The wisdom of Rainer Maria Rilke

“Pour yourself out

like a fountain…”

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926)

Bohemian-Austrian poet

Rilke wrote with nuance. Spend some time with his poetry. A second or third experience with his lines often exposes the reader to poignantly different understandings, new intuitions, lusciously incremental meanings…

Apparently he did not intend “Pour yourself out like a fountain” to be explicit advice for poets, but I think the phrase does good duty for that purpose. Especially I like the exhortation to “pour.” I’m happy when my poems are a gushing reflection of what I feel and see.

Rilke offered more. His full statement was:

“Pour yourself out like a fountain.

Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking

finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.”

That’s good for a second read. Think fountain-ish.


Rainer Maria Rilke, Part Two, XII, of The Sonnets to Orpheus, 1922

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Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2017 All rights reserved.

My first book of poems, Writing Rainbows: Poems for Grown-Ups with 59 new poems, is for sale on Amazon (paperback and Kindle), or free in Kindle Unlimited, click here

On this website you can read: my poetry in free verse and 5–7–5 format — nature poems, love poems, poems about grandchildren, and a spectrum of other topics — written in a way that makes it possible for you to know, as precisely as possible, what’s going on in my mind and in my imagination; thoughtful book reviews that offer some exceptional critique of the book instead of a simple book summary; examinations of history that did and didn’t happen; examples of my love affair with words; reflections on the quotations, art, and wisdom of famous and not-so-famous people, and occasional comments on politics and human nature.

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Book review: The Reader (Der Vorleser)

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Originally published at Richard Subber.