Lessons / School of Happiness

School Of Happiness Lesson 21: “Rose, Oh Pure Contradiction, Desire…” (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Rose, oh reiner Widerspruch, Lust,
Niemandes Schlaf zu sein unter soviel
Lidern.

Rose, oh pure contradiction, desire,
To be no one’s sleep under so many
Lids.

(Rainer Maria Rilke wrote his own epitaph sometime before October 27, 1925. He requested that it be inscribed on his gravestone. This was fifteen months before his death. (Translation: John J.L.Mood)

All photographs were taken in 2012 in Austrian countryside by Udo Tiz (AT), for the “Jungbauernkalender” using non professional models. You will find out more of his work on www.udotitz.com.

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Du im Voraus
verlorne Geliebte, Nimmergekommene,
nicht weiß ich, welche Töne dir lieb sind.
Nicht mehr versuch ich, dich, wenn das Kommende wogt,
zu erkennen.

You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don’t even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of the next
moment.

(Rainer Maria Rilke, “You Who Never Arrived” (translated by Stephen Mitchell)

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Schon ist mein Blick am Hügel, dem besonnten,
dem Wege, den ich kaum begann, voran.
So fasst uns das, was wir nicht fassen konnten,
voller Erscheinung, aus der Ferne an—

und wandelt uns, auch wenn wirs nicht erreichen,
in jenes, das wir, kaum es ahnend, sind;
ein Zeichen weht, erwidernd unserm Zeichen…
Wir aber spüren nur den Gegenwind.

My eyes already touch the sunny hill,
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has its inner light, even from a distance—

and changes us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it, we already are;
a gesture waves us on, answering our own wave . . .
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

(Rainer Maria Rilke, 1924, Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Robert Bly)

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Und fast ein Mädchen wars und ging hervor
aus diesem einigen Glück von Sang und Leier
und glänzte klar durch ihre Frühlingsschleier
und machte sich ein Bett in meinem Ohr.
Und schlief in mir. Und alles war ihr Schlaf.
Die Bäume, die ich je bewundert, diese
fühlbare Ferne, die gefühlte Wiese
und jedes Staunen, das mich selbst betraf.
Sie schlief die Welt. Singender Gott, wie hast
du sie vollendet, daß sie nicht begehrte,
erst wach zu sein? Sieh, sie erstand und schlief.
Wo ist ihr Tod? O, wirst du dies Motiv
erfinden noch, eh sich dein Lied verzehrte? —
Wo sinkt sie hin aus mir? … Ein Mädchen fast …

And it was almost a girl, and she came out of
that single blessedness of song and lyre,
and shone clear through her springtime-veil
and made herself a bed inside my hearing.
And slept within me. And her sleep was all:
the trees, each that I admired, those
perceptible distances, the meadows I felt,
and every wonder that concerned my self.
She slept the world. Singing god, how have you
so perfected her that she made no demand
to first be awake? See, she emerged and slept.
Where is her death? O, will you still discover
this theme, before your song consumes itself? –
Where is she falling to, from me?…a girl, almost…

(Rainer Maria Rilke “From Sonnets to Orpheus”, 1922 ( Translated by A. S. Kline )

One thought on “School Of Happiness Lesson 21: “Rose, Oh Pure Contradiction, Desire…” (Rainer Maria Rilke)

  1. Pingback: Eine Reise wegwohin – Schauspiel Stuttgart

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