Rilke ~ The bowl of roses


And aren’t they all doing the same: simply containing themselves,
If to contain oneself means: to transform the world outside
And wind and rain and patience of spring
And guilt and restlessness and disguised fate
And darkness of earth at evening
All the way to the errancy, flight, and coming on of clouds,
All the way to the vague influence of the distant stars
Into a hand full of inwardness.
Now it lies free of cares in the open roses.


Poetry: Destruction of the artist’s vision

Something that I wrote about Rilke, one of my favourite poets.


He could not swing

out of bed each day

while his vision flayed

into monofilaments

every motion a clause

breath slow as a bowl of roses

such sumptuous diversion

in the angle of a heel

the pursing of lips

amplified by all reflection


in the polished metal

and precocious gesture

of Italian film

so unlike

the drab documents

and forms

splayed under his hands

each day

reading the letters between his fingers

hoping they might form words

match with his

intricate arteries

he took his time

to perfect every fold

broke every subservient fibre

along his fingernail

as if he were

dragging along

the hinges of a phrase

Editing poetry: (Inspired by ‘the swan’)

The Swan is a poem by Rilke, which is rarely well translated. Here is the translation I like best, unfortunately I can’t find the book it comes from right now.

This drudgery of trudging through tasks
Yet undone, heavily, as if bound,
Is like the swan’s not fully created walking.

And dying, this no longer being able
To hold to the ground we stand on every day,
Like the swan’s anxious letting himself down – :

Into the waters, which gently accept him
And, as if happy and already in the past,
Draw away under him, ripple upon ripple,
While he, now utterly quiet and sure
And ever more mature and regal
And composed, is pleased to glide.

And my own tribute or tributary…

The opening of your mouth
Is slow absolution
The descent of the electromagnet
Before the frenzied waveforms
Of speech pin me to
A butterfly board
The arc of your smile
Is like the jaws closing
And buckling me
As if I was hinged in
Steel at the knees,
The darkness flows in
Like cackling resin.