June 10, 2011

You Inherit the Green

(Kiev Monastery of the Caves)
photographer unknown, found here

And you inherit the green
of vanished gardens
and the motionless blue of fallen skies,
dew of a thousand dawns, countless summers
the suns sang, and springtime to break your heart
like a young woman's letters.

You inherit the autumns, folded like festive clothing
in the memories of poets; and all the winters,
like abandoned fields, bequeath you their quietness.
You inherit Venice, Kazan, and Rome;

Florence will be yours, and Pisa's cathedral,
Moscow with bells like memories,
and the Troiska convent, and the monastery
whose maze of tunnels lies swallowed under Kiev's gardens.

From The Book of Hours II, 10


  1. I'd just like to say - I think this is exquisite. The translation reads so beautifully.

  2. I know, Robert. I know, Steven. It's like a trunk. You open it and everything is there, the whole world. For now, this is Rilke's catalog of heirlooms, contained in this small pocket of a poem. But think of it, everything is ours. We each carry our own trunk, and share glimpses with our pens, our photographs, our comments. What a world, what a song. What an inheritance! I mean, Rilke alone is enough to fill a galaxy ...


"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!