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Unread 07-05-2019, 09:14 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 8,253
Default 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.

Die Brandstätte

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.

Literal translation:
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.
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Unread 07-05-2019, 10:59 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 4,952

Good morning Susan,

Very nicely done. I particularly like what you did with the first quatrain, but the whole thing is really splendid. No nits, only praise. The verb form loege is new to me, and absent in my mid-sized Wahrig, but I take it that it's a variant of luege. That does make sense.

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