You don’t survive in me
because of memories;
nor are you mine because
of a lovely longing’s strength.

What does make you present
is the ardent detour
that a slow tenderness
traces in my blood.

I do not need
to see you appear;
being born sufficed for me
to lose you a little less.

by Rainer Maria Rilke


Rilke and I met through a common friend. It was the book “Shiver” by Maggie Stiefvater, one that is still one of my favorite books to read when it gets colder outside.

In “Shiver”, main character Sam Roth finds comfort in Rilke’s poetry. It was how he learned to speak German. Now, Rilke did not teach me how to speak German (that was Ms. Krause all through high school), but he did teach me to love poetry.

From the moment I read Rilke’s poetry in “Shiver”, I was sold. The elegant, subtle and beautiful language got to me, like no other poetry did before. The next time I visited a book store in Antwerp, I bought the English translation of Rilke’s poems. It was a little book, tiny enough to fit in (nearly) all of my bags and take with me everywhere I go.


So today, as it gets colder and colder outside, I take one of my favorite books from the shelf, curl up in bed, and read “Interior Portrait” by Rilke.