June 3, 2011

White Roses

Still Life: Vase with Roses

Every day, on contemplating  these exquisite white roses, I wonder if they are not the perfect image of the unity of being and non-being in our lives. That, I would say, constitutes the fundamental equation of our existence.

Letter to Madame M-R
January 4, 1923


  1. The split mind is what I see in this passage from Rilke. The unity of being and non being.

  2. the surface beauty, like a sign pointing to itself and also to the allness. steven

  3. How our mind perceives in terms of difference, order, catelogue: yet there is a poetic state of mind -- perhaps it was once the rapture of prayer (and may still be, for many), where I and Thou, word and world, beholder and beloved, eye and rose are one; and too in that vision all other contraries are wedded, seen as tandems of the other, as thorn and petal are so wildly paired. There is a story about Rilke's death that he picked a rose to give to a visiting Egyptian beauty at Muzot and pricked his finger; the wound did not heal, and his hand, then his arm, then his other arm became infected, and he died. Leukemia was actually the cause of his death, and infection of the heart's blood: he went the way of the Lady of his Sonnets, the 19 year old dancer Vera Koop, who died of the same disease, right at the great portal of her life. Death-in-life, the Elegies; Life-in-death, the Sonnets; a bouquet of white roses, the entire song sequence. - Brendan

  4. MIss Jane today posts an essential poem using the same image:


  5. Oh, Thanks, Mr.B!
    When I saw this post this morning I was quite thrilled because I had such a strong connection to the image in a being/non-being way in a poem of my own. How serendipitous. And thanks, too, to Lorenzo & Ruth for this wonderful blog.


"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!