Saturday, July 3, 2010

From the Uncollected Poems ~

Forget, forget, and let us live now
only this: how the stars pierce the cleared
nocturnal sky; how the moon's full disk
surmounts the gardens. We've sensed so long
how the darkness breeds many mirrors; how a gleam
takes shape, a white shadow in the radiance
of night. But now let us cross over
and invest this world where
everything is lunar ---

Rilke (trans. E.S.)
Paris, early summer 1909


  1. Hi Maureen, After I read this poem I of course kept reading in the "Uncollected" and was astonished to see that each poem fell in quality by leaps. Many of these he was very smart not to collect. Even Rilke wrote badly. This fact has made me uncomfortably happy this morning.

  2. Thanks for sharing the Rilke and your comment about the quality. It is reassuring!

  3. Thanks, Sandy! It made me so happy -- "Even Rilke Wrote Badly" sang in my head all morning and has made me stop expecting perfection from my pen on a word by word basis.

  4. Well, I did like what you posted!

    I've read elsewhere of what a wonderful translator Edward Snow is, though the translations of Rilke I own are not by Snow. And, of course, just the fact that these are translations opens up into some interesting questions.

  5. Thanks, Maureen! And I so urge you to read any of the Snow translations (he has a brand new one out The Poetry of Rilke with an introduction by Adam Zagajewski. I have read many different translations -- and only with Snow have I come to adore and get any sense of what made Rilke so important... Do give Snow a try!