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Unread 04-04-2021, 07:47 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Iowa City, IA, USA
Posts: 8,955
Default Rilke, Eastern Aubade

Eastern Aubade
by Rainer Maria Rilke

Isn’t this bed we lie in like a coast,
merely a stretch of coast on which we sprawl?
Nothing is sure except for your high breasts,
which overwhelm my senses till they reel.

Because this night, in which so much screamed out,
in which beasts cried and tore at one another,
isn’t it dire and strange to us? And yet,
what’s slowly rising up, called day, out there—
is that more comprehensible than it?

We’d have to lie like petals intertwined
around the stamen: so ubiquitous,
so overwhelming is the unrestrained,
which gathers force and hurtles down on us.

Yet while we press together, not to see
the way it’s closing in around us two,
it may flash out of me, flash out of you:
because our souls survive by treachery.

S1L2 "on which we sprawl" was "we're lying on"
S1L4 was "which send my senses reeling, like a swoon."

Östliches Taglied

Ist dieses Bette nicht wie eine Küste,
ein Küstenstreifen nur, darauf wir liegen?
Nichts ist gewiss als deine hohen Brüste,
die mein Gefühl in Schwindeln überstiegen.

Denn diese Nacht, in der so vieles schrie,
in der sich Tiere rufen und zerreißen,
ist sie uns nicht entsetzlich fremd? Und wie:
was draußen langsam anhebt, Tag geheißen,
ist das uns denn verständlicher als sie?

Man müsste so sich ineinanderlegen
wie Blütenblätter um die Staubgefäße:
so sehr ist überall das Ungemäße
und häuft sich an und stürzt sich uns entgegen.

Doch während wir uns aneinander drücken,
um nicht zu sehen, wie es ringsum naht,
kann es aus dir, kann es aus mir sich zücken:
denn unsre Seelen leben von Verrat.

Literal translation:
Eastern Aubade

Is this bed not like a coast,
just a stretch of coast on which we lie?
Nothing is certain except your high breasts,
which go beyond my senses into dizziness.

Because this night, in which so much screamed out,
in which beasts cried out and tore each other,
is it not appallingly strange to us? And yet,
what slowly rises up outside, called day,
is that then more understandable to us than it?

We’d have to lie down intertwined thus,
like flower petals around the stamen:
so great everywhere is the unrestrained,
and it accumulates and rushes toward us.

Yet while we press against one another
so as not to see how it draws closer all around,
it may flash out from you, flash out from me:
for our souls live on treachery.

Last edited by Susan McLean; 04-04-2021 at 07:06 PM.
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Unread 04-04-2021, 03:45 PM
mignon ledgard mignon ledgard is online now
New Member
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Florida
Posts: 25

Dear Susan, I can't stop to read now, but I have been following your translations of Rilke's poems with interest and admiration. I like your approach to translations, too.
Thank you for your graceful offerings. ~mignon
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