O Leben Leben - Need English Translation

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Rilke Fan
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O Leben Leben - Need English Translation

Beitrag von Rilke Fan » 12. Mai 2003, 18:34

Hallo,

I would greatly appreciate anyone's help in translating this poem (aus dem Nachlaß) into English.

(Volker -- if you're reading this, I promise I haven't even attempted to try to translate this one!)

O Leben Leben, wunderliche Zeit
von Widerspruch zu Widerspruche reichend
Im Gange oft so schlecht so schwer so schleichend
und dann auf einmal, mit unsäglich weit
entspannten Flügeln, einem Engel gleichend:
O unerklärlichste, O Lebenszeit. Von allen großgewagten Existenzen
kann eine glühender und kühner sein?
Wir stehn und stemmen uns an unsre Grenzen
Und reißen ein Unkenntliches herein.

Vielen Dank im Voraus,

Linda

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Volker
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O Leben Leben

Beitrag von Volker » 12. Mai 2003, 23:25

O life, o life, o wondrous wondrous time
stretching from contradiction to antithesis
In progress mostly bad, heavy and creeping
and suddenly with untold widespread wings
as if resemb(e)ling the Cherubim:
O unexplicable, o time of life. Of all the great and daring existences
could any be more glowing and more bold?
We're standing and we stem against our borders
And tear inside unrecognizables.

Hi Linda,
it' me again. Still busy and working hard. :wink:
I humbly tried to transfer as much as possible of Rilke's "music" into this attempt of a translation. Therefore, it's not an accurate translation word by word. Hope you like it, though.
Volker.
Ich hab' auch Verstand.©
gez. Volker

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O Leben

Beitrag von Rilke Fan » 13. Mai 2003, 02:33

Hi Volker,

Wow! I'll have to think about this one. I'm not sure what you mean about following Rilke's "music," but I certainly appreciate your translation.

Herzlichen Dank und viele Gruße, (hope that's a proper greeting in German - not much experience in those regards I'm afraid!)

Linda

Marie
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Beitrag von Marie » 13. Mai 2003, 17:31

Hi Linda and Volker,

this translation has really left the "music" inside! What Volker probably means by using the word "music" is the "sound" or "vibration" that is transmitted inbetween the lines of a poem, and that's what makes the difference and leads you to the deeper feeling behind the words. Only the term "antithesis" sounds a little to hard in my ears. Rilke repeated the word "Widerspruch"; maybe one could use "contradiction", "arguing", or "spirit of opposition" or something simular as well twice?
Anyway, I'll be back with the "flowers" (as promised) soon!

Liebe Grüße M.

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Volker
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Thesis and antithesis

Beitrag von Volker » 13. Mai 2003, 22:00

Hi Marie!
>Only the term "antithesis" sounds a little too hard in my ears<, you say?
Life is hard, too! :wink:

Ich wollte auch erst "contradiction" wiederholen, entschied mich dann aber für "antithesis" wegen des schöneren Klangs. (Betonung auf der zweiten Silbe) :?
Ich hab' auch Verstand.©
gez. Volker

Marie
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Beitrag von Marie » 13. Mai 2003, 22:19

Hallo Volker,

du hättest mir ja auch gleich sagen können, wie ich "antithesis" zu betonen habe! Leider kann man sich über das Forum nichts vorlesen. (Wie kriegst du nur die Smilies in den Text, verflixt?)
You can take revenge now and "murder" my translation of "Gieb deinem Herzen ein Zeichen..." (under "Advent")

Liebe Grüße M.

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Volker
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Smilies

Beitrag von Volker » 14. Mai 2003, 00:28

(Wie kriegst du nur die Smilies in den Text, verflixt?)

Ganz einfach: die gelben Symbole anklicken! :lol:
Alles klar? :idea: :idea: :idea:

:wink: :wink: :wink:
Ich hab' auch Verstand.©
gez. Volker

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Beitrag von Rilke Fan » 14. Mai 2003, 04:06

Hallo Volker and Marie,

I hope it won't make you feel bad, Volker, when I say that I think I agree with Marie that "antithesis" sounds somewhat strange, perhaps because it is not a very commonly used word in everyday English, though as you pointed out, life is indeed hard, and I think that’s part of what this poem is trying to say. Still I would probably go with "from contradiction to contradiction" although it does sound rather repetitive. What is the feeling when you read this line in German? Does it also seem too repetitive to say "von Widerspruch zu Widerspruche?" It sounds strange to me only in that he made the second Widerspruch plural. Of course, translating is a very personal thing. That’s part of what makes it so difficult but also so much fun! The line “in progress mostly bad, heavy and creeping” is also a bit difficult. Sounds strange, especially the “creeping,” but then again what Rilke writes quite often does sound strange! (I assume that “schleichend” perhaps means going slowly.)

I like your use of the word “widespread” for the wings. Although I kind of assumed that widespread is perhaps what Rilke meant when he said “enspannten,” I didn’t find that as a one of the definitions, so I’m glad you used it. I was wondering if for “einem Engel gleichend” one could simply say “like an angel” or is there a little more to the word “gleichend?”

I have a little trouble understanding the line “We’re standing and we stem against our borders.” I don’t know what “stem” means in this instance. I looked up the word “stemmen” in German but didn’t really come up with a better alternative. The choices were “stem, support, or lift” in my dictionary, none of which seemed to really fit the sentence. I’m also not sure what “borders” Rilke is speaking of. Could he possibly mean “our limitations.” I really like your choice of “untold” for “unsäglich.” That is so much better than the two choices in my dictionary which are “unspeakable” and “unutterable.”

