Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rilke's Orpheus

Another 20th century poet fascinated with Orpheus was, of course, Rainer Maria Rilke. Jutta sends along this poem, translated by Tony Kline, our online translator of Ovid and much else.

Here's the beginning of Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes:

That was the strange mine of souls.
As secret ores of silver they passed
like veins through its darkness. Between the roots
blood welled, flowing onwards to Mankind,
and it looked as hard as Porphyry in the darkness.
Otherwise nothing was red.

There were cliffs
and straggling woods. Bridges over voids,
and that great grey blind lake,
that hung above its distant floor
like a rain-filled sky above a landscape.
And between meadows, soft and full of patience,
one path, a pale strip, appeared,
passing by like a long bleached thing.

And down this path they came.     ...more...

For comparison, here's the same poem translated by Stephen Mitchell.

 Rilke also wrote 55 Sonnets to Orpheus, found here in a translation by Howard A. Landman.

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