Eratosphere Forums - Metrical Poetry, Free Verse, Fiction, Art, Critique, Discussions Able Muse - a review of poetry, prose and art

Forum Left Top

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-26-2018, 12:02 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 7,580
Default Rilke, Loneliness

Loneliness
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Loneliness is like a rain.
Toward evening, it arises from the sea;
from plains that are remote and faraway,
it goes to the sky, where it has always been.
And only then from the sky it falls on the town.

It rains down in the halfway hours near dawn,
when all the alleys turn themselves around;
when bodies, which have searched but haven’t found,
leave each other wretched and let down;
and when those people who detest each other
are forced to sleep in the same bed together:

then loneliness is flowing with the rivers . . .


Revisions:
S1L5 was "And from the sky it falls on the city then."


Einsamkeit

Die Einsamkeit ist wie ein Regen.
Sie steigt vom Meer den Abenden entgegen;
von Ebenen, die fern sind und entlegen,
geht sie zum Himmel, der sie immer hat.
Und erst vom Himmel fällt sie auf die Stadt.

Regnet hernieder in den Zwitterstunden,
wenn sich nach Morgen wenden alle Gassen
und wenn die Leiber, welche nichts gefunden,
enttäuscht und traurig von einander lassen;
und wenn die Menschen, die einander hassen,
in einem Bett zusammen schlafen müssen:

dann geht die Einsamkeit mit den Flüssen...


Literal translation:
Loneliness

Loneliness is like a rain.
It rises from the sea toward evening;
from plains that are far off and out of the way,
it goes to the sky, where it always is.
And only then from the sky it falls on the city.

It rains here below in the halfway-between hours,
when toward dawn all the alleys turn themselves around,
and when those bodies that have found nothing,
wretched and disappointed, leave one another;
and when people who hate one another
must sleep together in one bed:

then loneliness flows with the rivers . . .

Last edited by Susan McLean; 08-29-2018 at 11:51 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-29-2018, 06:57 PM
Michael F's Avatar
Michael F Michael F is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: a foothill of the Catskills
Posts: 884
Default

Hi Susan,

I think it’s another gorgeous Rilke poem: psychologically acutely perceptive, with a superb governing simile that R ties, as his wont, obliquely to the divine. In this last aspect, it echoes some of the poems in the Book of Hours that I’ve read that attribute passion and yearning and reciprocity to the divine.

My only hesitation in your translation is S1L5, which reads awkwardly to me, and I don’t like the ending on ‘then’, which feels rhyme-driven. Also, there seems to me a sense in that line that loneliness or yearning originates in the divine, and only from there first falls on the city, or on humankind. I wish you would accent that -- if you agree; I only signal it as a feeling I get from the German and the poem. The contrast of loneliness and unsatisfying love with an unnamed, ideal, even impossible love seems to me inescapable, and something that R must have intended ... of course, I could be reading my own thoughts into the poem. Heaven knows I've done that before.

I commend you on your selection and on the translation. It's a magnificent poem that I can’t recall having read before.

I hope this is somehow helpful.

M
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-29-2018, 11:53 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 7,580
Default

Michael, thanks for your suggestion. I have tried rewording S1L5. Perhaps the slant rhyme will look less rhyme-driven. The revision also captures the sense of "erst" meaning "only then."

Susan
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-30-2018, 06:25 AM
Michael F's Avatar
Michael F Michael F is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: a foothill of the Catskills
Posts: 884
Default

Susan, I think it works wonderfully.

M
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



Forum Right Top
Forum Left Bottom Forum Right Bottom
 
Right Left
Member Login
Forgot password?
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Statistics:
Forum Members: 7,924
Total Threads: 19,466
Total Posts: 251,554
There are 212 users
currently browsing forums.
Forum LeftForum Right


Forum Sponsor:
Donate & Support Able Muse / Eratosphere
Forum LeftForum Right
Right Right
Right Bottom Left Right Bottom Right

Hosted by ApplauZ Online