Monday, March 12, 2012

Blood Remembering

In Utero, Lenore Tawney 1985

Ah! But verses amount to so little when one writes them young.

One ought to wait and gather sense and sweetness a whole life long, and a long life if possible, and then, quite at the end, one might perhaps be able to write ten lines that were good. Verses are not, as people imagine, simply feelings (those one has early enough), they are experiences.

For the sake of a single verse, one must see many cities, men, and things, one must know the animals, one must feel how the birds fly and know the gesture with which the little flowers open in the morning. One must be able to think back to roads in unknown regions, to unexpected meetings, and to partings one had long seen coming; to days of childhood that are still unexplained, to parents whom one had to hurt when they brought one some joy and one did not grasp it (it was a joy for someone else); to childhood illnesses that so strangely begin with such a number of profound and grave transformations, to days in rooms withdrawn and quiet and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along on high and flew with all the stars – and it is not yet enough if one may think of all this.

One must have memories of many nights of love, none of which was like the others, of the screams of women in labour, and of light, white, sleeping women in childbed, closing again.

But one must also have been beside the dying, must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the fitful noises.
And still it is not yet enough to have memories.

One must be able to forget them when they are many and one must have the great patience to wait until they come again. For it is not yet the memories themselves.

Not till they have turned to blood within us, to glance and gesture, nameless and no longer to be distinguished from ourselves – not till then can it happen that in a most rare hour the first word of a verse arises in their midst and goes forth from them.

Rainer Maria Rilke
Blood Remembering


  1. thank you for this sharing Judy, your work is so quietly powerful and these wise words of Rilke ring so true at this stage of the game

  2. For one line of verse, for the right word, for the memory of the scent, touch, taste and sight of so many things from earthworm to dung beetle, acoss continents and decades, through all the picture books, and the mind pictures stored in long neglected files, flying out from those metal drawers like birds breaking free. Ah, yes, one must live long, remember deep, and forget without regret, able then to sit by the white window patently waiting for nothing in particular, and thoroughly content.

  3. Its beautiful.
    He also says, first you do sight work, then you do heart work on all the images trapped inside you.

    Now with this this quote here, the idea seems to extend to blood. To every gesture of being and receiving after youth. Preparation.

    Mystic, this Rilke.

    Enjoy your Orals, its a wonderful journey.

  4. mmm rilke....yes, then you do heart work.... your photo journal below is amazing...

  5. what a coincidence. i just pinned this on my pinterest. as soon as iread it i had to call my husband and he came and sat with me and i read it to him out loud, slowly, and we both just looked at each other.

    you see, we love the written word. our house is filled with books and we go to the bookstores ALL the time.

    i also have atwo antique chrsitening gowns i purchased at a flea market in buenos aires. they are by far the most exquisite hand sewns in my collection after my grandmother's handsewn and embroidered wedding nightgown.

    blessings to you and your creative hands.

  6. this is so good. thank you.

  7. Judy, you are always giving us gems like this. Thank you. Rilke is an amazing poet and thinker and amazingly 'contemporary' in some of his expressions.


Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx