Rilke on Love and Other Difficulties: Translations and Considerations
Rainer Maria Rilke
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An anthology of Rilke's strongest poetry and prose for both aficionados and new readers.
Here is a mini-anthology of poetry and prose for both aficionados and those readers discovering Rainer Maria Rilke for the first time. John J. L. Mood has assembled a collection of Rilke's strongest work, presenting commentary along with the selections. Mood links into an essay passages from letters that show Rilke's profound understanding of men and women and his ardent spirituality, rooted in the senses.
Combining passion and sensitivity, the poems on love presented here are often not only sensual but sexual as well. Others pursue perennial themes in his work―death and life, growth and transformation. The book concludes with Rilke's reflections on wisdom and openness to experience, on grasping what is most difficult and turning what is most alien into that which we can most trust.
what it bestowed on you. Not until you go over to it entirely will night know you. August. 1924 The quinces yellow from their gray fluff September, 1924 FROM THE CYCLE: NIGHTS Night. Oh you in depths dissolving, face against my own. You, my astonished staring's greatest millstone. roms Oil omu j}[iflCUlTlrS g1 Nacht, in mcinem Blicke erschauernd, aber in sich so fest; unerschOpfliche Schopfung, dauernd tiber dem Erdenrest; voll von jungen Gestirnen, die Feuer aus der Flucht ihres Saums
1J.JQndering mourning . . .,TOten ist eine Gestalt unseres wandernden Trauerns ... "1. This seems so incomprehensible to us, so strange, so counter to all our usual moral judgments and expectations. One translator even flippantly and insultingly reduces the line from the Sonnets to a level which even Voltaire would not bother to satirize ("Whatever is, is right"). In this century of madness and murder, one would have thought that readers of Rilke, and, still more, his translators, would perceive
sorrow sheds tears. Who has yet answered these questions? Who has thought. seriously. that there is no beauty in !:.ros? And especially. who dares speak at all of love? Rilke did-and if he found no final 20 JULKL 011 WVL lUl]) Onmt DIffICULTm answers, he unquestionably gestured toward some hitherto unexplored but increasingly fruitful paths. A final word: most of the following was written when Rilke was only in his late twenties; and. even more surprising, the first sentence of it was written
nature harmful to companionship: for when a person abandons himself, he is no longer anything, and when two people both give themselves up in order to come close to each other. there is no longer any ground beneath them and their being together is a continual falling. There is scarcely anything more difficult than to love one another. That it is work, day labor. day labor, God knows there is no other word for it. And look. added to this is the fact that young people are not prepared for such
69 "(Since I wrote you, sap sprang free" 71 IV. POEMS ON OTHER DIFFICULTIES 73 Introduction 75 Rilke's Poems on Other Difficulties 79 The Poet Speaks of Praising "Oh speak, poet, what do you do?" 79 Tne Poet Praises "Wait ... , this tastes good" 81 The Poems Praise "Ufe and deatn: they are one" 83 "Play the deaths. the single ones. quickly" 83 ".... Transformation" 83 "Strong star, which needs not the help" 83 "Being-silent. Who keeps innerly" 85 "Transform" 85 "Gods perhaps are still