An autist picks apart the many English translations of Rilke
T. S. Eliot was probably on to something when he noted the place of representative poet of the first half of the 20th century is between Valéry, Yeats, and Rilke. With Yeats we don’t have the problem of translation, with the other two we do.
A snapshot on some of the variations of Rilke I personally prefer
I think I’ve showed you the secondary study in question before- it’s written by someone who is himself a renowned novelist.
if I were to entreat the higher powers, cry out from my soul, pray to the so-called gods… whom would my words reach?
No one. The mountains of the heart entertain no echo. The Abyss does not respond. Heaven is as indifferent as the land.
One of the main reasons for atheism (that the tradcaths won’t tell you) is that oftentimes God simply isn’t there. In some people’s cases it’s not just oftentimes, it’s all the time. In that sense it seems a type of refined atheism is possible, because it’s a standpoint that is a realistic reflection of the Deus absconditus.
This writer speaks to my intution about Rilke though
and although addressed to the Angels, it is as if the Angels spoke them
What is “divine madness”? It does seem that someone deserves the title of “poet” only when they demonstrate they are a mere vessel of something beyond them.
I remember my Aquinas professor ranting for a half of a minute about how his mother-in-law collects all things “angel” related and how tacky and “sickening” it was. You could tell he saw it as blasphemous and offensive. I don’t have qualms about the word “angel” myself, do you? The loa of voodoo, the pagan gods of the north, even machine-elves, are more or less interchangable with “angels” in my opinion.
Honestly I might prefer Rilke to Yeats, it’s a tough call
These are not poems, then. These are miracles.
Isn’t it bizarre that Yeats, too, believed in angels of a sort? What do you think the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was about? Crowley and Lovecraft can explain that to you better than anyone. As Rilke put it, Every angel is terrifying.
Or IS that how he put it? There are about 15 translations out there. Poets in the west are like our connector between us and the gods, so it’s probably important to know as directly as possible what he intended to say.
Every angel is terrible.
Every single angel is terrible!
Every angel’s terrifying.
Each and every angel is awesome.
Or to put it into context
There are rare writers that you remember where you were and what you were doing when you first read them, and these lines in particular hit a chord in me.
For the philosophy nerds
Angels are the nearest we’re ever going to get to pure Being. They resemble Leibniz’s monads more than things-in-themselves.
For the political philosophy nerds
I’ve already complained of how political it all is anyway. The poet, while composing, struggles to rule a nation of greedy self-serving malcontents
I’m stunned to see a novelist confess this. Usually artists don’t admit this secret of theirs. (Admitting it inhibits their ruling.)
Anyway this is something to look out for among those who invoke “higher beings” of any sort- in many cases it is more about smuggling politics in than it is about “sharing their profound experience with you”.
You never see an artist getting this intensely honest
every la-di-da and line length, image, order, rhyme, variation, and refrain, every well-mouthed vowel, dental click, silent design, represents a corporation, cartel, union, well-heeled lobby, a Pentagon or NRA, eager to turn the law toward its interests
This is part of why William H. Gass is someone you can trust more than others about Rilke.
Are YOU part of any “cartel”? Sure you’re not, liar. In my world liars get slapped across the face, so you’re lucky you’re living in your little cartelworld. How are you different from a tatted spic? I doubt you are. [insert Francis Bacon painting here]
I woke up today wanting to write about angels, occultic entities, etc. then it hit me that all my readers are part of some spic cartel, so why bother? Cool stuff, ese. Cool stuff, holmes.
The democrat cartel, the reactioid grifter cartel, are both metaphysically the same.
One piece of evidence why I esteem Rilke so highly
Most people take the “human road”.
How extremely sad.
Take the road and go get your tamales, spic.
You think half the nation calling for a “wall” was just random and not rooted in any legitimate concern? Haha Americans are spiritual wetbacks now. NIGGER!
Half the country is already women, and that’s enough of a struggle. Throw jews with a magic money-printing machine on there, 20% that are ~~Latino~~, 14% that are blacks, 10% that are Irish, annnd you’re already done for. You’ve been melted into the melting pot.
Are spiritual spics even able to experience an “angel”? I remind you that “indigenous” “gods” are similar to the ancient Egyptians’ in being modeled on animals… The worship of animal-angels- people who do that won’t be concerned with the controversy of how Rilke is translated.
One of ~15 variations
Spoiler alert- spiritual spics don’t have any sense of guilt or shame. The urge to sacrifice nay-sayers upon the altar atop the bloody pyramid morelike. Junglemind, whiteskin- the meaning of contemporary America. Returning to the paradise of the cannibal indians we found here, swell idea.
Anyway, on to more aesthetic/theological concerns, as a native English-speaker I doubt you’ve ever truly read Rilke, and this study is the best bridge I know of toward that.
Were the perilous great Angel behind the stars to step down a single step toward us now, our own heart, beating higher and higher, would beat us to death. Who are you?