Verse > Anthologies > Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans. > A Harvest of German Verse
Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans.  A Harvest of German Verse.  1916.
From the “Book of the Monk’s Life” I & II
By Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926)
I AM, Thou Anxious One. Dost Thou not hear
My surging senses break ’gainst Thee alone?
My feelings all, that snow-white wings have grown,
Fly round Thy visage in a sphere.
Dost Thou not see my soul now standing near,        5
Clad in a garb of stillness, facing Thee?
Doth not my spring-like prayer, as on a tree,
Grow ripe beneath Thy glance, that mighty beam?
If Thou the Dreamer art, I am Thy dream.
But when Thou art awake, I am Thy will,        10
And then I gain a majesty sublime
And spread like star-lit heavens, calm and still,
Above this odd, fantastic city, Time.
All those who live and move away
From Time, that city of distress,        15
All who their hands on stillness lay,
Upon a place where no roads stray,
That hardly doth a name possess—
Thee, blessing high of every day,
They name, and write in gentleness:        20
But prayers alone are real—naught more;
Our hands are sanctified—behold!
What they have fashioned doth implore:
If one doth mow, or sacred lore
Doth paint—the very tools adore,        25
In toil a piety unfold.
And time in many shapes is told.
We hear of time and yet we do
The everlasting and the old.
We know that God us doth enfold        30
Grand like a beard, a garment, too.
We lie within His glory’s gold,
As veins the hard basalt run through.

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