Only in our doing can we grasp you.

Only in our doing can we grasp you.
Only with our hands can we illumine you.
The mind is but a visitor;
it thinks us out of our world.

Each mind fabricates itself.
We sense it limits, for we have made them.
And just when we would flee them, you come
and make of yourself an offering.

I don’t want to think a place for you.
Speak to me from everywhere.
Your Gospel can be comprehended
without looking for its source.

When I go toward you
it is with my whole life.

I, 37  Rilke’s Book of Hours
Translated by Anita Barrows & Joanna Macy

German Original

Du wirst nur mit der Tat erfasst;
mit Händen nur erhellt;
ein jeder Sinn ist nur ein Gast
und sehnt sich aus der Welt.

Ersonnen ist ein jeder Sinn,
man fühlt den feinen Saum darin
und dass ihn einer spann:
Du aber kommst und giebst dich hin
und fällst den Flüchtling an.

Ich will nicht wissen, wo du bist,
sprich mir aus überall.
Dein williger Evangelist
verzeichnet alles und vergisst
zu schauen nach dem Schall.

Ich geh doch immer auf dich zu
mit meinem ganzen Gehn;
denn wer bin ich und wer bist du,
wenn wir uns nicht verstehn?

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1.10.1899, Berlin-Schmargendorf
Das Stundenbuch ( Das Buch vom Mönchischen Leben)

About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
This entry was posted in Books & Poetry, Rilke's Reality and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Only in our doing can we grasp you.

  1. spike mason says:

    Just thought I’d comment on your post – as I thought you might be interested that I’ve released an album called “Widening Circles”. I have become totally smitten by Rilke and so the album features the english translation of a handful of the poems from the Book of Hours set to my compositions.
    You can watch a short film of the recording process
    here ==>
    You can have a listen to the album to see if you like it
    here ==>

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