A Walk Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke

A Walk

Rating: 3.0

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

Translated by Robert Bly

Jagannath rao Adukuri 22 March 2006

The poet is walking towards the hill but his vision reaches the hill far ahead of the physical distance covered by his feet. The inner light of the hill grasps his own soul and transforms it spiritually much before his own inner luminescence reaches it. It is as though the hill is making a gesture of kinship with him in response to his own gesture. All that he feels is the gentle wind touching his face. Here, sensory impressions are used to create beautiful images. The hill is personified attributing to it human qualities such as “charges”, “gesture”, “grasping”. A beautiful combination of the visual and tactile elements recreates the situation in which the poet re-experiences the intensity of the moment as “emotion recollected in tranquility

18 7 Reply
Herbert Nehrlich1 29 July 2008

A terrible translation! H

12 10 Reply
Kyarunai Mansiko 24 October 2012

I love how he worded this. So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp... I wish that one day I could write like this! (or at least half as good)

14 7 Reply
Nick Bronson 05 August 2006

There is a misprint in this fine translation of Rilke's poem, which has unfortunately found its way around the internet (I've seen the same erroneous wording at several sites) . The line '...it has inner light, even from a distance- and charges us, even if we do not reach it, into something else, , , ' should read '...it has ITS inner light, evern from a distance - and CHANGES us...'. Though the missing 'its' is minor, the word 'charges' simply makes no sense, and should never have made its way into a reprinting of the poem.

16 5 Reply
Bridie Crann 29 November 2006

I must say that the observations made by Jagannath Rao Adukuri immediately elevated my appreciation of this poem; here is an instance where reader commentary has great value, and I am grateful to those who take the time to add insightful impressions. I agree that Nick Bronson's modifications make sense, but considering Adukuri's reading of personification, I see meaning in the translation as it stands, as well. I wonder if anyone has found an alternate translation...?

10 8 Reply
Andri 20 May 2020

Second stanza: surely it should read " and changes us" . At least two typos.

0 0 Reply
Lin Ha 11 February 2019

in the 5th line, shouldn't the word be changes rather than charges?

4 1 Reply
Bhagabat Prasad Hotta 09 November 2018

Nice poem...I enjoyed it....a great poem...........10+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

0 0 Reply
Bulbul Islam 22 August 2018

Mechanical reading without passions.

0 1 Reply
Mahejabeen 15 August 2018

I love to teach this poem

0 0 Reply
Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke

Prague / Czech Republic
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