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Schau, unsre Tage sind so eng

Verfasst: 21. Jun 2003, 20:50
von Rilke Fan
Hello everyone!

This is the poem that I was talking about, Marie, that I don't have an English translation for. It's from Gebete der Mädchen zu Maria, and I know it's a bit on the religious side, but I like the title, and I'd like to make sure that I understand the rest of it correctly. I would appreciate anyone's attempt at translating this poem into English.

Schau, unsre Tage sind so eng

Schau, unsre Tage sind so eng
und bang das Nachtgemach;
wir langen alle ungelenk
den roten Rosen nach.

Du musst uns milde sein, Marie,
wir blühn aus deinem Blut,
und du allein kannst wissen, wie
so weh die Sehnsucht tut;

du hast ja dieses Mädchenweh
der Seele selbst erkannt:
sie fühlt sich an wie Weihnachtsschnee,
und steht doch ganz in Brand...

Vielen Dank im Voraus,

Linda :D

Verfasst: 23. Jun 2003, 06:32
von Marie
Hi Linda,

I was out the whole day yesterday and have to go to the doctor with my daughter this morning. So I probably won't be back with a translation before this evening. I wish you a happy time with your visitors (10 days is a long time! I hope, they are nice guests?!)

This poem I read yesterday and liked it very much. It reminds me of the last verse of "Hinter den schuldlosen Bäumen", another of Rilke's poems I'm specially related and to this sentence in the Elegies "Nur Innen, Geliebte, wird Welt sein",also to the last part of the 10th Elegie ("wenn ein Glückliches fällt"). There is a story and dream out of my own experiences behind this which I might tell you under PN or by email soon:

Siehe, ich wußte es sind
solche, die nie den gmeinsamen Gang
lernten zwischen den Menschen;
sondern der Aufgang in plötzlich
entatmete Himmel
war ihr Erstes. Der Flug
durch der Liebe Jahrtausende
ihr Nächstes, Unendliches.

Eh sie noch lächelten
weinten sie schon vor Freude;
eh sie noch weinten
war ihre Freude schon ewig.

Frage mich nicht
wie lange sie fühlten; wie lange
sah man sie noch? Denn unsichtbare sind
unsägliche Himmel
über der inneren Landschaft.

Eines ist Schicksal. Da werden die Menschen
sichtbarer. Stehn wie Türme. Verfalln.
Aber die Liebenden gehn
ewig hervor; denn aus dem Ewigen
ist kein Ausweg. Wer widerruft

Liebe Grüße :D

Verfasst: 23. Jun 2003, 17:18
von Rilke Fan
Hi Marie,

Thanks so much for the poem. It will probably be Wednesday before I have a chance to work on trying to translate it. I'm looking forward to hearing about your story and dream! I like the poem "Hinter den schuldlosen Bäumen" too. I will compare it with the poem you sent. Here is an English translation for it.

Behind the Innocent Trees

Behind the innocent trees
old Destiny is slowly forming her
mute expressionless face.
Wrinkles are moving onto it . . .
What a bird screeches, here,
springs up there as a furrow of pain
on the harsh prophetic mouth.

Oh and the soon-to-be lovers
smile and are still farewell-less;
above them their fate sets and rises
like a constellation,
enraptured by night.
Not yet does it offer itself to them;
it remains
hovering in the paths of the sky,
an ethereal form.

(Translated by Stephen Mitchell/Edward Snow)

Liebe Grüße,


Verfasst: 23. Jun 2003, 21:46
von Marie
Look, our days are so tight
and scared (is) the bedroom;
we all are stiffly reaching
after the red roses.

You must be benevolent to us, Marie,
we are blooming from your blood
and you alone do know, how
the longing is so painful;

you've recognized this girl-suffering
of the soul yourself:
it feels like Christmassnow
although it's fully in flames

Hi Linda,

I hope this helps you to catch the meaning?! Don't hurry with an answer if you are busy at the moment - I won't get bored: there is a lot to do in the garden at this time of the year. I'm still waiting for the help of this friend who promised to solve my problems with picture-posting. Thank you for the translation of the poem above! There is a wonderful vision of a new way of loving in all of these poems and verses and my dream is related to this idea. It will take a little time to find the right words in English, because it's concerning the "unspeakable" of love which maybe is impossible to express in words anyway - but I'll give it a try!

Liebe Grüße :roll:

Verfasst: 24. Jun 2003, 22:37
von Rilke Fan
Hi Marie,

Thanks so much for the translation. I'll get back to you with thoughts and comments as soon as possible. I think I will have a little time alone tomorrow.

Have you heard anything from Volker? I gave him my email address, but I haven't heard anything.

