From “A Year With Rilke”

The Bowl of Roses (III)


“And this above all: that through these petals

light must pass. From a thousand skies,

each drop of darkness is filtered out

and the glow at the core of each flower

grows stronger and rises into life.


And the movement of the roses

has a vibrancy none could discern,

were it not for what it ignites

in the universe entire…


One could say they were self-contained

if self-contained meant

to transform the world outside,

patience of springtime, guilt and restlessness,

the secrecy of fate and the darkness of Earth at evening-

on out to the streaming and fleeing of clouds

and, farther yet, the orders of the stars-

take it all and turn it into

a handful of inwardness.


See how it lies in these open roses.” -Rilke