13 November 2011

The Voices: Rainer Maria Rilke & Paula Modersohn Becker

"It's OK for the rich and the lucky to keep still,
 no one want to know about them anyway,
But those in need have to step forward,
have to say: I am blind,
or: I'm about to go blind,
or: nothing is going well with me,
or: I have a child who is sick,
or: right there I'm sort of glued together...

And probably that doesn't do anything either.

"They have to sing; if they didn't sing, everyone
would walk past, as if they were fences or trees.

That's where you can hear good singing.

People really are strange: thye prefer
to hear castratos in boychoirs.

But God himself comes and stays a long time
when the world of half-people start to bore him."
 - title poem from The Voices by Rainer Maia Rilke, translated from the German by Robert Bly, Denver, The Alley Press: 1977.

Image: Paula Modersohn Becker - Blind Woman in the Woods, courtesy Temple University Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia.


alestedemadrid said...

Beautiful poem.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

One wonders what Rilke would write today if he could see what is happening to needy people.

Jane said...

Alestedemadrid, the cycle of eight poems includes the voices of beggars, lepers, the blind, a window, a dwarf, etc. Individually and together they are eloquent voices.

Jane said...

Oakland, I think we already know.

Lino Althaner said...

A great post, image and text perfectly complemented, poetic and meaningful, like everything written by Rilke. Isn't the author of the image PAULA Modersohn Becker? The text says "Paul". Thank you for the beauty.

Jane said...

Lino, Modersohn-Becker knew Rilke through her friendship with Clara Westoff, who married the poet. I'm happy if this combination seems apt to people, as it seems to me. Thanks for commenting.

Lino Althaner said...

Jane, I was just trying to tell that the image information at the end of the post reeds "Paul" and not "Paula", as it should. Your blog is really a very interesting one. Why don't you try to visit mine,although it´s mainly in spanish (only a few posts are completely in english). Thank you for your answer.