Rilke's (and my) Roses
Is there anything they can't be: wasn't this yellow one
that lies here hollow and open the rind
of a fruit of which the same yellow,
more intense, more orange-red, was the juice?
And isn't this batiste one a dress, with
the chemise still inside it, still soft
and breath-warm, both flung off together
in morning shade at the bathing pool in the woods?
And this one here, opalescent porcelain,
fragile, a shallow china cup
filled with little lighted butterflies,
and this one, containing nothing but itself.
And aren't they all doing the same: only containing themselves,
if to contain oneself means: to transform the world outside
and wind and rain and patience of spring
and guilt and restlessness and disguised fate
and darkness of earth at evening
all the way to the errancy, flight, and coming on of clouds
all the way to the vague influence of the distant stars
into a handful of inwardness.
--from Rilke, "A Bowl Of Roses"
Isn't there anything they can't be: a hobby,
a way to spend the day,
a way to spend the bank account,
a handful of jewelry for the house's wrists and fingers,
a pain in the wazoo,
a chorus that screams like crows for water in an arid land,
to the house painter, a bunch of damn plants,
to the Fire Marshall a hazard,
to the neighbor, a mess.
An escape from the world, an embracing of the earth.