This stanza is dominated by tropes of placement (we are positioned, or position ourselves, in the world in such a way that we do no not see what it contains), and those tropes reach their culmination in the concluding lines: “Dieses heißt Schicksal: gegenüber sein und nichts als das und immer gegenüber”. “Kreatur” is a broader concept than “Tier, embracing the entire animal world including human life. The standard dictionary definition of the word, however, is “open (air)”, which is more prosaic, but in Rilke’s use (as in the eight Elegy) “the open” represents expansion, the removal of restrictions. Be astonished, Angel, for we are it, / we, O Great One; tell others that we were able to do this, my breath / doesn’t reach far enough for praising. It literally means “the other” in German, and it is important to retain the dimension of alterity because this corresponds to the tension and sense of otherness that Rilke sees in the experience of love, and this sense is lost in translations that refer to the “beloved” or “loved ones”. The latter has been translated as “outgazing”, “outward gaze” and “regard”. Und sieh die halbe Sicherheit des Vogels. And my open hand, Our eyes are “umgekehrt”, from “umkehren” meaning “to turn around” or “to reverse”. / Though it’s not just she who responds … / Out of insecure graves come girls to stand close by … / How can I curb it once the call’s been proclaimed? Frei von Tod. Jardin des Plantes. / And look at the partial security of the bird, / which almost knows both from their source, / as if it were the soul of an Etruscan, / out of the dead one and received in a space, / but with its reclining figure serving as a lid. It is the acceptance of death as a condition for our self-understanding and expansion of vision. We never, not even for a single day, have pure. After that first home / the second one is ambiguous and windy” (R). / It falls to pieces. / Not only the days, so tender around flowers and, above, / around the patterned treetops, so strong, so intense. Sondern die hohen, des Sommers, In earlier Elegies, animals had been used symbolically (as with the bird in the seventh Elegy, representing the will to transcendence), but here the animal is approached from within, the condition of its being linked to a fuller, because unmediated, consciousness of the external world. “Dawn” involves a specific and rather prettified reading of the text, and uses a poeticised idiom that Rilke sought to distance himself from in the Elegies. / What is really out there we only know / by looking at the countenance of creatures. Denn mein But where is the lover heading? B. Uns soll In the short line that follows (in the midst of two phrases extolling “Dasein”) we are presented with the single totalising noun, “Alles”, which stands alone gramatically, a subject without a predicate. As the crucial central lines of the stanza explain: “Der Schöpfung immer zugewendet, sehn / wir nur auf ihr die Spiegelung des Frein, / von uns verdunkelt”. Thematically, the third stanza moves from morning(s) to night, from beginning to late, from daytime light to a darkness with stars, which speak of infinity (but only for the dead): Nicht nur die Morgen alle des Sommers –, nicht nur It must not / lead us into confusion but safeguard in us / form we still recognize. Just as he, / on the last hill, that shows him all his valley / for the last time, will turn and stop and linger, / we live our lives, for ever taking leave” (L/S), “Who has twisted us around like this, so that / no matter what we do, we are in the posture / of someone going away? Translating differences centre on “Morgen” in the first line. Like the bird, it too is or may be beseeching: Wie er, so The text continues to identify natural elements that the unspecified subject of these lines must forgo, including “die Andacht dieser entfalteten Kräfte”. dir noch zeig ich es, da! / For to each was granted an hour, – perhaps not quite / so much as an hour – some span that could scarcely be / measured / by measures in time, in between two whiles, when she really / possessed an existence. Minor differences in translation centre on whether we call “die Liebende” “the lover” (L/S), “my lover” (M), “my love” (R/S), or “the beloved” (MC and R). Was it not a wonder? It is, however, the latter sense of the word that now prevails in contemporary English (the French origins of the word, “regarder”, “to see”, being largely forgotten). “Wachsam” means both “alert” and (perhaps slightly archaically) “wakeful”; “Schwermut” is “sadness” or having a “sad heart” (although “melancholy” has a greater resonance); and here, in this world of inauthenticity and failed contact, all is “Abstand”, “set apart” or “is distance”. It has remained “unfathomable” (M) or “unknowable”, but not “inapprehensible” nor “unapprehended” (which are literal translations), neither of which have clear meanings.


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