Sunday, November 28, 2010


By Tracy

I am working on translating a very long Rilke poem -- it will be ages before it's finished.

In the meantime I did some little short poems -- this is just a quick draft, which I may not go back to for a while now that I'm entrenched in the longer one. It's not even re-checked, so this is "in process"!

(There seems to be a general view just now that Rilke is too-translated into English... too bad.)

Rainer Maria Rilke

[I am, you anxious one. Don’t you hear me]

I am, you anxious one. Don’t you hear me
breaking against you with all my senses?
My feelings, which found wings,
circle your face whitely.
Don’t you see my soul, how it stands
close before you in a coat of silence?
Doesn’t my May-like prayer ripen
at your glances as upon a tree?

If you are the dreamer, I am your dream.
But if you desire to wake, I’m your desire
growing powerful in all splendour
rounding out like the silence of a star
over the strange city of time.


I love Jo Shapcott's book of versions in dialogue with Rilke (actually with his French poems) -- it's called Tender Taxes. The French poems are in a very different mode from the German ones but (I think) equally amazing.

1 comment:

Barbara Temperton said...

Beautiful, Tracy. Thank you, Rilke.