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Unread 02-09-2020, 02:56 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
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Default Rilke, Song of the Sea

Song of the Sea (revised)
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Capri. Piccola Marina

Age-old breeze from the sea,
sea-wind at night:
.....you come for nobody;
if one’s up late,
he is obliged to see
how to withstand you:
.....age-old breeze from the sea,
which just blows through
as if for age-old stone,
sheer vacancy
from far off rushing in . . .

O how a budding fig tree
senses you feelingly
up in the moonshine.


Song of the Sea (original)
Rainer Maria Rilke

Capri. Piccola Marina

Primeval breeze from the sea,
sea-wind at night:
.....you come for nobody;
if one’s up late,
he must observe how he
may last against you:
.....primeval breeze from the sea,
which blows as though
just for primeval stone,
pulling in
from afar sheer vacancy.

O how a budding fig tree
senses you palpably
up in the moonshine.

Revisions:
S1L1 "age-old" was "primeval"
S1L5-6 was "he must observe how he / may survive against you:"
S1L6 "survive" was "last"
S1L7 "age-old" was "primeval"
S1L8 was "which blows as though"
S1L9 "as if" was "just" and "age-old" was "primeval"
S1L10-11 was "pulling in / from afar sheer vacancy . . ."; then L10 was "sheer vacancy"; then "sheer emptiness"
S2L2 "senses you tangibly" was "senses you palpably"; then line became "feels your force"; then "senses you feelingly"


Lied vom Meer

Capri. Piccola Marina

Uraltes Wehn vom Meer,
Meerwind bei Nacht:
.....du kommst zu keinem her;
wenn einer wacht,
so muss er sehn, wie er
dich übersteht:
.....uraltes Wehn vom Meer,
welches weht
nur wie für Ur-Gestein,
lauter Raum
reißend von weit herein . . .

O wie fühlt dich ein
treibender Feigenbaum
oben im Mondschein.


Literal translation:
Song of the Sea

Capri. Small Marina

Age-old breeze from the sea,
sea-wind at night:
.....you come to no one here;
if one stays awake,
then he must see how he
may outlast you:
.....age-old breeze from the sea,
which blows
as if only for age-old stone,
sheer space
rushing in from afar . . .

O how a budding
fig tree feels you
above in the moonlight.

Last edited by Susan McLean; 02-11-2020 at 01:21 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 02-10-2020, 07:49 PM
Matthew T. Barber Matthew T. Barber is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Grove City, PA
Posts: 63
Default

Hi, Susan. Some thoughts from an amateur/me. How about "you come for no one" in S1L3, and possibly "withstand" as opposed to "survive against" in S1L6?

I was thinking it would be nice to preserve a little the syntax of the original German in S2, but I can't think of an acceptable way to do it.

Oh how it feels you
the budding fig tree
up in the moonlight.

And I wonder would it be too far to have it as "the fig tree budding / up in the moonlight"? It runs the risk of losing track of the sea-wind, of course, as in English we can't tell exactly 'who' the 'you' refers to.
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  #3  
Unread 02-10-2020, 11:16 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 8,305
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Thanks for the suggestions, Matthew. I have taken some of them, such as "withstand," and have rethought a number of other lines. I am trying to preserve the meter of the original and the tight rhymes, though I have had to introduce slight variations to both and use some slant rhymes. I don't want to have any unrhymed lines, though, if I can help it.

Susan
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