the angels

I went backpacking the summer of 2010/11 with my best mate and discovered, in Vienna, both Schiele (along with Klimt) and Rilke at the same exhibition. Some curator had made the genius stroke of pairing the poet with these artists and I will never forget reading these words on one of those unsuspecting plain white boards, which try to articulate each painting’s point:

Rainer Maria Rilke, “The Angels”

They all have lips profoundly tired
and lucid souls without a seam,
and yearning (like a sin desired)
moves sometimes slowly through their dream.

They nigh resemble one another
and walk His gardens silently:
so many intervals that gather
in God’s majestic melody.

But only with their wings extending
do they call forth the heaven’s gales:
like sculptor God Himself were bending
the pages, and His hands were mending
the book of dark creation tales.

Translated by Walter A. Aue

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