,
stones awakening, depths opening to you.

In the dusky bookstalls
old books glimmer gold and brown.
You think of lands you journeyed through,
of paintings and a dress once worn
by a woman you never found again.

And suddenly you know: that was enough.
You rise and there appears before you
in all its longings and hesitations
the shape of what you lived.
Book of Images - from A Year With Rilke

Thank you Lorenzo and Ruth for taking the time and effort to produce this blog.  It provides me with a well needed anchor to reality and an opportunity to get to know one of my most respected poets.



Hey Anna,

Just checked out this blog; really inspiring as you said :)

Thanks for sharing!!
Senorita C


Oh isnt it just THE best! Glad you like it!

And the most amazing thing is that when you consider how much of the beauty and magic of writing is inevitably lost in translation...and it is still so stunning when its translated to English...I cant even imagine how perfect his writing must be in German and French.



It is terrific to have you aboard the Rilke train, Anna. Like you, I am being profoundly shaken and also comforted by these daily readings. I almost can't tell what the shape of my heart-mind was before RMR. You have a beautiful blog. All the best!


Oh, and I meant to respond to your comments about translation. I so agree. Even though there have been instances when we discussed the inability of the English to transport the original essence of a line or poem of Rilke's, we are still astonished that what comes through is still more deeply profound than almost anything else we've read! There is a great article on the sidebar of the Rilke blog that talks about the difficulties of translation of poems, particularly one of his. If you haven't read it yet, I recommend it.


@Ruth - I hadnt noticed that article - thanks for suggesting it - its great!

Even more amazed they ever manage to translate any of it at all...also makes me wish I was fluent in German then I could read Rilke's work like he intended!

Reminds me a bit of when I was in Tanzania watching Pirates of the Caribbean with a German girl - who was unbelievably excited to hear Johnny Depp's voice as Captain Jack...because she had only ever watched the film dubbed over in German before. Silly story I know - but I guess so much more is lost in translation than we realise!

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