Rainer Maria Rilke was an Austrian poet and novelist. Acclaimed as an idiosyncratic and expressive poet, he is widely recognized as a significant writer in the German language. His work is viewed by critics and scholars as possessing undertones of mysticism, exploring themes of subjective experience and disbelief. His writings include one novel, several collections of poetry and several volumes of correspondence.
The Swan by Rainer Maria Rilke
translated by Robert Bly
This clumsy living that moves lumbering
as if in ropes through what is not done,
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.
And to die, which is a letting go
of the ground we stand on and cling to every day,
is like the swan when he nervously lets himself down
into the water, which receives him gaily
and which flows joyfully under
and after him, wave after wave,
while the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm,
is pleased to be carried, each minute more fully grown,
more like a king, composed, farther and farther on.
The Seven Factors of Enlightenment by Jack Kornfield