The neologistic “enfired” (L/S) and “burning” are attempts to retain the tactile quality of the word, although “ardent” (M) from the Latin “ardere”, “to burn” is perhaps the more idiomatic solution. Es zerfällt. The final line of the stanza, “wenn es geht, so gehts / in Ewigkeit, so wie die Brunnen gehen”, involves an audacious repetition (of “gehen”), a technique that is intended to create the effect of a life that knows (and needs) no progress, but which moves around the circle of the present, just as the fountains continue to give up the same water in a continual process. Only our eyes are / reversed and placed all around them / like traps, surrounding their free exit. but into the open. Es zerfällt. völlig gehörig, als ständ es noch ganz im Gehirne. “Rejection” is an alternative translation. And its hand, for some grasping, / skywardly opened, remains before you / as opened so wide but for warding / and warning, Inapprehensible” (L/S), “But a tower was great, wasn’t it? The animal can retain this pristine (“rein”) quality of selfhood because it lacks self-consciousness, being “ohne Blick /auf seinen Zustand”. Oh, angel, it did. / Many no longer perceive it, and miss the fleeting opportunity / to build it once again inside themselves, with pillars and statues, greater!” (R). Und vor sich, den Sommer. und vor sich Gott, und wenn es geht, so gehts. “Anticipates its fall” (M) or “foreseeing its fall” (R) best capture perhaps this fatalistic awareness, although “embracing its tumbling down” expresses the Nietzschean amor fati of this experience. The final section of the stanza (and the Elegy) is formed around an engagement between an anonymous collective “we” and the angel, who (it seems) has now become a near-familiar: Aber ein Turm war groß, nicht wahr? Email: Search for other works by this author on: © The Author 2015. I would beseech you! Its root is “fassen”, which means “to grab” or “to seize” something, either literally (with one’s hands) or figuratively (in a mental way), which is the way the word is being used here. um die gestalteten Bäume, stark und gewaltig. The specifically human awareness of time has been formed through this structuration of consciousness. Your veins flowed with being. Viele gewahrens nicht mehr, doch ohne den Vorteil, uns nicht bestätigt oder beneidet. So we have not, after all, / failed to make use of these generous spaces, / these spaces of ours (how frighteningly vast / they must be, since thousands of years have passed / and still they do not overflow with feelings)” (MC), and “Was it not marvellous? und starrt hinaus, vielleicht mit großem Tierblick. / Yes – where one still stands, a thing prayed to once, / worshipped, knelt before – it holds, just as it is / and it passes into the outwardly invisible. Most users should sign in with their email address. The animal can look out unhindered into the expanse of the world because it lacks self-consciousness; we, however, are condemned to introspection, and must look inwards. / Where we see Future, it sees Everything, / itself in Everything, for ever healed” (L/S), “If the animal moving toward us so securely / in a different direction had our kind of / consciousness –, it would wrench us around and drag us / along its path. Es zerfällt. Translating the verb that governs this falling has proved more difficult. of clear being, not only the coming sleep My own breath is too weak / for such praise! Aber nicht sie nur Possible translations for the entire phrase are “invented structure”, “cerebral structure” and “dreamt-up construct”. But it feels itself / inexhaustible, unapprehended, unaware / of its condition, pure, like its regard. A human subject does not appear until the final lines when, in a sudden plaintive cry, it links its extinction to a full embrace of the stars. once paid homage to and worshipped – it maintains itself, such as it is, würbest du wohl, nicht minder –, daß, noch unsichtbar, The adjective “erkühnt” is formed from the reflexive verb “sich erkühnen”, which means “to have the audacity” or “to be emboldened” to do something, and this latter translation is chosen by some in spite of its archaic overtones. “Sein” is a central concept in Rilke’s philosophy, representing (as it did in the work of Martin Heidegger) an essential ontology of selfhood, a defining quality of the integrity of the human and object world. After the first homeland. wie, den gerufenen Ruf? So close to death / we do not see death as much, but look out / perhaps with the greater animal gaze.” (MC). It is an expansive act, and the artful repetition of “atmend” communicates the breathlessness of the action. it still stood in the brain. Only our eyes look back, / set like traps about all living things, encircled round their free, outward path. But one tower did stand tall, did it not? the nights, the stars, the stars of this earth. Indeed, the animal now seems to have become the human animal. Ihr wußtet es, Mädchen, ihr auch, Chartres war groß –, und Musik The poetic persona then turns to address the “Versunkenen” with “Ihr Kinder, ein hiesig / einmal ergriffenes Ding gälte für viele” (“You children: one simple thing that has been truly / grasped is just as good as many”). Or that some animal, mutely and serenely, looks through us. – You children, I’d say, a single / thing comprehended here’s as good as a thousand. When this state has been reached, one is no longer preoccupied with the gross facticity of death but “starrt hinaus”. Womb is everything. Ich werde den letzten vielleicht nicht vollbringen, aber versuchen will ich ihn. Erst jenen kleinen Is the lyrical subject here defending himself or actively resisting the angel? Most translators seek to retain a substantive form, as in “belonging to the realm of concepts”, or to “the realm of conception”, but neither convey the negative quality of the German, which connotes an empty cerebralism. not only, after the late thunderstorm, the breath “Viele” is meant to echo the “ein” that came earlier in the line, so a translation should reflect its numerical status. It is a compact, suggestive word, and difficult to translate.