Friday, April 27, 2012

Found in translation





Three translations of:

Remembrance
By Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926)


1.  

YOU wait, with memories drifting,   
For the something that made life blessed,   
The mighty, the rare, the uplifting,   
The awaking of stones, the rifting   
That opened deeps unguessed.           

The books in your shelves are staring   
Golden and brown, as you muse   
On the lands you crossed in your faring,   
On pictures, on visions unsparing   
Of women you had to lose.           

All at once it comes back: now you know!   
Trembling you rise, all aware   
Of a year once long ago   
With its grandeur and fear and prayer.

                    --Margarete Münsterberg, ed., trans.  A Harvest of German Verse.  1916.



2.

And you wait, keep waiting for that one thing
which would infinitely enrich your life:
the powerful, uniquely uncommon,
the awakening of dormant stones,
depths that would reveal you to yourself.

In the dusk you notice the book shelves
with their volumes in gold and in brown;
and you think of far lands you journeyed,
of pictures and of shimmering gowns
worn by women you conquered and lost.

And it comes to you all of a sudden:
That was it! And you arise, for you are
aware of a year in your distant past
with its fears and events and prayers.

                   --translated by Albert Ernest Flemming



3.

And you wait, expecting that one thing
that your life endlessly shall multiply;
that one powerful, immense thing,
the awakening of stones,
depths, coming back to you.
Volumes of gold and brown emerge
as dawn out of the bookshelves;
and you reflect upon lands traveled through,
on images, on the garments
of women lost once again.

And then suddenly you realize: that was it.
You rise up and before you stands
the fear and shape and prayer
of a year gone by.

                          --translated by Cliff Crego



.

13 comments:

Rob-bear said...

Translations do vary, and bring out the richness of meaning in the original.

And excellent post, Lydia.

Terence said...

Great and interesting post.

Pitsit sekaisin said...

Just love Rilke's poems. And yes translations do vary a lot, best to read them as they were written in the original language, but as we all know, it is not always possible... Loved your post too...:)

Amber Lee said...

I very nearly shouted when I opened this up - I LOVE Balmorhea. I discovered them on some music website a year or so ago, and now they're pretty constantly playing.

Isn't it so interesting how much translations can vary? I thought about that a lot when I was in Guatemala; I'd read the newspaper to practice reading in Spanish, and my good friend always had to correct me - I was never dead wrong, just the tiniest bit off.

(Sorry about the length! But seriously, I almost fell out of my chair. I am so excited you posted that song!)

Lydia said...

Rob-bear~ That is a positive way of looking at translations, that they bring out the richness of the original. Thank you.

Terence~ Thank you for visiting my blog again. I enjoyed looking at your South Africa travel site after your first visit. Could not find an attached blog. I bookmarked the site in case I ever have an opportunity to plan a trip to South Africa.

Pitsit~ Thank you. I have some Rilke and some Tagore always at my bedside. They are my staples. Often I wish I could read each in the original language. It makes me grateful to translators!

Amber Lee~ I just discovered Balmorhea last night while working on this post! After finding the translations I wondered if there was a video of someone reading one of them, so I searched under "Remembrance" and this glorious video was in the list. I was swept away, and it really did seem so perfect for Rilke's poem. I will definitely be listening to much more of their music now.

I admire your knowledge of Spanish and that you used it in your life in Guatemala. Wonderful stories...

Brian Miller said...

that is really cool to see them side by side...i like elements of each actually...i enjoy rilke...

hope you are doing well...have a great weekend

Freda said...

Thanks for the different translations, there is such breadth in the three of them. And as for the music well.... I'm drifting off.

goatman said...

I keep seeing Rilke (probably on your blog) and love her expressions.
Thanks for noticing and using my playlist. I am not sure anyone else checks that out. It is a wonderful -- free -- collection although many artists don't contribute.

Didn't hear about Dylan though; where have I been?

goatman said...

Oh . . . interesting juxtaposition.

I am opting for the first translation as being appealing to me.
Getting across your point is so difficult, especially with poetry and foreign language involved.
Nice presentation.

goatman said...

"his expressions". Sorry, I didn't properly prepare.

Catfish Tales said...

I'm humming along with the chord progressions, a sweet background to all the translations found. Banjo is unusually nice and subtle. Always love the cello and violin/fiddle too. Very nice mood music to the master poet, Rilke - makes me want to dust off my guitar and do some progressions too. Big hugs!

Lydia said...

Brian~ Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you a great weekend, too.

Goatman~ The first is the translation I prefer, also. Your comment reminded me of when I first heard of Rainier Maria Rilke decades ago. I went to the library to read more and then learned that the "she" I had assumed was the poet was instead a "he." That middle name is a real confuser for so many people. Anyway, Rilke the man had the most amazing eyes I've ever seen in a photo.
I added the note about Dylan's award the same day it was announced in the media so you just hadn't seen it yet. He is deserving! And I really do like your playlist so much.

Catfish Tales~ I hope you do dust off your guitar and do some progressions! Am impressed that you play. Sharing your appreciation for this "mood music to the master poet, Rilke," with hugs back.

Lydia said...

Brian~ Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you a great weekend, too.

Goatman~ The first is the translation I prefer, also. Your comment reminded me of when I first heard of Rainier Maria Rilke decades ago. I went to the library to read more and then learned that the "she" I had assumed was the poet was instead a "he." That middle name is a real confuser for so many people. Anyway, Rilke the man had the most amazing eyes I've ever seen in a photo.
I added the note about Dylan's award the same day it was announced in the media so you just hadn't seen it yet. He is deserving! And I really do like your playlist so much.

Catfish Tales~ I hope you do dust off your guitar and do some progressions! Am impressed that you play. Sharing your appreciation for this "mood music to the master poet, Rilke," with hugs back.

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