February 19, 2011

There is No Image

I want to utter you. I want to portray you
not with lapis or gold, but with colors made of apple bark.
There is no image I could invent
that your presence would not eclipse.

From The Book of Hours I, 60


  1. I expect Rilke is again speaking of God. As I am learning, God cannot be imagined, only experienced.

  2. Not imagined, only experienced. Thank you, Andrew.

    Lines from Rumi today echo Rilke here:

    Then you asked, Where have you been most comfortable?
    In the palace.

    What did you see there?
    Amazing things.

    Then why is it so desolate?
    Because all that can be taken away in a second.

    Who can do that?
    This clear discernment.

    Where can you live safely?
    In surrender.

    Is there no threat of disaster?
    Only what comes in your street,
    inside your love.

    Now silence. If I tell you more of this conversation,
    those listening would leave themselves.

    There would be no more door,
    no roof or windows either.

  3. mmmmm. i like this. in terms of god, yes, but i have to admit that was only in my third reading, but rather i read it in terms of writing and characters. i think it is wonderful either way, the every day possibility and accessibility of apple butter is brilliant to me.


  4. What a great tapestry today — lapis, gold, apple bark, Rilke and Rumi! Yes, you have nailed it, Andrew. God can never be defined or imagined, only experienced — and only experienced in one's own individual way. Love the Rumi poem, Ruth. So appropriate. I am so moved that I am leaving this desk immediately to walk into the cathedral of gorgeous February skies that hang over the coastline this morning.

  5. i wonder why apple bark? my first association was a memory of a friend who burned different woods for their colours. then into the space of what is being described here - i wonder at God as removed and personified here - "you" and "you're". i'm wondering if this is something else all together...... steven

  6. And what I get from Rumi is that the material world is an illusion where I think I am safe. In surrender, in silence is where I can experience Reality.

  7. We live in this world, not for this world. I will have to google apple bark...

  8. ..colors made of apple bark... love this.. rilke has such creative images..

  9. God cannot be imagined, only experienced.

    Thank you.
    So succinct, yet so big and full, all-encompassing.
    We are having amazing late February winds and skies in Brooklyn right now.

  10. Yes, the lapis and the gold (reminded of Catholic and other religions' panoplies here) can only approximate - rather the apple bark colours - but nothing will get close, even synaesthesia ...

  11. ha! i laugh at what comes out sometimes without intention - apple butter. i must have been hungry. apple bark. yes. and just when i write it's brilliant. clearly, Rilke was, and i am not. ha!


  12. Can I just type thank you on every post?


"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!