Sunday, February 27, 2011

Voice re-emerging

It has been a while since I have written, or even expressed a few of my own words and thoughts. At the risk of this blog becoming a reincarnation of the words of Rilke, I thought I should pipe up. While sharing another poem by Rilke. It is quite a beautiful poem that speaks about re-emergence into strength, presence, generosity. A celebration of the strength of the present moment. I am always taken by the power of this poet's words...

All will come again into its strength:
the fields undivided, the waters undammed,
the trees towering and the walls built low.
And in the valleys, people as strong
and varied as the land.

And no churches where God
is imprisoned and lamented
like a trapped and wounded animal.
The houses welcoming all who knock
and a sense of boundless offering
in all relations, and in you and me.

No yearning for an afterlife, no looking beyond,
no belittling of death,
but only longing for what belongs to us
and serving earth, lest we remain unused.

-RM Rilke

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fragments V

How surely gravity's law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.


If we surrendered
to earth's intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.


That is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

-R.M. Rilke

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fragments IV

My own original words coming soon...

And you inherit the green
of vanquished gardens
and the motionless blue of fallen skies,

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,

Sounds will be yours, of string and brass and reed,
and sometimes the songs will seem
to come from inside you.

And painters paint their pictures only
that the world, so transient as you made it,
can be given back to you,
to last forever.


And lovers also gather your inheritance.
They are the poets of one brief hour.
They kiss an expressionless mouth into a smile
as if creating it anew, more beautiful.

Awakening desire, they make a place
where pain can enter;
that's how growing happens.

Thus the overflow from things
pours into you.
Just as a fountain's higher basins
spill down like strands of loosened hair
into the lower vessel,
so streams the fullness into you,
when things and thoughts cannot contain it.

-RM Rilke

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fragments III


I seek you, because they are passing
right by my door. Whom should I turn to,
if not the one whose darkness
is darker than night, the only one
who keeps vigil with no candle,
and is not afraid -
the deep one, whose being I trust,
for it breaks through the earth into trees,
and rises,
when I bow my head,
faint as a fragrance
from the soil.

-RM Rilke

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Modern Mystic

A stunning image from The Sartorialist married with the precisely perfect comment of a friend. Inspiring.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fragments II

You are not surprised at the force of the storm-
you have seen it growing.
The trees flee. Their flight
sets the boulevards streaming. [...]

Summer was like your house: you know
where each thing stood.

Now you must go out into your heart
as onto a vast plain. Now
the immense loneliness begins.


Saturday, February 12, 2011


More Rilke poetry... bits I find inspiring

I was there with the first mythmakers and monks
who made up your stories, traced your runes.

But now I see you:
wind, woods, and water,

[...] I want to portray you
not with lapis or gold, but with colors made of apple bark.

You look on the near no differently from the far,
and if they've learned to plant you more deeply
or build more grandly upon you,

you barely feel it. You hear
neither sower nor reaper
when their footsteps pass over you.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Humanizing the Field

Last Saturday I attended a conference at University College London entitled The Granddaughters'. Generation. FEMINISM & ART HISTORY NOW. A symposium in honour of Linda Nochlin on the occasion of her 80th birthday (cake below). It was a very full day of talks engaged with taking up the scholarship of the now-elderly but just as wonderfully opinionated Mrs. Nochlin. Tamar Garb, Griselda Pollock, Linda Nochlin... all names that have authored articles and books that I have read over the course of my education. It was wonderful to see their ideas alive, and to see the scholars, live! The event, although lengthy, really brought the potential future road of the Art History world alive. Here in the future are live colleagues engaged with ideas, in love with art and continuously questioning and celebrating. It makes me wonder... And finish it off with a glass of bubbly and a cake with Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People's protagonist (the allegorical one-breast-exposed Marianne) displayed prominently on its surface, a strong woman powerfully leading the way forward. A great day.

Inspiration: On Dedication and Fulfillment

Another Rilke poem that offers so much thought on the way I like to live life, overcoming the limits of the mind, pouring myself into life with my whole life. In doing, I feel complete.

Only in our doing can we grasp you.
Only with our hands can we illumine you.
The mind is but a visitor:
it thinks us out of our world.

Each mind fabricates itself
We sense its limits, for we have made them.
And just when we would flee them, you come
and make of yourself an offering.

I don't want to think a place for your.
Speak to me from everywhere.
Your Gospel can be comprehended
without looking for its source.

When I go toward you
it is with my whole life.

-RM Rilke