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  #1  
Unread 02-21-2021, 08:24 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
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Default Rilke, The Rose's Interior

The Rose’s Interior

For this interior, where
is an outside? On what pain
does one apply such linen?
What heavens find their mirror
inside the inland lake
of these blown roses, look,
these ones without a care:
how loose they lie, how free,
as though they could not be
spilled by a trembling hand.
They barely can be contained;
many of them allow
themselves to overfill
with inner space and flow
into days that always close
more full, and more, until
all summer becomes a room,
a room within a dream.


Revisions:
L1-2 was "Where is an outside for / this inside? On what pain"
L3 "apply" was "lay down"


Das Rosen-Innere

Wo ist zu diesem Innen
ein Außen? Auf welches Weh
legt man solches Linnen ?
Welche Himmel spiegeln sich drinnen
in dem Binnensee
dieser offenen Rosen,
dieser sorglosen, sieh:
wie sie lose im Losen
liegen, als könnte nie
eine zitternde Hand sie verschütten.
Sie können sich selber kaum
halten; viele ließen
sich überfüllen und fließen
über von Innenraum
in die Tage, die immer
voller und voller sich schließen,
bis der ganze Sommer ein Zimmer
wird, ein Zimmer in einem Traum.


Literal translation:
The Rose Interior

Where is there for this interior
an exterior? On what hurt
does one lay such linen?
What skies mirror themselves within
the inland lake
of these open roses,
these carefree ones, look:
how loosely they lie
in the looseness, as if
a trembling hand could never spill them.
They can hardly contain themselves.
Many allow themselves
to overfill and their
inner space to flow over
into the days, which always
close themselves fuller and fuller,
until the whole summer becomes
a room, a room within a dream.

Last edited by Susan McLean; 02-24-2021 at 07:02 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 02-24-2021, 06:06 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Hey, Susan!

I wonder if "apply," which might suggest a wound dressing made of linen, would work better in L3 than "lay down," which to me connotes bedclothes so strongly that there's little room left for other uses of linen that are not as familiar to modern readers. A loosely rolled bandage strip might resemble the concentric layers of petals in a white rose....

Otherwise, lovely.

Southern California choral composer Morten Lauridsen arranged a suite of Rilke's French poems about roses, #5 of which is "Dirait-on." I mention it because that poem, too, explores the idea of interiority turning inside out as each closed, private bud becomes an open, public bloom. Clearly Rilke was captivated by that idea. (Maybe there's a parallel with poetry-writing as well.)
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  #3  
Unread 02-24-2021, 06:25 PM
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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This Is Good!
Very Rilke, very silky. Yum.
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  #4  
Unread 02-24-2021, 07:05 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Julie, I took your suggestion of using "apply" instead of "lay down." I definitely got the impression that Rilke was referring to bandaging a hurt, not to sheets on a bed.

Allen, I am glad to hear that you think it works.

Susan
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  #5  
Unread 02-25-2021, 08:11 AM
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Susan, there is so much that is unsaid in this. I don’t mind your change in English to “apply”. It still works. Thank you for sharing the original and your translation. I’ve been running my mind over names of other poets, and very few if any seem comparable to Rilke’s sensibility in writing this. My reading may be idiosyncratic, of course I don’t know. I think it (both) are very successful. Please do not change much in your current version. I hope some others find this as perfect as I have.
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  #6  
Unread 02-25-2021, 01:18 PM
Kevin Rainbow's Avatar
Kevin Rainbow Kevin Rainbow is offline
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I find the opening lines weak right now.

Quote:
For this interior, where
is an outside?
It seems you have an inversion. If you were looking for the lid of a container would you ask "for this container, where is the lid?" instead of "where is the lid for this container?" Probably not. It's not very natural or eloquent. Consider perhaps:

where is an outerness
to this innerness

Quote:
On what pain
does one apply such linen?
Here "pain" doesn't seem idiomatically correct for English. We don't refer to a bandage being put on "pain", rather than on a sore/wound/injury. "Pain" also usually means "penality" after "on" (on pain of death). "Sore" I think would be better and can function as a weak rhyme with "where" and "mirror"

.

Last edited by Kevin Rainbow; 02-27-2021 at 06:50 PM.
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  #7  
Unread 02-25-2021, 03:57 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Kevin, I don't find the syntax of the first two lines all that odd. You are right that "sore" is closer to "weh" than "pain" is, but I also need a rhyme for "linen." I tried rewriting the lines to include "sore," and although I could do it, I did not like what the changes did to the rhyme scheme, nor did I feel that the lines flowed as well. "Sore," "pain," and "hurt" have a lot of overlap in their meaning, especially when the hurt is more emotional than physical. We are not talking about real wounds and real bandages.

Susan
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