We are all workmen: prentice, journeyman,
or master, building you — you towering nave.
And sometimes there will come to us a grave
wayfarer, who like radiance thrills
the souls of all our hundred artisans,
trembling as he shows us a new skill.
We climb upon the rocking scaffolding,
the hammers in our hands swing heavily,
until our foreheads feel the caressing wing
of a radiant hour that knows everything,
and hails from you as wind hails from the sea.
Then hammerstrokes sound, multitudinous,
and through the mountains echoes blast on blast.
Only at dusk we yield you up at last:
and slowly your shaping contours dawn on us.
God, you are vast.
— Rainer Maria Rilke, Poems from the Book of Hours