February 5, 2011

Inside the Rose

What can enclose
this ample innerness?
So soft is this touch,
it could soothe any wound.
What skies are reflected
on the inland lake
of these open roses,
these untroubled ones?
See how loose and lax they lie,
as if an abrupt gesture
would not scatter them.
They barely keep their shape.
They fill to overflowing
with inner space, spilling out
into days that swell
and close around them
until the whole summer becomes a room,
a room in a dream.
New Poems


  1. Rilke asks a question, and the answer is: nothing. No shape can contain the invisible truth of what is in a rose . . . it fills skies, lakes, seasons, rooms. I wonder if any thing was a better metaphor for a person, always unfolding, and seeming never to end. But they do end, impermanent as they are.

    Read an excerpt of William Gass' book Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problems of Translation, about Rilke and roses, the significance they had in his life, the intensity with which he observed them, here.

  2. I love this poem, with its description of an inner life that transcends shape or definition, a life that remains open, vibrant, and reflective, a life that remains so loose and lax that it can never be scattered by "an abrupt gesture." How lovely is the thought that these untroubled, open roses spill out into our days, enclosing them into a summer-filled room.

  3. I liked both your comments.

    I want to become those roses. I really do. Endless, untroubled, relaxed innerness.


  4. a rose - anything - is a containment of an entirety! unfold it and everything is. steven

  5. I especially like Rilke's use of that word "ample", its sense of being "quite enough". What a wonderful way to regard our "inner space".


"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!