The Mischievous Girl
In the burnished dining room, that scent,
one of varnish, the other fruit, at ease
I picked at dinner, some unknown Belgian
thing, and in my immense chair I am amazed.
Happy and quiet before the clock while eating.
Then the kitchen door opened with a swoosh;
heat— the servant girl came, I don’t know why,
her scarf askew, wearing a smart hairdo.
Then, while running her trembling finger
on her cheek, a velvet peach, rose and white,
with this she made her lips a childlike pout,
she stacked the plates beside me, for just a sec.
Then, as happens —for a kiss, of course—
she whispered “Look here, I’ve caught a cold upon my cheek.”
by Arthur Rimbaud
tr by Remy Wilkins
Lady on the Balcony
Suddenly she appears, wrapped in wind,
light in light, an outline,
while the background of the room
fills the door behind her
like the darkness of a silhouette,
a shimmer about the edge;
and you think evening is gone
before she arrived to touch the rail,
just a thread of herself,
just her hand, hardly there at all:
like a line of houses in the sky,
sufficient, moved by all.
tr. by Remy Wilkins
A translation by the premiere translator of Rilke, Edward Snow, can be found here.
My other Rilke translations can be found here.
I was recently reminded that I was nearly finished with a translation of Rilke’s The Beggars. After much searching I’ve found it and have only tweaked in marginally. My first is found here: Autumn Day and my second is found here: Abishag.
You didn’t know of what that heap
enclosed. The stranger found
beggars there. They hock
the hollows of their hands.
They show that tourist
their mouths, filled with rot,
to see (he can pay the price)
how disease will eat.
In their cruel eyes
his foreign face is marred
and they laugh when he acts
and spit when he tries to speak.
by Rainer Maria Rilke
tr. by Remy Wilkins
[Click below for two other translations]
Continue reading “The Beggars : Rainer Maria Rilke : Translation”
I’ve been pondering the Rilke translation done by Mary Kinzie in the current issue of Poetry Magazine. I really like her translation, but the final stanza didn’t win me. I was almost ready to buy it for the sake of “when the wild leaves loosen” which is marvelous, but I decided to track down the original to see how Rilke himself brought this one down for a landing.
Herbsttag – Rainer Maria Rilke
Herr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr gross.
Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren,
und auf den Fluren lass die Winde los.
Befiehl den letzten Fruchten voll zu sein;
gieb innen noch zwei sudlichere Tage,
drange sie zur Vollendung hin und jage
die letzte Susse in den schweren Wein.
Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr.
Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben,
wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben
und wird in den Alleen hin und her
unruhig wandern, wenn die Blatter treiben.
Continue reading “Autumn Day: Rilke : Translation”
The Translation Issue is always one of the best of the year.
Swedish poet Hakan Sandell (translated by Bill Coyle) writes Your Hair of Snakes and Flowers.
The title of Francis Ponge’s contribution is quite good: “Les arbres se defont a l’interieur d’une sphere de brouillard” translated The Trees Delete Themselves Inside a Fog-Sphere.
Continue reading “Poetry Magazine, Apr. 08”
Tombe, tombe, neige des souvenirs, sur le
Petit theatre dans la boule de verre
Fall, fall, snow of memories on the
Little theater in the ball of glass.