The Book of Hours (excerpt)


In the deep nights I dig for you, O Treasure!

To seek you over the wide world I roam,

For all abundance is but meager measure

Of your bright beauty which is yet to come.


Over the road to you the leaves are blowing,

Few follow it, the way is long and steep.

You dwell in solitude—Oh, does your glowing

Heart in some far off valley lie asleep?


My bloody hands, with digging bruised, I’ve lifted,

Spread like a tree I stretch them in the air

To find you before day to night has drifted;

I reach out into space to seek you there …


Then, as though with a swift impatient gesture,

Flashing from distant stars on sweeping wing,

You come, and over earth a magic vesture

Steals gently as the rain falls in the spring.


-Rainer Maria Rilke


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