melting & burning

Suicide Song – Rilke
November 19, 2013, 7:57 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags:

All right, just a moment.
That they always take the rope away from me
and cut it.
Lately I’ve been so prepared,
and there was already a little bit of eternity
in my guts.

Hold me the spoon here,
this spoon-fed life.
No, I want to and I don’t want to anymore,
let me give in, throw up.

I know that life is whole and good,
and that the world is like a full dish,
but for me it doesn’t get into my blood,
it just goes straight up to my head.

For others it’s nourishment, me it just makes sick;
Understand, that one can despise it.
For at least a thousand years
I’ll have to fast.

Translated from the German by Cliff Crego


“Das Lied des Selbstmörders”

Also noch einen Augenblick.
Daß sie mir immer wieder den Strick
Neulich war ich so gut bereit,
und es war schon ein wenig Ewigkeit
in meinen Eingeweiden.

Halten sie mir den Löffel her,
diesen löffel Leben.
Nein, ich will und ich will nicht mehr,
laßt mich mich übergeben.

Ich weiß, das Leben ist gar und gut,
und die Welt ist ein voller Topf,
aber mir geht es nicht ins Blut,
mir steigt es nur zu Kopf.

Andere nährt es, mich macht es krank;
begreift, daß man’s verschmäht.
Mindestens ein Jahrtausend lang
brauch ich jetzt Diät.


“Go to the Limits of Your Longing” – Rilke
April 22, 2012, 6:59 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags: , ,

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,

then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

(translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows)


Gott spricht zu jedem nur, eh er ihn macht,
dann geht er schweigend mit ihm aus der Nacht.
Aber die Worte, eh jeder beginnt,
diese wolkigen Worte, sind:

Von deinen Sinnen hinausgesandt,
geh bis an deiner Sehnsucht Rand;
gieb mir Gewand.
Hinter den Dingen wachse als Brand,
dass ihre Schatten, ausgespannt,
immer mich ganz bedecken.

Lass dir Alles geschehn: Schönheit und Schrecken.
Man muss nur gehn: Kein Gefühl ist das fernste.
Lass dich von mir nicht trennen.
Nah ist das Land,
das sie das Leben nennen.

Du wirst es erkennen
an seinem Ernste.

Gieb mir die Hand.

The Sonnets to Orpheus XIII – Rilke
April 14, 2012, 9:57 pm
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Be ahead of all parting, as though it already were
behind you, like the winter that has just gone by.
For among these winters there is one so endlessly winter
that only by wintering through it all will your heart survive.

Be forever dead in Eurydice-more gladly arise
into the seamless life proclaimed in your song.
Here, in the realm of decline, among momentary days,
be the crystal cup that shattered even as it rang.

Be-and yet know the great void where all things begin,
the infinite source of your own most intense vibration,
so that, this once, you may give it your perfect assent.

To all that is used-up, and to all the muffled and dumb
creatures in the world’s full reserve, the unsayable sums,
joyfully add yourself, and cancel the count.
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Black cat – Rilke
February 15, 2011, 10:19 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags: ,

A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:

just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.

She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.


Translation Stephen Mitchell

Girl’s Lament – Rilke
January 31, 2011, 12:06 am
Filed under: poem | Tags: ,

*translated by Edward Snow


In the years when we were
all children, this inclining
to be alone so much was gentle;
others’ time passed fighting,
and one had one’s faction,
one’s near, one’s far-off place,
a path, an animal, a picture.

And I still imagined, that life
would always keep providing
for one to dwell on things within,
Am I within myself not in what’s greatest?
Shall what’s mine no longer soothe
and understand me as a child?

Suddenly I’m as if cast out,
and this solitude surrounds me
as something vast and unbounded,
when my feeling, standing on the hills
of my breasts, cries out for wings
or for an end.

the poet – Rilke
January 31, 2011, 12:03 am
Filed under: poem | Tags: , ,

O hour of my muse: why do you leave me,
Wounding me by the wingbeats of your flight?
Alone: what shall I use my mouth to utter?

How shall I pass my days? And how my nights?

I have no one to love. I have no home.
There is no center to sustain my life.
All things to which I give myself grow rich
and leave me spent, impoverished, alone.

Blank Joy – Rilke
January 30, 2011, 8:18 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags: ,

She who did not come, wasn’t she determined
nonetheless to organize and decorate my heart?
If we had to exist to become the one we love,
what would the heart have to create?

Lovely joy left blank, perhaps you are
the center of all my labors and my loves.
If I’ve wept for you so much, it’s because
I preferred you among so many outlined joys