Sunday, May 16, 2010

Letters to Rilke – Number 5

Dear R,

Darling of all times,
I am sorry that my energy has evaporated to your eternity,
I am no hero!

Dearest of all dears,
I am sorry that my body cannot carry the weight of this pain any longer,
I have no courage!

The most precious of all treasures,
I am sorry that I did not wish to spend you,
I am shattered!

Dear R,
I cannot tell you
…who are they,
these vagabonds
even more transient
than we are?”*

But I can say that I have turned to one.
I am a Vagabond!

Les Saltimbanques, Picasso, 1905

*Fifth Elegy, Duino Elegies, Rilke: In the summer of 1915 Rilke stayed in Frau Hertha von Koenig's Munich apartment, where Picasso's painting of a performing troupe, Les Saltimbanques, hung.


Till said...


a beautiful poem and painting. Well chosen. I send you this poem about the Delayed Wanderer by J. v. Eichendorff with a C.D. Friedrich painting. The translation is mine so it does nothing but convey the sense of the poem.


Der verspätete Wanderer

Wo aber werd‘ ich sein im künft‘gen Lenze?
So frug ich sonst wohl, wenn beim Hüteschwingen
Ins Tal wir ließen unser Lied erklingen,
Denn jeder Wipfel bot mir frische Kränze.

Ich wußte nur, daß rings der Frühling glänze,
Daß nach dem Meer die Ströme leuchtend gingen,
Von fernem Wunderland die Vögel singen,
Da hatt‘ das Morgenrot noch keine Grenze.

Jetzt aber wird‘s schon Abend, alle Lieben
Sind wandermüde längst zurückgeblieben,
Die Nachtluft rauscht durch meine welken Kränze,
Und heimwärts rufen mich die Abendglocken,
Und in der Einsamkeit frag‘ ich erschrocken:
Wo werde ich wohl sein im künft‘gen Lenze?

The Delayed Wanderer

But where will I be this next spring?
Thus I asked when, swinging our hats,
We chanted our song to the valley,
For every treetop offered new garlands.

I only know, that spring around was shining,
That rivers brightly streamed to sea,
Of a faraway wonderland birds were singing,
When the dawn didn’t have limits yet.

But now dusk is here, all loved-ones
Have long stayed behind tired of wandering,
Night air whooshes through my wilted garlands,
And the evening bells are calling me home,
And in loneliness I ask with fear:
Where may I well be this next spring?

Tameshk said...

Dear Till,
Thanks for the comment and the translation.