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Unread 08-02-2019, 01:01 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Default Rilke, Portrait of My Father in His Youth

Portrait of My Father in His Youth (revised)
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Dream in the eyes. The brow as if in touch
with something far away. Enormous youth
and seductiveness—unsmiling—in the mouth;
before the full-dress ornamental trim
of the slim aristocratic uniform,
the saber’s basket hilt and both hands, which
wait, calmly, not impelled by urgency.
And now almost unseen, as if they’d be
the first to fade, the distance in their grasp.
And all the rest self-camouflaged with shrouds,
effaced as if we didn’t understand,
and, deep within its depths, obscured by clouds—.

You swiftly vanishing daguerreotype
in my more slowly disappearing hands.


Portrait of My Father in His Youth
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Dream in the eyes. The brow as if in touch
with something far away. Enormous youth
and seductiveness in the unsmiling mouth;
before the full-dress ornamental trim
of the slim aristocratic uniform,
the saber’s basket hilt and both hands—which
wait, calm, impelled toward nothing. Currently
almost not visible, as if they’d be
the first to vanish, grasping the far off.
And all the rest self-camouflaged with shrouds,
effaced as if we didn’t understand,
and, deep within its own depths, dimmed by clouds—.

You swiftly disappearing photograph
in my more slowly disappearing hands.


Jugend-Bildnis meines Vaters

Im Auge Traum. Die Stirn wie in Berührung
mit etwas Fernem. Um den Mund enorm
viel Jugend, ungelächelte Verführung,
und vor der vollen schmückenden Verschnürung
der schlanken adeligen Uniform
der Säbelkorb und beide Hände -, die
abwarten, ruhig, zu nichts hingedrängt.
Und nun fast nicht mehr sichtbar: als ob sie
zuerst, die Fernes greifenden, verschwänden.
Und alles andre mit sich selbst verhängt
und ausgelöscht als ob wirs nicht verständen
und tief aus seiner eignen Tiefe trüb -.

Du schnell vergehendes Daguerreotyp
in meinen langsamer vergehenden Händen.


Literal translation:
Portrait of My Father in His Youth

In the eyes, dream. The brow as if in touch
with something far off. Around the mouth, enormous
youth, unsmiling seductiveness,
and in front of the full ornamental braids
of the slim aristocratic uniform,
the saber basket hilt and both hands—which
wait, calmly, impelled toward nothing.
And now almost no longer visible, as if they
would be first, grasping the far off, to vanish.
And all the rest self-shrouded
and erased as if we didn’t understand
and clouded deep in its own depths—.

You swiftly fading daguerreotype
in my more slowly fading hands.

Last edited by Susan McLean; 08-03-2019 at 06:55 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 08-02-2019, 01:14 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Hi Susan,

As always, a fine rendering. I have three nits of varying importance. I’d love it if you could keep Rilke’s end stops. I find l3 a bit awkward metrically. And I’d prefer vanishing Daguerreotype to disappearing photograph, it’s closer to the German.

Cheers,
John
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  #3  
Unread 08-03-2019, 12:41 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
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John, I have done my best to address your suggestions in my revisions.

Susan
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  #4  
Unread 08-03-2019, 12:55 PM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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Yes, I like it!

Cheers,
John
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