The above is one of the famous rose designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Scottish artist, designer and architect who worked in the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements.
I've translated two more of Rilke's French poems from the Roses sequence. I am finding the attempt to preserve some kind of rhyme scheme rather challenging; part of me feels that if I can't do the rhyme scheme just as it was in the original, I shouldn't bother. I have not quite made up my mind about this yet but I think I will continue for now with the partial rhyme scheme.
Again, I have included my translations and the originals below.
THE ROSES (Rainer Maria Rilke, translated from French by Clarissa Aykroyd)
You, oh rose, perfect in excellence,
infinite in completeness
and infinitely open, head
of a body absent by its sweetness,
nothing can match you, supreme essence
of this floating daydream;
love's moment where we stay still,
through which your perfume streams.
I believe it was we who told you
to fill your chalice.
Enchanted by this artifice,
your beauty dared to do it.
You were rich enough to become yourself
one hundred times in a single flower;
this is the lover's condition...
But you did not think to look elsewhere.
Rose, toi, ô chose par excellence complète
qui se contient infiniment
et qui infiniment se répand, ô tête
d’un corps par trop de douceur absent,
rien ne te vaut, ô toi, suprême essencede ce flottant séjour;
de cet espace d’amour où à peine l’on avance
ton parfum fait le tour.
C’est pourtant nous qui t’avons proposé
de remplir ton calice.
Enchantée de cet artifice,
ton abondance l’avait osé.
Tu étais assez riche, pour devenir cent fois toi-mêmeen une seule fleur;
c’est l’état de celui qui aime...
Mais tu n’as pas pensé ailleurs.
Translations © Clarissa Aykroyd. Not to be reproduced without permission