Liebe Gruße,


Verfasst: 26. Jun 2003, 05:04
von Rilke Fan
Hi Marie,

Today I tried to translate the poem you posted the other day, but I had a lot of problems. I wasn't sure how to translate "gemeinsamen Gang" in the first stanza (die nie den gemeinsamen Gang lernten zwischen den Menschen). Does this mean "those who never learned to get along with other people or to live with other people?" I'm not sure exactly what this sentence means. I think the literal translation for "gemeinsamen Gang" might be "to walk together," although I'm not sure because there are a lot of different meanings for "Gang." "Zwischen den Menschen" would be "between people" I guess, but somehow I can't put it all together.

Then there is "entatmete Himmel" which I couldn't translate. Maybe "entatmete" is a Rilke word because I couldn't find it, and with "Himmel" I'm never sure whether it means "heaven(s)" or "sky." Also, when it says, "war ihr Erstes," what is the "Erstes" referring to?

"Eines ist Schicksal" - would "Eines" be "One of them...." or just "One..."

I'm also never sure whether to use "destiny" or "fate" for Schicksal.

Verfallen - Would this be "tumble down" or "decay" or does this mean something else?

"die Liebenden" - does this mean "lovers" or could it be translated as "loved ones" (as one might say of anyone you love (husband, wife, lover, parents, etc.)?

And lastly (I think), how would you translate "gehen ewig hervor?"

I hope this comes easier for you than it did for me!

Liebe Grüße,


P.S. Sorry for all the mistakes and numerous corrections!

Verfasst: 27. Jun 2003, 20:57
von Marie
Hi Linda,

I’ll try to give you the “feeling” of the words and metaphors rather than translating them, because you can’t take them literally. So, here is the “story” of the poem:

Those lovers, who never fulfilled their feelings in a “normal” way (gemeinsamer Gang is a short expression for “Umgang”, contact, behaviour. In regard to lovers it normally includes sexuality for example.), are predestined to be found by the breath of heaven all of a sudden (plötzlich entatmete Himmel) It’s similar to Rilke’s idea of the “falling fortune” (“wenn ein Glückliches fällt” at the end of the 10th Elegie), and also comparable with the last part of “Da steht der Tod” and of “Hinter den schuldlosen Bäumen”. And this is their first and final (because eternal, never ending) “heavenly unity”, which is beyond compare.
Schicksal in this context means everything daily or common in the sense of “normal life” - the material way we are bound up with during our lifetime in a body. Towers are built out of stone, but, nevertheless, they fall some day – like everything material (again comparable to the Elegies where he described that we can build the real, lasting towers only inside). Those lovers realized eternal love (Aber die Liebenden gehn/ ewig hervor; denn aus dem Ewigen/ ist kein Ausweg.) and for all others this stays a dream, a vision that has an anchor in everybody’s heart and keeps us searching for “real love”.

Liebe Grüße :wink:

Verfasst: 28. Jun 2003, 06:11
von Rilke Fan
Hi Marie,

Thanks for the explanation of this poem. I will have to think about this all in greater depth when I have a little bit more time. It's much deeper than I had anticipated. I am amazed at how little it helps me to know what few German words I know. There is so much more behind the words than what I normally see. It is very frustrating for me. :cry: I have really been reviewing and studying German grammar lately, but I feel like I will never understand it well enough to be able to translate accurately, even though that is my greatest desire! I once thought that I spoke German relatively well, but now I see that I had barely even begun to understand the language in reality. It's one thing to be able to speak a little of the everyday langauge, and quite another to be familiar with the various idioms and to understand literature and the deeper meaning behind the words. It is so much work, and it would probably take a whole lot more time than what I will ever have to spend at it.

Liebe Grüße,


Verfasst: 28. Jun 2003, 13:16
von Marie
Hi Linda,

you shouldn't measure your language knowledge by your literal understanding of Rilke's poems! You've got the right perception in a more valuable way. How many German people do you think wouldn't understand the deeper meaning of his carefully chosen or even self-created words! He knew that only those who already have the answers to all questions that arise by reading his poems in their hearts would understand him. So what's your problem? You do understand him! You are so close to that voice behind all languages that you shouldn't worry about stupid details ( you can ask me about them! :wink: )

Liebe Grüße :D

Verfasst: 29. Jun 2003, 21:09
von Marie
Hi Linda, (und alle „heimlichen Mitleser“)

a few more thoughts to encourage you: have you ever read an interpretation of a literature expert who analysed a poem word by word like a mathematician getting an amount of numbers in the right order, so there has to be a certain result at the end? I have read such interpretations of the Elegies and it made me sad to see how much the magic of it has been killed by this procedure. I can remember a quotation I heard when I studied Anthropology: “The ghosts leave the island when the anthropologists arrive!” The “ghost” in a poem is obviously as sensitive as his colleagues on the island! Of course, words are important – but not if their analysis becomes an alibi for a lack of courage to get into the deeper meanings! You can always ask for the literal meaning of unknown terms, and it’s easy to understand those explanations. But if you don’t have a feeling for the deeper meanings yourself, all explanations about it are useless! I hope that increases your faith in your true abilities?!