And lastly, I have no idea what “im Gange” means, and I was wondering how it is generally used in German. There are so many definitions for “Gang,” but it is still very unclear to me what it means in this instance. And while “in progress” works, I was wondering if there were any other possible alternatives? Could one possibly say “along the way” or “on the way?” But that doesn’t seem to fit to the rest of the sentence well. Oh well.

In the end, I think I understand what he is trying to say, but his choice of words certainly sound strange in English or at least some of them do – but then again, that’s Rilke!

Oh, by the way, I have the same Problem with Smilies. I have tried clicking on them and only typed symbols appeared, for example, "lol." I am thinking that perhaps the Smilies don't show up until after pressing Absenden.

Liebe Grüße,

Linda :lol:

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Beitrag von Rilke Fan » 14. Mai 2003, 04:07

Hey, it worked! Just as I suspected - only after I pressed "Absenden."

Linda

Marie
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Beitrag von Marie » 14. Mai 2003, 07:06

Hi Linda and Volker,

zuerst zu Volker: :arrow: Danke für den Smilie-Hinweis, ich hatte mich bisher nicht getraut diese "Hieroglyphen" abzuenden. Vermutlich geht es mit Kursiv- und Fettdruck genau so?! Noch eine technische Frage: Wie hast du meinen Satz in deinen Text kopiert? 8) :?:

I have to hurry this morning, but I will take more time in the afternoon for an answer to your questions, Linda.
Just an alternative to "progress" : "im Gange" in the sence of "the course of s.th." or "on its way through". It's not literaly, but I think it catches the meaning?!

Viele Grüße an euch beide (und den schweigsamen Rest - seid ihr noch da? :shock: )
M. 8)
(das gefällt mir mit den Smilies! Mal sehen , ob's klappt?!) :wink:

Marie
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Beitrag von Marie » 14. Mai 2003, 15:47

Hallo Volker,

ich sehe eben erst, dass du den Satz nicht rein kopiert, sondern abgeschrieben hast, hab' es aber in einem anderen Beitrag schon mal gesehen. Weißt du, wie man das bewerkstelligt? Ist manchmal hilfreich, wenn man sich auf eine längere Textstelle bezieht und ich bin doch so ein Computer-Dilettant!

Gruß M.

Marie
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Beitrag von Marie » 14. Mai 2003, 16:54

Hi Linda,

„Widerspruche“ is not plural! (That would be “Widersprüche”) It’s not used in modern German any more, but the meaning isn’t really variant to “Widerspruch”.
You are right with your thoughts about “schleichend”: Rilke’s words sound a little pessimistic, so you could perhaps translate it with “creeping”.
The literal sense of “entspannt” is “relaxed”, but Volker’s “widespread” is far better and comes nearer to the contrasting picture Rilke painted in these lines: “widespread” marks an optimistic opposition to “schlecht”, “schwer”, “schleichend”.
I would prefer “angel” too; isn’t a Cherubim some sort of “upper-class angel”? (Erzengel/ archangel?)
Alternative to “stem”: “push against” (intending to widen our borders), or “we…struggle with our borders”. There is an ambiguity in these words: on the one hand we build the borders ourselves as a protection against the unknown behind on the other hand we‘ll always fight for progress and can’t stop the attempt to reveal what’s beyond the curtain.

That’s it for now. I’m looking forward to your response.
Liebe Grüße M.

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Volker
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Kopieren

Beitrag von Volker » 14. Mai 2003, 19:48

Hallo :lol: Marie,

doch, ich habe deinen Text kopiert. Abtippen ist mir zu umständlich,
Kopieren und einfügen geht ganz normal wie in WORD oder jedem anderen Textverarbeitungsprogramm.
(Menü: "Bearbeiten").
Oder auch: Markieren, Kopieren (Strg-C) und Einfügen (Strg-V).
:mrgreen:

Schrifttyp kannst du auch wählen ähnlich wie die smilies:
B=bold/fett, i=Italic/kursiv usw.
Du mußt nur drauf achten, daß der gewünschte Text zwischen den entsprechenden Codes steht. Am leichtesten geht das so: 1. Klick auf Code - Text schreiben - 2. Klick auf Code.
Leider springen die Codes nämlich immer an das Endes deines jeweiligen Textes.

Alles weitere besser unter "Rilke virtuell" posten.
Ich hab' auch Verstand.©
gez. Volker

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Volker
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Comments

Beitrag von Volker » 14. Mai 2003, 20:12

Hi Linda,

I agree with everything Marie has posted before.

Some additional comments from my side:

Contradiction vs antithesis
Widerspruch = contradiction, alright.
... zu Widerspruche is dative case, same like "im Gange" (You could also say "im Gang"). But the "e" isn't used anymore in everyday speech.

Borders = Grenzen
you're right, it's not about physical borders in this case. So "limitations" might be better for your understanding.

"im Gange ... so schleichend"
"Gang" has something to do with "gehen" - to go. So "schleichen" could also be translated with "going slow". I used "creeping" to emphasize the "heaviness" of life.
I used "progress" for "Gang" just because it sprung in my mind in the first place.

Don't hesitate to post back if anything else needs more clarification.

Now let's turn to YOU
Since you seem to like poems: what are your favorite poems in English language?
Would be nice to get some examples. The only English poem I ever became a little more familiar with ist S. Colridge's famous "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" (pooh! - very long, indeed!)
I'd prefer shorter ones.
Hoping to hear from you. :roll:
Ich hab' auch Verstand.©
gez. Volker

Marie
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Registriert: 9. Mär 2003, 21:27
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Beitrag von Marie » 14. Mai 2003, 20:28

Hallo Volker,

trotzdem noch mal an dieser Stelle Danke für die Nachhilfestunde in Sachen Technik :idea: ! Den giftgrünen Anti-Smilie hab' ich mir wohl verdient! Ich nehm's aber dennoch sportlich!
Gruß M.

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