day in autumn

June 5, 2008

The middle stanza of this poem is amazing. I couldn’t wait until fall to post it. Rilke’s such a wonderful writer. No wonder Steven Mitchell learned German to translate his poems.

Day in Autumn

by Rainer Maria Rilke

After the summer’s yield, Lord, it is time
to let your shadow lengthen on the sundials
and in the pastures let the rough winds fly.
.
As for the final fruits, coax them to roundness.
Direct on them two days of warmer light
to hale them golden toward their term, and harry
the last few drops of sweetness through the wine.
.
Whoever’s homeless now, will build no shelter;
who lives alone will live indefinitely so,
waking up to read a little, draft long letters,
and, along the city’s avenues,
fitfully wander, when the wild leaves loosen.
.
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