Samstag, 6. Oktober 2012

Selected Rilke Poems in English

Autumn Day

Lord: it is time. The summer was immense.
Let thine shadows upon the sundials fall,
and unleash the winds upon the open fields.

Command the last fruits into fullness;
give them just two more ripe, southern days,
urge them into completion and press
the last bit of sweetness into the heavy wine.

He who has no house now, will no longer build.
He who is alone now, will remain alone,
will awake in the night, read, write long letters,
and will wander restlessly along the avenues,
back and forth, as the leaves begin to blow.

I am like a flag surrounded by vast, open space.
I sense the coming winds and must live through them,
while all other things among themselves do not yet move:
The doors close quietly, and in the chimneys is silence;
The windows do not yet tremble, and the dust is still heavy and dark.

I already know the storms, and I'm as restless as the sea.
I roll out in waves and fall back upon myself,
and throw myself off into the air and am completely alone
in the immense storm.

O How everything is so far away
and so long ago departed.
I believe that the star from which
I receive such glittering light
has been dead for thousands of years.
I believe that something
frightening was said
in the boat which just passed by.
In a house, a clock
has marked the hour . . .
In which house? . . .
I would like to leave my heart behind
and step out under the immense sky.
I would like to pray.
That one of all these stars
must certainly still exist.
I think I know
which one
has endured,—
which one, at the end of its heavenly ray,
stands like a city of white light . . .


Whovever you are: step out in to the evening
out of your living room, where everything is so known;
your house stands as the last thing before great space:
Whoever you are.
With your eyes, which in their fatigue can just barely
free themselves from the worn-out thresholds,
very slowly, lift a single black tree
and place it against the sky, slender and alone.
With this you have made the world. And it is large
and like a word that is still ripening in silence.
And, just as your will grasps their meaning,
they in turn will let go, delicately, of your eyes . . .

And once again the depths of my life rush onward,
as if they were moving in wider channels now.
Things are becoming more close to me
and all images more thoroughly looked upon.
I feel more comfortable with that which is nameless,:
With my senses, as with birds, I reach up
into the windy heavens out of the oak,
and in those pools broken off from the day,
my feeling, as if standing on fishes, descends.

The Neighbor

Strange violin, are you following me?
In how many distant cities has your
lonely night already spoken to mine?
Are a hundred playing you? Or just one?

Are there in all the great cities of the world
those, who without you, would have
already lost themselves in the rivers?
And why does it always have to concern me?

Why am I always the neighbor of those
who in fear force you to sing
and to say:  The heaviness of life
is heavier than the heaviness of all things.


Slowly the evening changes into the clothes
held for it by a row of ancient trees;
you look: and two worlds grow separate from you,
one ascending to heaven, another, that falls;

and leave you, belonging not wholly to either one,
not quite as dark as the house that remains silent,
not quite as certainly sworn to eternity
as that which becomes star each night and rises—

and leave you (unsayably to disentangle) your life
with all its immensity and fear and great ripening,
so that, all but bounded, all but understood,
it is by turns stone in you and star.

Pont du Carrousel

The blind man who stands on the bridge,
grey, as if a markstone of nameless realms,
perhaps he is the one thing that remains the same,
around which from afar the star-hour turns,
the heavenly body's quiet center.
For all stumbles and struts and rushes about him.

He is the motionless one, the just one,
placed in a confusion of many ways;
The dark entrance to the underworld
among a race of superficial beings.

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