Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Notices

Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 09-20-2019, 02:24 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 8,243
Default Rilke, The Blind Man

The Blind Man

Paris

Look: he walks and interrupts the town,
which is not present on his darkened stage,
the way a darker crack progresses down
through a bright cup. As if upon a page,

the reflection of the things around is scrawled
on him; he can’t receive it. Just his sense
of feeling stirs, as if it caught the world
in little ripples of experience—

a stillness, a resistance—whereupon he
seems to await the one he’ll choose: he stands,
surrendered, and almost gravely lifts his hand,
as if to give himself in matrimony.


Revisions:
S1L1 was "See how he walks and interrupts the town,"
S1L2 "on his darkened stage" was "in his darkened site" was "on his darkened stage" was "in his darkened spot"
S1L3 "the way" was "just as"
S1L4 "As if upon a page" was "As if on a blank sheet" was "As if upon a page" was "As on an empty sheet"
S2L1-2 was "reflections of the things around are scrawled / on him; he can’t receive them."
S2L4 : changed to —


Der Blinde

Paris

Sieh, er geht und unterbricht die Stadt,
die nicht ist auf seiner dunkeln Stelle,
wie ein dunkler Sprung durch eine helle
Tasse geht. Und wie auf einem Blatt

ist auf ihm der Widerschein der Dinge
aufgemalt; er nimmt ihn nicht hinein.
Nur sein Fühlen rührt sich, so als finge
es die Welt in kleinen Wellen ein:

eine Stille, einen Widerstand —,
und dann scheint er wartend wen zu wählen:
hingegeben hebt er seine Hand,
festlich fast, wie um sich zu vermählen.


Literal translation:
The Blind Man

Paris

Look, he walks and interrupts the city,
which is not in his darkened place,
like a darker fissure that moves through
a bright cup. And as on a page,

the reflection of things is painted on him;
he does not take it in.
Only his feeling stirs, as if it caught
the world in small waves:

a stillness, a resistance—
and then he seems to be waiting for one whom he’ll choose:
devoted, he raises his hand,
almost solemnly, as if to give himself in marriage.

Last edited by Susan McLean; 09-22-2019 at 03:24 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Unread 09-20-2019, 03:52 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 3,447
Default

Hi Susan,

"spot/sheet" is your only non-assonant rhyme, and the rest are full or close to full rhymes. And whilst a piece of paper is a 'sheet', 'sheet' on its own tends to suggest bed-linen (or does to me, anyway). I guess "on his darkened stage" would be one way to rhyme with "page". Perhaps that does too much, bringing in an acting/theatre metaphor that isn't there in the original?

For S1 line 3, I didn't immediately get that "just as" was indicating a simile and not showing something happening at that same time, "just like a darker crack progressing down" might be clearer.

best,

Matt
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Unread 09-21-2019, 01:53 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 8,243
Default

Matt, I took your suggestions. I had reservations about bringing in a "stage" that isn't there in the original, but there are few rhymes for "page," and a "stage" does suggest a location or setting. I also made a few other changes. Thanks.

Susan
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Unread 09-21-2019, 03:51 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,952
Default

Hi Susan,

I like stage fine. In general, I like this a good deal - you have your usual array of excellent choices, and you've done some work weaving your syntax into rhyme and meter - but I do have two small nits to share: the first line has no "how" in German and I don't think you need it, you could just replace it with a comma and modify the beat; and Widerschein is singular. How about "the echo" and then "it"? I think that'll do for Widerschein in context.

Cheers,
John
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Unread 09-21-2019, 04:59 AM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 3,447
Default

Hi Susan,

Following on from John's comment, I also wondered about the first line. I notice all Rilke's lines are headless, and had wondered if that might be possible to replicate that in the translation. Still, I guess you might consider a headless first line:

See, he walks and interrupts the town,

Losing the 'how' and having a single-syllable first foot seems to draw more attention to 'see', it seems to take more stress, and there's a pause after it to isolate it, as is in the original. I'm guessing it was intended to stand out in this way, to heighten the contrast with 'blind'.

-Matt
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Unread 09-21-2019, 11:01 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 8,243
Default

John, I took your suggestions, except that "echo" is an aural image and I think I need a visual one. If you think it is important to keep the number the same for "Widerschein," I am happy with an anapest at the beginning of the line.

Matt, Rilke's poem is in trochaic meter, so those aren't headless iambs at the start of every line. But I tend to substitute iambic meter, which sounds much more natural in English. Trochaic meter in English sounds too much like a chant.

Susan
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Unread 09-21-2019, 11:29 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,952
Default

I think that works, Susan.

Cheers,
John
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Unread 09-21-2019, 12:21 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: England, UK
Posts: 3,447
Default

Yes, I think the revision is a good one. The headless start and the colon draw attention to the "look" and the visual nature of the imperative.

Last edited by Matt Q; 09-21-2019 at 03:56 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Unread 09-21-2019, 03:47 PM
Martin Rocek's Avatar
Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 4,430
Default

Hi Susan,
sorry to be absent for so long. I think the latest revision is very smooth and captures the essence of the original.

Thanks for the read!
Martin
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Unread 09-21-2019, 04:29 PM
Julie Steiner's Avatar
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 6,127
Default

I've been circling this for a few days, waiting to be able to suggest something better than "his darkened stage," but I've got nothing. I really, really don't like "his darkened stage," which for me has unavoidable connotations of the theater, even though I know that "stage" can mean part of a journey. I'll keep mulling it over.

In theory, I like the rhyme of "scrawled" and "world," but I just can't reconcile "scrawled" with the reflections of things appearing on him in a way he can't sense. It seems to me he would feel something "scrawled" on him. I've got no suggestions for that, either.

I'm just radiating negativity this afternoon. Time to play my 'ukulele for a while, to improve my mood. Sorry not to be more helpful.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 8,021
Total Threads: 19,990
Total Posts: 255,703
There are 209 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online