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Best Famous Galway Kinnell Poems

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Written by Rainer Maria Rilke | Create an image from this poem

Autumn Day

 Four Translations

Lord: it is time.
The summer was immense.
Lay your shadow on the sundials and let loose the wind in the fields.
Bid the last fruits to be full; give them another two more southerly days, press them to ripeness, and chase the last sweetness into the heavy wine.
Whoever has no house now will not build one anymore.
Whoever is alone now will remain so for a long time, will stay up, read, write long letters, and wander the avenues, up and down, restlessly, while the leaves are blowing.
Translated by Galway Kinnell and Hannah Liebmann, "The Essential Rilke" (Ecco) Lord, it is time.
The summer was too long.
Lay your shadow on the sundials now, and through the meadow let the winds throng.
Ask the last fruits to ripen on the vine; give them further two more summer days to bring about perfection and to raise the final sweetness in the heavy wine.
Whoever has no house now will establish none, whoever lives alone now will live on long alone, will waken, read, and write long letters, wander up and down the barren paths the parks expose when the leaves are blown.
Translated by William Gass, "Reading Rilke: Reflections on the Problem of Translation" (Knopf) Lord: it is time.
The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows, and on the meadows let the wind go free.
Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine; grant them a few more warm transparent days, urge them on to fulfillment then, and press the final sweetness into the heavy wine.
Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone, will sit, read, write long letters through the evening, and wander the boulevards, up and down, restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.
Translated by Stephen Mitchell, "The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke" (Random House) Lord, it is time now, for the summer has gone on and gone on.
Lay your shadow along the sun- dials and in the field let the great wind blow free.
Command the last fruit be ripe: let it bow down the vine -- with perhaps two sun-warm days more to force the last sweetness in the heavy wine.
He who has no home will not build one now.
He who is alone will stay long alone, will wake up, read, write long letters, and walk in the streets, walk by in the streets when the leaves blow.
Translated by John Logan, "Homage to Rainer Maria Rilke," (BOA Editions) Original German Herbsttag Herr: es ist Zeit.
Der Sommer war sehr gross.
Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren, und auf den Fluren lass die Winde los.
Befiehl den letzten Fruchten voll zu sein; gieb innen noch zwei sudlichere Tage, drange sie zur Vollendung hin und jage die letzte Susse in den schweren Wein.
Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr.
Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben, wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben und wird in den Alleen hin und her unruhig wandern, wenn die Blatter treiben.
-- Rainer Maria Rilke, Paris, Sept.
21, 1902


Written by W S Merwin | Create an image from this poem

We continue

For Galway Kinnell


The rust a little pile of western color lies
At the end of its travels 
Our instrument no longer.
Those who believe In death have their worship cut out for them.
As for myself we Continue An old Scar of light our trumpet Pilgrims with thorns To the eye of the cold Under flags made by the blind In one fist Their letter that vanishes If the hand opens: Charity come home Begin.
Written by Galway Kinnell | Create an image from this poem

The Bear

1
In late winter 
I sometimes glimpse bits of steam
coming up from
some fault in the old snow 
and bend close and see it is lung-colored 
and put down my nose
and know
the chilly, enduring odor of bear.
2 I take a wolf's rib and whittle it sharp at both ends and coil it up and freeze it in blubber and place it out on the fairway of the bears.
And when it has vanished I move out on the bear tracks, roaming in circles until I come to the first, tentative, dark splash on the earth.
And I set out running, following the splashes of blood wandering over the world.
At the cut, gashed resting places I stop and rest, at the crawl-marks where he lay out on his belly to overpass some stretch of bauchy ice I lie out dragging myself forward with bear-knives in my fists.
3 On the third day I begin to starve, at nightfall I bend down as I knew I would at a turd sopped in blood, and hesitate, and pick it up, and thrust it in my mouth, and gnash it down, and rise and go on running.
4 On the seventh day, living by now on bear blood alone, I can see his upturned carcass far out ahead, a scraggled, steamy hulk, the heavy fur riffling in the wind.
I come up to him and stare at the narrow-spaced, petty eyes, the dismayed face laid back on the shoulder, the nostrils flared, catching perhaps the first taint of me as he died.
I hack a ravine in his thigh, and eat and drink, and tear him down his whole length and open him and climb in and close him up after me, against the wind, and sleep.
5 And dream of lumbering flatfooted over the tundra, stabbed twice from within, splattering a trail behind me, splattering it out no matter which way I lurch, no matter which parabola of bear-transcendence, which dance of solitude I attempt, which gravity-clutched leap, which trudge, which groan.
6 Until one day I totter and fall -- fall on this stomach that has tried so hard to keep up, to digest the blood as it leaked in, to break up and digest the bone itself: and now the breeze blows over me, blows off the hideous belches of ill-digested bear blood and rotted stomach and the ordinary, wretched odor of bear, blows across my sore, lolled tongue a song or screech, until I think I must rise up and dance.
And I lie still.
7 I awaken I think.
Marshlights reappear, geese come trailing again up the flyway.
In her ravine under old snow the dam-bear lies, licking lumps of smeared fur and drizzly eyes into shapes with her tongue.
And one hairy-soled trudge stuck out before me, the next groaned out, the next, the next, the rest of my days I spend wandering: wondering what, anyway, was that sticky infusion, that rank flavor of blood, that poetry, by which I lived? from Body Rags, Galway Kinnell (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967).
Written by Alan Dugan | Create an image from this poem

Drunken Memories Of Anne Sexton

 The first and last time I met
my ex-lover Anne Sexton was at
a protest poetry reading against
some anti-constitutional war in Asia
when some academic son of a *****,
to test her reputation as a drunk,
gave her a beer glass full of wine
after our reading.
She drank it all down while staring me full in the face and then said "I don't care what you think, you know," as if I was her ex-what, husband, lover, what? And just as I was just about to say I loved her, I was, what, was, interrupted by my beautiful enemy Galway Kinnell, who said to her "Just as I was told, your eyes, you have one blue, one green" and there they were, the two beautiful poets, staring at each others' beautiful eyes as I drank the lees of her wine.