Falling Snow, Rising Mist

Autumn Day
a poem by
Rainer Maria Rilke

Lord: it is time. The summer was immense.
Let thine shadows upon the sundials fall,
and unleash the winds upon the open fields.

Command the last fruits into fullness;
give them just two more ripe, southern days,
urge them into completion and press
the last bit of sweetness into the heavy wine.

He who has no house now, will no longer build.
He who is alone now, will stay alone,
will awake in the night, read, write long letters,
and will wander restlessly along the avenues,
back and forth, as the leaves begin to blow.

                         Rainer Maria Rilke
(tr. Cliff Crego)

(Photo: Above the Mist; Below the Snow.  The view looking East, towards the end of October.
The low-lying cloud cover, which extends all the way to the cities at lower elevations in
Switzerland and southern Germany, has its ceiling at about 1300 meters. The snow level—the
point where snow turns to rain—is almost a vertical kilometer higher, at 2200 meters.Remarkably
from the North American perspective, one could easily be camped where this photograph was
made, hike down to a near-by village—an easy walk of but three hours, catch a commuter
train coming from Milan, Italy and arrive refreshed in the heart of the old part of Zürich.
And all that, just in time for late morning coffee and biscuits at a literary cafe. Of course,
you'd have to leave the beautiful weather above treeline behind.The Alps )

| to see more of Rilke's work in translation together with the German originals, a concise hyperlinked biography,
as well as a guide to Rilke on the Internet, go to The Poetry of Ranier Maria Rilke |

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Photo/English translation © 1999 Cliff Crego All Rights Reserved  
IV.7.1999; Last update: III.4.2002) Photo/English translation © 1999 Cliff Crego
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