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

Forum Left Top

Notices

Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Unread 09-19-2021, 06:56 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 9,216
Default Rilke, The Prisoner, II

The Prisoner
by Rainer Maria Rilke

II.

Imagine that what now is sky and wind,
air for your mouth and brightness for your sight,
were turned to stone right up to the small spot
in which your heart and hands are to be found.

And what “tomorrow” means to you—and “then”
and “later on” and “next year” and ‘”beyond”—
that would become in you a pus-filled wound
and wouldn’t ever break, just fester on.

And that which was, would turn insane in you
and rage, your loving mouth, which never laughed,
foaming with laughter. And what once was God

would merely be your prison guard and would
spitefully cram his filthy eye up to
the last remaining chink. And still you lived.


II

Denk dir, das was jetzt Himmel ist und Wind,
Luft deinem Mund und deinem Auge Helle,
das würde Stein bis um die kleine Stelle
an der dein Herz und deine Hände sind.

Und was jetzt in dir morgen heißt und dann
und: späterhin und nächstes Jahr und weiter -
das würde wund in dir und voller Eiter
und schwäre nur und bräche nicht mehr an.

Und das was war, das wäre irre und
raste in dir herum, den lieben Mund
der niemals lachte, schäumend von Gelächter.

Und das was Gott war, wäre nur dein Wächter
und stopfte boshaft in das letzte Loch
ein schmutziges Auge. Und du lebtest doch.

Literal translation:
II.

Imagine that what now is sky and wind,
air for your mouth and brightness for your eye,
became stone right up to the small spot
in which your heart and your hands are.

And what now means “tomorrow” to you—and “then”
and “later on” and “next year” and “further on”—
that became sore in you and full of pus
and just festered and never again broke open.

And that which was, that would go mad and
rage around inside you, your kindly mouth,
which never laughed, foaming with laughter.

And that which was God would be just your prison guard
and would spitefully cram into the last remaining hole
his filthy eye. And still you lived.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Unread 09-22-2021, 11:29 PM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Posts: 7,383
Default

How very sad.

I wonder if "And that which was, would turn insane in you / and rage" would be better as "And that which was, would grow confused in you / and rage" or similar. The specificity of confusion or bewilderment might be more evocative than the generality of madness or insanity, and the German seems to allow you to choose either. (Then again, maybe "insane" goes better with the raging around of those thoughts.)
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Unread 09-23-2021, 01:49 PM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 9,216
Default

Hi, Julie. Yes, it is bleak. Every now and then, Rilke goes over the top. I think the foaming at the mouth in S3 is supposed to evoke a mad dog, not just a confused person. Rilke's views of insanity often feel dated to me.

Susan
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: 8,219
Total Threads: 20,997
Total Posts: 266,679
There are 335 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