Sorrow is a stubborn piece of land…but see how quick we summon bliss

Inward Gaze 

Rainer Maria Rilke

1875-1926, Austrian




Baladine Klossowska: La Contemplation Intérieure (Rilke dormant sur un petit sofa à Muzot), 1921; watercolor portrait of Rainer Maria Rilke by his lover Klossowska, at the top of which he wrote a poem that is translated into English for the first time below.



Sorrow is a stubborn piece of land,

through which, darkling, the blessed mind

sends down roots so as to bloom.

Whereas, in you, my resting heart,

all things stay nameless.


It’s from the outside things are named:







named for doubt, named for the moment;

but see how quick

we set bliss amongst the names.

And then, the speckled hind steps out,

and, over her, the strongest star,

fulfilled within the frame.








A poem of Rainer Maria Rilke written at the top of a watercolor portrait of 1921 (now in the Salzburg Museum)  by his lover, Baladine Klosssowska. 

The poet is asleep on a sofa. 


The poem was translated by Paul Eprile with Alfred Corn and published in the New York Review of Books in a May  2016 issue.


This deer stepped into the garden of a friend in the Ashokan Catskills, New York at a house in which we were never unhappy in 25 years.

The house was sold in 2017.  To bring this contentment to others.













2 thoughts on “Sorrow is a stubborn piece of land…but see how quick we summon bliss

  1. This post is filled with radiating marvellousness, Sarah: the poem, the portrait, the deer and the house that bestows the gift of contentment – an alchemic remedy for body, mind and spirit. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Tish. It is a marvellous place and Rilke a master of the art and the generosity of the owners of that house and garden immense. There are bears there, too. And bald eagles restored to the whole area. And the people of the area, unassuming and so helpful.


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