"The Last Supper" by Leondardo da VinciTwo Translations of the Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, by Leo Yankevich The Society July 1, 2018 Beauty, Culture, Poetry, Translation 8 Comments The Lord’s Supper They’re gathered round, astonished, full of dread, round him who like a wise man must decide, and who leaves those with whom he’s broken bread, and who comes like a stranger from outside. Old solitude haunts him, Gethsemane, though once it bound him to astounding acts; now he will walk through every olive tree, and those who love him turn away their backs. He’s called them to the table, past the stoves, and (like birds woken by shots from the groves) he humbles their hands from among the loaves with his own words: and toward him they fly, flawed, fluttering; and yet with all their power, they look for ways out, since the time is nigh, but he is everywhere, like twilight hour. Translated by Leo Yankevich from the German of Rainer Maria Rilke (1875 –1926). Das Abendmahl Sie sind versammelt, staunende Verstörte, um ihn, der wie ein Weiser sich beschließt, und der sich fortnimmt, denen er gehörte, und der an ihnen fremd vorüberfließt. Die alte Einsamkeit kommt über ihn, die ihn erzog zu seinem tiefen Handeln; nun wird er wieder durch den Ölwald wandeln, und die ihn lieben, werden vor ihm fliehn. Er hat sie zu dem letzten Tisch entboten und (wie ein Schuß die Vögel aus den Schoten scheucht) scheucht er ihre Hände aus den Broten mit seinem Wort: sie fliegen zu ihm her; sie flattern bange durch die Tafelrunde und suchen einen Ausgang. Aber er ist überall wie eine Dämmerstunde. Angels They all have mouths that tire, bright souls that have no seams. And longing (for sin’s mire) passes through their dreams. Almost alike they stride, silent beneath the Tree, like intervals inside great God’s grand symphony. But when one of them rages, spread wings set tempests spinning, as if God, sculpting ages, huge-handed, leafed through pages, the dark book of beginning. Translated by Leo Yankevich from the German of Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) Die Engel Sie haben alle müde Münde und helle Seelen ohne Saum. Und eine Sehnsucht (wie nach Sünde) geht ihnen manchmal durch den Traum. Fast gleichen sie einander alle; in Gottes Gärten schweigen sie, wie viele, viele Intervalle in seiner Macht und Melodie. Nur wenn sie ihre Flügel breiten, sind sie die Wecker eines Winds: als ginge Gott mit seinen weiten Bildhauerhänden durch die Seiten im dunklen Buch des Anbeginns. Leo Yankevich’s latest books are The Last Silesian (The Mandrake Press, 2005) Tikkun Olam & Other Poems (Second Expanded Edition), (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2012), Journey Late at Night: Poems & Translations (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2013) & The Hypocrisies of Heaven: Poems New & Old (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2016). More of his work can be found at Leo Yankevich.com. NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 8 Responses Rob Mezey July 1, 2018 These are great, masterful poems in themselves; both are simply sublime. Bravo! Reply Joe Tessitore July 1, 2018 These are wonderful Leo. Thank you for them. Reply Leo Yankevich July 1, 2018 I have changed the title of the second poem to “Angels,” which works better in English. Mr Mantyk, if you could change it too, I’d be grateful. Thank you, Rob and Joe, for your comments. Reply Troy A. Xavier July 1, 2018 I love Rilke, one of my favorite German poets. Good work! Reply David Paul Behrens July 1, 2018 These poems are fantastic! Reply Joseph S. Salemi July 1, 2018 Leo Yankevich is a highly accomplished translator not only from German, but also from Polish, Russian, and other Slavic tongues. These renderings of Rilke are absolutely top-notch. Reply J. Simon Harris July 2, 2018 Beautiful work, as usual, Mr. Yankevich. I think I ought to read more Rilke. Reply David Watt July 3, 2018 Your translations have brought forth a great deal of praise, and rightly so. Excellent work! Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.