April 6, 2011

A New Place

View of the Church of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole

How delicious it is to wake up in a place where no one, no one in the world, guesses where you are. Sometimes I have stopped spontaneously in towns along my way only to taste the delight that no living being can imagine me there. How much that added to the lightness of my soul!

I remember certain days in Cordova where I lived as if transparent, because I was completely unknown. The sweetness of staying in a little Spanish town, if only to relate to certain dogs and a blind beggar—more dangerous, that blind man, because he can read you. But three days later, if he hears you come back toward his church at the same hour, he counts you now as someone who henceforth exists, and he incorporates you into his world of sound.

And there you are, destined to new birth, mystical and nocturnal.

Letter to a friend
February 3, 1923


  1. Ah! I recognise that feeling of delicious anonymity, of lighness and freedom, when you're living like a vagabond and no one knows where you are (all you in love with mobile phones - you don't know what you're missing).

    I know too that on-the-road experience of mystical contact with some seer-like stranger.

    Rilke really does reach spots in the soul and psyche that most writers skate by.

  2. wOW, what a great post and painting.

  3. as a cyclist and a walker i experience this delicious feeling periodically. at first it is unnerving and then it becomes as intimate as a new friend. suddenly everything. steven

  4. Rilke's always great for finding ways to baptize one's sins. But that's the transformational power of the word. Hours when I've wanted to go someplace where no one knew me were usually tied up in the oppressiveness of being grounded and present in a life whose intimacies were too suffocating for my stunted emotions. There's always a bright way to put it -- a poem -- which serves the art better than the heart. Then, it is something to see things so freshly, as if the moment was the first of its kind in the world. That's a moment shared by spiritual growth and neurological damage. - Brendan

  5. I too know & love this liberating feeling of anonymity. The spontaneity of choosing a place completely unfamiliar & becoming one with it, if only for a short while, can be life changing.

  6. Ahhhh....let me dream of that....anonymity and freshness...if just for a moment.

  7. I'm intrigued by the desire for anonymity, and I feel it sometimes too.

    In this piece I am also tugged by the blind man's way of seeing and perceiving. To be able to read the world and people with the other senses, to reach out like that and pull the other inside, how beautiful, and maybe a little frightening.

  8. i love this feeling and seek it often - the aloneness, being an observer.

  9. I loved this. many times I have pined to sit alone at a sidewalk table in Paris without a chance of being recognized. Just a silent observer. The problem is the dog and blind man. They are a beginning to a foundness surely to grow beyond comfort. I would stay behind the eyes of van gogh, below the bank, knowing the danger of closeness.


"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Go ahead, bloom recklessly!