from Rilke's Book of Hours (revised)

Translated any poems lately? If so, then why not post them here?
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Jim
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Wed Sep 14, 2022 1:52 pm

(second revision)

Perhaps I'm traveling through heavy mountains
in hard veins, as in an ore alone,
and I'm so deep within I can't see far
or to the end, for all has become near
and all that's near has become stone.

I still have no experience of sorrow,
so this enormous darkness makes me small;
but if it's you, make yourself hard, break through,
that your entire hand holds on to me
and I hold you with my entire cry.

(first revision)

Perhaps I'm traveling through heavy mountains
in hard veins, like an ore alone,
and I'm so deep inside I can't see far
or to the end: all has become near
and all that's near has become stone.

I still have little knowledge of misfortune,
so this great darkness makes me small;
but if it's You, make yourself hard, break in,
that your whole hand holds on to me
and I hold you with my whole cry.

(original)

Perhaps I'm traveling through heavy mountains
in hard veins, like an ore alone,
and I'm so deep inside I can't see far
or to the end, and all has become near
and all that's near has become stone.

I still have little knowledge of misfortune,
so this great darkness makes me small;
but if it's you, make yourself hard, break through,—
that all your being grasps my destiny
and I grasp you with all my soul.*

*I am not sure I have 'grasped' the last two lines. :?:

Vielleicht, daß ich durch schwere Berge gehe
in harten Adern, wie ein Erz allein;
und bin so tief, daß ich kein Ende sehe
und keine Ferne: alles wurde Nähe
und alle Nähe wurde Stein.

Ich bin ja noch kein Wissender im Wehe, —
so macht mich dieses große Dunkel klein;
bist Du es aber: mach dich schwer, brich ein:
daß deine ganze Hand an mir geschehe
und ich an dir mit meinem ganzen Schrein.
Last edited by Jim on Sun Nov 13, 2022 3:02 am, edited 10 times in total.
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Leaf
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Thu Sep 15, 2022 9:26 pm

Hi Jim,

I'm not sure about those last two lines either, but that's just because I don't know much German! Our John does, so I'll draw his attention to your translation when I email before bed. I'm sure he'll help if he can :)

Best wishes,
Fliss
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Fri Sep 16, 2022 7:14 am

Hi Jim,

I think this is pretty much first-rate from start to finish. The off rhyme works, and you've got a music to rhyme and meter which echoes Rilke fairly closely. WHere you've added - deep inside - or inverted - far and end - you've done so elegantly. I might lose the and you've added in S1 just after the Ende moment, it feels like padding to me and there's little room for that.
Books of Hours are religious things. Germans do capitalize Du in letters, as I'm sure you know, but they also do so for God. While Rilke's Du here is certainly not exclusively God, I do think that is one thing he is, and so I'd keep the capital, losing it thereafter asRilke does to separate spirituality from devotion.
I also think God may give you a hand in the close, where your reading works, I think, but where being is perhaps a bit airy for the hyand Rilke puts there. I know you've got grasps after, so the hand is there in principle. An mir is what someone in battle might say in calling for reinforcement - to me! - and at the close, an dir is where the speaker I think leans.
Anyhow. Something perhaps to think about. THis is really nice and I think you can send it off as is if you like, it doesn't really require editing IMO.

Cheers,
John
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Jim
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Fri Sep 16, 2022 12:34 pm

Thank you, Fliss and John. I appreciate your taking the time to read this and comment on it.

Jim
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Leaf
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Fri Sep 16, 2022 10:25 pm

You're welcome, Jim, not that I helped much, really :lol:

I enjoyed both your translation and John's comment. Translation is something I'd like to get into at some stage, so thanks for the inspiration :)

Bw,
Fliss
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