Spring and All (1923) [and 1533]

better ox eye jlmdm


 The rose is obsolete
 but each petal ends in
 an edge, the double facet
 cementing the grooved
 columns of air--The edge
 cuts without cutting
 itself in metal or porcelain--

 whither? It ends--

 But if it ends
 the start is begun
 so that to engage roses
 becomes a geometry--

 Sharper, neater, more cutting
 figured in majolica--
 the broken plate
 glazed with a rose

 Somewhere the sense
 makes copper roses
 steel roses--

 The rose carried weight of love
 but love is at an end--of roses

 It is at the edge of the
 petal that love waits

 Crisp, worked to defeat
 plucked, moist, half-raised
 cold, precise, touching


 The place between the petal's
 edge and the

 From the petal's edge a line starts
 that being of steel
 infinitely fine, infinitely
 rigid penetrates
 the Milky Way
 without contact--lifting
 from it--neither hanging
 nor pushing--

 The fragility of the flower
 penetrates space

William Carlos Williams

Roses, Nasturtium

Published in: on July 4, 2012 at 4:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Apples, Roses, Fire, Snow, Medlars, Chestnuts, Tangerine

apple medlar nutJacques le Moyne de Morgues (c. 1533–1588)


The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes –
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands –
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.


Louis MacNeice (September 1907 – September 1963)

For my mother

This, Our Hour


Henri Fantin-Latour (1836 – 1904)


Rose enthroned, known to antiquity,
as a ringed calyx of small complexity;
to us you are the fulsome infinity
of bloom, the inexhaustible entity.

You appear as garment upon rich garment
clothing a body of nothing but light;
yet your single leaf is both estrangement
and renunciation of such an insight.

Across the centuries your sweetest names
have drifted down to us like soft perfume.
Suddenly it hangs in the air like fame.
Even so, we don’t know what to call it, we infer. . .

And, reaching toward it, memory subsumes
all which we have pleaded for in this, our hour.

from the Sonnets to Orpheus,

by Rainer Maria Rilke (tr. Cliff Crego)



Rose, oh

Rose, oh pure contradiction, delight
of being no one’s sleep under so
many lids.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Published in: on July 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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