Autumn Day – A Poem
This is one of my favorite poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, one of the most important poets who wrote in German. I found the translation of the first two verses on the web:
“Lord, it is time.
The summer was very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials, and on the meadows let the winds go loose.
Command the last fruits that they shall be full; give them another two more southerly days,
press them on to fulfillment and drive the last sweetness into the heavenly wine.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke
The German version doesn’t stop here. I am not a professional translator, but I will try to add the third verse in English:
“Who is without home will not build one now
Who lives alone will stay alone
will be awake, will read and write long letters
and will anxiously walk the alleys
and watch the leaves being driven by the storm.
In the German original the language has a wonderful sound, and anybody who can understand and read German should read the German version. In addition to that I feel deeply touched by the poem. Just now here in Germany we are having days of summer and then, one day later, days of autumn. Temperatures go down, it is getting dark early because the sky is grey, and it rains. We had years when September meant late days of summer, and October was the month to get used to autumn. This year I’ve got the feeling that autumn is already knocking at the door, And so Rilke’s poem came into my mind, and it stays there, in an irritating way.