Joho the Blog: What’s unspoken between us

Blue Hydrangea

Like the green that cakes in a pot of paint,
these leaves are dry, dull and rough
behind this billow of blooms whose blue
is not their own but reflected from far away
in a mirror dimmed by tears and vague,
as if it wished them to disappear again
the way, in old blue writing paper,
yellow shows, then violet and gray;

a washed-out color as in children's clothes
which, no longer worn, no more can happen to:
how much it makes you feel a small life's brevity.

But suddenly the blue shines quite renewed
within one cluster, and we can see
a touching blue rejoice before the green.

Rainer Maria Rilke
William H. Gass, trans.

Joho the Blog: What’s unspoken between us: Look at how much isn’t said in that line. We wash clothes, and they become more our own as they lose their color. That’s something we know implicitly. We know that clothes need washing.

The next line makes explicit that Rilke is thinking of clothing folded and put away for a child who has grown. Rilke is giving us increasing degrees of explicitness. Poet has to get this right. [Ambient, unspoken knowledge has been an ongoing exploration of mine for many years. More… “Hyperlinks are the opposite of information. They enrich, rather than reduce. Open-ended, decentralized, messy… all the things databases of info are not. Most of all, they are social…”]

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