David Bromige, who died this month, translated Rilke’s famous “Autumn” poem into Californian :
(Rilke into Californian)
Man, where'd the time go? Detroit?.
But summer was really, really great.
Stand that side of the sundial, will ya?
I want to dig the shadows.
Robert Duncan's freaking in the meadow.
Those apples can't get a whole lot riper.
Give em a couple more hot days.
My friends who have the winery are already making the wine.
It's getting chilly, nights. If you don't have a pad by now,
Too bad. If you're not seeing someone
You're likely stuck that way, they went back to school.
Crack a book yourself. Write in Starbucks.
Go walkabout downtown. [Time passes]. Hey, lookit
the leaves, wind, etc. doing their thing. Rustle rustle.
Contrast and compare yourself. Cool!
Here is the original German, plus three translations (mine included).
George E. Marsh, ‘Dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas’, April 1935
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“He was a young man, shrewd in his fervors, who knew there were books he wanted to read and others he absolutely had to own, the ones that gesture in special ways, that have a rareness of daring, a charge of heat that stains the air around them.”
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