Monday, September 27, 2010

Autumn Day

I was introduced to a singer today, and his music was beautiful. I played one song over and over while I was writing a letter to a friend, and after a while I thought ‘I have no idea what he’s singing about.’ I pulled up the lyrics and found out that basically, there were none. Now, like I said it was beautiful, and I didn’t think much about it, just went on with my letter.

Later, I was sitting in my apartment and figured I needed to feed this hunger for poetry. I’ve never read a lot of poetry but I love writing verses and ideas in a list and call it poetry. Lesson one of writing, read a lot of what you want to do, and if it’s plays or movies watch a lot of them. But, other than the one or two times I would get overwhelmed by the poetry section in the library in the city, I really haven’t explored a lot of poetry.

I put on my I pod shuffle and walked down the hill to the library. Who was on the shuffle? The Band, followed by Robbie himself, Sarah Slean, Jonny Lang, and Michelle Branch; see where I’m coming from? I really picked up on “The Weight” I listened to it a couple times, it’s practically a novel. I love the story tellers, I love my songs to be stuffed full of words and images and stories. I knew my love for verse came from my music, but I really realized it this afternoon. I’m still listening to the shuffle, the musicians continue to be singer song writers, even my hip hop and pop is Timbaland and Nelly Furtado, and if you listen there are stories in there. Kinda.

The point is I borrowed 6 books of poetry from the library and bought just as many from the second hand book store down the street. Poetry, here I come.

Autumn Day
Rainer Maria Rilke
This translation is by Guntram Deichsel:

Lord, it is time. Let the great summer go,
Lay your long shadows on the sundials,
And over harvest piles let the winds blow.
Command the last fruits to be ripe;

Grant them some other southern hour,
Urge them to completion, and with power
Drive final sweetness to the heavy grape.
Who's homeless now, will for long stay alone.

No home will build his weary hands,
He'll wake, read, write letters long to friends
And will the alleys up and down
Walk restlessly, when falling leaves dance.


  1. I thought this post to be not only beautiful, but really exciting. To immerse yourself in poetry seems like a perfectly lush way to enter autumn. And Rilke is my favorite (although I don't recall reading this beautiful poem and thank you for posting it). If you have not yet read it, I recommend his small book, Letters to a Young Poet. It is a treasure. And also Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, which is always at my bedstand. I love Rabindranath Tagore's poetry nearly as much as Rilke's.

    "The Weight" is one of the greatest songs ever! My ex-husband used to play it on guitar and sing it in college and always substituted "Annalee" with my name...

  2. She is the author of Letters to a Young Poet. It is a book that can explode one's world.


  3. I have "The selected poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke; translated by Stephen Mitchell. It doesn't have either letters to a young poet or love poems to god, so it's back to the bookstore by the sounds of it. Thanks Ladies.

    I drive my family crazy with all things robbie robertson and the band...

  4. Ahh the interent got the letters. Thanks again.

  5. Stephen Mitchell is such a marvelous translator. I have quite a few book translated by him and trust him completely. My next read of his translation is the Tao Te Ching.

    When you commented "the internet got the letters" did that mean that Letters to a Young Poet is obtainable online? Or that you found the book available for purchase online? If the full book is out there online I wonder whose translation that is.

    Also, your other commenter referred to "she" and must be under the impression that Rilke was a woman (maybe it was just a type). I think that is a common misconception because of his middle name "Maria." It is interesting to read accounts how his name came about, but he was born René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke. I remember wondering how to pronounce "Rainier" and saw somewhere the pronunciation is like Rye-ner. :)

  6. Lydia, I just printed out the ten letters from the internet.

    Stephen Mitchell translator.

    Is there a book copy that would be worth my while ordering?