“Blue Hydrangea” by Ranier Maria Rilke

These leaves are like the last green
in the paint pots—dried up, dull, and rough,
behind the flowered umbels whose blue
is not their own, only mirrored from far away.

In their mirror it is vague and tear-stained,
as if deep down they wished to lose it;
and as with blue writing paper
there is yellow in them, violet and gray;

washed out as on a child’s pinafore,
no longer worn things, which nothing can befall:
how one feels a small life’s shortness.

But suddenly the blue seems to revive
in one of the umbels, and one sees
a touching blue’s rejoicing in green.

From New Poems: A Revised Bilingual Edition by Ranier Maria Rilke


Photograph: The Art of Im(perfection) XL – Oakleaf Hydrangea

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