RILKE | December: Figures from Interior Space
Water Drops on Red Plastic
"She followed slowly and she /
    took a long time
as if something were still left /
   to transcend;
and yet: as if, after the transition,
she would no longer walk, but fly."

from the Second Part
of the
New Poems,
by Rainer Maria Rilke 

This week, an image of Water Drops
on Plastic.
 Also: two new
translations from the German.

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The guest poems for this week are two new English translations from the work of the German language 
Rainer Maria Rilke.

Übung am Klavier

Der Sommer summt. Der Nachmittag macht müde;
sie atmete verwirrt ihr frisches Kleid
und legte in die triftige Etüde
die Ungeduld nach einer Wirklichkeit,

die kommen konnte: morgen, heute abend—,
die vielleicht da war, die man nur verbarg;
und vor den Fenstern, hoch und alles habend,
empfand sie plötzlich den verwöhnten Park.

Da brach sie ab; schaute hinaus, verschränkte
die Hände; wünschte sich ein langes Buch—
und schob auf einmal den Jasmingeruch
erzürnt zurück. Sie fand, daß er sie kränkte.

aus: Der neuen Gedichte anderer Teil
Piano Practice

The drone of summer. The fatigue of afternoon;
she airs confusedly her new dress
and places in the thoughtful etude
all the anxious waiting for a world

that might come: tomorrow, this evening—,
that was perhaps already there, only hidden;
facing the window, high and all consuming
the meticulous garden suddenly came to her.

Then she stopped; looking outside, folding
her hands, wishing she had a thick book—
and all at once she pushed the jasmine bouquet,
angered, aside. She found, that it made her ill.

New Poems, the other Part.

| view / print RilkeCards: Piano Practice

Die Erblindende

Sie saß so wie die anderen beim Tee.
Mir war zuerst, als ob sie ihre Tasse
ein wenig anders als die andern fasse.
Sie lächelte einmal. Es tat fast weh.

Und als man schließlich sich erhob und sprach
und langsam und wie es der Zufall brachte
durch viele Zimmer ging (man sprach und lachte),
da sah ich sie. Sie ging den andern nach,

verhalten, so wie eine, welche gleich
wird singen müssen und vor vielen Leuten;
auf ihren hellen Augen die sich freuten
war Licht von außen wie auf einem Teich.

Sie folgte langsam und sie brauchte lang
als wäre etwas noch nicht überstiegen;
und doch: als ob, nach einem Übergang,
sie nicht mehr gehen würde, sondern fliegen.

Neue Gedichte (1907)
A Woman Going Blind

She sat there like the others with their tea.
It seemed to me, as if she held her cup
slightly differently than the others.
She laughed once. It was almost painful.

And when they finally stood up and spoke
and slowly walked as Chance would have it
through the many rooms (one spoke and laughed),
there I saw her. She went behind the others

in the manner of one who must shortly
sing and that for a large group of people;
upon her bright eyes, full of happiness,
fell light from outside as if on a pool.

She followed slowly and she took a long time
as if something were still left to transcend;
and yet: as if, after the transition,
she would no longer walk, but fly.

from: New Poems (1907)
(tr. Cliff Crego)

| view / print RilkeCards: A Woman Going Blind | 

| view / print Picture/Poem Poster: Going Blind (86 K) |

| see also the Rilke Posters |

| listen to other recordings in English and German of twelve poems from
The Book of Images
at The Rilke Download Page
(# Includes instructions) |
See also other recent additions of new English translations of
Rilke's poetry, together with
featured photographs at:

(17) October: Fall Ice, Mountain Spring

(16) October: Fall Starlings and a Poplar Tree

See also a selection of recent Picture/Poem "Rilke in translation" features at the Rilke Archive.
See also another website
by Cliff Crego:
The Poetry of
Rainer Maria Rilke
a presentation of 80 of the
best poems of Rilke in
both German and
new English translations
biography, links, posters


"Straight roads,
Slow rivers,
Deep clay."
A collection of contemporary Dutch poetry
in English translation, with commentary
and photographs
by Cliff Crego

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Photograph/Texts of Translations © 2000 Cliff Crego

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