I had a very strange dream about Rilke also concerning his poem “Blaue Hortensie” last night.
Maybe I’ll post it under pm or email, because I’m not sure if all the others are just lazy cowards who don’t dare to write a single word in English (Heh ihr Pflaumen! Das ist pure Provokation! :twisted: ) or if they are just not interested – which is o.k., too. So if there is no other request to post this, you’ll get it all private and exclusive!

Liebe Grüße :D

Verfasst: 30. Jun 2003, 04:40
von Rilke Fan
Hi Marie,

Thanks for your words of encouragement. Still, I do wish that I could master the German language, and it is discouraging to see so little progress in that direction sometimes. I am, however, very grateful that I have your help with both translation and interpretation. There is so much to be learned from Rilke.

I, too, wish that others would respond to our postings, and I suppose I should perhaps try to write more often in German, but while I could probably get my point across so that it would be halfway understandable in German, there is always so much that in unclear to me when I read the postings in German. I suspect that perhaps most everyone else has stopped reading a posting when they see the name "Rilkefan" next to it, knowing it will be in English, and I can't say that I blame them. After all, this is supposed to be a German forum! Nonetheless, I am so very happy to have found a few who are willing to respond to my postings and requests for help!

I like the poem, Blue Hydrangeas, and it is among my personal collection of Rilke poems. In fact, I have 5 different English translations for it! I also have a really nice photo with blue hydrangeas to go along with the poem. Too bad I haven't gotten my new web page started yet so I could post the picture.

Liebe Grüße,


Verfasst: 30. Jun 2003, 12:19
von Marie
Hi Linda,

I don’t think that our English correspondence is the reason that others don’t get actively involved (there are surely several Forum members who regularly read your postings as you can see by the number of calls), but to write in English without being afraid of making mistakes is something else. We often leave the formal aspects of lyrics and the “normal” questions behind ( “Where can I find…”, “Need an interpretation of…” and so on), so in my opinion there are many others who are interested, but the obstacle is to write more personally by getting heart and soul into your written thoughts (you don’t find many distributions in German referring to this as well!)
The other thing is that not only “Rilke Fan” next to a topic keeps some people away – “Marie” does it, too! I accept that my confession that I remembered I was Marie Taxis is a very strange thing to cope with. Nobody can prove if it’s true or not or what my aim was when I posted this. And so it’s not a daily task to think about such phenomena, maybe there is an attitude that the “problem” disappears by ignoring it. I don’t mind this opinion, indeed, I can understand it quite well. I don’t need it necessarily to talk about it, it’s just my decision to stop ignoring anything that is part of my reality. My only effort was to get myself to the point where I could talk or write about it as well as about anything else in my life (and a former life is part of life in its whole being).
We’ll just continue as we did until now and don’t worry about what others might or might not think (Rilke would probably be able to respond in the same way. But he still doesn’t want to remember who he was. It must be hard work to him both ways: to push such a “big” truth away for so long or on the other hand to face it with all consequences. And the hardest thing to me is to just helplessly watch this struggling and to feel it all the time inside.

Liebe Grüße :roll:

Verfasst: 30. Jun 2003, 15:12
von Marie
Of course, it should be "contribution" instead of "distribution"! And after I've read it again I find some of the sentences much too complicated. I could cry a little bit about my bad English knowledge and try to get some pitty from you :cry: :wink: :lol: !

Verfasst: 30. Jun 2003, 17:35
von Rilke Fan
Hi Marie,

As I have said before, please don't worry about any mistakes with your English. I honestly don't look for them, and I'm always so interested in what you are saying that I scarcely even notice any mistakes. I'm just happy that you are willing to write in English.

I am very interested in what you wrote about remembering that you are Marie Taxis, but unfortunately it was very difficult for me to understand in German, and I know it would probably be too hard (and time consuming) to explain everything you wrote in English, but if you ever have time, I would be very interested to know more.

I was also wondering what you meant when you said that Rilke doesn't want to remember who he was? You have probably already explained this in one of your postings (perhaps in German and I just didn't understand it).

Liebe Grüße,


Verfasst: 30. Jun 2003, 19:37
von Marie
Hi Linda,

yes, I noticed that this sentence wasn't clearly expressed. I was talking about the "present Rilke" - more about this under pm and also about other parts of my past postings.
There is another story concerning Rilke's poem "Rosa Hortensie", so I'll probably tell you the "blue" and the "pink" story in one posting, soon.

Liebe Grüße :D