Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Season

"Autumn Day"

Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,
and on the meadows let the wind go free.

Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;
grant them a few more warm transparent days,
urge them on to fulfillment then, and press
the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone,
will sit, read, write long letters through the evening,
and wander on the boulevards, up and down,
restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.

Rainer Maria Rilke (trans. Stephen Mitchell)


Retriever said...

Love the last verse.

Anonymous said...

Very nice poem, and there really isn’t anything quite like an “A”utumn day.

May said...

I wonder what the poem sounds like in German.

Novalis said...

Good question.


Herr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr gross.
Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren,
und auf den Fluren lass die Winde los.

Befiehl den letzten Fruechten voll zu sein;
gieb ihnen noch zwei suedlichere Tage,
draenge sie zur Vollendung hin und jage
die letzte Suesse in den schweren Wein.

Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr.
Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben,
wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben
und wird in den Alleen hin und her
unruhig wandern, wenn die Blaetter treiben.

May said...

Although I fail to understand a few words, I find the rhythm of the German version more impressive.

Thanks for posting it.