Rainer Maria Rilke

(4 December 1875 – 29 December 1926 / Prague / Czech Republic)

The Swan - Poem by Rainer Maria Rilke

This laboring of ours with all that remains undone,
as if still bound to it,
is like the lumbering gait of the swan.

And then our dying—releasing ourselves
from the very ground on which we stood—
is like the way he hesitantly lowers himself

into the water. It gently receives him,
and, gladly yielding, flows back beneath him,
as wave follows wave,
while he, now wholly serene and sure,
with regal composure,
allows himself to glide.


translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows


Comments about The Swan by Rainer Maria Rilke

  • (8/9/2014 11:46:00 AM)


    Not a bad translation- probably because of the simplicity and directness of the original. MM (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Poem Edited: Wednesday, May 30, 2012


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