I Am Too Alone in the World, and Not Alone Enough
by Rainer Maria Rilke

I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone
    enough
to truly consecrate the hour.
I am much too small in this world, yet not small
    enough
to be to you just object and thing,
dark and smart.
I want my free will and want it accompanying
the path which leads to action;
and want during times that beg questions,
where something is up,
to be among those in the know,
or else be alone.

The disaster our our age is captured in Rilke’s first stanza; we live in a world where we have insight into other people’s lives, but our distance between them is deep. Two contradicting desires pull our hearts and sway us through anxiety and second guessing our decisions; we wish to use each hour, but we are unaware of what they will become. Like a coin our lover carries in their pocket we wish to belong completely to them, an object that cannot hurt or insult, but accepted and held. However, we continue to struggle between freedom, and being that object lodged within our lovers heart; objects have no will and cannot live a life of choices, and consequences. Even though we want to sit within the hearts of our loves forever we continue to desire a life independent of their existence; a life where our actions have no affect on them. These contradictions, battles between desires, causes a paralysis within our hearts, and soon we are stuck between wanting to reach for love, and having anyone to reach towards.

I want to mirror your image to its fullest perfection,
never be blind or too old
to uphold your weighty wavering reflection.
I want to unfold.
Nowhere I wish to stay crooked, bent;
for there I would be dishonest, untrue.
I want my conscience to be
true before you;
want to describe myself like a picture I observed
for a long time, one close up,
like a new word I learned and embraced,
like the everyday jug,
like my mother’s face,
like a ship that carried me along
through the deadliest storm.

Spiritualist believe we are reflections of the people we love; every person we attract has a aspect we recognize, or want to become, in ourselves. Rilke states this belief when he says he wants to mirror his lover’s perfection; although when people commit themselves to love and time passes some seem to forget their lovers beauty, and, I believe, when Rilke says, “never be blind or too old to uphold your weighty wavering reflection“, he never wants his love to lose passion. We open ourselves to spontaneity through unfolding unto ourselves and a lover; a willingness to lives, regardless of mistakes, is the source of perfection. People cannot become symbols of our salvation, but must be allowed to unfold before us as we unfold before them.

The Poetry of Rilke is a beautiful poetry collection by a sensitive and genius poet that intimately express living and trying to love through it all. These poems are meditations on living that must be apart of everyone’s book collection.

The Poetry of Rilke by Edward Snow