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Unread 08-29-2021, 08:35 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 9,217
Default Rilke, The Parks, VII


However, there are bowls in which the naiads’
reflections, now no longer being bathed,
lie as if drowned, all twisted and distorted;
the avenues are closed by balustrades
far off, as if by barricades.

A sodden leaf-fall constantly comes down,
slanting through air as if on stairs; each call
of the birds seems somehow not respectable,
and every nightingale as if unclean.

Even the spring is there no longer giving;
these bushes don’t believe in it; the stale
and dreary jasmine, only half surviving,
grudgingly gives off a smell

that’s worn out, old, and mingled with decay.
Moving onward with you is a pack
of gnats, as if all things behind your back
were blotted out at once and wiped away.


Aber Schalen sind, drin der Najaden
Spiegelbilder, die sie nicht mehr baden,
wie ertrunken liegen, sehr verzerrt;
die Alleen sind durch Balustraden
in der Ferne wie versperrt.

Immer geht ein feuchter Blätterfall
durch die Luft hinunter wie auf Stufen,
jeder Vogelruf ist wie verrufen,
wie vergiftet jede Nachtigall.

Selbst der Frühling ist da nicht mehr gebend,
diese Büsche glauben nicht an ihn;
ungern duftet trübe, überlebend
abgestandener Jasmin

alt und mit Zerfallendem vermischt.
Mit dir weiter rückt ein Bündel Mücken,
so als würde hinter deinem Rücken
alles gleich vernichtet und verwischt.

Literal translation:

But there are basins in which the naiads’
reflections, that no longer are being bathed,
lie as if drowned, very distorted;
the avenues are by balustrades
in the distance as if barred.

Forever a damp fall of leaves comes
down through the air as if on stairs;
each birdcall is as if disreputable,
each nightingale as if contaminated.

Even the spring there is no longer giving;
the bushes don’t believe in it;
grudgingly, the dreary surviving jasmine
gives off a stale smell,

old and mingled with decay.
With you further on moves a bunch of gnats,
as if all things behind your back were
immediately destroyed and erased.
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