Monday, 27 March 2017

Rilke's French Rose Poems in Translation: XIX and XX




Pilgrim in the Garden, or The Heart of the Rose - Edward Burne-Jones 


Here are my two latest Rilke 'Rose' poem translations from French. Only seven to go in the sequence... I can do this.

The French originals are below the translations.


THE ROSES (Rainer Maria Rilke, translated from French by Clarissa Aykroyd)



XIX

Do you offer your own example?
Can we be sated like the roses,
increasing our subtle substance
just to let time go as it goes?

Because you might say it’s no trouble
to be a rose.
God, while looking out the window,
cares for the house.


XX

Tell me, rose, from whence comes
that which you enclose,
your slow essence imposing
on this space of prose
all these airy transports?

How many times does this air
act as though it’s cut,
or, with a pout,
look bitterly about.
Meanwhile, around your flower,
it plays ring-a-rose.


LES ROSES



XIX

Est-ce en exemple que tu te proposes?
Peut-on se remplire comme les roses,
en multipliant sa subtile matière
qu’on avait faite pour ne rien faire?

Car ce n’est pas travailler que d’être
une rose, dirait-on.
Dieu, en regardant par la fenêtre,
fait la maison.


XX

Dis-moi, rose, d’où vient
qu’en toi-même enclose,
ta lente essence impose
à cet espace en prose
tous ces transports aériens?

Combien de fois cet air
prétend que les choses le trouent,
ou, avec une moue,
il se montre amer.
Tandis qu’autour de ta chair,
rose, il fait la roue.


 Translations  © Clarissa Aykroyd, 2017

4 comments:

  1. Well done, Clarissa --- accurate in reading the French and graceful in the English. It is always an excitement for me, when I see that you have translated more of Rilke's roses. I look forward to the remaining seven!

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    1. Thanks so much, James - nice to know (and hopefully motivating) that people are looking out for them!

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  2. "Can we be sated like the roses" - lovely rhythm, lovely rhyme, lovely and resonant translation. wow wow wow.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading! :)

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