Strange Arts & Visual Delights
Gravestone on Rilke's grave in Raron, Switzerland. Possible translation of the epitaph (based on Wikipedia, Wiktionary, and Google translate)::
"Rose, o pure contradiction, desire
To be no one's sleep beneath so many
One translator interprets Lidern (eyelids) as petals, an attractive possibility.
« Les hannetons ont fini leur ravage” is a Rilke poem I have grappled with on and off for several years, but I have not figured out how to translate as I’d like, especially the rhyme. Suggestions are welcome! (Send them to email@example.com).
The poem is interesting—the points of view accorded the branches killed by the beetles and to the tree itself are surprising. My favorite line is “La vie s’attaque à la vie sans haine, » which, with the poem as a whole, gives a different perspective on nature “red in tooth and claw.”
Les hannetons ont fini leur ravage
The beetles have finished laying waste.
Bestowed on these fallen branches of the tree,
they seem full and innocent and wise,
as if they’re sons of the walnut tree.
And the tree itself hardly complains,
for its void is filled with healing blue.
Life attacks life but without hate.
It abounds in the happy meadows
where excited crickets raise cry on cry.
In the middle of the young vines moves
the head of a girl in a red scarf
like a dot offered to all these i’s.
Most surprising to me is the girl at the end. I suppose a row of vines pruned back to the main stalk might be seen as a series of the letter i, but it’s not an image I’d have ever imagined.
Here's the original:
Les hannetons ont fini leur ravage.
A ces rameaux déchus octroyées,
ils semblent plein et innocent et sages,
comme s’ils étaient les fils du noyer.
Et l’arbre même ne se plaint qu’a peine,
car dans son vide guérit tant de bleu.
La vie s’attaque à la vie sans haine.
Elle abonde dans les prés heureux
ou les grillons s’exaltent cri par cri.
Tout au milieu des jeunes vignes bouge
la tête d’une fille au foulard rouge
comme un point offert à tous ces i.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.