Translated by Martyn Crucefix
In 55 sonnets Rainer Maria Rilke plays an astonishing
set of philosophical and sensual variations on the
Orpheus myth. 'Praising, that's it!' he declares; nature,
art, love, time, childhood, technology, poverty, justice -
all are encompassed in poems that spark with insight
and invention, among the most joyful and light-footed
that Rilke ever wrote.
'All poetry resists translation, and one poem may have many different versions in another language; what I look for first is clarity, and this version supplies that generously. With the presence of the German text and Crucefix's helpful notes, the English-speaking reader with little or no German will find in this version a welcoming entrance to the path which leads eventually to a full understanding - if a full understanding of this mysterious poetry is ever possible. Crucefix's translation will have, and keep, a place on my shelves where all the poetry lives.'