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  #1  
Unread 01-24-2021, 08:48 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Default Rilke, Childhood

Childhood
by Rainer Maria Rilke

It would be good to ponder thoroughly
before one testifies to what’s so gone,
to those long-drawn-out childhood afternoons
that never will come back again—and why?

We’re still reminded—maybe in a rain,
but we no longer understand its meaning:
never again was life so full of meeting,
of reuniting and of moving on,

as then, when no more happened to us than
what happens to a thing and to a creature:
we lived, like humans, in their world back then
and filled up to the brim with character.

And turned as lonely as the shepherds are,
and by vast distances as overwhelmed,
and as if called and summoned from afar,
and slowly woven like a long new thread
into that suite of tapestries, where how
to carry onward mystifies us now.

Revisions:
S1 was
It would be good to think a lot before
one speaks of what so long has passed away,
of those long childhood afternoons that were
and never will return again—and why?


Kindheit

Es wäre gut viel nachzudenken, um
von so Verlornem etwas auszusagen,
von jenen langen Kindheit-Nachmittagen,
die so nie wiederkamen - und warum?

Noch mahnt es uns - : vielleicht in einem Regen,
aber wir wissen nicht mehr was das soll;
nie wieder war das Leben von Begegnen,
von Wiedersehn und Weitergehn so voll

wie damals, da uns nichts geschah als nur
was einem Ding geschieht und einem Tiere:
da lebten wir, wie Menschliches, das Ihre
und wurden bis zum Rande voll Figur.

Und wurden so vereinsamt wie ein Hirt
und so mit großen Fernen überladen
und wie von weit berufen und berührt
und langsam wie ein langer neuer Faden
in jene Bilder-Folgen eingeführt,
in welchen nun zu dauern uns verwirrt.


Literal translation:
Childhood

It would be good to think a lot before
testifying about something so lost,
about those long childhood afternoons
that are never coming back—and why?

It still comes to our mind—perhaps in a rain,
but we no longer know what it means;
never again was life so full of meetings,
of reunions and of moving on

as back then, when nothing happened to us except
what happens to a thing and to an animal:
we lived then, as if human, in their [world]
and became filled to the brim with character.

And became as lonely as a shepherd
and as overburdened with great distances
and as if from afar summoned and contacted
and slowly as a long new thread
inserted into those picture sequences,
in which it now bewilders us to carry on.

Last edited by Susan McLean; 01-24-2021 at 10:34 PM.
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  #2  
Unread 01-24-2021, 06:56 PM
Kevin Rainbow's Avatar
Kevin Rainbow Kevin Rainbow is offline
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Location: Regina, SK; Canada
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Default

A few small things:

Quote:
It would be good to think a lot before
one speaks of what so long has passed away
Is "speak" perhaps a bit too generic for "auszusagen"?

"Passed away" is usually an idiom used for talking about people or animals, not for spaces of time. One says "George passed away", but not usually "my childhood passed away". Not only that, but saying it has (present tense) passed away for a very long time sounds strange. Are you trying to say it passed long ago, or has been passed for a long time? If so, the current sentence structure seems inadequate.

Also, "Passed" doesn't seem all that accurate for "lost". If I say "my childhood was lost" that usually means something a lot more negative than "my childhood passed".

If you are going to stick with "passed", though, perhaps "passed him by" would work slightly better, thinking also of the rhyme:

"one speaks of something that has passed him by"


Quote:
long has passed away,/ of those long
You have used the word "long" twice very closely together, which doesn't sound great.

Quote:
and never will return again—and why?
"Return again" is redundant. "Return" naturally implies coming again. Perhaps "and never will be here again".

.

Last edited by Kevin Rainbow; 01-24-2021 at 09:20 PM.
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  #3  
Unread 01-24-2021, 10:36 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Thanks, Kevin. I have tried a few revisions to S1 based on your comments.

Susan
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  #4  
Unread 01-25-2021, 02:09 AM
Kevin Rainbow's Avatar
Kevin Rainbow Kevin Rainbow is offline
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Very good amendment.
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