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(04 October 1943 / Germany)

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Childhood (by Rilke) Translation

It would be good to reminisce
of all that's lost from childhood afternoons,
can they return to me, I miss
those endless hours that are now in ruins.

It does return now, gently, still
perhaps in all the drops of a warm rain
yet we've forgotten what it will
remind us now of riches and no bane
of seeing and just living without care
like creatures yet as humans with no fear
and filled up to the locks of children's hair
a figure of a Thing, it would appear.

The shepherd's loneliness then, in the end
weighed down with endless distances today
and called as if ordained, touched by a friend
a lengthy thread of images, astray
in which it is no use simply to dwell
there is no memory for us to know
and to a stranger, childhood thoughts will tell
of afternoons, where life itself was slow.

Written 1906 in Paris

My version of a translation.

Submitted: Thursday, April 13, 2006

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Comments about this poem (2009 Happy Birthday Jerry Hughes! by Herbert Nehrlich )

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  • Gina Onyemaechi (4/13/2006 4:53:00 PM)

    As I commented in the forum, Herbsy, your translation here flows with elegance and grace, playing gently and soulfully from line to line. A most pleasant read..
    With warmth,

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