from The Book of a Monastic Life
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Why am I reaching again for the brushes?
When I paint your portrait, God,
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.