God speaks to each of us before we are,
Before he’s formed us—then, in cloudy speech,
But only then, he speaks these words to each
And silently walks with us from the dark:
Driven by your senses, dare
To the edge of longing. Grow
Like a fire’s shadowcasting glare
Behind assembled things, so you can spread
Their shapes on me as clothes.
Don’t leave me bare.
Let it all happen to you: beauty and dread.
Simply go—no feeling is too much—
And only this way can we stay in touch.
Near here is the land
That they call Life.
You’ll know it when you arrive
By how real it is.
Give me your hand.
—Rainer Maria Rilke, “God Speaks to Each of Us” / 3. The Journey
translated from the German by Leonard Cottrell
(Neil Astley and Pamela Robertson-Pearce, Soul Food: Nourishing Poems for Starved Minds [Newcastle Upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 2007], p. 22).