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Best Famous Rainer Maria Rilke 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 Rainer Maria Rilke | Create an image from this poem

The Future

 The future: time's excuse
to frighten us; too vast
a project, too large a morsel
for the heart's mouth.
Future, who won't wait for you? Everyone is going there.
It suffices you to deepen the absence that we are.
Written by Walter Savage Landor | Create an image from this poem

Autumn

 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 on the boulevards, up and down.
.
.
- from Autumn Day, Rainer Maria Rilke Its stain is everywhere.
The sharpening air of late afternoon is now the colour of tea.
Once-glycerined green leaves burned by a summer sun are brittle and ochre.
Night enters day like a thief.
And children fear that the beautiful daylight has gone.
Whoever has no house now will never have one.
It is the best and the worst time.
Around a fire, everyone laughing, brocaded curtains drawn, nowhere-anywhere-is more safe than here.
The whole world is a cup one could hold in one's hand like a stone warmed by that same summer sun.
But the dead or the near dead are now all knucklebone.
Whoever is alone will stay alone.
Nothing to do.
Nothing to really do.
Toast and tea are nothing.
Kettle boils dry.
Shut the night out or let it in, it is a cat on the wrong side of the door whichever side it is on.
A black thing with its implacable face.
To avoid it you will tell yourself you are something, will sit, read, write long letters through the evening.
Even though there is bounty, a full harvest that sharp sweetness in the tea-stained air is reserved for those who have made a straw fine as a hair to suck it through- fine as a golden hair.
Wearing a smile or a frown God's face is always there.
It is up to you if you take your wintry restlessness into the town and wander on the boulevards, up and down.
Written by Randall Jarrell | Create an image from this poem

The Olive Garden

 (Rainer Maria Rilke)

He went up under the gray leaves
All gray and lost in the olive lands
And laid his forehead, gray with dust,
Deep in the dustiness of his hot hands.
After everything this.
And this was the end.
-- Now I must go, as I am going blind.
And why is it Thy will that I must say Thou art, when I myself no more can find Thee.
I find Thee no more.
Not in me, no.
Not in others.
Not in this stone, I find Thee no more.
I am alone.
I am alone with all men's sorrow -- All that, through Thee, I thought to lighten, Thou who art not, O nameless shame .
.
.
Men said, later: an angel came.
Why an angel? Alas, there came the night, And leafed through the trees, indifferently.
The disciples moved a little in their dreams.
Why an angel? Alas, there came the night.
The night that came was no uncommon night: So hundreds of nights go by.
There dogs sleep; there stones lie, Alas a sorrowful, alas any night That waits till once more it is morning.
For then beseech: the angels do not come, Never do nights grow great around them.
Who lose themselves, all things let go; They are renounced by their own fathers And shut from their own mothers' hearts.