Of Russia and its influence upon him, Rilke writes: "Russia became for me the reality and the deep daily realization that reality is something that comes infinitely slowly to those who have patience. Russia is the country where men are solitary, each one with a world within himself, each one profound in his humbleness and without fear of humiliating himself, and because of that truly pious. Here the words of men are only fragile bridges above their real life."
The great symbols of Solitude and of Death enter into the poet's work.
In the first decade of the new century Rilke reached the height of his art and with a few exceptions the poems represented in this volume are selected from the poems which were published between the years 1900 and 1908. The ascent toward the acme of Rilke's art after the year 1900 is as rapid as it is precipitous. Only a few years previous we read in Advent:
"That is longing: To dwell in the flux