Rilke, Rainer Maria - 33 Seventh Elegy
Type of spiritual experience
A description of the experience
Duino Elegies – Rainer Maria Rilke [The Seventh Elegy]
Columns, pylons, the Sphinx, the stirring thrust
of the cathedral, grey, out of a fading or alien city.
Was it not miracle?
O, be astonished, Angel, since we are this,
O tell them, O great one, that we could achieve this:
my breath is too slight for this praising.
So, after all, we have not failed to make use of these spaces,
these generous ones, our spaces.
(How frighteningly vast they must be,
when they are not overfull of our feelings, after thousands of years.)
But a tower was great, was it not?
O Angel, it was though – even compared to you?
Chartres was great – and Music towered still higher and went beyond us.
Why even a girl in love, oh, alone in the night, at her window,
did she not reach to your knees? –
Don’t think that I’m wooing.
Angel, were I doing so, you would not come!
Since my call is always full of outpouring:
against such a powerful current you cannot advance.
Like an outstretched arm, my call.
And its hand, opened above for grasping, remains open, before you,
as if for defence and for warning,
wide open, Incomprehensible One.