Rilke, The Site of the Fire
The Site of the Fire
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Shunned by the early autumn morning—that
was leery—behind the lime trees, scorched by fire,
that crowded around the house upon the moor,
lay something new, a blankness. One more spot
on which young kids, from God knows where, would scream
at one another and snatch at the debris.
But all of them fell mute whenever he,
the son from here, from hot, half-ashen beams
would haul out pots and twisted washing troughs
with a long, forked tree branch—then, with shifty eyes
and the hangdog look of somebody who lies,
he gazed at the rest, inducing their belief
in what on that location used to stand.
Now that it was no longer, it appeared so
bizarre to him: more fanciful than Pharaoh.
And he was changed. As if from a far-off land.
Gemieden von dem Frühherbstmorgen, der
misstrauisch war, lag hinter den versengten
Hauslinden, die das Heidehaus beengten,
ein Neues, Leeres. Eine Stelle mehr,
auf welcher Kinder, von Gott weiß woher,
einander zuschrien und nach Fetzen haschten.
Doch alle wurden stille, sooft er,
der Sohn von hier, aus heißen, halbveraschten
Gebälken Kessel und verbogne Tröge
an einem langen Gabelaste zog, -
um dann mit einem Blick als ob er löge
die andern anzusehn, die er bewog
zu glauben, was an dieser Stelle stand.
Denn seit es nicht mehr war, schien es ihm so
seltsam: phantastischer als Pharao.
Und er war anders. Wie aus fernem Land.
The Site of the Fire
Shunned by the early autumn morning,
that was mistrustful, behind the scorched
linden trees that cramped the heath-house,
lay a new thing, an emptiness. One more place
on which children, from God knows where,
screamed at one another and snatched at scraps.
Yet all of them became silent whenever he,
the son from here, from the hot, half-ashen
timbers pulled pots and bent tubs
with a long, forked branch—
and then, with a look as if he lied,
he gazed at the others, whom he induced
to believe in what stood on that spot.
Because since it was no more, it seemed to him
so strange: more fantastic than Pharaoh.
And he was different. As if from a far-off land.