September 20, 2011

The Portal (I)

Chartres Cathedral
view from salon de thé
by Ruth

They stayed right here, as if left behind
by a flood that had washed their forms
free from the rock.
The waters receding erased some details,

but their hands are generous
and grasp at nothing.
They stayed, distinguished from their native rock
only by a halo or a bishop's mitre,

and sometimes by a tranquil smile
kept it alive in a face
where it lasts forever.

They retreat now into the shadowed doorway
that could be the shell of a listening ear
which captures every moan of a city in pain.

New Poems


  1. Rilke actually wrote an entire sequence in French called "Window Poems," these portals a framing-device for infinity not unlike in "inexhaustible" perfume and fluorescence of the rose. (Another subject of a different series of short poems; A. Poulin Jr.. has done excellent translations of these; there is a third, I think, titled "The Gardens.".) Static, fixed, these boxes are also doors, offering two vantages, the one looking in and the one looking out. An I and Thou. - Brendan

  2. Nice, Brendan, given this window image. Thanks. I didn't know about the "Window Poems" or "The Gardens."


"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!