mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Found around

Onto a Vast Plain

Rainer Maria Rilke
translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

You are not surprised at the force of the storm—
you have seen it growing.
The trees flee. Their flight
sets the boulevards streaming. And you know:
he whom they flee is the one
you move toward. All your senses
sing him, as you stand at the window.

The weeks stood still in summer.
The trees’ blood rose. Now you feel
it wants to sink back
into the source of everything. You thought
you could trust that power
when you plucked the fruit:
now it becomes a riddle again
and you again a stranger.

Summer was like your house: you know
where each thing stood.
Now you must go out into your heart
as onto a vast plain. Now
the immense loneliness begins.

The days go numb, the wind
sucks the world from your senses like withered leaves.

Through the empty branches the sky remains.
It is what you have.
Be earth now, and evensong.
Be the ground lying under that sky.
Be modest now, like a thing
ripened until it is real,
so that he who began it all
can feel you when he reaches for you.

Book of Hours, II 1

(Like Chinese poetry, Rilke sounds quite different in English. As in, both rhyme in the original.)

Dich wundert nicht des Sturmes Wucht, –
du hast ihn wachsen sehn; –
die Bäume flüchten. Ihre Flucht
schafft reitende Alleen.
Da weißt du, der, vor dem sie fliehn,
ist der, zu dem du gehst,
und deine Sinne singen ihn,
wenn du am Fenster stehst.

Des Sommers Wochen standen still,
es stieg der Bäume Blut;
jetzt fühlst du, daß es fallen will
in den, der alles tut.
Du glaubtest schon erkannt die Kraft,
als du die Frucht erfaßt,
jetzt wird sie wieder rätselhaft,
und du bist wieder Gast.

Der Sommer war so wie dein Haus,
drin weißt du alles stehn –
jetzt mußt du in dein Herz hinaus
wie in die Ebene gehn.
Die große Einsamkeit beginnt,
die Tage werden taub,
aus deinen Sinnen nimmt der Wind
die Welt wie welkes Laub.

Durch ihre leeren Zweige sieht
der Himmel, den du hast;
sei Erde jetzt und Abendlied
und Land, darauf er paßt.
Demütig sei jetzt wie ein Ding,
zu Wirklichkeit gereift,
daß Der, von dem die Kunde ging,
dich fühlt, wenn er dich greift.
Tags: language, verse

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