Evening Poetry, October 13

from The Book of a Monastic Life

I, 18

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Why am I reaching again for the brushes?

When I paint your portrait, God,

nothing happens.

But I can choose to feel you.

At my senses’ horizon

you appear hesitantly,

like scattered islands

Yet standing here, peering out,

I’m all the time seen by you.

The choruses of ages use up all of heaven.

There’s no more room for you

in all that glory. You’re living

in your very last house.

All creation holds its breath, listening within me,

because, to hear you, I keep silent.

You can find this poem in Rilke’s Book of Hours.