“Pure Contradiction” – Rilke and Sumi e. This poem mystified me a long time. It is a 2nd version of my last IG post. I searched for uncovered meanings of this poem.
“Rose – oh pure contradiction, joy
Of being No-one’s sleep under so many lids.”
-Rilke 1871S – 2
UPCOMING SUMI E WORKSHOP – LEARN TO DO PAINTINGS LIKE “Pure Contradiction” as Sumi e
June 19, 2021, 10:30-3:30, Foothills Art Center, Golden CO. “Ink and Joy” posted now on their website. We will be a small, intimate group, so sign up soon as you can. As of Friday, ALMOST SOLD OUT.
RILKE’S POEM INSPIRING MY SUMI E PAINTING
How do the poem “Pure Contradiction” by Rilke and Sumi e come together?
“Rilke wrote in his diary: “I invented a new form of caress: placing a rose gently on a closed eye until its coolness can no longer be felt; only the gentle petal will continue to rest on the eyelid like sleep just before dawn.”
Claire Chan writes in The Student: “To read Rilke is to reach into emptiness. One of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, Rilke’s writing dealt with the sublime, our constant inability to reach it, and the solitary nature of human existence… reverberating in some unknown depths of the soul. Just 4 years after completing the Elegies, Rilke died of leukemia at the age of 51.
His self-composed, paradoxical, epitaph says: ‘Rose, oh pure contradiction, joy / of being no one’s sleep under so many lids.’ One peels back layers upon layers of Rilke’s poetry, only to find nothingness, emptiness. Or perhaps, with a shock of recognition, the reader comes face to face with himself, exposed on the cliffs of the heart”.
So, how does the poem “Pure Contradiction” come to be a Sumi e expression? I hold the energy of the poem in my heart, although I still don’t understand it rationally, but it sounds beautiful. Then I let the brush fly, releasing the energy of that heart-soul feeling back into the universe. Maybe you and the universe can help me out with this! 🙂 Maybe I love it because of the mystery?
The pedals are a metaphor of self righteousness, that all we do still equates to nothing before the creator for we are saved by faith and grace alone and if all these levels gained in the flesh are of self self ascension, we have not become whole.
I agree with you completely, Charles, and thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comment! 🙂
2 Comments on “Pure Contradiction” – Rilke and Sumi e