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Unread 12-05-2021, 08:22 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
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Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
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Default Rilke, Easter Eve

Easter Eve
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Naples

Tomorrow in these deep-carved alleyways,
which through the piled-up dwellings down below
press darkly toward the harbor, there will roll
the gold of the processions, brightly; then,
instead of rags, the bedspreads handed down
as legacies, which long to billow, will
hang down from ever-higher balconies
(as if reflected in the ceaseless flow).

Today, however, there is one who hammers
each moment on the knockers, heavy laden,
and always they are lugging in new buys;
nevertheless, the vendors’ stalls still teem.
An ox, upon the corner, hacked wide open,
displays its freshly visible insides,
and all its legs conclude in little streamers.
A huge supply, as of a thousand victims,

hangs around pegs, jam-packs the benches, crams
itself in tightly, piles in heaps, spills out
of the dusk of all doors, and the loaves of bread
stretch toward the yawning melons. What is dead
is full of greediness and action, yet
the cockerels are much quieter, as are
the well-hung billy goats, too, and by far
the quietest of all of them, the lambs,

which on their shoulders the young boys take up
and which nod willingly at every step,
while in the wall that holds the glass-enclosed
Spanish Madonna, the jeweled fastenings
and the silver in the crowns are glistening
more brightly from the foretaste of the light.
But in the window above, a monkey shows
himself in ways that desecrate one’s gaze
and quickly, taking a presumptuous pose,
makes gestures that decidedly aren’t right.


Revisions:
S1L4 was "brightly the gold of the processions; then,"
S3L3 was "of the dusk of all the doors, and loaves of bread"



Vor-Ostern

Neapel

Morgen wird in diesen tiefgekerbten
Gassen, die sich durch getürmtes Wohnen
unten dunkel nach dem Hafen drängen,
hell das Gold der Prozessionen rollen;
statt der Fetzen werden die ererbten
Bettbezüge, welche wehen wollen,
von den immer höheren Balkonen
(wie in Fließendem gespiegelt) hängen.

Aber heute hämmert an den Klopfern
jeden Augenblick ein voll Bepackter,
und sie schleppen immer neue Käufe;
dennoch stehen strotzend noch die Stände.
An der Ecke zeigt ein aufgehackter
Ochse seine frischen Innenwände,
und in Fähnchen enden alle Läufe.
Und ein Vorrat wie von tausend Opfern

drängt auf Bänken, hängt sich rings um Pflöcke,
zwängt sich, wölbt sich, wälzt sich aus dem Dämmer
aller Türen, und vor dem Gegähne
der Melonen strecken sich die Brote.
Voller Gier und Handlung ist das Tote;
doch viel stiller sind die jungen Hähne
und die abgehängten Ziegenböcke
und am allerleisesten die Lämmer,

die die Knaben um die Schultern nehmen
und die willig von den Schritten nicken;
wahrend in der Mauer der verglasten
spanischen Madonna die Agraffe
und das Silber in den Diademen
von dem Lichter-Vorgefühl beglänzter
schimmert. Aber drüber in dem Fenster
zeigt sich blickverschwenderisch ein Affe
und führt rasch in einer angemaßten
Haltung Gesten aus, die sich nicht schicken.


Literal translation:
Easter Eve

Naples

Tomorrow in these deep-indented
alleys, which through the piled-up dwellings
press darkly below toward the harbor,
the gold of the processions will roll brightly;
instead of the rags, the inherited
bedspreads, which long to wave,
will hang from the ever-higher balconies
(as if reflected in the flowing).

But today there hammers on the knockers
at each moment one fully laden,
and they constantly lug in new purchases;
nevertheless, the stalls still stand teeming full.
On the corner, an ox hacked open
displays its fresh insides,
and all of its legs end in little flags.
And a supply as if from a thousand sacrifices

crowds on benches, hangs around pegs,
crams in, heaps up, spills out of the twilight
of all the doors, and in front of the yawning
of the melons, the breads stretch out.
Full of greediness and action is what’s dead,
but much quieter are the young roosters,
and the well-hung billy goats
and the quietest of them all, the lambs,

which the boys take up around their shoulders,
and which nod agreeably at their steps,
while in the wall of the glassed-in
Spanish Madonna, the [decorative] clasps
and the silver in the diadems
shimmer more brilliantly from the anticipation
of the light. But above in the window
a monkey displays himself glance-wastingly
and quickly performs, in an insolent
pose, gestures that are quite unsuitable.

Last edited by Susan McLean; 12-06-2021 at 09:53 AM.
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