February 3, 2011

It Is All About Praising

It is all about praising.
Created to praise, his heart
is a winepress destined to break,
that makes for us an eternal wine.

His voice never chokes with dust
when words for the sacred come through.
All becomes vineyard. All becomes grape,
ripening in the southland of his being.

Nothing, not even the rot
in royal tombs, or the shadow cast by a god,
gives the lie to his praising.

He is ever the messenger,
venturing far through the doors of the dead,
bearing a bowl of fresh-picked fruit.

Sonnets to Orpheus I, 7


  1. A fave, though I prefer the Mitchell translation ("Praising is what matters!"). It reminds me of what somewhat said that only good deeds are remembered; our crimes and sins are ground to dust. Only a Yes to life is even greater in the silence of death.

  2. I agree with blueoran about Mitchell's stop-you-dead, exclamative 'Praising is what matters!' - though, in general, I really do like these newer, less awkward (even if less exact) translations by Barrows & Macy.

  3. I want to smush both of these translations (Mitchell and Barrows & Macy) into Poulin and see what comes out: ripe fruit, or ashes.
    Translation: the art of never being able to please anyone. Difficult, difficult.

    Yet, how strong Rilke's voice, how deep his heart that he shines through no matter who interprets his words!

  4. Ah students and scholars of Rilke, would that I understood half of what he means. But I don't.

    I like the art.

    I thought he was referring to Bacchus.

  5. "It's all about praising" sounds modern, like something Coleman Barks would say for Rumi.

    The line that rises and rises, for me, is:

    All becomes vineyard. All becomes grape,
    ripening . . .

    Seriously, does anything express what this is all about (what matters!) better than the word: ripening ?

  6. Yes, Ruth. I think it is about ripening and gratitude, each pulsating against the other like the diastolic and systolic movements of the heart.


"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Go ahead, bloom recklessly!