DIE WENDUNGTURNING POINT
Rainer Maria Rilketrans. Tessa Ransford
"Der Weg von der Innigkeit zur Grösse
geht durch das Opfer" (Kassner)



Lang errang ers im Anschaun.
Sterne brachen ins Knie
unter dem ringenden Aufblick. Göttliches müd,
dass es ihm lächelete schlafend.




Türme schaute er so,
dass sie erschraken:
wieder sie bauend, hinan, plötzlich, in Einem!
Aber wie oft, die vom Tag
überladene Landschaft
ruhete hin in sein stilles Gewahren, abends.

Tiere traten getrost
in den offenen Blick, weidende,
und die gefangenen Löwen
starrten hinein wie in unbegreifliche Freiheit;
Vögel durchflogen ihn grad,
den gemütigen; Blumen
wiederschauten in ihn
gross wie in Kinder.

Und das Grücht, dass ein Schauender sei,
rührte die minder,
fragliche Sichtbaren,
rührte die Frauen.

Schauend wie lang?
Seit wie lange schon innig entbehrend,
flehend im Grunde des Blicks?

Wenn er, ein Wartender, sass in der Fremde; des Gasthofs zerstreutes, abgewendetes Zimmer
mürrish um sich, und im vermiedenen Spiegel
wieder das Zimmer
und später vom quälenden Bett aus
wieder:
da beriets in der Luft,
unfassbar beriet es
über sein fühlbares Herz,
über sein durch den schmerzhaft verschütteten Körper dennoch fühlbares Herz
beriet es und richtete:
dass es der Liebe nicht habe.

(Und verwehrte ihm weitere Weihen).

Denn des Anschauns, siehe, ist eine Grenze.
Und die geschautere Welt
will in der Liebe gedeihn.

Werk des Gesichts ist getan,
tue nun Herz-Werk
an den Bildern in dir, jenen gefangenen; denn du
überwältigtest sie: aber nun kennst du sie nicht.
Siehe, innere Mann, dein inneres Mädchen,
dieses errungene aus
tausend Naturen, dieses
erst nur errungene, nie
noch geliebte Geschöpf.

"The way from intense inward feelings to
greatness is through sacrifice" (Kassner)



Seeing had been his strong point.
Stars would fall to their knees
from the force of his glancing upward.
Or he would kneel to scrutinise something
and the waft of his zeal
tired out some god, so that it
smiled at him in its sleep.

He would observe towers
until they shuddered:
building them up again, suddenly, all at once:
but often the evening landscape
laden heavy with day
ebbed to rest under his quiet surveillance.

Animals, grazing, would walk with trust
into his spacious beholding,
and captive lions looked straight at him
as into unbelievable freedom.
Birds flew through him unswerving
knowing his sensitivity.
Flowers reflected his gaze as clearly
as with children.

And the rumour that someone could really see
disturbed the least and hardly noticeable,
and excited women.


How long had he stared?
How long, inwardly deprived
beseeching from the depth of his eyes?

Perhaps while he sat, waiting in foreign surroundings, a hotelís disinterested, alienated room
sullen around him, and in the evaded
looking-glass the room repeated
and later, from the bed of anguish
again:
aeriel beings were in consultation,
inconceivably in discussion
about his impressionable heart-
his heart that could feel
even through his pain - choked body -
it was discussed and decreed
that his heart had no love

(and denied him further sacraments.)

Thereís a limit, you know, to objectivity.
And the world that is well-perceived
wants to blossom in love.

Outward-looking work is over,
now do work of the heart
on what is imaged within you,
the scenes you have captured,
that you have overpowered, but do not recognise now. Behold, inner Man, your feminine self
distilled from a thousand natures,
the creature you only possessed before
and never yet loved.


Click here 2 for another translation of this poem.

Trans. copyright © Tessa Ransford 2002 - publ. in Modern Poetry In Translation no. 16)

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