new order – power, corruption and lies (1983)

Peter Saville on his album cover artwork:

“The title seemed Machiavellian. So I went to the National Gallery looking for a Renaissance portrait of a dark prince. In the end, it was too obvious and I gave up for the day and bought some postcards from the shop. I was with my girlfriend at the time, who saw me holding a postcard of the Fantin-Latour painting of flowers and said, ‘You are not thinking of that for the cover?’ It was a wonderful idea. Flowers suggested the means by which power, corruption and lies infiltrate our lives. They’re seductive. Tony Wilson had to phone the gallery director for permission to use the image. In the course of the conversation, he said, ‘Sir, whose painting is it?’ To which the answer was, ‘It belongs to the people of Britain.’ Tony’s response was, ‘I believe the people want it.’ And the director said, ‘If you put it like that, Mr Wilson, I’m sure we can make an exception in this case.’”

(From HERE.)

rainer maria rilke – les roses xvii

C’est toi qui prépares en toi
plus que toi, ton ultime essence.
Ce qui sort de toi, ce troublant émoi,
c’est ta danse.
Chaque pétale consent
et fait dans le vent
quelques pas odorants
Ô musique des yeux,
toute entourée d’eux,
tu deviens au milieu

Your inner self is the one creating
more than yourself, your ultimate essence.
The uneasiness emerging from you,
that is your dance.
Each petal consents
and takes a few steps,
invisible, fragrant
in the wind.
O music to the eyes,
petals all around,
in their midst you become

Rainer Maria Rilke (c 1926) From his series “Les Roses”, Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche,
5:4, 17-21. Translated from French by Susanne Petermann (2011).

rainer maria rilke – les roses xxi

Cela ne te donne-t-il pas le vertige
de tourner autour de toi sur ta tige
pour te terminer, rose ronde?
Mais quand ton propre élan t’inonde,
tu t’ignores dans ton bouton.
C’est un monde qui tourne en rond
pour que son calme centre ose
le rond repos de la ronde rose.

Doesn’t it make you dizzy, rose,
to spin on your stem around yourself
ending in your round self ?
Overwhelmed by your own momentum
you forget the bud that is you.
It’s a world that whirls around,
daring its calm center to hold
the round repose of the round rose.

Rainer Maria Rilke (c 1926) From his series “Les Roses”, Jung Journal: Culture & Psyche,
5:4, 17-21. Translated from French by Susanne Petermann (2011).

rainer maria rilke – les roses (1926)

Rilke chose as his own epitaph this poem:

Rose, oh reiner Widerspruch, Lust,
Niemandes Schlaf zu sein unter soviel

Rose, o pure contradiction, desire
to be no one’s sleep beneath so many lids.

“The following selections from David Need’s Roses: The Late French Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke provide an illuminating glimpse into the ways Rilke uses the rose as motif. The poems seek to elucidate how time’s ceaseless transformations do not rectify or allay the contradictions they invoke. The living rose is “fully awake” but discreet, possessing “many pages / of detailed happiness / we will never read.” Rilke is fascinated by these irreducible relationships: the flower’s vitality belies its eventual death; its blooming won’t diminish the impenetrable density of its petals.” —Dan Holmes

Rilke’s posthumously published Roses calls us into a more intimate relationship with things, asking us to consider the material world as sister of our imagination, rather than nameless patient of our ideas.

If your blooming sometimes so astonishes us,
happy rose,
it’s that, petal against petal, you rest
within yourself, inside.

Fully awake, your petals, whose surroundings
sleep, though numberless, meet
this silent heart’s tendernesses
which end in these urgent lips.

I see you, rose, book half-opened,
having so many pages
of detailed happiness
we will never read. Mage-Book,

which is opened by the wind and can be read,
eyes shut…
from which butterflies scatter, confused
to have had the same ideas.


Oh Rose, you perfect thing beyond compare,
infinitely restrained
and infinitely lavished, oh, head
of a body with far too much wandering sweetness,

nothing is equal to you, oh you supreme essence
of this inconstant hour,
your perfume wanders all about
this space of love we have scarcely entered.

A single rose, it’s every rose
and this one—the irreplaceable one,
the perfect one—a supple spoken word
framed by the text of things.

How could we ever speak without her
of what our hopes were,
and of the tender moments
in the continual departure.

All that we feel, you share,
yet we ignore what happens to you.
There would have to be a hundred butterflies
to read all your pages.

There are ones among you like dictionaries;
those who gather these
are tempted to bind all the pages.
Me? I like the roses which are letters.

Rose, come so late, when the bitter nights stop
in their too sidereal brilliance,
Rose, do you divine the facile, perfect pleasures
of your summer sisters?

Day after day, I watch you who hesitate
in your sheath, clasped too tight.
Rose who, when born, imitates in reverse
the slow ways of the dead.

Does your indescribable state make you understand
in a mingling in which all is silenced
that ineffable harmony of nothingness and being
that we ignore?

Infinitely reassured
despite so many dangers
with no change ever
in her habits
is the Rose which opens, prelude
to her immeasurable duration.

Do we know how she lives?
One of her days, without doubt,
is all the earth, all
the infinity of this moment.

Rose, was it necessary to leave you outdoors,
exquisite dear?
What is a rose doing there, where fate
exhausts itself on us?

Point of turning back. It’s you
who share
with us, desperately, this life, this life
which is not your time.

(Translated from the French by David Need. To read the original, click HERE.)

RosesRainer Maria Rilke.Translation by David Need. Illustrations by Clare Johnson.Horse & Buggy Press, 2014.