When is a quote not a quote?

The New Year greeting below is attributed to the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 – 1963) but apparently he never said or wrote those exact words. They seem to have originated from a letter written to his wife Clara on 1st January 1907 while he was staying on the isle of Capri:

“And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been, full of work that has never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands; and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what it has to bestow upon those who demand of it necessary, serious, and great things.”

I wonder who first wrote the reworded version? It’s certainly more poetic than the original.

You could read a slight ominousness into “things that have never been” – what might 2023 hold for us that we cannot even imagine?

But I’m going to focus on the word “welcome” with its implication that the things that have never been form a treasure trove of creative adventures, just waiting for us to begin!