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Discussion on the works of John Keats.

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Postby Saturn » Thu Aug 25, 2005 10:49 pm

I'd love to learn German but I'm not very good with languages - the translation that i have is very good though as far as I can tell and I definitely had the "religious" experience you talk of when I read it for the first time:

Here's some quotes from it:


Everything is far
and long gone by.
I think that the star
glittering above me
has been dead for a million years.
I think there were tears
in the car I heard pass
and something terrible was said.
A clock has stopped striking in the house
across the road…
When did it start?…
I would like to step out of my heart
and go walking beneath the enormous sky.
I would like to pray.
And surely of all the stars that perished
long ago,
one still exists.
I think that I know
which one it is—
which one, at the end of its beam in the sky,
stands like a white city…
From The Book of Pictures.

“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.”
From Autumn Day, 8-12.

The Swan

This labouring through what is still undone,
as though, legs bound, we hobbled along the way,
is like the awkward walking of the swan.

And dying—to let go, no longer feel
the solid ground we stand on every day—
is like his anxious letting himself fall

into the water, which receives him gently
and which, as though with reverence and joy,
draws back, past him in streams on either side;
while, infinitely silent and aware,
in his full majesty and ever more
indifferent, he condescends to glide.
. . .

“A woman so loved that from one lyre
there came
more lament than from all lamenting women;
that a whole world of lament arose, in which
all nature reappeared: forest and valley,
road and village, field and stream and animal;
and that around this lament-world, even as
around the other earth, a sun revolved
and a silent star-filled heaven, a lament-
heaven, with its own, disfigured stars—:
So greatly was she loved.

But now she walked beside the graceful god,
her steps constricted by the trailing graveclothes,
uncertain, gentle, and without impatience.
She was deep within herself, like a woman heavy
with child, and did not see the man in front
or the path ascending steeply into life.
Deep within herself. Being dead
filled her beyond fulfilment. Like a fruit
suffused with its own mystery and sweetness,
she was filled with her vast death, which was so new,
she could not understand that it had happened.

She had come into a new virginity
and was untouchable; her sex had closed
like a young flower at nightfall, and her hands
had grown so unused to marriage that the god’s
infinitely gentle touch of guidance
hurt her, like an undesired kiss.

She was no longer that woman with blue eyes
who once had echoed through the poet’s songs,
no longer the wide couch’s scent and island,
and that man’s property no longer.

She was already loosened like long hair,
poured out like fallen rain,
shared like a limitless supply.
She was already root.

And when, abruptly,
the god put out his hand to stop her, saying,
with sorrow in his voice: He has turned around—,
she could not understand, and softly answered
From Orpheus, Eurydice, Hermes, 46-85.

“…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.”
From Black Cat, 12-16.

“…this is wrong, if anything is wrong:
not to enlarge the freedom of a love
with all the inner freedom one can summon.
We need, in love, to practise only this:
letting each other go. For holding on
comes easily; we do not need to learn it.”

“…love means being alone;
and artists in their work sometimes intuit
that they must keep transforming, where they love.”
From Requiem, p 85.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby Despondence » Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:32 am

Very nice snippets, I definitely have to get more Rilke in my book shelf - but for sure, I'll get the bilingual versions as far as I can obtain them! Maybe I was naive, but I thought that there should be more to translating poetry than merely transliterating....which is essentially how Poulin's translation of the Sonnets to Orpheus comes out in English. This guy is able to carry across the meaning of the words, and in this primitive sense also the meaning of the whole verse - but only rarely does he get the rhymes in place, and if there is a definite meter and rythm in the original, invariably, Poulin will toss this out the window and never even bother to try! That bastard... :evil:


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