Rilke 1875 - 1926 (51)

Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.”


The First Elegy

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels' hierarchies? and even if one of them pressed me suddenly against his heart: I would be consumed in that overwhelming existence. For 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. Every angel is terrifying. And so I hold myself back and swallow the call-note of my dark sobbing

Rainer Maria Rilke was an Austro-German poet and novelist, born in Prague on December 4, 1875. His father was an officer in the railways and his mother came from a family of industrialists. Reiner grew up in a mansion where his mother had maintained an intense grief over the death of her daughter. Pressured by his family, he studied for near five years at a military academy in Austria, until he resigned citing illness. From 1892 he was frequented in literary salons and was writing lyric poems, in 1895 he began to study literature, art history and philosophy at Charles University in Prague In 1900 he traveled to Russia and met Tolstoy, this trip inspired him the collection of poems "Book of Hours". In 1901 he married a young sculptor from Bremen, during the years 1905-1906 he became secretary of Rodin, in 1907 he published the "New Poems" with a strong mystical mood.

In 1910 he traveled to North Africa and Egypt, in 1912 he was hosted in Duino tower, on the Dalmatian coast; there he was inspired his most profound work, “Duino Elegies” a project which was completed in 1922 and is one of the most important poetic works of the 20th century. In the same decade he concluded and his other great work, "Sonnets to Orpheus". In 1929 he published his "Letters to a new poet" which was highly acclaimed by the youth. He lived his last years near Geneva’s Geneva; he died on December 29, 1926 in the sanatorium of Valmas in Switzerland, from leukemia.