Uncollected Poems: Bilingual Edition (German Edition)
Rainer Maria Rilke
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Between the New Poems of 1907 and 1908 and his death in 1926, Rainer Maria Rilke published only two major volumes of poetry--the Duino Elegies and the Sonnets to Orpheus, both in 1923. But during this period he was writing verse continually, often prolifically--in letters, in guest books, in presentation copies, and chiefly in the pocket-books he always carried with him. This body of uncollected work exceeds five hundred pieces: finished poems of great poise and brilliance, headlong statements that hurtle through their subjects, haunting "fragments," and short bursts that arc into the unpursuable. A remarkable number of them are among Rilke's finest poems.
Snow's selection of more than a hundred of these little-known works distills the best of the uncollected poetry while offering a wide enough choice to convey Rilke's variety and industry during the years he wrote them. Uncollected Poems will lead students, scholars, and other readers to a fresh--and more accurate--understanding of this great poet's life and work.
No longer, when the future crests toward the present, do I try to discern you. All the great images in me—the landscape experienced far off, cities and towers and bridges and un- suspected turns in the path and the forcefulness of those lands once intertwined with gods: all mount up in me to signify you, who forever eludes. Ah, you are the gardens! With such hope I watched them! An open window in the country house—, and you almost stepped out pensively to meet me. I found streets,—
as by perpetual bells? When, between two books, silent sky appears: rejoice…, or simply a patch of earth at evening. Louder than storms, louder than oceans, humans have been crying out … What preponderance of quietness must abide in cosmic space, since the cricket remains audible to us, for all our screaming. When the star shines silently for us, in the screamed-at ether! If the remotest, the old and most ancient fathers would talk to us! And we: listeners at last! The first human
1924 An der sonngewohnten Straße, in dem hohlen halben Baumstamm, der seit lange Trog ward, eine Oberfläche Wasser in sich leis erneuernd, still’ ich meinen Durst: des Wassers Heiterkeit und Herkunft in mich nehmend durch die Handgelenke. Trinken schiene mir zu viel, zu deutlich; aber diese wartende Gebärde holt mir helles Wasser ins Bewußtsein. Also, kämst du, braucht ich, mich zu stillen, nur ein leichtes Anruhn meiner Hände, sei’s an deiner Schulter junge Rundung, sei es an den
reminded of some of the great opening lines of Donne’s Holy Sonnets), and what follows seems to ride that first surge, as it devolves in self-propagating metaphors toward the single, short-lived, unpunctuated light-point, “trembling.” It is an eloquent, beautifully paced poem, but it follows its own obscure trajectory, and what it “says” remains suspended in images that images beget, only half translated into some understanding behind the poem. The uncollected poems could thus be said to give us
merely leaning against a tree in the landscape he would have his fate, nothing more to do. And yet lacks in his far too open gaze the quiet solace of the herd. Has only world, world in each glance upward, world each time his eyes bend down. What gladly settles into others shoots through his blood like music— blindly, inhospitably, changing and passing on. At night then he gets up and has the call of a bird outside already within him and feels bold, since he takes all the stars into his