February 10, 2011

The Space Within Us

The Mulberry Tree, by Vincent van Gogh

The space within us reaches out, translates each thing.
For the essence of a tree to be real for you,
cast inner space around it, out of the space
that exists in you. Encircle it with restraint.
It has no borders. Only in the realm
of your renouncing can it, as tree, be known.
Uncollected Poems


  1. This pairing of words and image is brilliant. Thank you from San Francisco.

  2. Love the tree imagery and symbolism (tree of life, of knowledge, of so many things...) and paired with the van Gogh, beautiful.

  3. Yes! Only through the renunciation of preconceptions and conditioned thinking can the essence of anything — even ourselves — ever be truly known.

  4. I do believe something just happened in my mind. Like a child's fingers with string around them, Rilke just reached into me, plucked those strings, and concept has been rearranged. I'm left with an agitation, looking at new string, a new form, and not quite having an idea how we got here, cast inner space around it...encircle it with restraint. No borders! And yet, Only in the realm
    of your renouncing can it, as tree, be known.

    If I smoked, I'd smoke.

    I think I'll pace.


  5. These are all so beautiful, and the artwork associated with each is stunning. Some of these Van Goghs I've never seen before. Loving these!

  6. This quote intrigues me. One could read the sentence, "Encircle it with restraint", in two opposing ways. One meaning don't encircle or limit it too much. The other suggesting one put restraint or limits to what the tree can be - encircling it with our inner space, our inner knowing. I interpret it as the former,(encircle it at our peril) Rilke suggesting that only when we renounce our need to translate/define each thing can we then truly experience it.

    Renounce encircling, defining, translating and experience the space, true spaciousness.

    Here again I catch myself defining, translating, limiting, encircling Rilke with my projections. Doing the very opposite of what his words convey to me. It is ever a challenge to experience Rilke without wanting to muddy the experience by articulating it!

    Blogger needs to create an AP where we can comment with an image, a movement, a quiver, an ecstatic moan, a frustrated groan ... :-)

  7. been searching the web for the german original but couldn't find it...love the space withing us reaches out...so typical for rilke, he creates space for the readers to feel, to breathe, to touch

  8. such a rich internal thinking that grasps and holds the essence of something so entirely familiar and yet never stated in words but so very known. steven

  9. I think he means restrain it, in regards to the X and Y axis, restraint in a triangular shape where the three side connecting the dots of restraint are to one, love yourself, two, love your neighbor, and three, everything is your neighbor.

    Within those restraints, love must be free to go on in any direction it desires, along the Z axis to be as "bold as love" desires to be, infinitely, and even it it chooses to go on forever, it will without any doubt, come full circle.

  10. I very much appreciated and identified with Bonnie's comment. There's always something in Rilke that evades one's grasp, that won't allow us to translate or encircle him at all. So I'm signing off with a shudder, a quiver and a sigh...

  11. wonderful thought to greet this day and a tree with


"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!