RILKE | April: Mountains of the Heart . . .
Stone Mountain "..Exposed on the mountains of the heart. /
   See, how small there,
see: the last hamlet of words, and higher,
and still so small, a last
homestead of feeling."

from The Uncollected Poems
of Rainer Maria Rilke

This week, an image of snow
returning by surprise in spring—
the end of May—together with
a two classic German poems.

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Rilke left a large body of uncollected work which includes some 500 poems.
The two pieces presented here, so powerfully expressive in character, give
voice to the profound sense of despair and loss Rilke felt as he witnessed the
Europe which he loved and knew so well divide against itself in all-out conflict.
The second poem concludes with an image of a tree breaking apart, what he calls
his "Tree of Joy." It is an image which gives one pause. It calls forth the presence
of something like a magnificent European stone pine, one so old and gnarled that
it would have already seemed ancient to a Mozart or Goethe, now being mindlessly
axed to the ground. Creation is always—evidently even for mother nature—hard,
slow work; Destruction, on the other hand—as we all know—can happen to us—
even an entire culture—in an instant.

How are we to deal with such suffering? The poet calls out with his whole being
to the mountain, wishing to understand, to know why. Let us listen;—

[Ausgesetzt auf den Bergen des Herzens]

Ausgesetzt auf den Bergen des Herzens. Siehe, wie klein dort,
siehe: die letzte Ortschaft der Worte, und höher,
aber wie klein auch, noch ein letztes
Gehöft von Gefühl. Erkennst du's?
Ausgesetzt auf den Bergen des Herzens. Steingrund
unter den Händen. Hier blüht wohl
einiges auf; aus Stummem Absturz
blüht ein unwissendes Kraut singend hervor.
Aber der Wissende? Ach, der du wissen begann
und schweigt nun, ausgesetzt auf den Bergen des Herzens.
Da geht wohl, heilen Bewußtseins,
manches umher, manches gesicherte Bergtier,
wechselt und weilt. Und der große geborgene Vogel
kreist um der Gipfel reine Verweigerung.—Aber
ungeborgen, hier auf den Bergen des Herzens. . . .

(Irschenhausen: September, 1914)
[Exposed on the mountains of the heart]

Exposed on the mountains of the heart. See, how small there,
see: the last hamlet of words, and higher,
and yet so small, a last
homestead of feeling. Do you recognize it?
Exposed on the mountains of the heart. Rocky earth
under the hands. But something will
flower here; out of the mute abyss
flowers an unknowing herb in song.
But the knowing? Ah, that you who began to understand
and are silent now, exposed on the mountains of the heart.
Yet many an awareness still whole wanders there,
many a self-confident mountain animal
passes through and remains. And that great protected bird
circles about the peaks of pure denial. But
unprotected, here on the mountains of the heart.

| download German/English mp3 [7Mb] | download German/English with INTRO & music from WINTER SONGS mp3 [12Mb] |


Wem willst du klagen, Herz? Immer gemiedener
ringt sich dein Weg durch die unbegreiflichen
Menschen. Mehr noch vergebens vielleicht,
da er die Richtung behält,
Richtung zur Zukunft behält,
zu der verlorenen.

Früher. Klagtest? Was wars? Eine gefallene
Beere des Jubels, unreife.
Jetzt aber bricht mir mein Jubel-Baum,
bricht mir im Sturme mein langsamer
Schönster in meiner unsichtbaren
Landschaft, der du mich kenntlicher
machtest Engeln, unsichtbaren.

Rainer Maria Rilke
(Paris 1914)

To whom shall you complain, heart? Ever more shunned
your way wrestles through the impenetrable
people. The more to no avail perherps,
because it holds to the direction,
holds to the direction of the future,
to what has been lost.

In the past. You complained? What was it? A fallen
berry of Joy, unripe.
But now my whole Tree of Joy is breaking,
in the storm my slowly grown Tree of Joy
is breaking.
Most beautiful thing in my invisible
landscape, you who made me more knowable
to angels, invisible ones.

   (tr. Cliff Crego)

for $49.95 + shipping or
download as e-Book for $14.95

New English translations
from the German of 80
of Rainer Maria Rilke's
best poems, together
with 120 color prints
from the High Wallowas.
With introduction . . .

| preview opens in new window |



| view / print Picture/Poem Poster: Exposed on the Mountains of the Heart (86 K) | or download as PDF |

| see also the Rilke Posters |

| listen to other recordings in English and German of twelve poems from
The Book of Images
at The Rilke Download Page
 (# Includes instructions) |
See other recent additions of new English translations of Rilke's poetry, together with
featured photographs at:

(4) Tapoff, Mountain Spring: Loneliness  

(3) Alpine Crocuses: Out of an April

See also a selection of recent Picture/Poem "Rilke in translation" features at the Rilke Archive.

See also another website
by Cliff Crego:
The Poetry of
Rainer Maria Rilke
a presentation of 80 of the
best poems of Rilke in
both German and
new English translations
biography, links, posters


"Straight roads,
Slow rivers,
Deep clay."
A collection of contemporary Dutch poetry
in English translation, with commentary
and photographs
by Cliff Crego

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Photograph/Texts of Translations © 1999 - 2016 Cliff Crego

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