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Unread 10-17-2017, 04:19 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 4,236
Default The Sonnets to Orpheus

I am re-reading the Sonnets to Orpheus after a number of years and Rilke just keeps on kicking me where it counts, poem after poem. The Sonnets are way more powerful than the Duino Elegies. Check this sh#% out:

Sieh, die Maschine:
wie sie sich waltz und racht
und uns enstellt und schwacht.

Hat sie aus uns auch Kraft,
sie, ohne Leidenschaft,
treibe und diene.

Behold the Machine:
how it rolls and wreaks vengeance
and drains and deforms us.

Yet since it receives strength from us,
let it without vehemence
drive and serve.

Sonnet I.18.9-14

. . . . .

Nicht sind die Leiden erkannt,
nicht ist die Liebe gelernt,
und was im Tod uns entfernt,

ist nicht entshleiert.
Einzig das Lied uberm Land
heiligt und feiert.

Pain has not been understood,
love has not been learned,
and what in death removes us

remains undisclosed.
Alone over the land
song hallows and heals.

Sonnet I.19.9-14

(Translations by Edward Snow)

This afternoon’s reading has vaulted Rilke, in my estimation, to the apex of the Modern Lyric Pantheon (he gets to hang out there with Yeats).
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