Inspiring Poetry and Prose by Rilke on Being an Artist

I chanced upon an excellent article in brainpickings on the artistic process by eminent German 20th century poet, Rainer Maria Rilke. He wrote among the clouds in a divine space.

This recalled to me one of my favorite poems, and the one that led to my discovery of the immensity of his talent and spirit: “A God Can Do It”

A god can do it. But tell me how

a man can follow him through the narrow

lyre. The human self is split; where two

heartways cross, there is no temple to Apollo.

Song, as you teach it, is not desire, not

a wooing of something that’s finally attained:

song is existence. Easy for the god. But

when do we exist? And when does he spend

The earth and the stars on our being?

When we love? That’s what you think when you’re young,

not so, though your voice forces open your mouth,–

Learn to forget how you sang. That fades.

Real singing is a different kind of breath.

A nothing-breath. A ripple in the god. A wind.

– Rainer Maria Rilke



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