Tuesday, 20 August 2013
Rilke's French Roses In Translation, IX, X and XI
Rose photo © Christina Kosaki, 2013.
Here are my latest translations of the next three poems in Rainer Maria Rilke's French Roses poems, with the originals as well.
These all presented their own difficulties. I thought IX came out quite well but I was bewildered by the phrase "déconcertante de son interne paix". I called on some of my Frenchies for help, who first told me that the grammar was incorrect, then tried to help, but we all had a hard time with it. Consulting other English translations didn't help much either. I may revise again later (as I plan to eventually do with the whole sequence) - I was happy enough with the sound of the phrase I chose, but am not sure if it is a correct reflection of meaning.
X was probably the most successful translation of these three, on the whole. XI looked deceptively simple - which made it hard. I was almost totally unable to impose rhyme, for instance - that would probably have resulted in a major distortion of meaning and I didn't want to make that choice.
THE ROSES (Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Clarissa Aykroyd)
Rose, aflame and yet clear,
that should be named here
the shrine of Saint Rose..., dispensing the faint,
unsettling scent of an unclothed saint.
Rose never again tempted, disturber
of its inner peace; last of all lovers,
so far from Eve and her first awaking - ,
rose, this loss forever possessing.
Friend of hours where no one lingers,
where all is denied to the bitter heart;
consoling witness of the most tender
caresses, airborne, near and far.
If we renounce life, if we deny
what once was and what could yet be,
we never think of the insistent ally
who beside us does its work of fantasy.
I'm so aware of your being,
that my consent confounds you
as my heart rejoices.
I breathe you in as though you were,
rose, all existence,
and I feel myself the perfect friend
of such a friend.
LES ROSES (Rainer Maria Rilke)
Rose, toute ardente et pourtant claire,
que l'on devrait nommer reliquaire
de Sainte-Rose..., rose qui distribue
cette troublante odeur de sainte nue.
Rose plus jamais tentée, déconcertante
de son interne paix; ultime amante,
si loin d'Eve, de sa première alerte - ,
rose qui infiniment possède la perte.
Amie des heures où aucun être ne reste,
où tout se refuse au coeur amer;
consolatrice dont la présence atteste
tant de caresses qui flottent dans l'air.
Si l'on renonce à vivre, si l'on renie
ce qui était et ce qui peut arriver,
pense-t-on jamais assez à l'insistante amie
qui à coté de nous fait son oeuvre de fée.
J'ai une telle conscience de ton
être, rose complete,
que mon consentement te confond
avec mon coeur en fête.
Je te respire comme si tu étais,
rose, toute la vie,
et je me sens l'ami parfait
d'une telle amie.
Translations © Clarissa Aykroyd, 2013.